Vitamin E: What is tocopherol used for?

Vitamin E, also called tocopherol, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for the body’s proper functioning. Anti-oxidant, it also protects the cardiovascular and nervous systems and promotes fertility. It is found mainly in vegetable oils.

Characteristics of vitamin E:

  • Fat-soluble vitamin like vitamins A, D and K
  • Helps to fight oxidative stress and cell aging
  • Vegetable oils and oilseeds are rich in them
  • Works in synergy with vitamin C, selenium and zinc
  • Formerly known as factor X

Why eat foods rich in vitamin E?

Vitamin E: benefits and roles in the body

Antioxidant function

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, it works in synergy with other molecules such as vitamin C, selenium or zinc. A good supply of vitamin E thus makes it possible to neutralize the excess of free radicals and to fight against oxidative stress and premature cellular ageing. Antioxidants also protect the body from various pathological processes: inflammation, cancers, etc.

Prevention of cardiovascular diseases

Tocopherol constitutes and preserves membrane lipids. It has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system. In addition, its anti-inflammatory effect limits the process of atherosclerosis, a risk factor for cardiovascular accidents. Adequate vitamin E intake could therefore reduce mortality from cardiovascular accidents.

Protection against AMD and neurodegenerative diseases

By fighting oxidative stress, vitamin E could have promising effects on cognitive function and visual acuity. As such, studies are still ongoing but seem to highlight the positive effect of this vitamin on various conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.

Vitamin E and skin

A good supply of vitamin E helps to keep the skin healthy. This fat-soluble vitamin is part of the constitution of cell membranes and gives elasticity and plasticity to the skin. In addition, its anti-oxidant action helps to fight against skin ageing.

Foods rich in vitamin E

Vitamin E is found mainly in vegetable oils and oilseeds. To ensure a good daily intake of vitamin E, it is strongly recommended to vary vegetable oils and consume them with each meal.

Foodstuffs Portions of food (mg)
Wheat germ oil 15 ml (1.5 tablespoons) 21 mg
Unbleached almonds, dry roasted or in oil, or dehydrated 60 ml (1/4 cup) 9-18 mg
Dry roasted sunflower seeds 60 ml (1/4 cup) 8 mg
Hazelnuts, unbleached filberts, dry roasted 60 ml (1/4 cup) 5-8 mg
Sunflower oil 15 ml (1.5 tablespoons) 6 mg
Safflower oil 15 ml (1.5 tablespoons) 5 mg
Breakfast cereals, 100% bran (All Bran type) 30 g 3-5 mg
Pine nuts 60 ml (1/4 cup) 3 mg
Roasted peanuts in oil 60 ml (1/4 cup) 2-3 mg
Canned tomato paste 60 ml (1/4 cup) 3 mg
Canned tomato puree 125 ml (1/2 cup) 3 mg
Dried Brazil nuts 60 ml (1/4 cup) 2 mg
Mixed nuts, oil roasted or dry roasted 60 ml (1/4 cup) 2 mg
Fish eggs, various species 30 ml (3 tablespoons) 2 mg
Corn or wheat bran, raw 30 g 2 mg
Peanut, olive, rapeseed or maize oil 15 ml (1.5 tablespoons) 2 mg
Lawyer ½ lawyer (100 g) 2 mg
Canned sardines, with bones 100 g 2 mg
Asparagus, boiled or raw 125 ml (1/2 cup) 1-2 mg
Boiled spinach 125 ml (1/2 cup) 1-2 mg

 

How to use natural vitamin E properly?

Use of vitamin E

Vitamin E requirements

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
Babies 0-6 months 4 mg*
Babies 7-12 months 5 mg*
Babies 1-3 years old 6 mg
Children 4-8 years old 7 mg
Boys 9-13 years old 11 mg
Girls 9-13 years old 11 mg
Boys 14-18 years old 15.5 mg
Girls 14-18 years old 10 mg
Men 19-75 years old 15.5 mg
Women 19-75 years old 10 mg
Men 75 years and over 20 to 50 mg
Women 75 years and over 20 to 50 mg
Pregnant women 12 mg
Nursing Women 12 mg

* Adequate contributions

Food supplements based on tocopherol

Vitamin E-based dietary supplements are often indicated for their antioxidant power, which helps to fight oxidative stress and promotes optimal health. Dosage varies according to the issue and context. Excess vitamin E is not without consequences, so it is recommended to seek medical advice.

Adverse effects of tocopherol

Consequences of vitamin E deficiency

Although extremely rare in France, vitamin E deficiency can affect the nervous system and muscles and cause coordination disorders. It can also cause hemolytic anemia in young children.

Consequences of an excess of vitamin E

Vitamin E is fat-soluble and the body can store it in fat tissue. As a result, an overdose is quite possible. The main risk associated with long-term excess vitamin E is hemorrhagic. The competent authorities recommend that the consumption of vitamin E in adults should not exceed 62 mg per day.

Interactions with other nutrients

In the body, vitamin E acts in synergy with vitamin C, selenium or zinc to provide an optimal antioxidant effect.

The higher the consumption of unsaturated fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 and 9), the higher the intake of vitamin E must be in order to protect them from oxidation inside the body.

Chemical properties

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin composed of eight molecules, four of tocopherols and four of tocotrienols. It acts in synergy with other antioxidant molecules and neutralizes free radicals in the body. In food processing, vitamin E is also used as a food additive (E306) for its antioxidant properties.

History of the event

History of the nutrient

Vitamin E was discovered in 1922 by two researchers in California. By subjecting a group of female mice to a low-fat diet, they discovered that they could get pregnant but that the fetuses were unable to develop. Vitamin E was first named factor X and recognized as essential for fetal development.

In 1924, another study showed that vitamin E was essential for animal fertility. It will then be called tocopherol from the Greek “carry and progeny”. Despite all these advances, it was not until 1968 that tocopherol was recognized as essential for human health.