Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and an antioxidant involved in the metabolism of all cells. It protects vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body cells and prevents breakdown of body tissues.
Vitamin E is the term used for eight naturally occurring, fat-soluble nutrients called tocopherols - alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta and theta. Alpha-Tocopherol is essential, has the highest biological activity, and predominates in many species. The RDA for adults is 10 IU. (Designated according to its biological activity in International Units (IU). With this vitamin 1 IU = 1 mg Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents).
In human beings, vitamin E is the most important fat-soluble antioxidant. It prevents the potentially harmful oxidation of fat compounds and enhances the functioning of vitamin A. It is an antipollutant for the lungs. It helps the healing of scar tissue when taken internally and also when applied externally.
The best natural sources are wheat germ, whole grains, vegetable oils, soya beans, nuts, apples, apricots and green vegetables.
Vitamin E deficiency may cause anemia, as a result of red blood cell destruction and neurological dysfunction, myopathies, and diminished erythrocyte life span. New clinical evidence from heavy drinkers suggests that alcohol may increase oxidation of Alpha-Tocopherol. Increased demand has also been observed in premature infants and patients with malabsorption.
It is generally non-toxic but some evidence suggests that large intakes may cause increased levels of blood cholesterol and lipids. It can oxidize within a few months of being manufactured, so supplements should not be stored for longer. It is destroyed by heat, freezing, food processing, chlorine and iron.
Vitamin E supplements are usually sold as alpha-tocopheryl acetate, a form that protects its ability to function as an antioxidant. The synthetic form is labeled "D, L" while the natural form is labeled "D". The synthetic form is only half as active as the natural form. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2004. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 16-1. Nutrient Data Laboratory)
Antioxidants such as vitamin E act to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of energy metabolism. Free radicals can damage cells and may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Studies are underway to determine whether vitamin E, through its ability to limit production of free radicals, might help prevent or delay the development of those chronic diseases. Vitamin E has also been shown to play a role in immune function, in DNA repair, and other metabolic processes.
(Source: Traber MG. Vitamin E. In: Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1999:347-62. )
|Good Food Sources of Vitamin E|
|Food||Serving Size||Milligrams||% RDA|
|Egg, whole, fresh||1 large||0.88||5.8|
|Almond oil||1 tablespoon||5.3||35.3|
|Corn oil||1 tablespoon||1.9||12.6|
|Corn oil (Mazola)||1 tablespoon||3||5|
|Cottonseed oil||1 tablespoon||4.8||32|
|Olive oil||1 tablespoon||1.6||10.6|
|Palm oil||1 tablespoon||2.6||17.3|
|Peanut oil||1 tablespoon||1.6||10.6|
|Safflower oil||1 tablespoon||4.6||30.6|
|Soybean oil||1 tablespoon||1.5||10|
|Sunflower oil||1 tablespoon||6.1||40.6|
|Vegetable-oil spray||2.5 second spray||0.51||3.4|
|Wheat-germ oil||1 tablespoon||20.3||135.3|
|Tomato juice||6 fluid ounces||0.4||2.6|
|Apple with skin||1 medium||0.81||5.4|
|Mango, raw||1 medium||2.32||15.4|
|Macaroni pasta, enriched||1 cup||1.03||6.8|
|Spaghetti pasta, enriched||1 cup||1.03||6.8|
|Almonds, dried||1 ounce||6.72||44.8|
|Hazelnuts, dried||1 ounce||6.7||44.6|
|Peanut butter (Skippy)||1 tablespoon||3||5|
|Peanuts, dried||1 ounce||2.56||17|
|Pistachio nuts, dried||1 ounce||1.46||9.7|
|Walnuts, English||1 ounce||0.73||4.8|
|Margarine (Mazola)||1 tablespoon||8||53.3|
|Margarine (Parkay, diet)||1 tablespoon||0.4||2.6|
|Mayonnaise (Hellmann's)||1 tablespoon||11||73.3|
|Miracle Whip (Kraft)||1 tablespoon||0.5||3.3|
|Avocado, raw||1 medium||2.32||15.4|
|Asparagus, frozen||4 spears||1.15||7.6|
|Spinach, raw||1/2 cup||0.53||3.5|
|Sweet potato||1 medium||5.93||39.5|
|Tomato, red, raw||1 tomato||0.42||2.8|
|Turnip greens, raw||1/2 cup chopped||0.63||4.2|
An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on vitamin E published in 2000 cautions that low fat diets can result in a significant decrease in vitamin E intake. (Source: Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2000. )
Individuals who cannot absorb fat require a vitamin E supplement because some dietary fat is needed for the absorption of vitamin E from the gastrointestinal tract.
