Vitamin E Benefits: Supplement Uses, Side Effects & More

Explore the top Vitamin E benefits for skin, heart, and cognitive health, and learn the best habits to enhance its effects through diet and supplementation.


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In this guide
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What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a nutrient that our bodies need to support our immune system and help our cells to regenerate. It’s also an antioxidant, which means it fights off pesky molecules called free radicals that can harm our cells.

You’ll find Vitamin E in lots of foods like nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables. It’s also available as a dietary supplement, which can be handy if you’re looking to boost your intake.

Our bodies can’t make Vitamin E, so it’s important to eat foods that contain it or take supplements if necessary. This vitamin plays a key role in maintaining healthy skin and eyes, and it’s also vital for the proper functioning of many organs in the body.

What is Vitamin E good for?

Skin Health and Repair

Vitamin E is renowned for its role in skin health. It helps in the maintenance of skin integrity and appearance, as it supports the skin’s barrier function against environmental damage. Applied topically, it can assist in reducing UV-induced skin damage and may speed up the healing process of skin injuries.

When taken orally, vitamin E works from the inside to strengthen the skin’s defense against damage from free radicals and inflammation. However, the optimal dosage for skin health isn’t clearly defined, as it can vary based on individual needs and product formulation.

Heart Health Support

It’s antioxidant properties also make it a candidate for heart health support. It may help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which is a key step in the development of atherosclerosis, a condition where arteries become clogged with fatty substances.

While some studies suggest benefits, the evidence is mixed, and high doses may not be advisable. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for the appropriate dosage for heart health, especially if you’re taking medications like blood thinners.

Eye Condition Prevention

Vitamin E, often in conjunction with other antioxidants, is thought to play a role in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, two common eye conditions that can lead to vision loss.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) recommends a specific combination of antioxidants, including this one, for individuals at high risk of developing advanced AMD. The recommended Vitamin E dosage in this context is 400 IU per day.

Cognitive Function Preservation

Some research suggests that vitamin E may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions through its neuroprotective effects.

The appropriate dosage for cognitive health is still under investigation, and it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before starting supplementation, particularly because high doses can interact with certain medications.

Prenatal Health Enhancement

Vitamin E is vital during pregnancy for its role in the development of the fetus and may help prevent complications such as pre-eclampsia. However, exact dosing for prenatal health should be determined by a healthcare provider, as too much of this vitamin can pose risks during pregnancy.

It’s also important to note that vitamin E is fat-soluble, meaning it’s best absorbed with foods that contain fat. Supplements should be taken with a meal that includes healthy fats like avocados or nuts to maximize absorption. Always check with your primary care provider before making any changes to your supplements, as individual needs can vary greatly, and some supplements can interact with medications or have different effects on health conditions.

Vitamin E benefits

  1. Antioxidant Protection
    Vitamin E benefits the body by acting as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can harm cellular structures like DNA, proteins, and cell membranes.
  2. Skin Health Enhancement
    One of the key vitamin e benefits is its ability to support skin health by contributing to cell regeneration. This means it can help the skin recover from damage and reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles by aiding in the production of collagen, a protein that keeps skin elastic.
  3. Cardiovascular Support
    This vitamin helps maintain cardiovascular health by inhibiting the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is a critical factor in the development of atherosclerosis, where arteries narrow due to plaque buildup.
  4. Immune System Boost
    Taking this supplement can enhance the body’s immune response, particularly in the elderly, by supporting the proliferation of T-cells, which are a type of white blood cell that is essential for the body’s immune defense mechanisms.
  5. Eye Health Preservation
    This vitamin contributes to eye health by reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, potentially due to its ability to protect sensitive eye tissues from oxidative stress over time.
  6. Cognitive Decline Slowing
    Vitamin E may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline by protecting brain cells from oxidative stress and by maintaining healthy brain function through its anti-inflammatory properties.
  7. Inflammation Reduction
    This fat-soluble vitamin can help reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases, and may help manage conditions characterized by inflammation.
  8. Cellular Signaling Regulation
    It plays a role in cellular signalling, a process by which cells respond to external stimuli. It can influence gene expression and immune responses, which is crucial for maintaining overall health and responding to environmental challenges.

7 Ingredients to Combine with Vitamin E

In the realm of supplementation, Vitamin E is often paired with other ingredients to enhance its efficacy and target specific health outcomes. Popular combinations include Vitamin E with Vitamin C for antioxidant support, with Omega-3 fatty acids for heart health, and with Selenium for immune function. Other common pairings include Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, B-complex vitamins, Magnesium, and Calcium.

These combinations are sought after for their synergistic effects, which can amplify the benefits of Vitamin E in the body.

Vitamin C with Vitamin E Supplement

Vitamin C and Vitamin E are a dynamic duo when it comes to antioxidant protection. Vitamin C helps to regenerate Vitamin E, allowing it to provide sustained antioxidant defense. This combination is particularly beneficial for skin health, as it can combat photoaging and support wound healing.

