Vitamin E is essential for absorption of iron, it has been found to slow aging and is an active anti-oxidant in the role of clearing up free radicals from your body. It is also involved in a number of mechanisms in the body including the production of sex hormones, cell respiration, and building body tissue, muscle fibre and blood vessels.
It is a strong cancer fighting agent and anti-clotter as well as aiding in the reduction of cholesterol and increasing blood flow to the heart. It is the king of the anti-oxidants because it actually helps protect the other fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and K). And it doesn’t stop there… it also has a role in fertility, the nervous system and healing scar tissue.
So many secret actions! It really is a super vitamin…
Where can I find it?
Vitamin E can be found in most oil based products and is a fat soluble vitamin, so is found in the good fat sources like seeds and nuts. The following is a list of great sources of vitamin E so make sure you’re having at least one of these everyday: sunflower seeds and walnuts in larger amounts, eggs, peanuts, safflower/sunflower oil, beef liver, tomatoes, all seeds and nuts in smaller quantities.
How much should I have?
The recommended intake for adults is 15 mg or 22.4 IU (international units) per day. To put that into perspective for you, 30 g of almonds has about 7 mg of vitamin E (this is about 20 almonds)… I’m not encouraging you to eat 40 almonds a day but just to get an idea of how much you can get from this source, and then mix it up with some eggs, seeds and oils. You’ll also get small amounts of vitamin E from some veggies like spinach and broccoli.
What happens if I don’t get enough?
Deficiency of vitamin E is pretty rare, and generally only occurs in people with fat-malabsorption disorders or VERY low fat diets as vitamin E needs fat to be absorbed.
What happens if I have too much?
There has been no evidence to show that too much vitamin E from food can cause any problems but too much of the artificial form has shown to cause problems in animal studies so be aware of this if you choose to use supplements. The suggested upper limit (this is the number that you should try to stay below) for vitamin E is 1000 mg per day but with the average diet we’re far from reaching this so it doesn’t seem to be of too much concern.
The man made version of the vitamin found in tablet form is only half as active as getting it from natural food sources, so if you don’t think you’re getting enough vitamin E in your diet, you might like to try supplementation but you’ll need double the recommended intake (30 mg or 44.8 IU), most tablets provide greater than 100 IU so this shouldn’t be a problem but as I said deficiency is rare so this is probably one supplement you don’t need to focus on as much, unless you don’t eat any nuts, seeds, oils, eggs or vegetables! But with the above mentioned comment about too much synthetic vitamin E being a problem, it’s a good idea to focus on natural sources rather.
So, all you need to remember is…
Have a handful of nuts or seeds with your eggs at breakfast and snacks, drizzle some oil on your salad and get some green veggies in and you should reach the suggested vitamin E intake for the day!