Symptoms of Vitamin E Deficiency

The symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency are rather interesting. What I mean is you won’t get something like scurvy (caused by not enough Vitamin C) or beriberi (caused by not enough Vitamin B). These are somewhat dramatic and very noticeable deficiency symptoms.

But... you will have some problems if you don’t get enough Vitamin E in your diet.

If you don’t get the minimum amount of Vitamin E each day for a long time (I’m talking several months or even years) you’ll eventually get nerve damage. And the damage will mostly affect your spinal cord.

As we said, damage from Vitamin E deficiency takes a long time to develop and to rear its ugly head. The symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency include impaired balance and coordination, muscle weakness and anemia.

Other lesser known symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency includes loss of reproductive ability, less sexual vitality, abnormal fat deposits in the muscles, double or blurred vision and dry skin.

Vitamin E deficiency is rare because almost everyone gets between 7 and 11mg of Vitamin E each day from food. But mild Vitamin E deficiency is more common. A 1999 study showed that about 30% of the adults in the U.S. are low in Vitamin E.

The researchers correlated the low blood levels of Vitamin E to increasing risk of cardiovascular disease. The reason seems to be that people are not getting enough Vitamin E in their diet.

While not getting enough Vitamin E from your diet is only one cause for Vitamin E deficiency (although very rare)... there are other causes for Vitamin E deficiency as well.

The following are groups at most risk for developing symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency:

  • You have cystic fibrosis
  • Have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Liver disease
  • On a very low-fat, low calorie diet
  • Newborns, especially premature infants

Another cause for Vitamin E deficiency is from certain drugs or medications. The following list may decrease your Vitamin E absorption:

  • Cholestyramine (Questran)
  • Colestipol (Colestid)
  • Isoniasid
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Fenofibrate
  • Haloperidol
  • Orlistat
  • Mineral Oil
  • Olestra

The last 2 were quite surprising for me but I guess you learn something new every day.

What’s the Solution to Prevent Deficiency?

Supplementation is the best way to go. And we want you to have the full benefits of Vitamin E... not just the RDA (which is the bare minimum). So go for at least 100mg of Vitamin E per day.

Some sources will recommend anywhere between 200-300mg of Vitamin E. But of all the studies I have read it seems that 100mg is a good amount to get... especially if you want their antioxidant benefits. And the best way to do this is through proper supplementation because it’s almost impossible to get 100mg of Vitamin E from food alone.

If you have any of the conditions I mentioned above, the Vitamin E supplement you should take is the dry form. The label should say "d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate" or "d-alpha-tocopheryl succinate." Notice the "acetate" and "succinate" on the label. I say the dry form because if you have trouble digesting fats then the liquid (or wet) form will do you no good. 

So we went over the symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency, how it comes about, and that taking 100mg of a Vitamin E supplement is the best way to prevent deficiency.

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