What does vitamin E do in average doses for healthy people? Well, it promotes skin health and can be applied topically for wrinkles and scar tissue, or taken internally for more supple skin. It can act as antioxidant and even help increase fertility in both men and women. It can reduce hot flashes in women, and nourish their hair to be shiny and luxurious. In smaller amounts, it can even help reduce the risks of men’s prostate cancer and men’s muscle diseases.
But is vitamin E all that safe? When it comes to side effects of vitamin E, it is quite safe for people with no major health complications. Teenage and adult bodies require a bare minimum daily dose of 15 mg (22.4 IU) from natural food sources. However, as most natural doctors agree, most people need much more than that to reap the benefits of this fat-soluble vitamin, hence we have vitamin supplement doses of 200 to 800 IU.
Vitamin E toxicity could happen if the supplement is abused in high dosage in its synthetic form, because vitamin E is an accumulative fat-soluble vitamin whose benefits and side effects slightly differ in its natural form vs synthetic . The synthetic form of vitamin E alpha tocopherol depletes the crucial gamma tocopherol and may cause the unpleasant, but very rare vitamin E side effects. The natural (d-alpha) form of the vitamin E supplement is safer.
Some people with Heart disease are usually recommended a lower dose of E supplement of 350 IU per day. And if you are about to receive a heart procedure of any kind, it is best to avoid vitamin E and vitamin C before it, as to avoid any potential side effects of vitamin E supplement due to drug interaction.
Hemorrhagic stroke that would cause bleeding into the brain, is very rare but still possible with extreme vitamin E overdose. However, while taking more than 300 IU of vitamin E per day vitamin E has been said to increase this risk by 20 %, it is crucial to understand that the study responsible for such shocking conclusion was conducted with the use of the synthetic form of vitamin E, which, as mentioned above, is responsible for the rare yet possible side effects of vitamin E. By contrast, vitamin E has been found to reduce the risk of an ischemic stroke.
There is another case with men’s prostate cancer, where it can benefit the patient if taken in a moderate dose, yet damage in high amounts, leading to more chances for prostate cancer with men. If you undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer, a vitamin E supplement could compromise these treatments’ effectiveness.
If you take antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs, such as Warfarin by Coumadin, the risk of bleeding may be increased because of higher levels of vitamin E.
The side effects of vitamin E supplement in a dose of over 400 IU in its synthetic form may worsen vision with people that have retinitis pigmentosa.
Some vitamin E overdose symptoms that you might experience with a higher dose or vitamin E are: headaches, weakness, blurry vision, rashes, and easy bleeding, stomach cramps and nausea.
When should you be cautious of the side effect of vitamin E when consuming a vitamin E supplement? One such case is with pregnancy. Higher doses of synthetic vitamin E supplements are best left for after the birth because the fetus might be harmed during pregnancy. Research is still being done, but it is best to stick to no more than 200IU a day. However, natural (d-alpha tocopherol) source of vitamin E is a much safer option.
It is important to speak to your healthcare provider about taking a vitamin E supplement if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, as to avoid any potential side effect of vitamin E associated with chemical medicines that might interfere with the absorption, use and break down of nutrients in your body.