What Happens if You Don't Get Enough Vitamin E?

Wondering if you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet each day? When it comes to Vitamin E in particular, the answer is likely, no. Most people don’t get enough Vitamin E from diet alone, but rarely do they reach the level of deficiency. For those who do experience Vitamin E deficiency, the consequences can have an impact on your everyday life.

Read on to gain an understanding of what can happen if you don’t get enough Vitamin E, and who’s most at risk for deficiency. We’ll also teach you how to recognize the signs of vitamin deficiency and what you can do about them.

How much Vitamin E do you need each day?

The amount of Vitamin E you need each day varies by age, with teens and adults requiring around 15mg per day. Since Vitamin E doesn’t get the same level of attention as other nutrients, especially Vitamins C and D, many people often don’t come close to hitting the 15mg recommendation on a daily basis. In most cases, this isn’t a major problem, but for people who are Vitamin E deficient, the condition can affect essential bodily functions and have serious consequences.

What is Vitamin E deficiency?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means the body needs a steady source of fat to absorb the nutrient correctly. People who are Vitamin E deficient usually have conditions that impact their ability to absorb fat. Most people experiencing a deficiency have symptoms that worsen over time, leading to additional complications that can affect quality of life.

If you suspect deficiency, a Vitamin E test can measure the amount of the nutrient in your blood and a doctor will propose a supplement plan if your numbers are too low.

Side effects of not getting enough Vitamin E

The body needs Vitamin E to function properly—the nutrient plays a big part in regulating some of the body’s major systems. Vitamin E affects many of the body’s most basic processes and deficiency can lead to nerve and muscle damage, tingling or loss of feeling in the limbs, discoordination and vision problems.

In some cases, the immune system can even be affected, putting older adults at particular risk of illness and disease. Adequate daily Vitamin E intake, then, is critical in helping the body fight off illness, which is essential for your overall health.

Some conditions can affect Vitamin E

Vitamin E deficiency is fairly rare, and typically linked to serious health conditions. Many of the causes of Vitamin E deficiency are hereditary, which means that if you’re deficient, someone in your family most likely is, too. Medical conditions that go hand-in-hand with Vitamin E deficiency include:

  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Abetalipoproteinemia
  • Ataxia with Vitamin E Deficiency (AVED)

Too little is bad, but so is too much

While too little Vitamin E can have harmful effects on the body, too much of the nutrient can actually do significant harm. If too much Vitamin E enters the body through food or, more commonly, from over-supplementation, you can experience Vitamin E toxicity, also known as hypervitaminosis E.

Hypervitaminosis is something to be aware of, but it’s generally not a major concern. As detailed above, 15mg is the recommended daily intake of Vitamin E for adults, but most adults can safely tolerate up to 1,000mg each day. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your Vitamin E levels. Not only can they determine whether a supplement is right for you, but also the ideal amount for your individual situation. 

How to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin E

Eating a diet rich in whole foods including leafy greens, nuts, fish and especially pressed oils like sunflower, safflower, hazelnut and almond oil can bring your Vitamin E intake to acceptable levels, but it often comes at the risk of increasing your daily fat consumption. Some people find that supplementing is ideal for boosting Vitamin E intake without the hassle of changing their diet to one that may be high in fat.

If you’re concerned about your Vitamin E levels, talking to a doctor is the first step you should take. In cases where supplementation is recommended, do your research and choose an all-natural option. Not only are you getting the best product for your investment, you’re also supplying your body with the purest form of Vitamin E, aiding in absorption and allowing your body to harness the full power of this important nutrient.

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