Some people eat a lot of foods with various vitamins and minerals in them, nutrients that, when consumed to a certain point, can reach toxic levels. But one of those nutrients, vitamin E, isn't one of them. In fact, according to the results of a study released this week in the Journal of Lipid Research, you simply can't reach toxic levels of vitamin E. Your body won't let you.
Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University noted on the university's website that the level of intake of vitamin E in a regular diet and/or the use of vitamin supplements should cause concern.
Maret Traber, an internationally recognized expert on this micronutrient and professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, said, "Toxic levels of vitamin E in the body simply do not occur. Unlike some other fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D, it's not possible for toxic levels of vitamin E to accumulate in the liver or other tissues."
The researchers found that there are two major systems within the liver that work to excrete excess amounts of vitamin E. As for excess amounts derived from supplements, this is converted into tissue, which the experts say is not harmful to the body.
"Taking too much vitamin E is not the real concern," Traber said. "A much more important issue is that more than 90 percent of people in the U.S. have inadequate levels of vitamin E in their diet."
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and is a vital nutrient for proper maintenance and function of various organs, muscles, and the nervous system. It is a blood anticoagulant and a metabolizer as well. It protects against heart disease, cancer, and age-related eye disease. The vitamin can be found in many meats and plants and is available through many favorite foods, like salmon, almonds and other nuts, various oils (like olive oil), and leafy greens (like mustard and turnip greens).
Healthaliciousness.com put together the top ten most vitamin E-intense foods per 100 mg serving:
10. Cooked Taro Root
9. Cooked Spinach
8. Pickled Green Olives
7. Dried Apricots
6. Dried Herbs (Basil and Oregano)
4. Pine Nuts
2. Paprika and Red Chili Powder
1. Sunflower Seeds
So if you're not getting enough vitamin E, you should rectify that with a diet that is supplemented or complemented with the above, plus cooking oils like olive, saffron, rapeseed, corn, cottonseed, and wheat germ oil. Cod liver oil, which is used in various remedies and in long-term treatment of multiple sclerosis, is also high in vitamin E. Pick up a bag of peanuts or a canister of Brazil nuts or hazelnuts (not to forget the aforementioned almonds). For fruit enthusiasts, there's blueberries and apricots. And who doesn't like avocado on just about everything?
But to ensure getting enough vitamin E, Traber suggests a daily multivitamin that has the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin E and a healthy diet.
And don't worry about getting too much vitamin E. Your body will take what it needs and get rid of the rest.
(photo credit: Yuriy75, Wikimedia Commons)