A new review has concluded that natural biological mechanisms can successfully eliminate excess levels of vitamin E from our bodies, making it almost impossible to ingest harmful amounts.
In other words - dietary levels of vitamin E or from normal use of supplements should never be a concern, according to experts from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. They believe that past studies which allege adverse consequences from vitamin E may have misinterpreted their data.
In fact the real concern might be that more than 90% of Americans appear to have inadequate levels of vitamin E in their diet.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and a very important nutrient, necessary for the proper functioning of many organs, nerves and muscles. It is also an anticoagulant that can reduce blood clotting. It is found naturally in oils, meat and other foods - but it is often consumed at inadequate levels - especially with the increasing emphasis on low-fat diets.
Researchers have found that two major systems in the liver work to control the level of vitamin E in the body and routinely get rid of any excess amounts. Very high intakes achieved with supplementation only doubled tissue levels of vitamin E, which is not considered harmful.
So according to the study authors, it is simply not possible to have toxic levels of vitamin E in our bodies. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D, vitamin E is apparently unable to accumulate to toxic levels in the liver or other tissues.
One potential health issue is that vitamin E, because of its ability to interact with vitamin K, can cause bleeding. But the study researchers firmly believe that this poses no health risk at all.
On the other hand, vitamin E safeguards our health by protecting polyunsaturated fatty acids from oxidizing, along with protecting other essential lipids and having beneficial actions in many degenerative diseases.
Higher than normal intake levels of vitamin E may be necessary for people who have specific health problems. For instance, smoking has been shown to deplete vitamin E levels so smokers may be best advised to take supplements.
In general, health experts recommend taking a daily multivitamin that has the full recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin E, along with regularly consuming a healthy and balanced diet.