Vitamin E Deficiency: You probably don't have one

Vitamin E deficiency falls into two categories. First, it can occur as a result of extreme malnurishment, and this is quite rare. Second, it can result from a genetic predisposition to poorly absorb fats from the diet. This problem can show up when diseases like cystic fibrosis, chronic cholestatic liver disease, abetalipoproteinemia, and short-bowel syndrome are also present. Symptoms of a deficiency result from damage to the nervous system which manifest as problems like weakness, tremors, and extreme muscle fatigue.

Patients deficient in vitamin E or any neurological symptoms must be seen by a qualified physician. But if you don't already have one of those diseases, it is highly unlikely that you have a deficiency of vitamin E. If you do have this problem, it is typically treated with tocopherol polyethylene glycol-1000 succinate.

With that said, most people eating western diets are not getting a healthy dose of vitamin E. A study of blood samples from a wide-range of subjects revealed average blood concentrations less than half of what is consistent with the recommended daily intake. So while being deficient in vitamin E is an unusual medical condition, inadequate intake is quite common.

Medical facts about vitamin E deficiency

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References:1. Ford, ES, Sowell, A. "Serum alpha-tocopherol status in the United State population: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey." Am J Epidemiol. 150 (1999) 290-300.