Vitamin E in foods may offer more health benefits than vitamin E supplements.
How to know if you’re getting your vitamin E’s worth? The July issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers guidance:
- Vitamin E comes in many forms. Foods contain the alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, and delta-tocopherol forms of vitamin E. Research suggests that these forms -- when obtained from foods such as nuts, vegetable oils, whole grains, tomato products and dark-green leafy vegetables, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers.
- Supplements appear less beneficial. Studies haven’t consistently shown that supplemental vitamin E provides the same risk-reducing effect as does vitamin E in foods. It could be because supplements typically contain only the alpha-tocopherol form, or have it in high amounts.
- Some supplements could be better than others. Supplements that contain mixed tocopherols -- including natural alpha-tocopherol and other forms such as gamma- and delta-tocopherol, may provide better health benefits.
- Food offers other benefits. Foods high in vitamin E also are rich in other compounds that can protect against disease. Even if you take a supplement, don’t neglect rich dietary sources of vitamin E.