Vitamin E is one of four fat-soluble vitamins. You can check out last week’s blog post on another fat-soluble vitamin here.
Although not as trendy as some other micronutrients, vitamin E plays some very important roles in keeping our bodies healthy.
- Alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol
- Alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol
Alpha-tocopherol is the only compound that can meet our bodies’ needs.
Naturally produced vitamin E is known as “d-alpha-tocopherol”, while synthetic vitamin E is called “dl-alpha-tocopherol”. The naturally occurring form (d-alpha-tocopherol) is stronger than the synthetic form (1 milligrams of the natural vitamin E = 2 milligrams of the synthetic vitamin E).
This does not mean that the natural form is inherently superior to the synthetic form of vitamin E. This simply means that we need to consume twice the amount of synthetic vitamin E for it to be as strong as the natural form.
Role of Vitamin E in Our Health
As an antioxidant, vitamin E helps protect our cells from free radical damage. We are exposed to free radicals (or reactive oxygen species (ROS)) from many different sources, including our environment and from natural production during metabolism. In addition to its role as an antioxidant, vitamin E also supports our body’s immune system.
Due to its role as an antioxidant and supporting our body’s immune function, vitamin E is thought to be protective against some diseases, including cardiovascular disease and many chronic diseases.
How Much Vitamin E Do I Need?
Health Canada recommends healthy individuals over the age of 14 consume approximately 15 milligrams each day. Health Canada also provides a range of recommended intakes for children under the age of 14. You can find a complete list of recommendations on Health Canada’s website.
Am I At Risk of Deficiency?
Vitamin E is commonly found in our diet. This means our risk of developing a deficiency is much lower than other vitamins. However, there are some populations that may have a higher risk of deficiency including,
- Premature babies with low birth weights
- Presence of a chronic disease that may impair fat absorption or metabolism (ex. Crohn’s, Cystic fibrosis and rare genetic diseases)
Where Can I Find Vitamin E?
Although vitamin E is another fat-soluble vitamin, it is naturally found in various foods. It is also added to other foods to increase their nutritional value.
Some vitamin E-rich foods include,
- Sunflower seeds & Sunflower oil
- Peanuts & Peanut butter
Although we are encouraged to consume most micronutrients within our diet, there are supplements available.
Vitamin E can be found in multivitamins as well as individual supplements. Individual vitamin E supplements are available in various strengths to suit your needs. You can find both a multivitamin and individual supplements at your local pharmacies and supermarkets.
Interactions with Medications
Vitamins and minerals can sometimes interact with medications. Sometimes these interactions are small and nothing to worry about. However, at other times they can have adverse effects.
Vitamin E supplements can interact with some medications including,
- Anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications
- Simvastatin and niacin
- Some chemotherapy drugs and radiotherapy
It is always important to check with your healthcare team before taking vitamin or mineral supplements. This can make sure there are no concerning interactions.
Check out the blog posts on other vitamins & minerals.
Not sure if you’re getting enough micronutrients in your diet? Interested in incorporating more micronutrients into your diet? Sign up for the WISE Eats Accountability Plus program today and receive the summer discount before it’s gone!