Side effects of taking too much Vitamin E

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with several forms, but alpha-tocopherol is the only one used by the human body. Its main role is to act as an antioxidant, scavenging loose electrons—so-called “free radicals”—that can damage cells. [1] It also enhances immune function and prevents clots from forming in heart arteries. But it causes, Side effects when taking too much Vitamin E.

OTHER NAME(S): 

Acétate d’Alpha Tocophérol, Acétate d’Alpha Tocophéryl, Acétate de D-Alpha-Tocophéryl, Acétate de DL-Alpha-Tocophéryl.

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth

Vitamin E is LIKELY SAFE for most healthy people when taken by mouth. Most people do not experience any side effects when taking the recommended daily dose, which is 22.4 IU.

Vitamin E is POSSIBLY UNSAFE if taken by mouth in high doses. If you have a condition such as heart disease or diabetes, do not take doses of 400 IU/day or more. Some research suggests that high doses might increase the chance of death and possibly cause other serious side effects. The higher the dose, the greater the risk of serious side effects.

There is some concern that vitamin E might increase the chance of having a serious stroke called hemorrhagic stroke, which is bleeding into the brain. Some research shows that taking vitamin E in doses of 300-800 IU each day might increase the chance of this kind of stroke by 22%. However, in contrast, vitamin E might decrease the chance of having a less severe stroke called an ischemic stroke.

There is contradictory information about the effect of vitamin E on the chance of developing prostate cancer. Some research suggests that taking large amounts of a multivitamin plus a separate vitamin E supplement might actually increase the chance of developing prostate cancer in some men.

High doses can also cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, weakness, headache, blurred vision, rash, and bruising and bleeding.

When applied to the skin

Vitamin E is LIKELY SAFE for most healthy people when applied to the skin. While rare, applying vitamin E to the skin has caused itching and swelling in some people.

When inhaled

Vitamin E is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when inhaled. Use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products containing vitamin E as vitamin E acetate has been linked to serious lung injury in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy

When used in the recommended daily amount, vitamin E is POSSIBLY SAFE for pregnant women. There has been some concern that taking vitamin E supplements might be harmful to the fetus when taken in early pregnancy. However, it is too soon to know if this is an important concern. Until more is known, do not take vitamin E supplements during early pregnancy without talking with your healthcare provider.

Breast-feeding

Vitamin E is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in recommended daily amounts during breast-feeding.

Infants and children

Vitamin E is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. The maximum amounts of vitamin E that are considered safe for children are based on age. Less than 298 IU daily is safe for children 1 to 3 years old. Less than 447 IU daily is safe for children 4 to 8 years old. Less than 894 IU daily is safe for children 9 to 13 years old. Less than 1192 IU daily is safe for children ages 14 to 18 years old. Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when given intravenously (by IV) to premature infants in high doses.

A procedure to open a blocked or narrowed blood vessel (angioplasty)

Avoid taking supplements containing vitamin E or other antioxidant vitamins (beta-carotene, vitamin C) immediately before and following angioplasty without the supervision of a health care professional. These vitamins seem to interfere with proper healing.

Bleeding disorders

Vitamin E might make bleeding disorders worse. If you have a bleeding disorder, avoid taking vitamin E supplements.

Diabetes

Vitamin E might increase the risk for heart failure in people with diabetes. People with diabetes should avoid high doses of vitamin E.

Head and neck cancer

Do not take vitamin E supplements in doses of 400 IU/day or more. Vitamin E might increase the chance that cancer will return.

Liver disease

Vitamin E taken for 2 years or more can worsen insulin resistance when given with a liver disease called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Heart attack

Vitamin E might increase the risk for death in people with a history of heart attack. People with a history of heart attack should avoid high doses of vitamin E.

Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis)

Exercise is sometimes used by people with osteoporosis to improve bone strength. Exercising and taking high doses of vitamin E and vitamin C might lessen the benefits of exercise on bone strength.

Prostate cancer

There is concern that taking vitamin E might increase the chance of developing prostate cancer. The effect of vitamin E in men who currently have prostate cancer isn’t clear. However, in theory, taking vitamin E supplements might worsen prostate cancer in men who already have it.

An inherited eye condition that causes poor night vision and loss of side vision (retinitis pigmentosa)

All-rac-alpha-tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E) 400 IU seems to speed vision loss in people with retinitis pigmentosa. However, much lower amounts (3 IU) do not seem to produce this effect. If you have this condition, it is best to avoid vitamin E supplements.

Stroke

Vitamin E might increase the risk for death in people with a history of stroke. People with a history of stroke should avoid high doses of vitamin E.

Surgery

Vitamin E might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using vitamin E at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Low levels of vitamin K (vitamin K deficiency)

Vitamin E might worsen clotting problems in people whose levels of vitamin K are too low.

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