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Vitamin E Safety

Before using any form of vitamin E, safety warnings and precautions for the product should be thoroughly reviewed. Some studies have suggested that people who take high-dose vitamin E supplementation may have a higher risk of death, so it is generally recommended to take no more than 400 IU per day. It is also important to know that vitamin E may interact with other medications.

An Overview of Vitamin E Safety

Normal intakes of vitamin E are probably safe for most people. However, high doses can cause problems, especially in people with certain medical conditions. You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking vitamin E if you have:
 
  • A bleeding disorder
  • Head or neck cancer
  • Prostate cancer 
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Vitamin E Safety Warnings and Precautions

Warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of vitamin E include the following:
 
  • Some studies have suggested that people who take high-dose vitamin E supplementation (more than 400 IU per day) may have a higher risk of death. It is not yet known why this might occur (or if it really is a true risk). Until more information is available, it is generally recommended that people limit vitamin E supplementation to no more than 400 IU per day.

 

  • Although vitamin E is sometimes claimed to be useful for preventing prostate cancer, some studies show that vitamin E supplementation (even at doses as low as 400 IU a day) actually increases the risk of this type of cancer. 

 

  • High doses of vitamin E may increase the risk of bleeding. This may be especially important for people with a bleeding disorder.
     
  • There is some concern that taking 400 IU of vitamin E (or more) per day during and after radiation for head and neck cancer may increase the risk of cancer recurrence. If you have head or neck cancer (or a history of such cancer), check with your healthcare provider before taking vitamin E supplements.
     
  • Vitamin E can interact with some medications (see Vitamin E Drug Interactions for more information).
     
  • Normal intakes of vitamin E are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is not known if higher doses are also safe (see Vitamin E and Pregnancy and Vitamin E and Breastfeeding).
     
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