This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Learn more x


Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Desirable Vitamin E Requirements Need to be Defined

By Michael McBurney

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for vitamin E were published in 2000. The most recent Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was released in 2010 identified 10 nutrients which were underconsumed (vitamins A, C, D, E, K, choline, calcium, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber).  Only vitamins D, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber were identified as ‘nutrients of concern’.

A new report calls for further research to better define optimal vitamin E concentrations to protect cell membranes from oxidative damage and maintain human health. Peter and colleagues (2014) summarize the literature on vitamin E. Just as vitamin D concentrations required to prevent rickets are insufficient to maintain normal functions of muscle, bone and immune cells, plasma α-tocopherol concentrations that prevent red blood cell lysis may not be optimal to support healthy cellular functions.

As an antioxidant, vitamin E is a primary protector against lipid peroxidation (Traber and Stevens, 2011). A U-shaped curve best describes the relationship between serum α-tocopherol concentrations and risk of mortality; the lowest mortality risk being observed in individuals with α-tocopherol concentrations around 30 µmol/L (Wright et al, 2006).

With the majority of individuals living in western countries not consuming recommended amounts of vitamin E Troesch et al, 2012), this new report calls scientists to action to better understand the role of vitamin E status on health.

Main Citation

Peter S, Moser U, Pilz S, Eggersdorfer M, Weber P. The challenge of setting appropriate intake recommendations for vitamin E: Considerations on status and functionalilty to define nutrient requirements. 2014 Int J Vitamin Nutr Res doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000153

Other Citations

Traber MG, Stevens JF. Vitamins C and E: Beneficial effects from a mechanistic perspective. 2011 Free Rad Biol Med doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.05.017

Wright ME, Lawson KA, Weinstein SJ, Pietinen P, Taylor PR, Virtamo J, Albanes D. Higher baseline serum concentrations of vitamin E are associated with lower total and cause-specific mortality in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study. 2006 Am J Clin Nutr 84(5):1200-1207

Troesch B, Hoeft B, McBurney M, Eggersdorfer M, Weber P. Dietary surveys indicate vitamin intakes below recommendations are common in representative Western countries. 2012 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114512001808