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Vitamin E Supplements Review
 

Initial Posting: 8/28/2015  Last Update: 4/8/17
Vitamin E Supplements, Cream, and Oil Tested by ConsumerLab.com
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Summary
  • 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.
  • It may be helpful for Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, certain types of nerve pain and other conditions. Correcting a deficiency may beneficial for maintaining eye health (See "What It Does")
  • The vitamin E in supplements may be natural (d-alpha tocopherol) or synthetic (dl-alpha tocopherol). The natural form contains a mix of tocopherols which may be beneficial, however, ConsumerLab found that that not all "natural" vitamin E supplements contain significant amounts of these additional tocopherols (see "Seeking Other Tocopherols and Tocotrienols? "Natural" is not enough").
  • Top Picks: Products Approved for quality in ConsumerLab.com's tests which provide the best value (lowest cost to obtain 400 IU of vitamin E) are shown in What CL Found. The lowest cost by category was 10 cents for natural, 21 cents for natural with significant amounts of other tocopherols, and 3 cents for synthetic.
  • Vitamin E should not be taken with blood thinners and certain other medications as it can increase the risk of bleeding. Taking too much vitamin E may slightly increase the risk of death in older individuals with medical conditions. (See "Concerns and Cautions").


What It Is:
Vitamin E is not one single molecule but a family of related anti-oxidant molecules called tocopherols and tocotrienols. The most biologically active of these is alpha-tocopherol. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin E is only for alpha-tocopherol, the "IU" amounts shown on supplement labels refer only to alpha-tocopherol, and, unless specifically called out, research conducted on "vitamin E" refers only to alpha-tocopherol.

Alpha-tocopherol itself can exist in eight different stereoisomer forms, but only half of these forms are known to be useful in the body. Natural vitamin E contains alpha-tocopherol exclusively in an active form, either as d-alpha tocopherol or stabilized as d-alpha tocopheryl acid succinate or d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, along with varying amounts of other tocopherols and tocotrienols. Synthetic vitamin E (sometimes referred to as dl-alpha-tocopherol) contains both active and inactive forms of alpha-tocopherol but does not contain any additional tocopherols and tocotrienols.

What It Does:
Vitamin E assists in maintaining cell integrity. Serious deficiency of vitamin E can cause peripheral neuropathy (pain or numbness in the extremities), ataxia (poor muscle coordination), muscle weakness, retinopathy, and impairment of the immune response (Dietary Reference Intakes, IOM 2000). Research using doses of vitamin E far higher than the recommended dietary intakes has provided evidence that it may be helpful for preventing preeclampsia and treating such diverse conditions as menstrual pain and PMS, tardive dyskinesia, cardiac autonomic neuropathy (a complication of diabetes), low sperm count, restless leg syndrome, acute anterior uveitis (inflammation of eye tissues), Parkinson's Disease and rheumatoid arthritis, among other conditions. Vitamin E might also improve seniors' immune response as measured by a variety of immune system markers. However, the evidence for its effectiveness in treating or preventing most of these conditions is inconclusive and research continues. (See ConsumerTips for more information.)

In Alzheimer's disease
High-dose vitamin E supplementation may modestly help some people with Alzheimer's disease. A study lasting approximately two years among 613 veterans with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease already taking acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (such as Aricept), found that those also given 2,000 IU daily of vitamin E (1,000 IU capsules twice-a-day as dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate -- the synthetic form of vitamin E) retained their ability to perform activities of daily living (such as dressing) for about six months longer than those given placebo, reducing caregiver time in assisting patients. This benefit was not found for those given the drug memantine (an NMDA receptor blocker) or vitamin E plus memantine. Memory and cognition appeared to decline less in the vitamin E group compared to placebo; however, the difference was not statistically significant (Dyksen, JAMA 2013). During the study, there were no significant differences in adverse events or mortality between the treatment and placebo groups. Earlier studies with the same daily dose of vitamin E have shown it to reduce the rate of conversion to Alzheimer's disease among people with mild cognitive impairment (Petersen, NEJM 2005) and to slow the progression of disease in patients with moderately severe Alzheimer's disease (Sano, NEJM 1997).

However, giving 400 IU of synthetic vitamin E alone or in combination with high-dose selenium to older men in the U.S. with normal cognitive function did not significantly reduce their risk of developing dementia (Kryscio, JAMA 2017).

In cardiovascular disease
Vitamin E was long touted for preventing cardiovascular disease, but most of the recent studies have failed to prove vitamin E to be a protective agent against heart disease. However, many of these studies looked only at people already at high risk for heart disease or with a prior history of the condition. The initial studies that generated so much interest in vitamin E were population studies that, by definition, included a cross section of the population--both healthy people and those at high risk for heart disease. Some researchers have suggested that if vitamin E has any preventive powers against heart disease, it may only be in its earliest stages, before the damage is diagnosed. One study has even suggested that vitamin E supplements could, in fact, be harmful for some heart disease patients, since they could reduce the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering agents.

