Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that is a potent antioxidant and may help improve both heart health and eye health. It’s one of the most heavily-researched vitamins out there, so there is an incredible amount of scientific research detailing its potential benefits.
There’s also a wide range of vitamin E supplements on the market, and it can be hard to discern what to look for.
Luckily, our research team has reviewed and ranked the ten best vitamin E supplements, plus taken a detailed look at the most current nutritional research on vitamin E.
1. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin E
One of the biggest paradoxes in the scientific research on vitamin E is the disconnect between the observed health benefits of people who eat a diet that is naturally high in vitamin E, and the lack of benefits observed in many clinical trials of synthetic vitamin E.
One potential explanation for the difference is other phytonutrients that are present alongside natural foods that are rich in vitamin E.
Garden of Life is one potential way to surmount this limitation of normal supplements—it contains 125 IUs of vitamin E alongside a raw fruit and vegetable blend, plus probiotics and enzymes to aid with digestion and bioavailability.
Of course, if you are looking to supplement your diet with vitamin E in isolation, this is not the best choice, but for those looking for an optimally-dosed vitamin E supplement alongside a well-rounded collection of other phytonutrients, Garden of Life is an excellent option.
2. Solgar Vitamin E
Solgar Vitamin E is a supplement that provides pure alpha-tocopherol dissolved in a mixture of safflower oil and soybean oil.
The capsules are gelatin based, and aside from the soy content, the ingredients are certified free of other allergens like gluten and dairy.
At 400 IUs of vitamin E per capsule, it has a formidable dosage. Thanks to its quality composition and its strong dosage, it’s an excellent choice.
3. Amazon Elements Vitamin E
Amazon Elements Vitamin E is a is a basic vitamin E supplement that uses a mixture of alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols. Each gelatin-based softgel provides 400 IUs of vitamin E, which is dissolved in soybean oil.
Those looking to avoid soy, and those who are strict vegetarians and vegans, will want to opt for something else, but if these relatively minor issues don’t concern you, it’s a solid choice.
4. Pure Encapsulations Vitamin E
Pure Encapsulations Vitamin E delivers a mixture of tocopherols for its 400 IU dosage of vitamin E, contained within a gelatin capsule and dissolved in a blend of rapeseed oil and sunflower oil.
These vegetable oils help ensure good bioavailability, making this vitamin E supplement a good option.
5. Eden’s Semilla Vitamin E Oil
For treating skin and scar tissue, Eden’s Semilla Vitamin E Oil is a great choice. This liquid vitamin E solution uses a blend of vegetable oils including sunflower, sweet almond, apricot, and jojoba oil.
These oils serve as the delivery vehicle for a concentrated topical treatment that can be applied to your skin, nails, or even hair. Its all-natural ingredients make it an attractive option as a topical vitamin E supplement.
6. NusaPure Vitamin E
If you are intent on megadosing vitamin E, NusaPure Vitamin E is the best option. Each capsule has 1000 IUs of vitamin E, which is delivered as mixed tocopherols in a gelatin capsule.
The bioavailability of the vitamin E may be harmed somewhat by the lack of a high-quality vegetable oil, but this minor downside is offset by the very large dose in each capsule.
7. Deva Vegan Vitamin E
Deva Vegan Vitamin E is one of the few truly vegan-friendly vitamin E supplements on the market. It delivers the standard 400 IU dosage of alpha tocopherol, but uses vegan-friendly cellulose for the capsule. Moreover, unlike other vegan vitamin E supplements, it actually dissolves the vitamin E in oil, meaning it’s got superior bioavailability compared to these other “dry” vitamin E supplements.
8. NOW Foods Natural E-400
NOW Foods E-400 use a mixture of different tocopherols to deliver its 400 IU dosage. The capsules are gelatin-based, and while they use vegetable oil as a solvent for the vitamin E, it’s not a high-quality vegetable oil like some of the other competitors on the market.
In the grand scheme of things, this does not likely make a huge difference, but it still knocks NOW Foods down a bit in the rankings.
9. Health Priorities Vitamin E Enhance
Health Priorities Vitamin E Enhance is a liquid vitamin E supplement meant for skin, nails, and hair. It uses an oil-based solution to deliver a concentrated dose of vitamin E, and also provides additional herbal ingredients like lavender and palmarosa.
While some people might seek out these ingredients, these extra plant extracts do increase the potential of an adverse skin reaction. If you have sensitive skin, it may not be the best option.
10. Kirkland Signature Vitamin E
Kirkland Signature is well-known for providing simple and effective supplements, but in this case, the simplicity of the ingredients subtracts slightly from the efficacy of the supplement.
It contains 400 IUs of vitamin E inside a gelatin-based softgel, but unlike other competitors, it does not use any type of natural vegetable oil as a solvent for the vitamin E.
