Let’s Take Some E- Vitamin E.

We will throw a little K in hurrrr too, and finish off our discush on the fat solubles.  Next week I’ll move on to the water soluble vitamins. 

So Vitamin E-, Vitamin E is an antioxidant so it’s pretty important in terms of helping to protect your bod’s cells from residual damage causes by free radicals that we encounter on a day-to-day basis. 

Vitamin E is also a sweet little helper in terms of lending a helping hand to our immune system to help fight off unwelcomed undesirables trying to get all up in our immune system.  And it also works as a natural dilator for our blood vessels, and helps to keep our blood clotting appropriately in them. 

Functions of Vitamin E
Functions of Vitamin E- although I go by the 15 mg recommendation for adults not 10mg that is depicted here.

Like most Vitamins the amount of Vitamin E needed depends on age, and needs can be influenced based on disease states. 

The recommended amount for the average adult is 15 mg (22  IU)- this is the same for women and teens who are pregnant

Women/teens who are breasfeeding require about 19 mg (~28 IU)

Vitamin E is found in a lot of common foods, and it is also not difficult to achieve a 15 mg intake- so deficiency is uncommon.  Like the other fat soluble vitamins we discussed deficiency is most likely in folks with diseases that where fat may not be properly digested or absorbed (cystic fibrosis, crohns disease, ulcerative collitis etc).  If a deficiency arises it can cause legitimate problems such as nerve/muscle damage, muscle weakness, loss of movement control, weakened immune system, and possibly anemia. 

On the other side of the coin- toxicity is unlikely, but again possible.  If you are supplementing with Vitamin E the highest safe level is 1500 IU per day for adults.  If you are consistently meeting or exceeding this then you are increasing your risk of bleeding by messing with clotting mechansims in your blood.  I.e. a paper cut could become disasterous…. well maybe not a paper cut.

Sources of vitamin E- 

Sources of Vitamin E
Sources of Vitamin E

-Oils such as vegetable oils, sunflower, safflower oils (corn and soybean oils are “ok” sources)

-Wheat germ

-Nuts (peanuts, hazelnuts, especially almonds)

-Green vegetables such as spinach, and broccoli

-Fortified foods/cereals (this is becoming quite common)

-As a side note, most multivitamins or Vitamin E supplements contain 100-1000 IU per pill which is much higher than the recommended amounts- and really not necessary. 

-If it is advised to you to take a supplement- vitamin E is not a single substand, it is acutally the name of either related compounds in food including Alpha Tocopherol.  The natural type found in food is d-alpha-tocopherol.  And again with pretty much all vitamins/minerals the natural form is perferred by the body versus any synthetic forms- moral of the story? Eat a balanced diet, and get your nutrients from foods versus supplements. 

Nutrient drug interactions can occur with supplementation- so please be mindful with any supplements.  Always tell any physician, or health practitioner about any meds and supplements you take. 

-Vitamin E can interfere with meds like anticoagulants Coumadin

-Taking antioxidant supplements (Vit A, C, E) while undergoin chemo or radiation may alter the effectiveness of the treatments. 


So real quick-like onto Vitamin K- the shorthand version of Vitamin K is that it is reeeeeeally important for helping your blood to clot appropriately.  Having your blood not clot can be problematic, and having it clot too easily is problematic.

The recommended intake for Vitamin K for adult males is ~ 120 mcg (micrograms), and females is ~90 mcg.  Vitamin K is another vitamin that’s pretty common in food, because it’s measured in micrograms- it’s pretty easy to achieve that intake.  There have been no defined upper limits or toxicity for Vitamin K, but that doesn’t mean you want to try to get excessive amounts. 

You are going to find Vitamin K in your very green vegetables such as spinach, kale, greens (collard, turnip, & mustard), salad greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kiwi, plant oils, margarine, grapes, and broccoli. 

Common sources of Vitamin K
Common sources of Vitamin K

If you are taking Coumadin (aka Warfarin), you need to absolutely limit and monitor the amount of these types of foods you are consuming as again- do you really want the coagulation mechanism in your blood messed up in any way? No. You don’t.

**Again with any supplement always inform ANY health care professional of waht meds and supplements you take- even if it is a multivitamin. 

I plan to continue this vitamin/mineral series with the water soluble vitamins but I don’t want to get dull so I am going to space them out more.  Stay tuned folks 🙂


-The Natural Standard

-The Office of Dietary Supplements (NIH)



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