foods rich in vitamin E on wooden board, with wooden blocks spelling out Vitamin E

Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin E

Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin E in their diet, according to new studies. This essential vitamin supports vision, brain health, immunity and even fetal development. One study found that vitamin E deficiency is linked to a greater risk of miscarriage, especially in poor women. And yet about 90% of American diets for adults don’t contain enough vitamin E, Axios says.

Research has also shown that this fat-soluble vitamin helps strengthen the immune system so it can fight off bacteria and viruses. It helps widen the blood vessels and prevents the blood from clotting. In addition, the National Institutes of Health say cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and perform many important functions.

According to Axios, vitamin E functions as an important antioxidant that protects our cells from oxidative damage. The damage is caused by free radicals, molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation, the Mayo Clinic says.

The consequences of oxidative damage – not controlled by vitamin E – include accelerated aging, deterioration of vision and a higher risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve pain or neuropathy.

If you are taking vitamin E for its antioxidant properties, keep in mind that the supplements may not provide the same benefits as the naturally occurring vitamin E in food.

Foods rich in vitamin E include canola oil, olive oil, margarine, almonds and peanuts. You can also get vitamin E from meat, dairy, leafy greens, and fortified grains.

Vitamin E is available as an oral supplement in capsules or drops, according to the Mayo Clinic. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 15 milligrams per day. Breastfeeding women need a little more, 19 milligrams a day, says the Harvard School of Public Health. Axios notes that you can also take multivitamins fortified with vitamin E and should take them with a meal.

Healthline has an extensive list of the best vitamin E supplements. Experts warn that vitamin E can be toxic in very large amounts, so the daily limit is 1,000 milligrams. The supplements can also interact with some treatments and medications, including chemotherapy and anticoagulants, so always talk to your healthcare provider before taking vitamin E.

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