Since vitamin E is a fat-soluble compound, this could lead to somewhat lower bioavailability in your system, so while the dosage is great, its absorption might not measure up to the other options out there.
Vitamin E benefits and side effects
Vitamin E is an essential vitamin that’s used by your body to protect against antioxidants, as a key ingredient for synthesizing strong skin, nails, and hair, and plays a role in maintaining vision as well.
However, it’s a controversial supplement, due to conflicting scientific research—some of the research points to a benefit, while other research indicates that high doses of vitamin E could actually be harmful.
We’ll take a look at what the most recent scientific findings say about who might benefit from vitamin E, and who might want to avoid it.
Supplementing with vitamin E may improve blood vessel function, especially if your diet is deficient in vitamin E. Given that vitamin E is one of the most heavily-researched supplements on the market, there is a wealth of information on how vitamin E supplementation affects specific bodily functions in different types of special populations (such as older adults, men, women, etc).
One study published in 2015 suggests that vitamin E can effectuate beneficial changes in blood vessel function, but only in some situations.
The paper, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, aggregated the effects of several studies on vitamin E and vitamin C supplementation on blood vessel function (1). The results showed that vitamin E supplementation was effective at improving blood vessel function, but only when people were not also taking a vitamin C supplement.
Thus, there seems to be some negative interaction between high doses of vitamin C and vitamin E that prevents the beneficial effects on blood vessels from manifesting. While it’s not clear why this might be, the evidence in this study was pooled from several different trials, which strengthens the case that vitamin C and vitamin E have some type of interaction when supplemented together.
Additionally, the researchers found that supplementation with vitamin E was more effective in people with low vitamin E levels in their blood—this makes sense, as they would likely benefit more from supplementation if their diet was low in vitamin E to begin with.
From these findings, we can infer that people whose diet is low in foods like nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables (some of the best natural sources of vitamin E) would be more likely to see blood vessel function improvement from a vitamin E supplement.
Vitamin E may help improve blood glucose control when you are dieting. Going into caloric deficit, such as when you are on a weight loss program, puts considerable stress on your body.
This stress can potentially counteract some of the benefits of weight loss (at least in the short term), but some research suggests that vitamin E could help combat some of these adverse effects thanks to its antioxidant power.
A study published in 2018 examined how the antioxidant abilities of vitamin E would interact with the stress induced during caloric deficits (2). Using lab rats, the researchers studied how well blood sugar was controlled over the course of a period of dietary restriction either with or without vitamin E supplementation.
The result showed that the vitamin E supplementation was able to modulate blood sugar levels, albeit through a different mechanism than caloric restriction.
While these results are preliminary, they do suggest that vitamin E could be useful for people who are on a diet, particularly if they are also trying to avoid blood sugar dysregulation. This could be particularly beneficial for people who are trying to control metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by poor blood sugar control and excess body weight.
Vitamin E was heavily studied in the 1990s and early 2000s for potential use as a broad-spectrum supplement to prevent diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Unfortunately, the results were somewhat disappointing—vitamin E, even at high doses, failed to exert a protective effect against many of these diseases on a population scale, and some research even found that it was harmful.
According to a review article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, high doses (400 IUs or more) of supplemental vitamin E was associated with an increase in all-cause mortality among 135,000 patients across several clinical trials (3). While these trials were limited to people who were generally already sick, it suggested that doses below 150 IUs per day are safer.
Vitamin E is also not recommended during pregnancy, according to findings published by the Cochrane Collaboration (4).
Infants whose mothers took a vitamin E supplement during pregnancy are no better off than those whose mothers did not take vitamin E, and some evidence suggests that it may increase the risk of abdominal pain and other undesirable side effects during pregnancy.
Finally, athletes who are undergoing intensive training should not take a vitamin E supplement. Research conducted in both strength athletes and endurance athletes has demonstrated that vitamin E blunts the body’s adaptation to training (5, 6).
The reasons for this appear to be linked to the antioxidant ability of vitamin E—since exercise induces oxidative damage, a vitamin E supplement actually prevents some of the necessary damage that stimulates the body to adapt and improve.
While commercially available vitamin E supplements are almost exclusively available in high doses (400 IUs or greater), research actually suggests that a more appropriate dose is in the neighborhood of 150 IUs per day, or somewhat lower.
This is based on research from large clinical trials, though, and there are still unanswered questions when it comes to the best dosage for particular needs, such as controlling blood sugar while dieting.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that appears to be useful in some circumstances, but harmful in others.
The scientific evidence indicates that high doses of vitamin E aren’t necessary all the time, and women who are pregnant and athletes doing intensive training should both avoid vitamin E supplements.
However, some more recent scientific evidence indicates that vitamin E could be helpful for improving blood vessel function and blood sugar control if you are on a diet.
Though deciding when and how to use vitamin E is more complex than other supplements, when used at the right dosage and in the right circumstance, vitamin E can help you keep your body’s antioxidant abilities strong.