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Vitamin E Dosage

You shouldn't take a vitamin E dosage exceeding 400 IU per day. This can be tricky, because the most commonly made strengths are 400 IU and 1000 IU. Studies have shown that taking more than the recommended daily allowance can increase the risk of death. If you have questions about the right dose of vitamin E for you, talk with your healthcare provider.

An Introduction to Doses for Vitamin E

Vitamin E dosing can be confusing, with several different forms of the vitamin and different recommendations and guidelines. This article will address some of the confusing issues concerning vitamin E dosing and will also discuss what is a reasonable dose.

Vitamin E Dosing Guidelines

Vitamin E dosing can be extremely confusing, since there are different ways to measure vitamin E content. Although current recommendations use milligrams (mg), most supplements still use international units (IU). Converting between mg and IU is not straightforward, since natural vitamin E (RRR-alpha-tocopherol, historically known as d-alpha-tocopherol) is more active than synthetic vitamin E (all-rac-alpha-tocopherol, historically known as dl-alpha-tocopherol). The synthetic form contains several different "isomers," some of which do not contribute to the daily requirement of vitamin E. As a result, it takes more dl-alpha-tocopherol than d-alpha-tocopherol (in terms of IU) to meet the daily requirements.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has established an RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for vitamin E (given in mg of alpha-tocopherol, a measure that takes into account only certain forms of alpha-tocopherol). Refer to the following table for RDA values for vitamin E doses, along with the conversions for IU for different forms of vitamin E:
RDA (in mg of alpha-tocopherol)
Equivalent in IU (for d-alpha-tocopherol)
Equivalent in IU (for dl-alpha-tocopherol)
1 to 3 years
6 mg per day
9 IU
13.3 IU
4 to 8 years
7 mg per day
10.5 IU
15.6 IU
9 to 13 years
11 mg per day
16.5 IU
24.4 IU
14 years and older
15 mg per day
22.5 IU
33.3 IU
Pregnant women
15 mg per day
22.5 IU
33.3 IU
Breastfeeding women
19 mg per day
28.5 IU
42.2 IU
For nutrients that can cause toxicity, a "tolerable upper intake level" (UL) is given. This is the maximum dose that can be taken without causing significant toxicity. Refer to the following table for UL values for vitamin E dosages:
UL in (in mg of alpha-tocopherol)
Equivalent in IU (for d-alpha-tocopherol)
Equivalent in IU (for dl-alpha-tocopherol)
1 to 3 years
200 mg per day
300 IU per day
220 IU per day
4 to 8 years
300 mg per day
450 IU per day
330 IU per day
9 to 13 years
600 mg per day
900 IU per day
660 IU per day
14 to 18 years
800 mg per day
1200 IU per day
880 IU per day
19 years and older
1000 mg per day
1500 IU per day
1100 IU per day
Notice that the conversion (from mg to IU) for dl-alpha-tocopherol is different when calculating RDA versus UL. This is based on the idea that only some of the forms of vitamin E in dl-alpha-tocopherol contribute to the RDA, but all forms may contribute to toxicity (for the UL calculation).
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Vitamin E Supplements

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