Vitamin E

What is vitamin E and what does it do?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.

The body also needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting within them. In addition, cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and to carry out many important functions.

How much vitamin E do you need?

The amount of vitamin E you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg).

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 4 mg
Infants 7–12 months 5 mg
Children 1–3 years 6 mg
Children 4–8 years 7 mg
Children 9–13 years 11 mg
Teens 14–18 years 15 mg
Adults 15 mg
Pregnant teens and women 15 mg
Breastfeeding teens and women 19 mg

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