Everything you need to know about Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps to protect cells in the body, and it should be included in your pregnancy diet by eating the right foods, rather than taking supplements. Learn how much you need during pregnancy, and why food sources are the best way to get your recommended daily amount.
What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found in many foods, with olive oil and other plant-based oils being particularly good sources1.
With its antioxidant properties, one of vitamin E's main functions is protecting cell membranes from damage2. It contributes to healthy skin and eyes, in addition to strengthening your immune system1.
|1.4mg=||80g raw broccoli|
|1.91mg=||One handful of walnuts|
Is vitamin E safe during pregnancy?
Although necessary for your own health and your baby’s growth, it’s important to consume vitamin E supplements in safe doses during pregnancy – that means not too much and not too little2.
The recommended intake of vitamin E is 3mg per day. This amount should be achievable by eating a well-balanced diet1, which is preferable to taking high-dose supplements.
To avoid getting too much, make sure any supplements you take are pregnancy-safe. Don't worry about getting too much vitamin E from food - it is difficult to get it in high doses from diet alone
It has been observed that an adequate intake of vitamin E during pregnancy reduces the likelihood of your child developing asthma and respiratory issues later in life3,4.
Olive oil, corn oil and other vegetable oils contain beneficial levels of vitamin E. Other good sources include5,6:
|Food (100g)||Nutrient quantity (mg)|
|Broccoli (best raw)||1.72|
|Cherry tomatoes (raw)||0.89|
Check your supplements to make sure they’re pregnancy-safe.
Add the following sources of vitamin E to your pregnancy shopping list:
- Olive oil
- Sunflower seeds
1. NHS Choices. Vitamin E [Online]. 2017. Available at: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Vitamin-E.aspx[Accessed February 2018]
2. British Nutrition Foundation. Vitamin E [Online]. 2016. Available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/vitamins.html?limit=1&start=4 [Accessed February 2018].
3. Turner SW et al. Associations between fetal size, maternal α-tocopherol and childhood asthma. Thorax 2010;65(5):391-7.
4. Devereux G et al. Low maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy is associated with asthma in 5-year-old children. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2006;174(5):499-507.
5. Department of Health. Dietary Reference Values for Food energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: TSO, 1991.
6. GOV.UK. Composition of foods integrated dataset (CoFID) [Online]. 2015. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/composition-of-foods-integrated-dataset-cofid [Accessed February 2018].
Last reviewed: 7th February 2018
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