This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant. Once consumed, vitamin E makes its way to the liver where it is incorporated into cell membranes and lipoproteins that transport cholesterol. It is here that vitamin E works to protect these compounds from oxygen damage caused by free radicals, possibly reducing the risk of heart disease. This powerhouse nutrient has been touted to ward off certain cancers, cataracts and Alzheimer’s disease, and to boost the immune system.
VITAMIN E for Women Photo Gallery
9-13 years 16 IU (11 mg)
14 years through adulthood 22 IU (15 mg)
pregnancy 22 IU (15 mg)
Breastfeeding 28 IU (19 mg)
The RDA is your daily requirement for natural vitamin Efound in foods (alpha-tocopherol).
Reprinted with permission from Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E,
Selenium and Carotenoids, Copyright © 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences.
Courtesy of the National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
Wheat germ, nuts, seeds, soybeans, vegetable oils, corn oil, whole grains and kale are all good sources of vitamin E, so be sure to include a few of these in your daily diet. But it can be a challenge to reach the daily recommended intake of 22 IU when you consider that adding 2 tablespoons of wheat germ to your morning smoothie gives you only 4 IU of the vitamin—and wheat germ is one of the best sources. For this reason many women opt for a daily supplement to help them meet their target intakes.
Vitamin E Supplements
To help you choose the right vitamin E supplement, consider the following suggestions:
• Take 100 to 400 IU per day. There’s no evidence to warrant taking more.
• Buy a natural source vitamin E supplement (or look for d-alpha-tocopherol on the label; synthetic forms are labeled dl-alpha tocopherol). Although the body absorbs both synthetic and natural forms equally well, your liver prefers the natural form. It incorporates more natural vitamin E into transport molecules. Studies have shown that twice as much vitamin E ends up in the blood of people taking natural E as in those taking the same amount of synthetic E.1
• If you’re taking a blood-thinning medication like Coumadin (warfarin), don’t take vitamin E without your doctor’s approval, since it has slight anticlotting properties.
• The daily upper limit for vitamin E is 1500 IU of natural vitamin E or 2200 IU of the synthetic form.