Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol)


What is it?

Fat soluble vitamin which functions principally as a powerful antioxidant.

Vitamin E can be either natural (d-alpha-tocopherol) or synthetic, (l-alpha-tocopherol) however the synthetic form can prevent the natural form being incorporated into cell membranes so the natural form is recommended.

What does it do?

  • Provides powerful antioxidant protection to cells. Fats (or lipids) make up an essential part of our cell membranes. As vitamin E is fat-soluble it is able to act protectively in the fatty parts of cell membranes.
  • It helps to protect certain elements of the immune system including white blood cells and the thymus.
  • As vitamin E helps to protect red blood cells, it is important in helping the body to use oxygen.
  • Important nutrient in protecting the cardiovascular system, i.e. heart, lungs and blood vessels. Exerts protective affect on arteries, particularly useful in cases of artherosclerosis.
  • Helps to protect fats (including essential fatty acids) in the body from oxidisation. Can protect against the oxidation of cholesterol which can contribute to the initial stages of arterial damage.
  • It is involved in the blood clotting mechanism, helping to maintain good levels of blood viscosity (i.e. making sure the blood is not too thick), which may help to protect against strokes.

Deficiency Symptoms

  • Unhealthy skin and hair
  • Poor immune function, recurrent colds & infections
  • Easy bruising and slow wound healing
  • Varicose veins
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor co-ordination

Recommended Daily Amount (RDA)

Children 0.3mg
Adults 3-4mg

Therapeutic amounts are considered to be higher than RDAs. Higher doses should be considered in conjunction with a healthcare practitioner.

Food Sources

Whole grains, seeds and nuts, soya, eggs, asparagus, avocados, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes.

Safety Considerations

Vitamin E has a pretty good safety record. However, recent research has shown that there might be safety issues with high doses. It is advisable, therefore, not to take more than 400IU (266mg) per day, especially for the elderly. Also, Vitamin E can interfere with the action of anticoagulant drugs such as Warfarin, and so it is always best, if you are taking medication, to consult your doctor before starting a supplement programme.


Please note that products, product info and all other info on this site (including multimedia content & links) are not intended for treating or diagnosing specific medical conditions. If you are unwell, pregnant, or on medication, please consult a doctor before starting supplements. Do not exceed recommended dosages and please keep all supplements out of the reach and sight of children.