Vitamin E supplements are mixtures of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) and other nutrients that are important for human body which are available in the form of capsules, pills, drinks, … etc. some supplements may however contain only vitamin E as their sole constituent.
Vitamin E supplements are used to restore the normal levels of vitamin E in the body which may be affected by diseased state of the body, the cystic fibrosis for instance.
Vitamin E supplements are useful for people who have altered (low) levels of the vitamin E in their bodies;
The normal dose of vitamin E is 22.5IU/day for adults at or above the age of 14 years. The doses should not exceed 400 IU/day. Any excessive dose will prove harmful for the body and cause vitamin E toxicity.
A research at The John Hopkins University, School of Medicine has shown that doses of vitamin E that exceed 400 IU/day can cause death; therefore it is important to consult your doctor before you start any supplements of the vitamin. It is also important to make sure that the supplements you take have low doses of vitamin E. Vitamins are beneficial for the body for sure. However, high doses may lead to mortality.
The potency of supplements may vary, natural form of Vitamin E is present as d-alpha tocopherol whereas the synthetic form may be present as dl-alpha tocopherol on supplement labels. The natural form of the vitamin is more potent than the synthetic form.
Other forms of vitamin E that are available in the supplement form include gamma tocopherol, tocotrienols and mixd tocopherols. None of the forms, as yet, have been found to outdo the effect of alpha tocopherol and that the natural form is 0.5 times better than the synthetic form.
For most healthy people, the vitamin E supplements in oral or liniment forms are fine and no side effects have been observed.
Certain veggies, nuts, and seed oils are rich in vitamin E and are a better choice when treatment of vitamin E is considered.
Apart from treating vitamin E deficiency, the vitamin E supplements can help you to have:
- Healthy skin and hair
- Healthy hair follicles,
- Good wound healing,
- Healthy sexual function,
- Decreased risk of cancer, heart diseases
- Decreased age spots
- Improved muscle health
- Healthy nervous system, and
- Normal levels of blood pressure etc.
An overdose of vitamin E in the body can also cause problems in the body. High doses of vitamin E may increase (instead of decreasing) the risk of certain cancers such as prostate cancer.
Other problems that the supplements may cause include bruising and bleeding; subsequent hemorrhage may also ensue, which may be fatal when occurring in the brain. This is due to the anti-platelet function of the vitamin E.
Sometimes high vitamin E supplement doses may cause GI problems such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea as well. Blurred vision accompanying exhaustion with headache and lethargy may also occur in overdose states with vitamin E supplements.
There is no much evidence to support this but excessive vitamin E may interfere with the developmental processes of the fetus in early stages of pregnancy.
Vitamin E supplements should be avoided during procedures such as angioplasty and states of low vitamin K in the body as the increase in vitamin E may cause healing problems in these situations and increase chances of bleeding. Further instructions may be provided by your health practitioners.
A hereditary eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa, in which degeneration of retina (the neural layer of eye) takes place, may worsen with use of vitamin E supplements; however use of extremely small amounts (up to 3 IU) may not be harmful for the eye. A synthetic vitamin E “all-rac-alpha-tocopherol”, in particular, may be responsible for the eye damage.
People who have a medical history of bleeding disorders or those who are going for surgery should stay away from vitamin E.
Certain medications that interact with vitamin E, and hence, its supplements include Cyclosporines (immunosuppressant), ketoconazole (antifungal) and lovastatin (anti hyperlipidemic), warfarin, and NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen etc.
Vitamin E supplements are both beneficial and harmful depending on the condition of the person who consumes the supplements. The dosage should be regulated and monitored by a medical professional since the supplements interact with other drugs and cause different changes to the body. Once again, it is good to consume natural form vitamin E instead of synthetic, which mostly is present in the supplements.