You can't OD on E

You can't OD on E

A new review of existing research suggests that too much vitamin E is not harmful, as some had believed.

You can't be too rich, too thin or, apparently, too full of vitamin E. A new review of research concludes that the body, like a walking, talking, self-bailing boat, has its own mechanisms for getting rid of the vitamin. The investigation, published in the Journal of Lipid Research, may dispel recent concerns about negative effects of too much of the vitamin.

“Toxic levels of vitamin E in the body simply do not occur,” said the author of the article, Maret Traber, professor at the Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences and an expert on the vitamin, on

For more on antioxidants, go to the topic page for antioxidants.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. It's critical to organ function and is also an anticoagulant. Found naturally in oils, meat and some other foods, its often consumed at inadequate dietary levels, especially with increasing emphasis on low-fat diets. There have been concerns about the safety of Vitamin E in high doses. An increased risk of bleeding had been proposed, according to the Mayo Clinic, particularly in patients taking blood-thinning agents such as warfarin, heparin, or aspirin, and in patients with vitamin K deficiency. Evidence suggested that regular use of high-dose vitamin E supplements may increase the risk of death from all causes by a small amount, although human research is conflicting, says the Mayo Clinic site.

This latest review of research finds no cause for worry. “I believe that past studies which have alleged adverse consequences from vitamin E have misinterpreted the data,” Traber said in a release from OSU.

In their review, Traber and her team of researchers found that two major systems in the liver work to control the level of vitamin E in the body, and they routinely excrete excessive amounts. Very high intakes achieved with supplementation only succeed in doubling the tissue levels of vitamin E, which they say is not harmful.“Unlike some other fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D, it’s not possible for toxic levels of vitamin E to accumulate in the liver or other tissues,” Traber said.

“Taking too much vitamin E is not the real concern,” she said. “A much more important issue is that more than 90 percent of people in the U.S. have inadequate levels of vitamin E in their diet.”

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