Regarding stroke, a review of clinical studies found that vitamin E supplementation may reduce the risk of ischemic (lack of blood) stroke by 10% but raise the risk of the more severe, though less prevalent, hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke by 22%, leading the researchers to conclude that "indiscriminate widespread use of vitamin E should be cautioned against." (Schurks, BMJ 2010).

In cancer
While vitamin E was also once considered promising for helping to prevent several kinds of cancer, recent studies have generally not found a benefit. A study in long-term male smokers reported no reduction in the risk of lung cancer from taking 50 IU daily of natural vitamin E, although it found a 35% risk reduction for prostate cancer (N Engl J Med, 1994). However, a study among healthy men who had taken a high-dose daily supplement of 400 IU of synthetic vitamin E (12 times the recommended daily intake) showed an increased risk of prostate cancer (Klein, JAMA 2011). In the study, an increase in prostate cancer was first apparent after 3 years, but it was not statistically significant. Due to a lack of benefit, the supplement was stopped after about 5.5 years, but follow-up continued. After a total of about 7 years from when trial had started, the risk of prostate cancer was about 17% greater among men who had taken the supplement than among those who had not. Further analysis of the study found that this effect of synthetic vitamin E did not occur with men who had already high levels of selenium; however, among those low in selenium, vitamin E increased the risks of both low-grade and high-grade prostate cancer by 46% and 111%, respectively. This does not suggest that high-doses of selenium should be taken, as the study also found that high-dose selenium (200 mcg daily from L-selenomethionine -- nearly 4 times the recommended daily intake) increased the risk of high-grade prostate cancer by 91% among men with already high levels of selenium and had no effect on men low in selenium. The researchers cautioned that men 55 years and older should avoid supplementation with either vitamin E or selenium at doses that exceed recommended daily intakes (Kristal, JNCI 2014).

A recently published study which followed over 100,000 people in China for up to 11 years found that those who reported higher intakes of vitamin E from their diets or took vitamin E supplements had much lower risks of developing liver cancer than those who, respectively, had low intakes of vitamin E or did not take vitamin E supplements (Zhang, JNCI 2012). However, unlike the U.S. where less than 1% of adults are deficient in vitamin E, the majority of the Chinese people in the study were consuming far below the recommended dietary intake of vitamin E. Consequently, there is no reason to believe that increasing vitamin E consumption will decrease the risk of liver cancer for most Americans.

Some research, primarily in animals, suggests that natural vitamin E rich in gamma-tocopherol and, depending on the oil source, delta-tocopherol, may be more cancer preventive than alpha-tocopherol (the exclusive form in synthetic vitamin E) (Yang, Canc Prev Res 2012). (See discussion "Other tocopherols and the tocotrienols" below.)

In eye disease
A large U.S. study in healthy male physicians (aged 50 and older) found that eight years of supplementation with vitamin E (400 IU/ every other day from synthetic vitamin E) and/or vitamin C (500 mg per day) resulted in no significant reduction in the risk of cataracts (Christen, Arch Opthalmol 2010). A separate, large U.S. study of men aged 50 years and older found that approximately 5 years of supplementation with vitamin E (400 IU per day from synthetic vitamin E) and/or selenium (200 micrograms per day from L-selenomethionine) is unlikely to have a large beneficial effect on age-related cataract. Vitamin E had no effect, while selenium showed a small, but not statistically significant benefit (Christen, JAMA Opthalmol 2014). Although not reported, it is likely most participants in both studies were well-nourished and few participants began the studies deficient in these nutrients. As vitamin E (as well as selenium and vitamin C) play a role in maintaining the lens of the eye, supplementing to correct a deficiency could be beneficial.

It should be noted that the amounts of vitamin E, selenium and vitamin C used in these studies were several times higher than the required daily allowances, that is, most subjects were "super supplemented" with these nutrients. Over supplementing with anti-oxidants may have negative consequences. Research suggests, for example, that low-dose vitamin C (as in a conservative multivitamin) may help prevent cataracts, while high-dose does not, and may have a negative effect (See the Vitamin C Review).

Topical use
Application of topical creams or gels containing vitamin E (usually as alpha-tocopherol acetate) in combination with melatonin or vitamin C, have shown a bit of promise for helping to prevent sunburn; however, the effect is slight at best, and far less than that of standard sunblock. Weak preliminary evidence also hints that topical vitamin E might benefit blood circulation in people with diabetes. Vitamin E cream does not appear to help prevent surgical scarring.

Other tocopherols and the tocotrienols
As mentioned earlier, natural vitamin E consists of other additional types of tocopherols, such as beta-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, and gamma-tocopherol. In fact, oils from corn, soybean, sesame, cottonseed, as well as nuts, contain three to five times more gamma-tocopherol than alpha-tocopherol. Some manufacturers use the term "mixed" tocopherols when referring to these different types. There are studies underway to determine whether gamma-tocopherol (which is more abundant in the diet than alpha-tocopherol) may be important for some of the beneficial effects associated with dietary vitamin E. At present, though, there is no hard evidence from human clinical studies for this hypothesis. Note: Some evidence suggests that use of supplements containing high-dose alpha-tocopherol alone may decrease body levels of gamma- and delta-tocopherol. The implications of this are unclear, but there are concerns that reduced levels of these natural tocopherols could be unhealthy. Additional information about the uses of tocopherols is found in the Vitamin E article in the Natural Products Encyclopedia on this web site.

Natural vitamin E also includes tocotrienols, which are particularly abundant in oils from barley, palm fruit, rice bran, and wheat germ. Although preliminary studies suggested potential for tocotrienols in reducing cholesterol levels and preventing heart disease and other conditions, later studies have failed to find a benefit (Mensink, Am J Clin Nutr 1999).

Quality Concerns and What CL Tested for:
Neither the U.S. government nor any other agency is responsible for routinely testing vitamin E supplements or other dietary supplements for their contents or quality. Past testing of vitamin E supplements by ConsumerLab.com has found some products to contain less ingredient than claimed and/or synthetic vitamin E rather than natural vitamin E (which is a more expensive ingredient).  

ConsumerLab.com, as part of its mission to independently evaluate products that affect health, wellness, and nutrition, purchased a variety of current vitamin E products sold in the U.S. All were tested for their amounts of and forms of vitamin E and other listed tocopherols and tocotrienols. All non-chewable and non-time-release tablets or caplets were tested for their ability to break apart properly to release their ingredients. See How Products Were Evaluated for more information about testing.

What CL Found:
All 11 of the products selected for review by ConsumerLab.com contained their listed amounts and types of vitamin E. However, there are significant differences in the forms of vitamin E in the products as well as in their cost.

An additional eight products passed testing through ConsumerLab.com's voluntary Quality Certification Program; these are included in the results below and are identified with a CL flask icon in the table.

Getting Vitamin E for Less: Cost Comparisons Among Approved Products
We compared the cost of obtaining 400 IU of vitamin E from each product that passed our tests. The lowest cost for natural vitamin E was 10 cents for Traders Joe's Vitamin E and TwinLab Super E Complex, each of which provides 400 IU per softgel. Nature's Bounty E also provides 400 IU natural vitamin E, plus a small amount (16.8 mg) of mixed tocopherols for just one cent more — 11 cents per softgel.  

To get significant amounts of other tocopherols and tocotrienols along with your vitamin E, you'll need to pay more; for example, for 21 cents you'll get 400 IU of natural vitamin E plus 350.7 mg of gamma-tocopherol along with smaller amounts of other tocopherols from a single UNIQUE E softgel. Interestingly, Carlson E-Gems provided fewer mixed tocopherols per softgel than UNIQUE E but cost almost twice as much at 41 cents. Products with additional ingredients were significantly more expensive.

If you are okay with synthetic vitamin E, you can get your cost down to just 3 cents for 400 IU with Kirkland (Costco) Signature Vitamin E 400 I.U.

Getting vitamin E from a cream or skin oil is often more expensive than getting the oil from a softgel (which, by the way you can simply open and apply the oil). Derma-e Vitamin E 12,000 IU Creme provided vitamin E at lower cost (37 cents per 400 IU). Interestingly, in previous Reviews by ConsumerLab.com, Jasön Vitamin E 5,000, an oil, was labeled as "natural" but it was found in testing to be synthetic vitamin E, causing it to be "Not Approved." The label has apparently been changed so that it no longer claims natural vitamin E.

Seeking Other Tocopherols and Tocotrienols? "Natural" is not enough; Look for listed amounts
If you are seeking naturally occurring tocopherols other than alpha-tocopherol, such as gamma-tocopherol, don't assume that you'll get them from a product labeled "natural vitamin E". Even though natural vitamin E should "naturally" include other tocopherols, we found that products generally listing "mixed tocopherols" typically contained modest amounts (about 2 to 28 milligrams per daily serving) unless specific amounts of these tocopherols were listed. TwinLab Super E Complex, for example, was labeled as containing an unspecified amount of mixed tocopherols, and was found to contain just 1.8 mg of these per daily serving. Other natural vitamin E products, such as Trader Joe's Vitamin E and Nature Made E softgels, simply do not claim other tocopherols on their labels. Why do these "natural" vitamin E products differ so much? Part of the reason is that the natural sources used to make them (but typically not disclosed) vary in their composition. For example, sunflower oil contains several times as much alpha tocopherol as gamma tocopherol, while corn oil is the opposite. 

The good news is that if you want these other tocopherols, you can get them from natural vitamin E products which specifically list these amounts. For example, Carlson E-Gems provided its listed tocopherols and tocotrienols, including 100 mg of gamma-tocopherol per softgel. UNIQUE E provided a large amount (432 mg) of mixed tocopherols (excluding alpha-tocopherol), as promised, most of which was found to be gamma-tocopherol (350.7 mg). Pure Encapsulations Vitamin E also delivered its promised amount of mixed tocopherols (most of which was gamma-tocopherol) with the recommended daily serving of one to two capsules providing 67 mg to 134 mg of gamma-tocopherol. [Note: For products which claimed to contain tocopherols or tocotrienols but did not list the amounts of specific types, ConsumerLab.com published the amounts found — see the fourth column of the table below. In some cases, the total amounts found exceeded the totals listed on labels, which was acceptable as long as the amount was not less than claimed.] 

Test Results by Product:
Listed alphabetically within each product group below are test results for 19 vitamin E products (including 2 topical products) of which ConsumerLab.com selected eleven. Eight were tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors through ConsumerLab.com's voluntary Quality Certification Program and are included for having passed testing (each of these is indicated with a CL flask in the first column). Also listed are two products similar to ones that passed but are sold under different brand names. 

Shown for each product are the claimed amounts of its key ingredients and the suggested daily serving on its label. The full list of ingredients is available for each product by clicking on the word "Ingredients" in the first column. Products that passed all tests are indicated as Approved in the third column; if a product failed testing, the reason is explained in the fourth or fifth column.

The final column shows the cost of obtaining 400 IU of vitamin E from each product and additional ingredients or special designations.

The concentration of vitamin E in the creams and oils are shown in terms of IU per mL (milliliter) or per gram. A level teaspoon holds about 5 mL (4.93 mL), and one mL of oil or cream weighs about one gram.

RESULTS OF CONSUMERLAB.COM TESTING OF VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENTS
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Product Name, Amount of Vitamin E per Unit, Serving Size, and Suggested Daily Serving on Label

Click on "Ingredients" for Full Listing
Claimed Amount and Type of Vitamin E Per Suggested Daily Serving Natural (N) or Synthetic (S)

Claimed Amount of Other Tocopherols and Tocotrienols
--TEST RESULTS--
(See How Products Were Evaluated)
Cost for Daily Suggested Serving on Label

[Cost for 400 IU of Vitamin E]

Other Notable Features1

Price Paid
OVERALL RESULTS:

APPROVED or NOT
APPROVED
Met Claimed Amount for Vitamin E

Met Claimed Amount for Other Tocopherols and Tocotrienols
Contained Claimed Form of Vitamin E
Natural Vitamin E Supplements:
Carlson® E-Gems® (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once or twice daily)

Dist. by Carlson Division of J.R. Carlson Laboratories, Inc.
Ingredients
400 IU to 800 IU
(N)

100 mg to 200 mg
d-gamma tocopherol

40 mg to 80
d-beta & d-delta tocopherol

20 mg to 40 mg
total tocotrienol
APPROVED



Tocotrienols found (daily):
alpha: 10.5 mg to 21.0 mg
beta: 1.2 mg to 2.4 mg
gamma: 14.0 mg to 28.0 mg
delta: 5.4 mg to 10.9 mg
$0.41-$0.81

[$0.41]

Gluten free

$48.89/120 softgels
DEVA® Vegan Vitamin E (400 IU per vegan cap; 1 vegan cap, once daily)

Dist. by DEVA Nutrition LLC
Ingredients
400 IU
(N)

20 mg
mixed tocopherols
APPROVED



Tocopherols found (daily):
beta: 9.8 mg
gamma: 19.6 mg
delta: 10.7 mg
$0.23

[$0.23]

Suitable for vegans, non-GMO, free of wheat, gluten and yeast

$20.29/90 vegan caps
Garden of Life® Vitamin Code® RAW Vitamin E™ (2 vegetarian capsules, once daily)10

Dist. by Garden of Life LLC
Ingredients
250 IU
(N)
APPROVED11

NA
$0.63

[$1.01]

RAW organic fruit & vegetable blend, RAW probiotic & enzyme blend, organic Vitex negundo

Kosher, suitable for vegetarians, non-GMO, gluten free

$18.99/60 vegetarian capsules
GNC Vitamin E (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once or twice daily)9

Dist. by General Nutrition Corporation
Ingredients
400 IU to 800 IU
(N)
APPROVED

NA
$0.13-$0.26

[$0.13]

Contains no wheat, gluten free, yeast free

$22.99/180 softgels
Nature Made® E (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once to twice daily)

