Supply situation

According to data from various surveys, mean vitamin E intakes in Europe are between 7.8 and 16 mg alpha-tocopherol per day (62).

In a German nutrition survey, the majority of women and half of the men did not reach the recommended vitamin E intake levels (63). Later on a survey showed that about 50% of all German men and women had a daily intake of vitamin E below the recommended value. The worst-supplied men showed a deficiency of about 7.5 mg vitamin E, women about 4.0 mg (64).

In Austria, inadequate intake of vitamin E (less than 80%) was the norm in women aged between 36 and 55 years. Similar intakes were also seen in Austrian men aged over 56 years (65).

In the U.K., only 1–3% of the population did not meet national recommendations for vitamin E set in 1991 (3–4 mg/day). However, more recent recommendations of 12 mg/day would not be met by between 64 and 75% of the population (66).

Marginal intake of vitamin E is relatively common in the U.S.: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) examined the dietary intake and blood levels of alpha-tocopherol in 16,295 adults over the age of 18. 27% of white participants, 41% of African Americans, 28% of Mexican Americans, and 32% of the other participants were found to have blood levels of alpha-tocopherol less than 20 micromoles/liter. This cutoff value was chosen because literature suggests an increased risk for cardiovascular disease below this level (67).

More recent data indicated that mean dietary intake of alpha-tocopherol was 6.3 mg/day and 7.8 mg/day for women and men, respectively (68).

These intakes are well below the current intake recommendations of 15 mg/day. In fact, it has been estimated that more than 90% of Americans do not meet daily dietary recommendations for vitamin E (69).

Most recently, a comprehensive review of vitamin E dietary intake levels demonstrated that the majority of reported intake values worldwide were below the recommended level. Globally, 82 % of the values were below 15 mg/day intake; this ratio was 91 % in North and South America, 79 % in the Asia-Pacific region, and 80 % in Europe (84)

Authored by Dr Peter Engel in 2010, reviewed and updated by Dr Szabolcs Peter on 18.06.2017