The Institute of Medicine tells us the Vitamin E RDA for adults is 15mg/day (about 22IU). This doesn’t seem too bad but it’s still too low considering you start to get the real benefits of Vitamin E from taking at least 100mg (150 IU) per day.
Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to get close to 100mg of Vitamin E just from food sources. Unless you want to eat 2500 calories worth of almonds (about 15oz) each day or chug down 25 tablespoons of canola oil (which is about 3000 calories).
Doesn’t sound all that appealing, right? Unless you’re on the Man versus Food show.
This is why supplementing is the best way to go.
Before we begin, Detective’s Warning: If you’re going to supplement Vitamin E, the Upper Limit (UL) is 1000mg (1500IU) per day. And check with your doctor before supplementing with Vitamin E (especially if you have any heart conditions or taking any heart medications).
Vitamin E supplements are measured in International Units (IUs). Not sure why they decided to use this somewhat confusing measurement but I guess it’s to allow the scientific community to feel cool. Also, depending on the ingredients used in your supplement will determine how much IU equivalents you’ll get from it.
Here is a table with some of the different Vitamin E ingredients you’ll find in supplements and how much you get out of each one. I got the information from the PDR for Herbal Medicines, Third Edition book.
I wouldn’t get too hung up on the details... this table is just for reference.
Your best bet is getting a natural Vitamin E supplement version in the wet form. And if you have trouble digesting fats or oils, go for the succinate dry form.
As you’ll see below there are different forms and options of Vitamin E supplements.
You’ll sometimes see “alpha-tocopheryl” as the ingredient in some supplements. Have no fear because this is basically the same as “alpha-tocopherol.”
The only difference between the tocopherol and tocopheryl forms is some whacky scientists added an ester group to the tocopherol form thinking that it will be more resistant to being broken down inside the body and will therefore last longer in the body.
Both forms are just as effective and “biologically” active. I personally think its more economical (aka. cheaper) to make the tocopheryl form as opposed to the tocopherol form. But I could be wrong.
Most Vitamin E supplements are in the alpha-tocopherol form but it is possible to get a Vitamin E supplement that has all 8 forms of Vitamin E in it. Even still, that mixed form of Vitamin E is mostly coming from alpha-tocopherol since it’s the most active.
The Vitamin E RDA is 15mg/day. But it’s been suggested to take at least 100mg/day to get the full benefits Vitamin E has to offer and this is best achieved by supplementing with a natural Vitamin E supplement in the wet form.