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This is why you could be one of the millions who needs more vitamin E

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Millions of people may need more vitamin E, study finds

Researchers have discovered millions of people may be low in the antioxidant vitamin E. The vitamin is difficult to measure in the bloodstream for millions of people with metabolic syndrome. Are you one of the millions of people who needs more of the antioxidant for better health?


Metabolic syndrome affects approximately tweny-five percent of the world's population. It is a cluster of factors that include obesity, high triglycerides, low 'good' HDL cholesterol and high blood sugar. Now researchers have discovered millions of people may be lacking enough of the antioxidant vitamin E.

The study isn't the first to suggest metabolic syndrome causes inefficient absorption of the vitamin that is sometimes difficult to get from food sources.

The new study comes from Oregon State University.

Maret Traber, a professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences and Ava Helen Pauling Professor in the Linus Pauling Institute, said in a press release:

"Our current work uses a novel approach to measure how much vitamin E the body needs. This study clearly demonstrates that people with metabolic syndrome need a higher intake of this vitamin."

How metabolic syndrome interferes with vitamin absorption

According to the researchers, vitamin E attaches to lipids (fat) in the bloodstream, meaning it is retained rather than absorbed and then eliminated by the body.

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If your doctors tests your vitamin E level it can appear to be normal, which is misleading. The antioxidant isn't getting to your cells where it is needed to prevent oxidative stress and risk for chronic diseases.

Traber explains blood tests can "... give the illusion of adequate levels,even as tissues are deficient."

We need vitamin E to protect us from heart disease, keeps our skin and nails healthy and helps us maintain energy. The antioxidant protects the body from inflammation, which is also shown to thwart weight loss.

Food with vitamin E include:

  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Tomato
  • Broccoli
  • Poultry
  • Cereals
  • Spinach
  • Butternut squash

Speak with your doctor about how to get more. You may also find the added benefit of better health, including more energy. You should also know that too much vitamin E is linked to risk of certain cancers, making it important to discuss with your healthcare provider.

Even if you are consuming foods with vitamin E you may not be eating enough. The study suggests if you are obese, have high cholesterol and triglycerides or other components of metabolic syndrome you may be among the millions who needs more of the protective antioxidant.

Journal reference:

Amerian Journal of Clinical Nutrition
"Metabolic syndrome increases dietary α-tocopherol requirements as assessed using urinary and plasma vitamin E catabolites: a double-blind, crossover clinical trial"
Maret G Traber, et al.
doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.116.138495

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons