Vitamin E refers to a group of fat-soluble antioxidant compounds present in a variety of foods and dietary supplements. Antioxidants protect cells from harmful free-radical damage that can contribute to heart disease and cancer development. Daily recommended intake for vitamin E varies according to age group.
Recommended Dietary Allowance
The Institute of Medicine establishes a recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for important nutrients. The RDA represents the average daily intake of a nutrient that meets the needs of 97 to 98 percent of healthy people. RDA values for vitamin E vary by age but not by gender. Children ages 1 to 3 should get 6 milligrams, or 9 international units, of vitamin E per day, children ages 4 to 8 should get 7 milligrams, or 10.4 international units, per day and children ages 9 to 13 should get 11 milligrams, or 16.4 international units, per day. Adolescents and adults ages 14 and over should get 15 milligrams, or 22.4 international units, of vitamin E per day. Breastfeeding women should get 19 milligrams, or 28.4 international units, of vitamin E per day.
You can get vitamin E by munching on a variety of nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits, including sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, broccoli, mango and tomato. Nut butters and oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil and peanut butter also provide vitamin E, and so do wheat germ oil, corn oil and soybean oil.
Vitamin E has positive anti-inflammatory effects, and it plays a role in immune enhancement and the prevention of platelet aggregation, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Some evidence has shown that vitamin E may help prevent or delay coronary heart disease, but the National Institutes of Health suggests that more research is needed in this area. Vitamin E may help protect against cancer by reducing free-radical damage and enhancing immune function. However, studies have been inconclusive in this area as well.
Tolerable Upper Intake Level
High doses of vitamin E supplements may have adverse effects, including an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. As a result, the Institute of Medicine has established tolerable upper intake levels, or UL values, for vitamin E. Children ages 1 to 3 should not consume more than 200 milligrams, or 300 international units, of vitamin E in a day, children ages 4 to 8 should not consume more than 300 milligrams, or 450 international units, and children ages 9 to 13 should not consume more than 600 milligrams, or 900 international units, per day. Adolescents ages 14 to 18 should not consume more than 800 milligrams, or 1,200 international units, of vitamin E per day and adults ages 19 and over should not consume more than 1,000 grams, or 1,500 international units, per day.