Vitamin E Fact List

Olive oil and olives are good sources of vitamin E

Knowing the facts about vitamin E helps to understand its many beneficial effects on the human body as well as its potential dangers.

Vitamin E: Early Historical Facts

  • Vitamin E was discovered in 1922 by Dr. Herbert Evans and Katherine Bishop in their research on reproduction in rats.
  • Further research continued and in 1936 Dr. Evans isolated alpha-tocopherol.
  • The following year he isolated beta tocopherol and gamma tocopherol
  • Vitamin E was proposed as an antioxidant in 1945.
  • In 1968, researchers proposed that vitamin E as an antioxidant that protected cell lipids from free radicals.

Vitamin E: General Facts

  • The human body can store vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin, in its fatty tissue.
  • The amount of vitamin E you need depends on your weight, age and any special health issues or concerns.
  • Measured in international units (IUs), the body needs at least 200 IUs of vitamin E each day.
  • Vitamin E consists of eight distinct antioxidant compounds. There are four tocopherols and four tocopherols with alpha, beta, delta and gamma in each group.
  • Alpha-tocopherols is the compound that is most active in the body.

Fact: Vitamin E is an Important Antioxidant

  • As an antioxidant vitamin E intercepts and neutralizes free radicals in the body.
  • It protects the body's tissues and cells from damage.
  • Antioxidants slow the body's aging process.

Fact: Vitamin E Has Many Benefits

In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is needed for the healthy functioning of many systems in the body. The health benefits of vitamin E include:

  • Helping with the production of red blood cells
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Helping the body to process and use vitamin K
  • Improving blood circulation and overall circulatory system
  • Promoting normal blood clotting
  • Repairing tissue
  • Helping to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke
  • Reducing the risk and of Alzheimer's disease
  • Decreasing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome

Fact: Wheat Germ Oil is the Best Food Source of Vitamin E

  • In addition to wheat germ other foods that are rich in vitamin E include:
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Cold pressed vegetable oils
    • Margarine
    • Peanut butter
    • Whole grains
    • Dark, leafy vegetables
    • Olives
    • Legumes
    • Fortified cereals
  • Foods that contain an amount of vitamin E that is significant include:
    • Brown Rice
    • Eggs
    • Cornmeal
    • Milk
    • Kelp
    • Organ meats
  • Vitamin E is also found in certain herbs including:
    • Alfalfa
    • Dandelion
    • Nettle
    • Flax
    • Bladderwrack
    • Rose hips

Vitamin E Supplements

Many people do not get a sufficient amount of vitamin E from natural food sources. This is due to an improper diet which generally includes eating large amounts of processed food.

Supplement Facts

  • Supplements are available in two forms - natural and synthetic.
  • Synthetic vitamin E has half the activity level, or functional value, of natural vitamin E.
  • Synthetic forms of vitamin E are labeled D,L and natural forms are labeled D.
  • Vitamin E supplements are available in many forms including:
  • Capsule
  • Tablet
  • Liquid
  • Powder to mix with juice or powder or add to bars or gels
  • Injection

Fact: Too Much Vitamin E can be Harmful

  • Do not take vitamin E supplements before consulting with your doctor especially if you are taking any blood thinning medication. It can be very dangerous because Vitamin E acts like a blood thinner
  • Vitamin E can reach toxic levels since it is stored in the body. Make sure not to take mega doses of it. Never take amounts of vitamin E over 1200 IUs before checking with your doctor.
  • Do not take an iron supplement along with your vitamin E supplement. If you take both, take them at different times of the day. Iron in the form of ferrous sulfate, and other organic forms, will destroy vitamin E.
  • Anyone suffering from rheumatic heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or an overactive thyroid should never exceed the recommended dose of this vitamin.
  • Take a minimum amount of zinc along with your vitamin E each day. Check your vitamin E supplement as some brands have the zinc already in the vitamin.


Learning the facts about vitamin E will help you understand your body's need for this essential nutrient.

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Vitamin E Fact List