While this pairing is generally safe, individuals with certain conditions like hemochromatosis should be cautious, as Vitamin C can increase iron absorption.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids with Vitamin E Supplement

Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E are often combined to support cardiovascular health. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and can help lower triglyceride levels, while Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties protect the heart by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

This combination is especially beneficial for those at risk of heart disease. However, it’s important to monitor dosage, as high levels of Vitamin E can interfere with blood clotting, particularly if taken with blood-thinning medications.

Selenium with Vitamin E Supplement

Selenium and Vitamin E both have antioxidant properties, and when taken together, they can enhance the body’s ability to fight oxidative stress and support immune function. This combination is often recommended for its potential to improve thyroid function and for general immune support.

However, both nutrients have a narrow therapeutic range, and excessive intake can lead to toxicity. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult with a healthcare provider before taking this combination to avoid any potential risks.

Advocates for Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a favorite among Health Providers for its antioxidant properties and its role in supporting skin, heart, and cognitive health. Experts like Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Michael Murray have shared their insights on the benefits of this nutrient.

Dr. Andrew Weil for Holistic Health

Dr. Andrew Weil, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, often discusses the importance of antioxidants, including Vitamin E, for overall health. In his book Healthy Aging, he highlights the role of Vitamin E in combating oxidative stress and supporting healthy aging. Dr. Weil’s approach combines traditional and non-traditional practices to create a comprehensive care plan.

Dr. Mark Hyman for Metabolic Health

Dr. Mark Hyman, known for his work in functional medicine, emphasizes the role of Vitamin E in metabolic health. In The Blood Sugar Solution, he discusses how Vitamin E can help manage blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Dr. Hyman’s recommendations often include a mix of dietary changes, supplements, and lifestyle adjustments.

Dr. Michael Murray for Disease Prevention

Naturopathic doctor Dr. Michael Murray has written extensively on the power of natural compounds for disease prevention. In The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, he details how Vitamin E can protect against heart disease and support immune function. His work often focuses on how nutrients like Vitamin E can prevent illness before it starts.

Joy Bauer for Dietary Nutrition

Registered dietitian Joy Bauer provides practical nutrition advice on her website and in her books like Joy’s Simple Food Remedies. She often includes Vitamin E as a key nutrient for managing conditions like high cholesterol and for its anti-inflammatory properties. Bauer’s approach is to use food as medicine, incorporating nutrients like Vitamin E into a balanced diet for optimal health.

10 Habits that Support Vitamin E Supplementation

To maximize the benefits of vitamin E, consider integrating these supportive lifestyle habits:
  1. Balanced Diet
    Incorporating a variety of vitamin E-rich foods such as almonds, spinach, and sweet potatoes ensures adequate intake and supports its antioxidant role in the body.
  2. Regular Exercise
    Engaging in moderate exercise enhances circulation, which can help distribute this vitamin more effectively throughout the body, aiding in cellular protection and repair.
  3. Hydration
    Staying well-hydrated assists in the detoxification process, allowing it to focus on its primary functions rather than combating the negative effects of dehydration.
  4. Sun Protection
    Using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing minimizes UV damage, allowing this supplement to better preserve skin health and prevent premature aging.
  5. Stress Management
    Practices like meditation and yoga reduce oxidative stress, complementing vitamin E’s role in mitigating cellular damage caused by free radicals.
  6. Adequate Sleep
    Quality sleep promotes healing and regeneration, during which this vitamin can work optimally to repair tissues and support the immune system.
  7. Limiting Alcohol
    Reducing alcohol intake helps maintain liver health, which is crucial for the metabolism and utilization of vitamin E in the body.
  8. No Smoking
    Avoiding tobacco smoke prevents the depletion of this fat-soluble vitamin’s levels in the lungs and skin, protecting against oxidative damage.
  9. Healthy Fats
    Including sources of healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil aids in the absorption of vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin.
  10. Mindful Supplementation
    Consulting with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage of vitamin E supplements ensures that you receive its benefits without the risk of toxicity.

Vitamin E side effects

Vitamin E is generally considered safe when consumed in recommended amounts. However, high doses can lead to adverse effects, particularly in individuals with certain health conditions.

Excessive intake of these supplements can cause bleeding problems, particularly in individuals taking blood-thinning medications like warfarin. It’s important to monitor vitamin E consumption if you are on such medications.

Some people may experience gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, or stomach cramps when taking high doses of vitamin E. If these symptoms occur, it’s advisable to reduce the dosage or consult with a healthcare provider.

Rarely, high doses of this supplement can lead to more serious side effects such as blurred vision, dizziness, or fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical advice.

In very high doses, long-term vitamin E supplementation may be associated with an increased risk of certain types of stroke. It’s crucial to stick to the recommended dosage and discuss supplementation with a healthcare provider.

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