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    Vitamin E is key for strong immunity and healthy skin and eyes. In recent years, vitamin E supplements have become popular as antioxidants. These are substances that protect cells from damage. However, the risks and benefits of taking vitamin E supplements are still unclear.

    Why do people take vitamin E?

    Many people use vitamin E supplements in the hopes that the vitamin's antioxidant properties will prevent or treat disease. But studies of vitamin E for preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and many other conditions have been inconclusive.

    So far, the only established benefits of vitamin E supplements are in people who have an actual deficiency. Vitamin E deficiencies are rare. They're more likely in people who have diseases, such as digestive problems and cystic fibrosis. People on very low-fat diets may also have low levels of vitamin E.

    How much vitamin E should you take?

    The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) includes the vitamin E you get from both the food you eat and any supplements you take.

    Category

    Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol): Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

    in milligrams (mg) and International Units (IU)

    CHILDREN

    1-3 years

    6 mg/day (9 IU)

    4-8 years

    7 mg/day (10.4 IU)

    9-13 years

    11 mg/day (16.4 IU)

    FEMALES

    14 years and up

    15 mg/day (22.4 IU)

    Pregnant

    15 mg/day (22.4 IU)

    Breastfeeding

    19 mg/day (28.5 IU)

    MALES

    14 years and up

    15 mg/day (22.4 IU)

    The tolerable upper intake levels of a supplement are the highest amount that most people can take safely. Higher doses might be used to treat vitamin E deficiencies. But you should never take more unless a doctor says so.

    Category

    (Children & Adults)

    Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) of

    Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

    in milligrams (mg) and International Units (IU)

    1-3 years

    200 mg/day (300 IU)

    4-8 years

    300 mg/day (450 IU)

    9-13 years

    600 mg/day (900 IU)

    14-18 years

    800 mg/day (1,200 IU)

    19 years and up

    1,000 mg/day (1,500 IU)

    Because vitamin E is fat-soluble, supplements are best absorbed with food.

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