Dist. by Nature Made Nutritional Products
Ingredients
400 IU to 800 IU
(N)
APPROVED

NA
$0.14-$0.28

[$0.14]

Yeast free

$13.99/100 softgels
Nature's Bounty® E-400 IU (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Mfd. by Nature's Bounty, Inc.
Ingredients
400 IU
(N)

unspecified amount
mixed tocopherols2
APPROVED

Tocopherols found (daily):
total: 16.8 mg:
beta: 6.0 mg
gamma: 8.5 mg
delta: 2.4 mg
$0.11

[$0.11]

No wheat, gluten and yeast

$11.12/100 softgels
Nature's Sunshine® Vitamin E (100 IU per capsule; 1 capsule, once daily)

Dist. by Nature's Sunshine Products, Inc.
Ingredients
100 IU
(N)
APPROVED

NA
$0.10

[$0.39]

$17.75/180 capsules
Pure Encapsulations® Vitamin E (With Mixed Tocopherols) (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once to twice daily)

Dist. by Pure Encapsulations, Inc.
Ingredients
400 IU to 800 IU
(N)

67 mg to 134 mg
other tocopherols
APPROVED



Tocopherols found (daily):
beta: 2.4 mg to 4.9 mg
gamma: 59.2 mg to 118.4 mg
delta: 23.3 mg to 46.5 mg
$0.28-$0.56

[$0.28]

Non-GMO

$25.10/90 softgels
Solgar® Vitamin E 400 IU (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Dist. by Solgar, Inc.
Ingredients
400 IU
(N)

unspecified amount mixed tocopherols2
APPROVED

Tocopherols found (daily):
Total: 28.4 mg
beta: 4.5 mg
gamma: 19.7 mg
delta: 4.3 mg
$0.14

[$0.14]

Free of wheat, gluten and yeast

$13.60/100 softgels
Trader Joe's® Vitamin E (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Dist. by Trader Joe's
Ingredients
400 IU
(N)
APPROVED

NA
$0.10

[$0.10]
Lowest cost for vitamin E (natural)

Gluten free

$9.99/100 softgels
TwinLab Super E Complex (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Mfd. by ISI Brands Inc.
Ingredients
400 IU
(N)

unspecified amount mixed tocopherols2
APPROVED

Tocopherols found (daily):
total: 1.8 mg beta: 0.4 mg
gamma: 1.4 mg
delta: none
$0.10

[$0.10]
Lowest cost for vitamin E (natural)

$10.19/100 softgels
Unique E (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Dist. by A.C. Grace Company
Ingredients
400 IU
(N)

432 mg
mixed tocopherols
APPROVED



Tocopherols found (daily):
beta: 8.1 mg
gamma: 350.7 mg
delta: 104.1 mg
$0.21

[$0.21]

$25.19/120 softgels
Similar to Approved Products*:
Puritan's Pride® E-400 IU (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Mfd. by Puritan's Pride, Inc.
Ingredients
Similar to Nature's Bounty® E-400 IU. $0.23

[$0.23]

No wheat, gluten and yeast

$22.993/100 softgels
Vitamin World® E-400 IU (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Mfd. by Vitamin World, Inc.
Ingredients
Similar to Nature's Bounty® E-400 IU. $0.17

[$0.17]

No wheat, gluten and yeast

$16.994/100 softgels
Synthetic Vitamin E Supplements:
21st Century® E-1000 (1,000 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Dist. by 21st Century HealthCare, Inc.
Ingredients
1,000 IU
(S)
APPROVED

NA
$0.13

[$0.05]

No added yeast

$7.09/55 softgels
CVS/pharmacy™ E 200 IU (200 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Dist. by CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
Ingredients
200 IU
(S)
APPROVED

NA
$0.08

[$0.16]

No wheat, gluten and yeast

$7.99/100 softgels
Kirkland Signature™ [Coscto] Vitamin E 400 IU (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Dist. by Costco Wholesale Corporation
Ingredients
400 IU
(S)
APPROVED

NA
$0.03

[$0.03]
Lowest cost for vitamin E
(synthetic)


No gluten and yeast

$12.99/500 softgels
Spring Valley® [Walmart] E (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once to twice daily)

Dist. by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Ingredients
400 IU to 800 IU
(S)
APPROVED

NA
$0.07-$0.14

[$0.07]

No gluten

$6.85/100 softgels
Natural and Synthetic Vitamin E Supplements:
Finest Nutrition E Vitamin (400 IU per softgel; 1 softgel, once daily)

Dist. by Walgreen Co.
Ingredients
400 IU
(N + S)
APPROVED

NA
$0.08

[$0.08]

No wheat, gluten and yeast

$14.49/180 softgels
Topical Creams:
Derma E® Vitamin E 12,000 IU Crème ("apply this nourishing moisturizing crème to the face and neck in the morning and evening", no other instructions)

