Vitamin E Supplements

Vitamin E is found in fats and oils. Man-made versions also exist. The vitamin E compound that is most useful in the body is called alpha-tocopherol. This is also the most common form of vitamin E. It can occur naturally or be man-made. Ask your healthcare provider whether you should be taking a vitamin E supplement.

Why use a supplement?

It is best to eat a healthy diet to provide all the nutrients your body needs. But food sources of vitamin E are very high in fat. As a result, getting the suggested daily value is difficult if you eat a very low-fat diet. Also, the amount of this vitamin that you actually get is reduced when foods are cooked. Your healthcare provider may advise you to take a vitamin E supplement if you eat a very low-fat diet or small amounts of food.

If you take vitamin E

Here are some tips to help you get the most from a vitamin E supplement:

  • Choose a product with the form of vitamin E known as alpha-tocopherol.

  • Read the label to be sure the product will not expire soon.

  • Store the supplement in a cool, dry place, away from sun and heat.

  • Avoid taking large doses of vitamin E (more than 400 IU per day). Taking more than the suggested amount of vitamin E may be harmful. This is especially true if you take a blood thinner, such as Coumadin or aspirin.

Food sources of vitamin E

Vitamin E is found only in the oils of foods that come from plants. Some good sources include:

  • Vegetable oils and margarine made from corn, safflower, and soybean

  • Nuts, such as almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, soy nuts

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Avocados, mangoes, papayas

  • Wheat germ, whole-wheat foods, brown rice, oat bran

  • Cereals with vitamin E added