Maximize Vitamin E Intake with Diet

Vitamin E: A Fat-Soluble Vitamin

Vitamin E is the name for a group of fat-soluble compounds that have distinctive antioxidant properties.  The type of vitamin E that our bodies most easily absorb and transport is called alpha-tocopherol.  Nuts, seeds and vegetable oils are among the best sources for alpha-tocopherol.  While alpha-tocopherol is the preferred form of vitamin E because it is better used by our bodies, it is not the most common form of vitamin E that we eat.  Most vitamin E in American diets is in the form of gamma-tocopherol, which is found in soybeans, canola, corn and vegetable oils.

A Protective Anti-inflammatory: The Role of Vitamin E

Antioxidants protect cells from the damage of molecules called free radicals.  Free radicals damage cells and may contribute to the development of heart disease and certain cancers.  Some examples of how free radicals are formed include during digestion of certain foods, and environmental exposures to cigarette smoke, pollution and UV rays.  Since vitamin E can help prevent the buildup of these harmful molecules, scientists are looking into understanding if vitamin E supplementation can play a role in preventing chronic disease.  At this time it is best to try to get your vitamin E through foods.  Interestingly, Vitamin E is also involved in immune function.  Studies show it can play a role in gene expression and help keep epithelial cells and blood vessels healthy.

Recommendations for vitamin E intake:  15 milligrams (22.4 IUs) daily over age 14 for men and women.

Highest Vitamin E containing foods: Wheat Germ Oil, Enriched Bran Flakes, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Sunflower Seeds Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale, Mustard Greens, Almonds, Hazelnuts