Can Too Much Vitamin E Cause Iron Deficiency?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found naturally in some foods and is also available as a supplement. It is an antioxidant and may help to prevent or delay certain diseases. Iron is an essential mineral that is important for a number of functions by the body. Vitamin E and iron may interact at high doses. It is important that you consult your physician before taking any supplements.

Excessive amounts of vitamin E may decrease iron absorption. (Image: dei-sin/iStock/Getty Images)

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Iron deficiency causes anemia, a condition in which the body does not have enough red blood cells. Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, cognitive impairments in children, weakened immune system and difficulty regulating body temperature. Iron deficiency can be caused by an increase in iron needs, decreased iron intake or if your body is having difficulties absorbing iron.

Vitamin E Toxicity

It is rare to receive too much vitamin E from food. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high doses of vitamin E supplements have caused hemorrhages and interrupted blood coagulation in animals during research. A few small-scale studies have also replicated these risks in humans. The tolerable upper intake established by the Food and Nutrition Board is 1,000 mg for adults. Vitamin E supplements can also interact with certain medications, most notably blood thinners.

Vitamin E and Iron

Excessive amounts of vitamin E supplements may interfere with iron absorption. Vitamin E can act as a blood thinner which affects your body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients. If you are taking iron supplements along with vitamin E, make sure to take the supplements at different times of the day and only at the recommended doses. Iron is better absorbed with vitamin C. Calcium, zinc and vitamin E have all been found to decrease iron absorption.

Precautions and Dosage

Consult your physician before taking any supplements. Too much iron can cause toxicity and iron supplements should only be taken with a doctor's recommendation. Women aged 19 to 50 should have 18 grams of iron per day. Men over the age of 19 need approximately 8 g of iron daily. Vegetarians need more iron because plant iron is not as easily absorbed as iron from meat sources. For adults, the recommended daily intake of vitamin E is 15 mg per day.

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