Dist. by Derma E®  
Ingredients
No amount or form listed APPROVED5 Found 110.4 IU per gram

NA
Found to be synthetic $0.116

[$0.37 based on amount found]

Gluten free

$11.95/4 oz. [113 g] container (approx. 113 servings6)
Topical Oils:
Jasön® Vitamin E 5,000 IU ("Gently massage on face, body and hands. Reapply as needed.", no other instructions)

Mfd. by The Hain Celestial
Ingredients
No amount of form listed APPROVED5,8

NA
Found to be synthetic $0.057

[$0.66 based on amount found]

$5.79/4 fl. oz. [118 ml] container (approx. 118 servings7)

Tested through CL's Quality Certification Program prior to, or after initial posting of this Product Review.

* Product identical in formulation and manufacture to a product that has passed testing but sold under a different brand. For more information see CL's Multi-Label Testing Program.

1 Not tested but claimed on label.
2 Included an unspecified amount of tocopherols other than alpha-tocopherol in the vitamin E claim. Alpha tocopherol is the only tocopherol that can be listed in IUs and as vitamin E in the Supplement Facts section reserved for ingredients with DVs. Proper listing of other tocopherols should be below the DV section on a separate line. as there is no IU, Daily Value (DV), nor RDA associated with any of these forms of vitamin E. However, the product was found to contain the amount of alpha-tocopherol claimed as IUs.
3 Price based on listed price on puritan.com. Price is for a Buy One Get Two Free deal.
4 Price based on listed price on vitaminworld.com. Price is for a Buy One Get One Free deal.
5 Product was "Approved" or "Not Approved" based on the IU value listed in the name.
6 Based on 1 gram daily.
7 Based on 1 milliliter daily.
8 The amount of vitamin E found in this product meets it label claim when calculated using the milligram to IU conversion recommended by the Institute of Medicine. However, using the conversion specified in FCC 9 for supplements, the amount is 70% of what is claimed. Until resolution of the appropriate conversion, ConsumerLab.com required products to pass using either method. To permit cost comparisons across products, values shown in the last column are based on conversions listed in FCC 9
9 Added through Quality Certification Program on 9/30/15
10 Added through Quality Certification Program on 5/16/16
11 Also was approved for lead, cadmium and arsenic. Product was tested for these heavy metals as it contains whole herbs.

Unless otherwise noted, information about the products listed above is based on the samples purchased by ConsumerLab.com (CL) for this Product Review. Manufacturers may change ingredients and label information at any time, so be sure to check labels carefully when evaluating the products you use or buy. If a product's ingredients differ from what is listed above, it may not necessarily be of the same quality as what was tested.

The information contained in this report is based on the compilation and review of information from product labeling and analytic testing. CL applies what it believes to be the most appropriate testing methods and standards. The information in this report does not reflect the opinion or recommendation of CL, its officers or employees. CL cannot assure the accuracy of information.
Copyright ConsumerLab.com, LLC, 2015. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced, excerpted, or cited in any fashion without the express written permission of ConsumerLab.com LLC.


ConsumerTips™ for Buying and Using These Products:
Natural and synthetic vitamin E, in the proper doses, can be equally active. However, it takes more IUs of synthetic vitamin E than natural vitamin E to get an equivalent amount active vitamin E, and it takes fewer IU's of synthetic vitamin E than natural vitamin E to cause potential bleeding problems when high doses are used (see Serving Size and Upper Levels below). IUs on labels refer only to the amount of alpha-tocopherol and not to the other forms such as beta, gamma, and delta.

Products that appear to be "natural" may not be. One important way to check is to look at the chemical name for vitamin E listed on the ingredient label. Natural vitamin E may be referred to as to as "d-alpha-tocopherol" and/or "mixed tocopherols" but should not include "dl-alpha-tocopherol" (which refers to synthetic vitamin E). Acceptable variations in the chemical names listed for natural vitamin E may include "tocopheryl" instead of "tocopherol" and may be followed by the words "acetate," "succinate," or "acid succinate."

Getting the Recommended Daily Allowance:
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E is based on milligrams of active alpha-tocopherol. However, the FDA still requires supplements to be labeled using IUs and not milligrams. Complicating matters a bit, the conversion factor between IUs and milligrams differs for natural vitamin E versus synthetic vitamin E. One IU of synthetic vitamin E equals 0.45 mg of active alpha-tocopherol, while one IU of natural vitamin E equals 0.67 mg of active alpha-tocopherol.

Based on these conversion rates, the RDA for vitamin E as active alpha-tocopherol for children 1 to 3 is 6 mg/day (13 IU synthetic or 9 IU natural), for those 4 to 8 it is 7 mg/day (16 IU synthetic or 10 IU natural), and for those 9 to 13 it is 11 mg/day (24 IU synthetic or 16 IU natural). The RDA for individuals ages 14 and older is 15 mg/day (33 IU synthetic or 22 IU natural). However, the RDA for lactating women is 19 mg/day (42 IU synthetic or 28 IU natural).

