Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol, tocopherol) is a fat-soluble vitamin (soluble in cell fat) that has essential antioxidant properties. It helps maintain the membranes of blood vessels and the nervous system, both high-fat structures, and protects vitamin A from oxidation. It plays a role in strengthening the immune system and helps prevent the development of certain chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and possibly cancer. Vitamin E is generally obtained through diet, and deficiencies are rare (abnormal diet, intestinal malabsorption). Vitamin E levels are expressed in micromoles per litre of blood (µmol/L). In a blood sample taken after 12 to 14 hours of fasting, measured levels reflect the body’s reserves of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol, tocopherol). Reference values provided in the report are from fasting individuals.
Vitamin E deficiency can lead to generally reversible nervous system problems (motor-sensory neuropathy) in children and possibly adults.
The toxicity of vitamin E has not been clearly established, but regular ingestion of supplements has been suspected in thrombophlebitis.