- What does vitamin E do? Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) is an antioxidant that helps to maintain the integrity of cells. Deficiency is rare in the U.S., but does occur more commonly in other countries, such as China.
- Does it help to take vitamin E? It may be helpful for Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, certain types of nerve pain and other conditions. Correcting a vitamin E deficiency (which is rare) may beneficial for maintaining eye health (see What It Does).
- What's the best form of vitamin E? The vitamin E in supplements may be natural (labeled as "d-alpha tocopherol") or synthetic ("dl-alpha tocopherol"). The natural form contains a mix of tocopherols which may be beneficial, although, as ConsumerLab has found, not all "natural" vitamin E supplements contain significant amounts of these additional tocopherols (see "Vitamin E with Other Tocopherols").
- What did CL's tests of vitamin E find? Among 11 vitamin E products selected for testing by ConsumerLab.com, 3 contained too little or too much vitamin E — in fact, one contained virtually none of the vitamin E it claimed. The cost to obtain 268 mg of active vitamin E (e.g., 400 IU of natural vitamin E) from the products ranged from 4 cents to almost $200 (see What CL Found).
- Which is the best vitamin E supplement? Among the products Approved for quality in ConsumerLab.com's tests (including 6 tested through CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program), our Top Picks not only met their claims but provided high quality vitamin E, sometimes with mixed tocopherols, at very reasonable prices.
- Vitamin E safety and side effects: Vitamin E should not be taken with blood thinners and certain other medications as it can increase the risk of bleeding. Some studies have shown an association between vitamin E supplementation and an increased risk of death, and one study found an increased risk of prostate cancer in men taking high dose vitamin E (see Concerns and Cautions).