A study funded by a leading vitamin E manufacturer (DSM Nutritional Products), suggested that vitamin E consumption is "inadequate" for a very large percentage of Americans, including 87% of those ages 20 to 30 and 43% of those 51 years and older (McBurney, PLOS One, 2015). However, that study defined blood levels under 30 micromol/L as "inadequate," while "deficiency" does not actually occur until levels are below 12 micromol/L (or 500 mcg/dL), which is rare in the U.S. Claiming that people with levels below 30 mmol/L have inadequate levels is misleading. The justification given for it in the study is that it is a level above which there was the lowest mortality among male smokers in a study in Finland, however, that study also concluded that vitamin E supplementation did not reduce the incidence of lung cancer and, in fact, those taking it had a higher incidence of hemorrhagic stroke (NEJM 1994). It is also based on the level reportedly achieved when consuming the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) of vitamin E; however, the CDC reports that the EAR is not consistent with vitamin E deficiency and may need adjustment (CDC report pages 91-92).

Only a relatively small amount of vitamin E is required to meet normal daily requirements and, as mentioned earlier, in the U.S. less than 1% of adults are deficient in vitamin E (although deficiency can be common in other countries, such as China). Current recommended intakes can be easily obtained from foods such as seeds, nuts, oils and fruits, as well as fatty parts of meats. See the amounts of vitamin E found in common foods below:

Food Serving Size Natural Vitamin E (IU)
Wheat germ oil 1 Tbsp. 30
Sunflower seeds 1 oz. 11
Almonds 1 oz. 10
Safflower oil 1 Tbsp. 6.9
Hazelnuts 1 oz. 6.4
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp. 4
Spinach, boiled 1/2 cup 2.8
Brazil nuts 1 oz. 2.3
Peanuts, dry roasted 1 oz. 2.2
Tomato,raw 1 medium 1
Source: USDA Food Composition Database

See the Encyclopedia article about Vitamin E for amounts found in other foods.

However, some people, such as those on low-fat diets, may get insufficient amounts unless making their food choices carefully, increasing their intakes of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables (Gao, J Nutr 2006). Serious vitamin E deficiencies are rare in the U.S. and typically occur only with underlying medical conditions that cause malabsorption.

How Much is Too Much? Upper Tolerable Intake Levels:
Some healthcare practitioners suggest doses generally much higher than the RDA for certain therapeutic or preventive uses. However, be aware that too much vitamin E may potentially cause bleeding problems and lead to hemorrhaging. Consequently, Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) have been established for vitamin E consumed from supplements and fortified foods and represent the highest level of daily intake that is unlikely to pose a risk of adverse health effects. None of the products tested in this review exceed the UL for adults. None of the products tested were specifically recommended for children and, if given to children at the suggested serving size, some products may exceed the ULs for certain age groups.

As intake increases above the UL, the risk of adverse effects may increase, so it is advisable not to regularly exceed the UL unless medically recommended and supervised. Because both the active and inactive forms of alpha-tocopherol found in synthetic vitamin E may contribute to this effect on blood clotting, ULs for synthetic vitamin E are lower than that for natural.

The ULs therefore translate approximately into the following IU amounts per day: for children 1 to 3 the UL is 200 mg/day (220 IU synthetic or 300 IU natural), for those 4 to 8 it is 300 mg/day (330 IU synthetic or 450 IU natural), for those 9 to 13 it is 600 mg/day (660 IU synthetic or 900 IU natural), for those 14 to 18 it is 800 mg/day (880 IU synthetic or 1,200 IU natural), and for those 19 and older it is 1,000 mg/day (1,100 IU synthetic or 1,500 IU natural). Unfortunately, if a "natural" vitamin E product is incorrectly labeled and actually made from synthetic vitamin E, a person taking very high doses of vitamin E could find themselves exceeding the upper level without realizing it.

Some researchers now believe that the UL for vitamin E should be lowered, at least for certain groups of people. The reason for this is a study published in November 2004 that re-analyzed data from a large number of clinical studies involving vitamin E. The analysis showed a slight increase in the risk of death among older individuals with existing medical conditions using more than 400 IU of vitamin E per day. An increased risk of death was not seen at lower doses and it is not known whether this risk would apply to younger or healthier individuals. As noted earlier, a multi-year study found an increased risk of prostate cancer in healthy men taking 400 IU per day of synthetic vitamin E.

