Are you Getting Enough Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin, hair and eyes. It is also known for its antioxidant effects, which boost immunity and help prevent bacterial and viral infections. Vitamin E is found in high quantities in foods such as eggs, almonds and leafy greens.
Unfortunately, many Americans do not eat get enough in their diets. Are you one of them?
Recommended Daily Allowances
For males and females over the age of 14, the RDA of vitamin E is 15 mg/day.
Females who are breastfeeding have slighter higher vitamin E requirements, and should aim for at least 19 mg/day. Children ages 9-13 should aim for 11 mg/day, and those ages 8 and younger should aim for 7 mg/day.
Keep in mind that the RDA indicates the minimum amount of a nutrient that you must consume in order to avoid symptoms of deficiency. For optimal health, you may want to aim for a slightly higher vitamin E intake.
The tolerable upper limit for vitamin E, which indicates the amount you can safely consume, is 1,000 mg/day.
Sources of Vitamin E
can satisfy their vitamin E needs by including the right foods in their diets.
Food sources of vitamin E include leafy greens like kale and spinach, eggs, nuts, and fortified cereals and breads. Calculate your current vitamin E intake by keeping a food diary and entering your meals into an online nutrient calculator.
Look at the vitamin E intake that the calculator reports.
Does it meet the RDA described above?
Add foods to your diet accordingly to ensure that you meet or exceed the RDA for vitamin E. If you struggle to meet your vitamin E requirements through food, you can try taking a vitamin E supplement. Look for a low-dose supplement derived from natural sources for best results.
Signs of Vitamin E Deficiency
Vitamin E deficiencies are hard to detect based on symptoms, since the symptoms of such a deficiency are very non-specific.
These symptoms include acne, age spots, cataracts, decreased sex drive, gastrointestinal distress, brittle hair, leg cramps and dry skin. If you suffer from some or all of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to rule out other possible causes before you assume they are due to a vitamin E deficiency.
If you and your doctor suspect that a vitamin E deficiency is responsible for your symptoms, you can have a blood test to measure your serum vitamin E levels. A healthy serum vitamin E level is between 5 and 20 ug/mL. If your level is below 5 ug/mL, it’s time to increase your intake.
Consequences of Excessive Vitamin E Intake
Taking too much vitamin E leads to an increased risk of excessive bleeding and prostate cancer.
However, vitamin E toxicity is seen only in those who abuse vitamin E supplements.
There have been no known cases of vitamin E toxicity from food products. You can avoid vitamin E toxicity by taking only low-dose supplements and ensuring that your intake does not exceed the tolerable upper limit of 1000 mg/day.
By following a healthy diet that contains plenty of leafy greens, nuts and eggs, you satisfy your vitamin E needs and experience healthier nails, skin and hair. If you think you may suffer from a vitamin E deficiency, don’t fret.
Most patients experience relief from deficiency symptoms within weeks of increasing their intake through food or supplements.
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