What is vitamin E made of

Vitamin E - foods with a high content

Von, science journalist

The fat-soluble vitamin E is produced exclusively by plants. Most vegetable oils that are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids are also high in vitamin E, such as wheat germ and sunflower oil. Find out everything you need to know about Vitamin E.-containing foods, their storage and preparation.

Vitamin E - foods on the menu

A lack of vitamin E intake is rare. When it occurs, it is usually associated with digestive disorders caused by illness. The daily amount recommended by the German Nutrition Society of 11 to 15 milligrams (adults) can be covered by a balanced diet, especially with plant-based products. Vegetable oils, for example, provide a lot of vitamin E. However, foods such as nuts and sweet potatoes are also good sources.

Where is vitamin E found?

Natural vitamin E can only be made by plants. Via the food chain, however, it also finds its way into animal products such as liver, butter or eggs - albeit in significantly smaller quantities. In addition, vitamin E is used as an additive E 306 and E 309 in food production. It is also found artificially added to various foods.

The following vitamin E food table lists the vitamin content of selected foods.

This is how you meet your vitamin E needs

So there are plenty of foods to meet your vitamin E needs. The average daily requirement is provided, for example:

  • 1.7 kilograms of fresh raspberries
  • 600 grams of cooked savoy cabbage
  • 400 grams of cooked soy sausage
  • 250 grams of tomato salad
  • 175 grams of trail mix with peanuts
  • 60 grams of fresh hazelnuts or almonds
  • 25 grams of sunflower oil
  • 10 grams of wheat germ oil

An overdose is practically impossible to achieve with a normal diet - no cases are known to science so far. In the case of vitamin E supplements, however, an overdose is possible if they are taken over a long period of time or in high doses. Occasionally, muscle weakness, nausea, or diarrhea occur. The risk of bleeding can also increase. There is also a study that found that subjects with low selenium levels increased the risk of prostate cancer if they regularly swallowed vitamin E pills.

Vitamin E: Food Storage and Processing

The storage conditions and the type of processing are decisive for the quality of foods containing vitamins. Vitamin E is sensitive to light and oxygen. Therefore, you should store appropriate foods such as vegetable oils locked and in the dark. If a vegetable oil smells rancid, this is a sure sign that a large part of the vitamin E has oxidized and thus become worthless.

Vitamin E is relatively stable to heat. But it doesn't like repeated heating. In general, it is better to prepare foods containing vitamins gently (e.g. by steaming instead of boiling or frying).

Are vitamin E supplements necessary and useful?

An otherwise healthy person who has a balanced diet usually gets enough vitamin E from food. It is therefore usually not necessary to take vitamin E supplements.

Nonetheless, like vitamins A and C, vitamin E is a popular ingredient in dietary supplements. However, studies have shown that these preparations often show little or no effect. In addition, these dietary supplements do not contain the natural form of alpha-tocopherol, which the body can absorb and process well, but a synthetic form (all-rac-alpha-tocopherol or DL-alpha-tocopherol). This has less effect than the natural compound.

Those who take higher doses of vitamin E (up to 800 mg per day) over a longer period of time do not seem to suffer any damage. Occasionally, however, muscle weakness, tiredness or gastrointestinal problems (nausea, diarrhea) occur. In addition, the risk of bleeding may increase. Earlier studies also suggest that high doses of vitamin E could shorten life expectancy. Another study found that regular intake of vitamin E in subjects with low selenium levels increased the risk of prostate cancer.

In summary, the conclusion with regard to vitamin E is: foods such as vegetable oils are generally sufficient to meet your own needs. Additional intake via dietary supplements can be useful in some cases, but should be discussed with a doctor first.

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