Nutrition 101: Vitamin E | Names | Food List

Written By: Carolyn Berry, RD

Title: Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Vitamin E Names, Food List and Health Benefits

Vitamin E is the collective name for a group of compounds with specific antioxidant properties. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that extra amounts you consume are stored in your liver.

Other Names For Vitamin B6

  • tocopherol
  • alpha-tocopherol

Vitamin E Recommended Daily Intake

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for Vitamin E are shown below:

Age GroupRecommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) per DayTolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) per Day
Adults  
19 years and up15 mg1,000 mg
Kids and Youth  
1 to 3 years6 mg200 mg
4 to 8 years7 mg300 mg
9 to 13 years11 mg600 mg
14 to 18 years15 mg800 mg
Special Considerations  
Pregnant women 14 to 18 years15 mg800 mg
Pregnant women 19 years and up15 mg1,000 mg
Lactating women 14 to 18 years19 mg800 mg
Lactating women 19 years and up19 mg1,000 mg
Table 1. Recommended daily intakes for Vitamin E

Vitamin E and Health

Vitamin E plays a major role as an antioxidant by protecting cells from damage by free radicals. It does this by working together with a group of nutrients that prevent oxygen molecules from becoming too reactive and damaging cells. This group of nutrients includes Vitamin C, glutathione, selenium, and niacin. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E may help prevent cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. This is a topic that is still being studied, and more research needs to be done.

Vitamin E also plays a very important role in contributing to healthy skin. It  directly protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation (also called UV light) when topically rubbed on the skin (for example, in aloe vera gel). Additionally, Vitamin E–rich foods in the diet travel to the skin cell membranes and exert this same protective effect.

Vitamin E also contributes to immune function and DNA repair. Vitamin E helps to boost the immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It also helps to widen blood vessels and keeps blood from clotting.

Vitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy people because Vitamin E is found in many commonly consumed food sources. Vitamin E needs some fat for the digestive system to absorb it, and therefore deficiency is almost always linked to certain diseases where fat is not properly digested or absorbed, including Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and certain rare genetic diseases. Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve and muscle damage throughout the body and a weakened immune system.

In supplement form, high doses of Vitamin E might increase the risk of bleeding (by reducing the blood’s ability to form clots after a cut or injury) and of serious bleeding in the brain (known as hemorrhagic stroke). It is rare to experience Vitamin E toxicity from foods.

Top Vitamin E – Rich Foods List

Vitamin E is found mainly in foods that contain fat, such as margarine, vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, nut butters, and seeds. Whole grains, fortified cereals, and green leafy vegetables also contain Vitamin E.

Exposure to air and factory processing can be particularly damaging to the Vitamin E content of foods. To help protect their Vitamin E content, vegetable oils should be kept in tightly capped containers to avoid unnecessary exposure to air.

FoodVitamin E per serving
Sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup12.3 mg
Almonds, 1/4 cup9.2 mg
Almond butter, 2 tbsp7.8 mg
Wheat germ oil, 1 tsp6.7 mg
Hazelnuts, 1/4 cup5.1 mg
Cereal, wheat germ, toasted, 1/4 cup4.5 mg
Pine nuts, 1/4 cup3.2 mg
Peanuts, 1/4 cup3.0 mg
Spinach, cooked, 1/2 cup1.9 mg
Sunflower oil, 1 tsp1.9 mg
Tomato sauce, canned, 1/2 cup1.7 mg
Swiss chard, cooked, 1/2 cup1.7 mg
Turnip greens, cooked, 1/2 cup1.4 mg
Table 2. Vitamin E-rich food sources

Nutrition Facts Label and the % Daily Value (%DV) of Vitamin E

In the United States: The daily value (DV) for Vitamin E is 15mg alpha-tocopherol. The number you see on the Nutrition Facts label is a percentage calculated by dividing the amount of Vitamin E in one serving of the food by the DV. The FDA does not require food labels to list Vitamin E content unless a food has been fortified with this nutrient.

In Canada: The daily value for Vitamin E in Canada is also 15 mg.

Nutrient Interactions of Vitamin E

Vitamin C, niacin, selenium: These three nutrients are required to keep Vitamin E in its metabolically active form. A diet high in Vitamin E cannot have its optimal effect unless it is also rich in foods that provide these other nutrients.

Vitamin K: At high levels (1,000 milligrams or more), Vitamin E can interfere with Vitamin K metabolism.

Nutrition 101

food list, vitamin e

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