People who cannot absorb fat often pass greasy stools or have chronic diarrhea. People with an inability to secrete bile, a substance that helps fat digestion, may need a special water-soluble form of vitamin E. (Source: Farrell P and Roberts R. Vitamin E. In: Shils M, Olson JA, and Shike M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Febiger, 1994:326-41.)
Vitamin E in the diet may help reduce the risk of some of the most common diseases, such as heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. Normal cell function results in byproducts known as free radicals. Free radicals can "attack" other cell substances, causing damage to the cell wall, metabolic machinery, and genetic material (DNA). Cells have natural defenses against this damage, including the antioxidants vitamins C and E, but with age some of these defenses decline. Brain cell damage caused by free radicals may play a role in Alzheimer's disease.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[YEA] 03/19/2009: Laura from Honolulu, HI: "Hi, sometimes (i'm thinking with hormone flucuations and whatnot) I have a low libido. It can go for months at a time. I have found that taking vitamin e does a lot for my body. I've even heard it been called an aphrodisiac. If you have a low libido, try it out- I was taking 400 IU capsules 3x a day. Sometimes I'd take just 2 or one.. see what works for you!"Replies
[YEA] 09/02/2009: London from Sandusky, Ohio replies: "YES, vitamin E has done alot for my over all health and especially my sexual health. I'm 29, and because I'm constantly under alot of stress, I sometimes have a problem with irregular periods, and libido, aswell as insomnia, and painful cramps, etc. My Mother kept telling me to take Vitamin E and how important probably the most important vitamin out there, etc.
I took it in the past and never really saw a difference, untill I tried a brand from ____. Now that brand, I don't know what it is. IT WORKS!! I even tried another brand, and I didn't really see a difference. I began taking 2 400ius of vitamin E twice a day, along with folic acid, because folic acid really does help with yeast infections, etc.
The first thing I noticed was my skin. It started glowing and becoming very oily, BUT I LOOKED YOUNGER, and my eyes also looked clearer. That youthful glow, it was amazing. I also began having acne, and pimples, unfortunantly,because of the increased oil production, but I didn't care my skin looked so pretty. I just wash my face with tea tree oil soap.
Then I noticed I was becoming more sexual, definently, very strange.
Then after about 2 months my period was notibly less painful and more regular, but heavier, it's like I'm more fertile, or something. It's been about 4 months, and if I go a couple of days without taking it, I see a big difference, my skin starts to look crappy again. My reproductive and over all health is much better since taking vitamin andfolic acid."
09/02/2009: Rob from Manhattan, New York replies: "re: Vit. E., make sure it is natural d-alpha-tocopherol & not the synthetic dl as in dl-alpha-tocopherol. Although more expensive..(much more) I occasionally purchase the wider spectrum natural vitamin E with Tocotrienols.
this from Wiki... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tocotrienols"
09/04/2009: London from Sandusky, Ohio replies: "It has to be the water soluble kind of vitamin e, that's the one that is most effective for me."
[YEA] 10/18/2007: Carmella from NYC: "Just wanted to report in about vitamin e after reading about it on your website as an aphrodisiac (sp?). I usually take vitamin e (400, natural e, not synthetic) when I start to feel pms strike. I don't feel I need it until then. The interesting thing is that if I take it 15 to 30 minutes before... you know, errrrrr.... love making with my hubby, I find that it takes me a very short time to reach orgasm. Usually at this point in my cycle (1 week before my period) I get a little numb down there. But when I take vitamin E, things are hot, hot, hot! Ladies, let your friends know -- it really does work!"
