Vitamin E deficiency is a rare condition that may have underlying causes. Therefore it’s best to consult with a doctor if you show any symptoms.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant qualities that helps keep your immune system strong and regulate your metabolic processes. It occurs naturally in a wide range of foods and is even added to certain food products to help you increase your intake.

Because of this, developing a vitamin E deficiency is rare unless you have an underlying health condition. High doses of vitamin E can increase a risk of bleeding.

See your doctor if you begin experiencing any of the following symptoms of deficiency:

  • difficulty with walking or coordination
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • visual disturbances
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • general unwellness

If you suspect a vitamin E deficiency, consult your doctor. You may or may not need supplements to bring your vitamin E levels up. Even if supplements are called for, it’s best to focus on a healthy diet that includes many foods rich in vitamin E.

Diet

You can find vitamin E in a wide range of foods. These include:

  • nuts and seeds, such as almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and peanut butter
  • whole grains
  • vegetable-based oils, especially olive and sunflower
  • leafy vegetables
  • fortified cereals
  • kiwi
  • mango

Supplementation

Although taking supplements is a popular way to add vitamins and minerals to your diet, you should be cautious about taking vitamin E in supplement form.

Even if you do purchase a supplement from a reputable brand, there’s a chance that it can interfere with other medications that you’re taking.

Some of the medications that may be affected include:

  • anticoagulants
  • antiplatelets
  • simvastatin
  • niacin
  • chemotherapy drugs
  • radiotherapy drugs

It may be unclear what vitamin E you’re getting. For examples, some supplements only contain one type of vitamin E. Your body needs alpha-tocopherol, the only kind it can process.

Concentrated supplements — not multivitamins — may contain more vitamin E than you need. Excess vitamin E may lead to health risks, though reasearch on this is limited.

Adults and children 14 years and older need 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E per day.

Children under this age need a smaller dose on a daily basis:

  • ages 1 to 3: 6 mg/day
  • ages 4 to 8: 7 mg/day
  • ages 9 to 13: 11 mg/day

Women who are breastfeeding should get 19 mg per day.

Combining just a few foods per day will help you meet your vitamin E intake. For example:

  • One ounce of sunflower seeds contains 7.4 mg of vitamin E.
  • Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 2.9 mg of vitamin E.
  • A half cup of spinach contains 1.9 mg of vitamin E.

Vitamin E deficiency can be the result of an underlying condition. Some conditions prevent your body from being able to adequately absorb fats, including fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin E.

This includes:

In some cases, vitamin E deficiency results from a rare genetic condition known as ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED). This condition is neurologically based and affects muscle control and coordination. It’s most likely to develop in children between the ages of 5 and 15.

See your doctor if you notice symptoms related to a vitamin E deficiency and have a condition that affects your body’s ability to absorb fat.

Your doctor will determine the best course of action for your vitamin E deficiency. Your doctor may decide that a high-dose supplement or a water-soluble vitamin E supplement is more appropriate.

Once a diagnosis has been made, you can work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan suited to your needs. This can help restore your vitamin E levels if you follow the plan.

But if left untreated, your symptoms may worsen over time. This can lead to additional complications and may impact your overall quality of life.

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