Medically Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo, MD on June 13, 2020
Why You Need It
You probably get enough, but not getting as much as you should can be serious. Your body needs fat to absorb vitamin E, so people with certain digestive problems may not get what they need. This can damage your nerves, eyes, and immune system.
Get It From Food
The best source of vitamin E is something called wheat germ oil. If you’re all out of that, you can get it from sunflower seeds, almonds, safflower oil, and hazelnuts. Peanut butter and spinach are two other options.
Lotions and Potions
Oils and lotions with vitamin E can help with skin inflammation and boost your skin’s defenses -- protect it from the sun, for example. But stay away from anything called a “synthetic derivative,” because these may not work as well. And taking it by mouth doesn’t do as much for skin. If you do take the pill, it helps to take it along with vitamin C.
Can It Fix My Scar?
It’s good for your skin, hair, and nails, so it’s been studied as a way to prevent scars. It makes sense that it would help with this, but there’s not enough evidence to prove it. And some doctors warn against it because it can trigger an allergic reaction.
Can It Treat My Diseases?
You may have heard that it can treat or prevent any number of problems from heart disease and cancer to Alzheimer’s. But studies say that’s not so. For now, count on it for good skin, hair, and nails. If it turns out that it helps anything else, that’ll be a bonus.
If you’re taking any medication, talk to your doctor before you take a vitamin E supplement. This is especially important if you’re undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy or if you take a blood thinner.
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Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center.
Mayo Clinic: “Drugs and Supplements.”
National Institutes of Health: “Nutrition and nutritional supplementation, Impact on skin health and beauty,” “The influence of selected ingredients of dietary supplements on skin condition,” “A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair,” “Vitamin E Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.”