FCS8641 1. This document is FCS8641, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extens ion Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. First published: June 2001. Re vised: April 2006. P lease visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2. Jennifer Hillan, MSH, RD, LD/N, ENAFS nutr ition educator/trainer, Department of Fami ly, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperati ve Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Scie nces (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Oppor tunity-Affirmative Action Employer authorize d to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, creed, co lor, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliation. For information on obtaining other ext ension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/ University of Florida/Larry R. Arrington, Dean. Facts about Vitamin E1 Jennifer Hillan2 Why do we need vitamin E? Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the body from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are substances that can damage the bodys cells. Free radicals may increase the risk for heart disease and cancer. What happens if we dont get enough vitamin E? A deficiency of vitamin E can affect the nervous system and the eyes. It also can cause a form of anemia (hemolytic anemia). Vitamin E deficiency is very rare, but it can develop in people who cant absorb fat normally. This is because vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and needs dietary fat to be absorbed. People who dont get enough vitamin E may have higher risks for heart disease and cancer. How much vitamin E do we need? In food, vitamin E is found in many forms. The form that is most usable in our bodies is called alpha-tocopherol. Vitamin E often is measured as milligrams (mg) of alpha-tocopherol. It also can be measured as International Units (IU). Supplements usually show vitamin E content as IU. The following table lists recommended daily intakes of vitamin E: Life Stage Vitamin E per day Men, ages 19+ 15 mg (22 IU) Women, ages 19+ 15 mg (22 IU) Pregnancy 15 mg (22 IU) Breastfeeding 19 mg (28 IU) mg = milligrams IU =International Units How can we get enough vitamin E? Vegetable oils, salad dre ssings, and margarines are the richest dietary sources of vitamin E. Other good sources are nuts and green leafy vegetables. Fortifie d cereals also are good sources of vitamin E.
Facts about Vitamin E page 2 April 2006 Here are some foods and the amount of vitamin E they contain: Vitamin E Food mg IU Cereal, fortified, 1 cup 20-40 30-60 Sunflower seeds, dry, 1 oz 14 22 Almonds, dry roasted, 1 oz 8 11 Wheat germ, cup 3 4 Peanut butter, 2 Tbsp 3 4 Vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp 3 4 Mango, raw, 1 2 3 Mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp 2 3 Broccoli, frozen, cooked, cup 2 3 Turnip greens, frozen, cooked cup 1 2 mg = milligrams IU = International Units oz = ounces Tbsp = tablespoons What about supplements? Foods can supply the recommended amount of vitamin E for good health. Many people choose to take a vitamin E supplement. Recent studies do not support use of vitamin E supplements for prevention of heart disease. Before deciding to take a supplement, talk with your doctor. He/she can tell you how much to take and if there may be interactions with other drugs or supplements that you take. For example, vitamin E supplements can be harmful if you take blood-thinning drugs like warfarin (Coumadin), or aspirin. How much is too much? You should not get more than 1000 mg (1500 IU) of alpha-tocopherol per day from supplements. Doses above this amount increase the risk of bleeding problems. When bleeding occurs in the brain it can cause a hemorrhagic stroke. Where can I get more information? The Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) agent at your county Extension office may have more written information and nutrition classes for you to attend. Also, a registered dietitian (RD) can provide reliable information to you. Reliable nutrition information may be found on the Internet at the following sites: http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu http://www.eatright.org http://www.nutrition.gov http://mypyramid.gov