Is it OK to take 400 IU of vitamin E per day?

The occasional intake of a high vitamin E dose of 400 IU may be beneficial for many people. But, a daily dosage of 400 IU, although safe, it’s unnecessary!

The recommended daily vitamin E dosage for adults is 15 mg. Only lactating women require higher dosages of 19 mg of vitamin E per day. Furthermore, kids and teens need about 7 mg and 11 mg of vitamin E per day, respectively.[1]

Is it safe to take 400 IU of vitamin E from supplements per day?

The maximum safe dosage of vitamin E for healthy adults is 1,000 mg (or 1,500 IU of the natural form). Most vitamin E supplements contain 400 IU (or 268 mg) of vitamin E per capsule, though. Although daily dosages of 400 IU of vitamin E are pretty safe for healthy adults, they’re unnecessary in most cases.

Certainly, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking vitamin E doses of 400 IU or higher from supplements. Especially, if you’re taking medication. For instance, high dosages of vitamin E from supplements with anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), can increase the risk of bleeding.

What’s the best type of vitamin E supplement?

You better prefer vitamin E supplements that contain the natural form of alpha-tocopherol, as it’s twice as active compared to the synthetic form. We absorb it more easily. Vitamin E supplements that contain the natural form are labeled as “d-alpha-tocopherol”.

On the contrary, the synthetic form is labeled as “dl”, instead of “d”: “dl-alpha-tocopherol”.

Moreover, most supplements contain much higher doses of vitamin E per capsule than the recommended daily intake. Hence, healthy people better prefer vitamin E supplements with the lowest amount of vitamin E.

You’ll find a wide variety of vitamin E supplements on iHerb.

What’s the best time to take vitamin E supplements?

Always take vitamin E supplements with a meal. Especially, a meal that contains fats. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. The digestive tract requires fat to absorb it. Good sources of fat are seeds, nuts, avocado, and olive oil.

What’s better? A 400 IU pill once a day, or a diet high in vitamin E?

First, eating foods high in vitamin E hasn’t any adverse effects. Overdose of vitamin E from dietary sources is highly unlikely.

Moreover, the body can’t absorb high doses of vitamin E. We absorb only a percentage of a 400 IU dose.

Also, vitamin E gets in the body pretty fast. Taking a 400 IU pill in the morning can protect you only for 4 hours. The rest of the day, you’re probably exposed to oxidative stress. On the contrary, getting many small doses of vitamin E from food during the day may be better for protecting the body from oxidative stress.[2]

Can we depend on food to get the recommended daily intake?

There are many good dietary sources of vitamin E. Certain vegetable oils are the best dietary sources of vitamin E. Also, sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts are common foods high in vitamin E.

vitamin E
mg/100g
wheat germ oil149,4
sunflower oil41,1
rice bran oil32,3
grapeseed oil28,8
sunflower seeds26,1
almonds23,5
canola oil17,5
hazelnuts15,03
corn oil14,3
apricots, dried4,3
avocado, Florida2,6
spinach2
kiwi1,3
The best dietary sources of vitamin E.

Is vitamin E deficiency common?

Most people who follow a standard American diet fail to consume the recommended daily intake of vitamin E. Thus, researchers suggest that we should substantially increase the consumption of whole seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables in order to meet our daily vitamin E needs.[3]

People who follow a low-fat diet should be very cautious with vitamin E intake. First, the digestive tract requires fat to absorb vitamin E. Secondly, most vegetable oils are rich in vitamin E.

Keep in mind, that vitamin E deficiency symptoms aren’t always obvious. So if you don’t follow a well-balanced diet, you might benefit from taking 400 IU of vitamin E from supplements now and then.

Adverse effects of vitamin E deficiency

Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. Also, it may protect against heart disease, some types of cancer, cognitive decline, and eye disorders.

May prevent coronary heart disease

Vitamin E is good for the heart. It inhibits oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, which causes atherosclerosis. Moreover, vitamin E may prevent the formation of blood clots and lower the risk of heart disease.

May prevent cancer

The antioxidant properties of vitamin E may also protect from some types of cancer. Vitamin E can enhance the immune system and block the formation of carcinogenic compounds. It seems that vitamin E may be beneficial against breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. In many cases, doses up to 400 IU have been provided to patients for many years without significant side effects.

May protect vision

It seems that nutrients with antioxidant functions, such as vitamin E are good for preventing or even treating age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. According to studies, we may protect our good eyesight taking a daily dosage of 400 IU of vitamin E, along with beta-carotene (15 mg), vitamin C (500 mg), zinc (80 mg), and copper (2 mg)!

Furthermore, consuming more than 20 mg of vitamin E per day may lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration!

May delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

Free radicals may damage neurons over time, causing cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Therefore, consuming foods high in antioxidants, such as vitamin E, might be helpful.

Vitamin E for elastic face & shiny face

Moreover, high doses of vitamin E are good for the skin. Vitamin E reduces wrinkles, and keeps your skin elastic!