[YEA] 07/16/2006: Mary from Portsmouth, UK: "I totally agree with the nurse from NYC - Vit E does seem to be an aphrodisiac! I put a few drops in with a plastic spoon nightly, & after a while was aware that my vagina felt & smelt healthy for a change. Suddenly, after four & a half weeks, I had an unexpected surge of libido which has shown no signs of abating. I'm so happy to have got back what used to be a very important part of me & which after a 4 year 'drought' I had become convinced had gone for ever. Tell everyone about it! Especially women post menopause (like me), who think loss of erotic feeling is something they just have to get used to. Incidentally, I was already on a very good high Vit E diet."Replies
11/22/2008: Chris from Michigan replies: "I was reading the comments about Vitamin E and I noticed some said they "dropped" it in or took to capsules -- does that mean ingested them; or placed them in the vagina? Where does one buy Vitamin E in liquid form?"
11/22/2008: Tess from Palm Beach, FL replies: "I see what you mean. Confusing! I think she ate a diet rich in Vitamin e and also inserted liquid vitamin e into her vajayjay."
08/31/2009: Sam from Salt Lake City, Utah replies: "I wonder if my wife would realize these benefits if we used Vitamin E as a personal lubricant during intercourse?"
[YEA] Joanne from NYC, NY: "A nurse at my college health clinic told me about vitamin E for vaginal dryness. Let me tell you, it works wonders! I take 1 capsule 2x a day. I also think that it is a aphrodisiac. Well, maybe it's just me. Hope to hear back from other women about this!"Replies
03/18/2011: Cwilly from Kennewick, Wa, Usa replies: "Oh my goodness, yes! I was thinking due to my age that I was losing the ability to have as much lubrication as I had in the past (saw something about it on Dr. Oz) I read this thread and thought it was worth a try. I had a natural vitamin e complex and took one before bedtime. Well lets just say lubrication was NOT a problem last night!
Thanks for the tip. I'll be sure to share it!"
08/08/2011: Nic from Philadelphia , Pa, Usa replies: "i am suffering from vaginal dryness and im 30 years old. Should I take the vitamin e by mouth? or by inserting it into my vagina? how long before I will naturally lubricate again?"
08/08/2011: Debbie from Melbourne, Australia replies: "Nic, your body is telling you it is lacking in nutrition. I found that wheatgrass juice (drinking) a couple of times a week and taking a lot of wheatgrass powder in capsules totally cleared the problem."
08/09/2011: Anabela from Leiria, Portugal replies: "You can take vitamin E and to aply locally wheat germ oil. the problem of vaginal dryness has to do with hormonal imbalances, the best supplement is a product called Maca which you can find in good health food stores. There are in pills and there are in powder. If you buy in plls buy 500 mg and start to take 3 at every meal. Maybe you have to do some few months, but is good for libido and dryness. Any questions please contact me."
[YEA] Erica from Tuscon, AZ: "I have been taking Effexor the past year now and, like many others, discovered how much it lowered my sex drive. I did a little research and came upon Vitamin E supplementation. It definitely helps... so does a lot of strenous exercise!"
[YEA] 01/29/2008: Carolyn from Pittsburgh, PA: "After finding a lump in my breast, rushing to a doctor, I was told that I' needed to find a surgeon, before a scan was even taken. After the scan, I was informed that it was merely a cyst and I could either have it aspirated with a needle, or just leave it, as it would cause no harm. I left it alone, and remembered being told that vitamin E can cause cysts to go away. It worked and when the cyst came back a year later, I went straight to the vitamin E bottle, and next doctor appointment, there was no signs of the cyst.I take it continually now. I am currently taking vitamin E (as d-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate) 1000 IU, but if I recall, I was taking 400 IU when my cyst dissolved."
[YEA] 11/24/2007: Sandy from In the sticks, Nevada: "Vitamin E has totally eliminated the breast pain I would get before my period, as well as the cramping I would get during my period. I take 400 IU once a day. The breast pain disappeared the first month I was taking this and the cramping disappeared the second month."
