How much vitamin E do we need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E for adults is 15 mg/day, though there is considerable uncertainty as to whether this estimate is correct (NIH Office of Dietary Supplements).
Note: The FDA has mandated changes in product labeling from IUs to mg. Conversion between IUs and mg is as follows (NIH Office of Dietary Supplements):
1 IU of the synthetic form is equivalent to 0.45 mg of alpha-tocopherol.
Several national surveys have found that most persons in the USA take less than the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin E though, due to uncertainty about the amounts of cooking oil used, the surveys may have underestimated how much vitamin E was in the diet of respondents (NIH Office of Dietary Supplements). This is particularly a concern for persons taking a low-fat diet because cooking oils contain significant quantities of vitamin E.
Good dietary sources of vitamin E
Some of the best dietary sources of vitamin E are:
1. Various cooking oils
2. Seeds and nuts
3. Green leafy vegetables
Here are some examples of the vitamin E content of these foods:
Sunflower seeds, 1 ounce (dry, roasted): 7.5 mg (half of the RDA for adults)
Almonds 1 ounce (dry, roasted): 7 mg
Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons: 3 mg
Peanuts, 1 ounce (dry, roasted): 2 mg
Vitamin E in commonly used multivitamins
The amount of vitamin E (in mg) contained in some common multivitamin brands in the US is close to the RDA of 15 mg per day:
Centrum Adults®: 13.5 mg
Kirkland Signature Daily Multi®: 13.5 mg
One-a-Day Men’s Health Formula® (the brand that I take): 10 mg
One-a-Day Women’s Formula®: 7.5 mg
National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin E: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/. Accessed July 5, 2020.
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