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Vitamin E
Vitamin E Vitamin
- Tocopherol

Alternative names

Deficiency - vitamin E; Tocopherol

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant.


Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs, and they are believed to be one of the causes of the degenerative processes seen in aging.

Vitamin E is also important in the formation of red blood cells and it helps the body to use vitamin K.

Food Sources

Vitamin E is found in the following foods:

Wheat germ
Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
Vegetable oils -- corn, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed
Products made from these foods, such as margarine, also contain vitamin E.

Side Effects

In November, 2004, the American Heart Association stated that high amounts of vitamin E can be harmful. Taking 400 IU per day, or higher, may increase the risk of death.

Taking smaller amounts, such as those found in a typical multivitamin, was not harmful.


The ability of vitamin E to prevent cancer, heart disease, dementia, liver disease, and stroke are still not known. At lower levels, vitamin E may help protect the heart.

The best way to get enough essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.

Specific recommendations for each vitamin depend on age, gender, and other factors (such as pregnancy). The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a PDF file that lists these recommendations.

Other useful Vitamin information: Vitamin B-12 | Vitamin B-6 | Vitamin C

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