Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which promotes healthy red blood cells and prevents clots.

What are its health benefits?

Vitamin E maintains cell structure by protecting cell membranes. It also protects your lungs from pollution. One of its main benefits is to modify and stabilise blood fats so that the body is better protected against free radical damage. It’s often used externally to treat dry skin, abrasions and scars.

People with the highest blood levels of vitamin E have the lowest risk of heart disease, but there’s no evidence that supplements help those with existing cardiac problems.

Vitamin E oil for hair is a popular treatment, improving texture and aiding moisture.

Do you have a deficiency?

A vitamin E deficiency is mainly caused by fat malabsorption. If you do get too little, you risk neuromuscular, vascular and reproductive problems. Although quite rare, warning signs include poor reflexes and coordination.

Other vitamin E deficiency symptoms include gastrointestinal diseases, dry hair or loss of hair, slow tissue healing and leg cramps.

Find it in these foods

There are a wide variety of vitamin E foods. Because it is fat-soluble, it’s best absorbed when taken with a meal containing some fat. Vitamin E rich foods include:

  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Vegetable oils
  • Wheat germ
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Leafy green vegetable (spinach, Swiss chard)

Recommended dietary allowance

A typical dosage for an adult is 15mg a day. It is not advised to exceed 1000mg a day. However, consult with your Clicks pharmacist first regarding the right dosage of daily oral supplements to make up for a vitamin E deficiency.

Know the overdose risks

If you’re taking statins to lower your cholesterol, vitamin E may suppress good HDL cholesterol. If you’re on anticoagulants (blood thinners or aspirin), your doctor must supervise any supplementation. Too much vitamin E can also impair liver function, bone mineralisation and blood clotting.

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in February 2015