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Vitamin E 101: All you need to know about this key nutrient in our diet

Posted: Oct 25, 2023 5 minute read SMART 1 Likes

Picture this: you’re enjoying a leisurely breakfast of avocado toast on a sunny Sunday morning, or simply snacking on a mid-day snack of almonds. While that may just sound like a delightful way to start a day, what if I told you that the key to radiant skin, a strong heart, and a powerful immune system might be hiding within those very almonds and avocados?

Meet Vitamin E, a powerhouse nutrient with a bunch of antioxidant prowess and a host of health benefits. Continue reading to delve into the marvels of Vitamin E, including discovering optimal dietary sources of this essential nutrient, understanding its contributions to our wellness, and its key role in supporting global nutrition.

What is Vitamin E? Why should I include Vitamin E in my diet?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for proper functioning of our bodies. It is actually a group of compounds, including tocopherols and tocotrienols, with alpha-tocopherol being the most biologically active form in humans.

Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties, which means it helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can harm cellular structures and DNA, potentially leading to various health issues. It also helps regulate immune responses and enhances the body’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses.

Do You Know?

Vitamin E is stored in our body’s fat reserves and is deployed as needed to combat unstable free radicals, thus supporting cellular longevity and overall well-being.

As an antioxidant, Vitamin E works by donating one of its many electrons to free radicals, which typically lack an electron. By doing so, Vitamin E stabilises these free radicals before they initiate oxidative stress throughout our body.

This vitamin is also beneficial for skin health. It can aid in skin repair, reduce inflammation, and protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation and environmental pollutants. Many skincare products contain Vitamin E for its potential benefits in promoting skin health.

Some studies suggest that Vitamin E may play a role in cardiovascular health by preventing the oxidation of LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. In addition, Vitamin E is also associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, two common eye conditions. Its antioxidant properties may help protect the eyes from oxidative damage.

How much Vitamin E do I need?

The daily requirement of Vitamin E varies according to your age, and typical recommended daily intake are provided below in milligrams (mg).

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 4 mg
Infant 7-12 months 5 mg
Children 1-3 years 6 mg
Children 4-8 years 7 mg
Children 9-13 years 11 mg
Teens 14-18 years 15 mg
Adults 15 mg
Pregnant teens and women 15 mg
Breastfeeding teens and women 19 mg

Daily recommended intake of Vitamin E based on age1

What are the best sources of Vitamin E?

Vitamin E can be found in a variety of foods. Here are some common food sources of Vitamin E:

1. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and peanuts are rich in Vitamin E. Almond butter and sunflower seed butter are also good sources.

2. Vegetable Oils

Wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and palm oil contain significant amounts of Vitamin E. These oils are often used in cooking and salad dressings.

Do You Know?

The best sources of all essential nutrients, including Vitamin E, are whole foods. Vitamin E is found in large amounts in fatty foods like pressed oils, nuts, and fish, and also found in moderate amounts in fruits like mango and avocado.

While supplementing can be safe and effective, getting Vitamin E from dietary sources is your best option.

3. Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, and turnip greens are examples of leafy greens that provide Vitamin E. These vegetables are not as high in Vitamin E as some other sources but can contribute to your daily intake.

4. Fruits

While fruits may not pack quite as much Vitamin E as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, Certain fruits, such as avocados, mangoes, and berries contain Vitamin E, although the amounts are relatively small compared to other sources.

5. Whole Grains

Foods like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa provide modest amounts of Vitamin E.

Is it necessary to take supplements to meet daily Vitamin E intake?

In most cases, it is not necessary to take supplements to meet your daily Vitamin E intake requirements. Vitamin E is a nutrient that can be obtained from a variety of dietary sources, and a well-balanced diet typically provides sufficient amounts for most individuals.

Consuming a diverse range of foods not only ensures you get an adequate intake of Vitamin E but also provides other essential nutrients that contribute to overall health. Relying on whole foods to meet your nutritional needs promotes balanced and healthy eating habits, while supplements should ideally be used to fill specific nutrient gaps under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

While most people can obtain Vitamin E through their diet, there are some exceptions. Individuals with certain medical conditions, malabsorption issues, or specific dietary restrictions may be at risk of Vitamin E deficiency and could benefit from supplements under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Palm oil: A nutrient-rich Vitamin E source for global nutrition

When considering dependable sources of Vitamin E, palm oil stands out as a valuable nutritional option. Sourced from the fruit of oil palm trees, palm oil boasts a diverse range of Vitamin E compounds, such as tocopherols and tocotrienols. 70 percent of Vitamin E in palm oil occurs as tocotrienols, a type of Vitamin E that has anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant characteristics comparable to or exceeding those of tocopherols.

Crude or unprocessed palm oil contains between 60 to 100 milligrams of Vitamin E per 100 grams. Even after the refining process, approximately 50 to 65 percent of the Vitamin E content is retained, which is still greater than the amount found in other refined vegetable oils.

Vitamin E plays a crucial role in global nutrition by contributing to overall health, immunity, and disease prevention. Besides its superior antioxidant properties, Vitamin E is important for the health and development of children. It plays a role in neurological development and immune function, making it critical for growing populations. In regions where malnutrition is a concern, ensuring that children receive sufficient Vitamin E is vital for their well-being and future potential.

Read on through this infographic for more detail on the significance of Vitamin E in global nutrition.

The role of Vitamin E in global nutrition

Given the host of health benefits associated with palm oil’s Vitamin E content, palm oil has, and will continue to have, a huge role to play in the production of nutritionally healthier products.



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1 Information retrieved from:

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