Oral Dosages for Special Uses:
When vitamin E is used in a dose higher than nutritional needs in order to treat or prevent medical conditions, the dose used in studies has ranged widely, from 100 IU daily to 2,000 IU daily. For most conditions, a dose of 100 IU to 600 IU daily has shown the most promise, though results are inconsistent, and in some cases higher dosages seemed less effective than lower doses. For Alzheimer's disease, a dosage of 2,000 IU daily has been tried with some success; for rheumatoid arthritis, a dosage of 600 IU twice daily has shown promise. NOTE: use of dosages above the ULs is potentially dangerous, and should be attempted only under physician supervision.

Some people with rare, inherited disorders, such as abetalipoproteinemia and AVED (Ataxia and vitamin E deficiency) require enormous doses of supplemental vitamin E.

People with Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, or an inability to secrete bile from the liver into the digestive tract, sometimes require a water-soluble form of vitamin E, such as tocopheryl polyethylene glycol-1000 succinate (Vitamin E Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet, NIH).

Topical Dosage:
A variety of topical products containing vitamin E (or vitamin E acetate) in concentrations ranging from 2% to 100% have been used in preliminary studies. There is no clear evidence that more concentrated products are more effective than more dilute products.

The dosage and the number of pills per bottle should be taken into consideration when comparing the costs of vitamin E products. Natural vitamin E will generally cost a bit more for an equivalent amount of IU's. If buying a cream claiming to contain vitamin E, one should expect, at a minimum, that the product state the amount of vitamin E in the product. Many do not.

Cautions and Concerns:
Individuals on anti-coagulant therapy such as Coumadin or who are vitamin K deficient should be monitored under physician care when taking vitamin E supplements, to avoid potential bleeding problems. It is also potentially risky to combine high-dose vitamin E with aspirin or other agents that decrease platelet activity. Vitamin E in daily doses greater than 400 IU may increase the risk of developing newly-onset heart failure; people with heart failure should avoid taking vitamin E (Page, Circulation 2016).

Use of antioxidants such as vitamin E during cancer chemotherapy may be helpful in some circumstances and harmful in others. We recommend consulting with your physician before taking high dose vitamin E while undergoing cancer chemotherapy.

An analysis of data from several clinical trials suggests that high-dose vitamin E (in excess of 400 IU per day) may actually raise the risk of death slightly in older individuals with existing medical conditions. A large, multi-year, multi-center human study of vitamin E and selenium for preventing prostate cancer was halted after early analysis of the data found that vitamin E (400 IU per day) and selenium supplements, alone or together, failed to prevent prostate cancer. The analysis also found slightly more cases of prostate cancer in men taking only vitamin E (see "What It Does -- In cancer"). Increased mortality with vitamin E supplements in the general population was also suggested by a review of trials through early 2011 (Bjelakovic, Cochrane Database 2012). Adding to this, a long-term study of Americans found the risk of dying over the course of the study (about 14 years) was lowest when vitamin E levels in the blood were above the lowest levels (the bottom 20% of the population, i.e. above 18.65 micromol/liter). However, for people in the top 20% of blood levels for vitamins E (i.e., at or above 32.18 micromol/liter) the risk of death was higher than for people with moderate levels (Goyal, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2013).

High daily doses of vitamins C and E each seem to hamper beneficial changes which occur during endurance and resistance (strength) training. An 11-week study in Norway found that young men and women who trained (running and cycling) 3 to 4 times per week increased mitochondrial proteins thought to be important for improving muscular endurance. However, this change did not occur among those given 500 mg of vitamin C (from ascorbic acid) or 117 mg (260 IU) of synthetic vitamin E before and after training, and in the morning and evening when not training. Overall performance, as measured by oxygen use (VO2max) and a running test, however, improved equally among those who received or did not receive supplementation (Paulsen, J Physiol 2014). The authors note that a similar study using only half the daily dose of vitamin C did not find a blunting of biochemical changes. The authors advise caution when considering high-dose antioxidant supplementation with endurance training. A similar concern has been raised with resveratrol supplementationAnother study in Norway tested the same high-dose vitamin C/ E combination on healthy elderly men who underwent strength training for 12 weeks. The vitamins were expected to result in greater benefits to the skeleton, but this did not happen. Bone density in the lower back increased more among men given a placebo than the vitamins, and bone density in the hip only increased in the placebo group. The researchers concluded that high doses of antioxidants may constrain the favorable benefits of resistance exercise (Stunes, Eur J Applied Phys 2017).

Additional information about vitamin E is found in the Natural Products Encyclopedia on this website.

To further assist consumers, ConsumerLab.com licenses its flask-shaped CL Seal of Approved Quality (see The CL Seal) to manufacturers for use on labels of products that have passed its testing. ConsumerLab.com will periodically re-evaluate these products to ensure their compliance with ConsumerLab.com's standards.

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not an endorsement of any product nor it is it meant to substitute for the advice provided by physicians or other healthcare professionals. The information contained herein should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease.

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