Show Navigation


Excess Vitamin E Intake Found Not To Be A Health Concern

Concerns have been expressed about possible health risks from high intake of vitamin E, however a new review, published in the Journal of Lipid Research, finds that it is almost impossible to take a harmful amount since biological mechanisms exist to routinely eliminate excess levels of the vitamin.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and a very important nutrient for proper function of many organs, nerves and muscles and is also an anticoagulant that can reduce blood clotting. It can be found in oils, meat and some other foods, but is often consumed at inadequate dietary levels, especially with increasing emphasis on low-fat diets.

In the review of how vitamin E is metabolized, researchers found that two major systems in the liver work to control the level of vitamin E in the body and they routinely excrete excessive amounts. Very high intakes achieved with supplementation only succeed in doubling the tissue levels of vitamin E, which is not harmful.

The researchers concluded that no level of vitamin E in the diet or from any normal use of supplements should be a concern. “I believe that past studies which have alleged adverse consequences from vitamin E have misinterpreted the data,” said Maret Traber, an internationally recognized expert on this micronutrient and professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “Taking too much vitamin E is not the real concern, a much more important issue is that more than 90 percent of people in the U.S. have inadequate levels of vitamin E in their diet.”

Toxic levels of vitamin E in the body simply do not occur,” Traber said. “Unlike some other fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D, it’s not possible for toxic levels of vitamin E to accumulate in the liver or other tissues.”

Vitamin E, because of its interaction with vitamin K, can cause some increase in bleeding, research has shown. But no research has found this poses a health risk.
On the other hand, vitamin E performs many critical roles in optimum health. It protects polyunsaturated fatty acids from oxidizing, may help protect other essential lipids, and has been studied for possible value in many degenerative diseases. Higher than normal intake levels may be needed for some people who have certain health problems, and smoking has also been shown to deplete vitamin E levels.

Traber M. G. Mechanisms for the Prevention of Vitamin E Excess. The Journal of Lipid Research, 2013; DOI: 10.1194/jlr.R032946

Categories: Nutritional News