Vitamins and minerals - Vitamin E 

  • Overview

Vitamin E 

Vitamin E has several important functions. For example, it helps maintain cell structure by protecting cell membranes.

Good sources of vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in a wide variety of foods. The richest sources are plant oils such as soya, corn and olive oil.

Other good sources include:

  • nuts and seeds
  • wheat germ, found in cereals and cereal products

How much vitamin E do I need?

The amount of vitamin E you need is:

  • 4mg a day for men
  • 3mg a day for women

You should be able to get all the vitamin E you need from your daily diet.

Any vitamin E your body does not need immediately is stored for future use, so you do not need it in your diet every day.

What happens if I take too much vitamin E?

There is not enough evidence to know what the effects might be of taking high doses of vitamin E supplements each day.

What does the Department of Health advise?

You should be able to get the amount of vitamin E you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take vitamin E supplements, do not take too much.

Taking 540mg or less a day of vitamin E supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.

Page last reviewed: 26/11/2012

Next review due: 26/11/2014


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The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

lesleyW said on 08 November 2014

The US dept of health site ( has good information.
To get the most for my money, I sprout wheat seeds, always organic, then grind them (through a hand meat grinder) and add to anything liquid (soups, sauces, gravy etc). That gives me real Vit E which otherwise would cost a fortune as a 'bioavailable' vitamin supplement.

I get the seeds (the Yanks call wheat seeds, wheat berries) from a local organic farmer who grows wheat and has his own organic vegetable scheme. Given that the Vit E is extracted from the wheat germ, and wheat germ is the seed, I reckon I've found the cheapest way to get the best quality Vit E from my diet.

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PlantStrong said on 07 June 2013

This didn't tell me the benefits of Vitamin E, why do I need vitamin E?

From what I have read this is why: vitamin E protects lung cells that are in constant contact with oxygen and white blood cells that help fight disease.

Vitamin E has been found to protect the brain from the progressive decline of mental functioning in older age. Vitamin E contains the antioxidants needed to counteract the damage done by free radicals on the brain. Studies have shown a 39% decrease in brain function. Vitamin E can be acquired easily in wheat germ, hazelnuts, peanuts (including peanut butter), sunflower seeds and almonds.

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johnross47 said on 26 October 2011

If I was American the recommended amount for me (65 years old and 60 kilos) would be 14.9mgs.

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