[YEA] John from Milwaukee, WI: "Vitamin E in the liquid form (and wheat germ oil) is an effective treatment for hemorrhoids. Put the oil on a cotton ball and apply it a few times a day until the pain goes away."Replies
04/24/2012: Diana from Mesa, Az, Usa replies: "I totally agree with the posts about using Vitamin E oil for bowel fissures or hemmorhoids. I contracted e coli poisoning from a buffet restaurant, so spent many days in the bathroom with severe diarrhea and vomiting. I ended up with an extremely sore and irrritated anal sphincter, so I used some Vitamin E oil in 12,000 I. U. Strength. I just applied it after each trip to the bathroom and after only one application, healing was almost complete. What was is so amazing is this bottle of ____ Vitamin E Oil is about 10 years old and it still is potent enough to bring great relief! I just hadn't thrown it out and wasn't sure if it would still be effective. Just another testament to the amazing healing power of natural oils and supplements (even outdated products)."
[YEA] 08/23/2009: Rena from Mineral Bluff, Georgia, Usa: "I am a 48 year old woman have recently started having hot flashes and night sweats. I had no idea how uncomfortable they would be, until it finally happened. I could not sleep because of the constant heat coming and going. During the day, I would have at least 5 episodes of them, but at night I would suffer at least 10 episodes, with constant interruption of sleep. I tried the raw apple cider vinegar with no success. So next I tried the vitamin E. All I had in the cabinet was 1000IU so that is what I took. I must say it worked on the first night, and the second night, so I feel safe in saying it really works. I take it at night about an hour before bed, Peace, Rena."
[YEA] 03/23/2007: Janie from Hammond, La: "I have taken vitamin E for years to reduce hot flashes. Works wonders."
[YEA] 08/25/2008: Suzanne from Abbotsford, BC: "When my young son had chicken pox, he was covered with the itchy bumps and it was driving us all crazy. I tried calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, etc. before finally poking a vitamin E capsule and applying that. The itching stopped instantly! Now, whenever we have itching worth mentioning, we reach for the vitamin E. Make sure it is D-Alpha, though, not the synthetic DL-Alpha. The synthetic E is useless. Don't waste your money buying it."
[YEA] 05/10/2006: Maria S. from Sacremento: "I took 4,000 IU of a high-quality vitamin E every day for six weeks to eliminate liver spots on my face that had developed."
[YEA] "I have used vitamin E for some time, while I was a bodybuilder, as it aids recuperation. But more recently I have been using it, as part of my regime to lower my high cholesterol.
I also do a lot of writing that demand a lot of intellectual, input. This is where it became apparent that vitamin E actually boosts intellectual competence. But that is not the whole story. It only works in intellectual favour if taken in the morning, which implies during the first three hours after you have wakened. If you take it after lunch or the evening it has no noticeable effect at all on boosting intellectual competence.
But, while that may seem appealing, there is one downer, in the equation of the practice. Taken in the morning vitamin E makes you moody and intolerant of anything negative you may encounter. This may not seem much, but those down points were to such extent that led to me changing the time I am taking vitamin E in the evening, before going to sleep. And I am now back to my cheerful and tolerant self, again. And I do not care if my books suffer as consequence, which will give you an idea of how bad the negative influence, was. But it does wonders for intellectual competence, which implies the negative effect on the emotions is a real shame.
The dosage I am taking is one 400 IU softgel capsule of vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol plus mixed tocopherols), daily.
The vitamin dosages suggested are mega doses, way above the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). So please do not follow on, on any tips I give here on this site from my own vitamin regime experiences, without first consulting a competent practitioner (doctor or nutritionist). "
Muscle Aches and Pains
[YEA] 05/26/2008: James from Los Angeles, USA : "For decades my wife has taken 5 or 6 400iu Vitamin E tablets before doing unaccustomed exercise, moving, extra gardening, etc. with no stiffness or aches after. If she forgets to take them she has all the normal problems that follow these actions. She then has to take two to three times the dosage several time to get rid of the aches. For some reason I am one of the lucky ones and rarely have any aches following an unaccustomed exercise but the vitamin E works well for her."Replies
02/08/2013: Paula from Dearborn, Mi replies: "I am going to try this because my body aches all the time so I buy some Vitamin E capsules.Thanks. Just curious...can you use Vitamin E for dark spots?"
[WARNING!] 11/02/2006: Dennis from Benson, AZ: "Vitamin E had a reaction with the blood thinner medication which my wife is using."