Vitamin E is a vitamin that dissolves in fat. It is found in many foods including vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ oil. It is also available as a supplement. Health benefits of vitamin E are mentioned below.
Vitamin E is used for treating vitamin E deficiency, which is rare, but can occur in people with certain genetic disorders and in very low-weight premature infants. Vitamin E is also used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.
The American Heart Association recommends obtaining antioxidants, including vitamin E, by eating a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rather than from supplements until more is known about the risks and benefits of taking supplements.
A type of vitamin E called vitamin E acetate is an ingredient in some vaping products. Using vaping products containing vitamin E acetate has been linked to serious lung injury.
The Benefits of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It may help protect your cells from damage. This essential nutrient occurs naturally in many foods. It’s also available as a dietary supplement. Sometimes, it’s in processed foods. Vitamin E is fat-soluble. This means your body stores and uses it as needed.
The term “vitamin E” describes eight different compounds. Alpha-tocopherol is the most active one in humans.
Longer cell life
You’ve probably seen rust on your bike or car. A similar process of oxidation and accelerated aging takes place in your body when cells are exposed to molecules called free radicals. Free radicals weaken and break down healthy cells. These molecules may also contribute to heart disease and cancer.
Free radicals form as a result of normal body processes. They cause damage that shortens the life of your cells. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that may help reduce free radical damage and slow the aging process of your cells, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Researchers have investigated the use of vitamin E as treatment for a variety of degenerative diseases, including:
- hardening of the arteries
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
Vitamin E may help people with higher environmental or lifestyle risk factors. Free radicals are increased by:
- cigarette smoking
- exposure to air pollution
- high exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight
Vitamin E may help repair damaged cells.
It’s difficult to consume too much vitamin E in your regular diet. It’s neither risky nor harmful to obtain vitamin E from food sources.
- An inherited condition that affects motor control (ataxia with vitamin E deficiency or AVED). The genetic movement disorder called ataxia causes severe vitamin E deficiency. Vitamin E supplements are used as part of the treatment for ataxia.
- Vitamin E deficiency. Taking vitamin E by mouth is effective for preventing and treating vitamin E deficiency.
Possibly Effective for
- Alzheimer disease. Some early research suggests that dietary intake of vitamin E is linked to a lower chance of developing Alzheimer disease. But not all research agrees. Taking vitamin E supplements doesn’t seem to prevent Alzheimer disease from developing. In people who already have Alzheimer disease, taking vitamin E along with some anti-Alzheimer medicines might slow down the worsening of memory loss. Vitamin E might also delay the loss of independence and the need for caregiver assistance in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer disease.
- Low levels of red blood cells in people with long-term illness (anemia of chronic disease). Some research shows that that taking vitamin E improves the response to the drug erythropoietin, which affects red blood cell production, in adults and children on hemodialysis.
- A blood disorder that reduces levels of protein in the blood called hemoglobin (beta-thalassemia). Taking vitamin E by mouth seems to benefit children with the blood disorder called beta-thalassemia and vitamin E deficiency.
- Leakage of intravenous (IV) drug from the vein into the surrounding skin and tissue (extravasation). Applying vitamin E to the skin together with dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) seems to be effective for treating leakage of chemotherapy into surrounding tissues.
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Taking vitamin E for 2 days before bleeding and for 3 days after bleeding starts seems to decrease pain and reduce menstrual blood loss. Taking vitamin E with fish oil might provide even more pain relief than taking vitamin E alone.
- Scarring or hardening of blood vessels in the kidney (glomerulosclerosis). There is some evidence that taking vitamin E by mouth might improve kidney function in children with glomerulosclerosis.
- An inherited disorder that causes red blood cells to break down in response to stress (G6PD deficiency). Some research shows that taking vitamin E by mouth, alone or together with selenium, might benefit people with an inherited disorder called G6PD deficiency.
- A type of non-cancerous skin sore (granuloma annulare). Applying vitamin E to the skin seems to clear up skin sores called granuloma annulare.
- An inherited brain disorder that affects movements, emotions, and thinking (Huntington disease). Natural vitamin E (RRR-alpha-tocopherol) can improve symptoms in people with early Huntington disease. However, it doesn’t seem to help people with more advanced disease.
- Bleeding within the skull (intracranial hemorrhage). Taking vitamin E by mouth seems to be effective for treating bleeding in the skull in premature infants.
- Bleeding into or around the fluid-filled areas (ventricles) of the brain (intraventricular hemorrhage). Some research shows that giving vitamin E by mouth to premature infants can reduce the risk for bleeding into the brain. But giving high doses of vitamin E might increase the risk for a serious blood infection (sepsis) in these infants.
- Conditions in a man that prevent him from getting a woman pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (male infertility). Taking vitamin E by mouth improves pregnancy rates for men with fertility problems. But taking high doses of vitamin E together with vitamin C doesn’t seem to provide the same benefits.
- Reduced benefit of nitrate therapy that happens when nitrates are used all day (nitrate tolerance). There is some evidence that taking vitamin E daily can help prevent nitrate tolerance.
- Swelling (inflammation) and build up of fat in the liver in people who drink little or no alcohol (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH). Taking vitamin E daily seems to improve inflammation and liver markers of this form of liver disease in adults and children.
- Parkinson disease. People who get more vitamin E in their diet might have a lower risk of Parkinson disease. Taking supplements containing vitamin E doesn’t seem to benefit people already diagnosed with Parkinson disease.
- Recovery from laser eye surgery (photoreactive keratectomy). Taking high doses of vitamin A along with vitamin E (alpha-tocopheryl nicotinate) daily seems to improve healing and vision in people undergoing laser eye surgery.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Taking vitamin E by mouth seems to reduce anxiety, craving, and depression in some women with PMS.
- Physical performance in elderly adults. Research suggests that increasing vitamin E intake in the diet is linked with improved physical performance and muscle strength in older people.
- Scarring of tissue caused by radiation therapy. Taking vitamin E by mouth with the drug pentoxifylline seems to treat scarring caused by radiation. However, taking vitamin E alone doesn’t seem to be effective.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Vitamin E taken along with standard treatment is better than standard treatment alone for reducing pain in people with RA. However, this combination doesn’t reduce swelling.
- Sunburn. Taking high doses of vitamin E (RRR-alpha-tocopherol) by mouth together with vitamin C protects against skin inflammation after exposure to UV radiation. However, vitamin E alone doesn’t provide the same benefit. Applying vitamin E to the skin, together with vitamin C and melatonin, provides some protection when used before UV exposure.
- A movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia). Taking vitamin E by mouth seems to improve symptoms associated with the movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia. However, some other research suggests that it doesn’t improve symptoms, but may prevent symptoms from worsening.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the eye (uveitis). Taking vitamin E with vitamin C by mouth seems to improve vision, but doesn’t reduce swelling, in people with uveitis.