What Is a Vitamin E Overdose?

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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 31 May 2020
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Overdose of Vitamin E occurs when one ingests an amount of vitamin E so large that the body cannot correctly process it. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for a variety of life functions. As even foods rich in vitamin E have a relatively small amount of the vitamin, overdose can only occur through using vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E overdose produces flu-like symptoms that can be fatal in certain cases. If overdose is suspected, one must seek immediate medical treatment.

An antioxidant, vitamin E maintains the lipid bi-layer that comprises all of an animal's cell walls. It also plays a role in building smooth muscle within the human body. Since the 1930s, vitamin E has been a proven treatment for anemia in children. Its role in maintaining healthy cells has made vitamin E a popular dietary supplement despite the fact that a balanced diet can provide more than enough daily vitamin E. Though taking a single supplement once a day is relatively safe, taking more supplements than what is advised by the manufacturing company can lead to an overdose.

The symptoms of a vitamin E overdose resemble those of a cold or flu. Fatigue, nausea and diarrhea are common side effects that appear very quickly after ingesting too much vitamin E. If one suspects a vitamin E overdose, immediate medical attention is required.

As a vitamin E overdose can cause external and internal bleeding, a physician will monitor for these events while a patient is hospitalized. Coagulant medication can prevent or stop bleeding if it should occur. The other symptoms of overdose should subside within a day or two. IV fluids may be required if the patient experiences excessive vomiting. As of 2011, the medical community is still uncertain to whether or not a vitamin E overdose has any long-term side effects.

If one wishes to prevent a vitamin E overdose but still enjoy the benefits of ingesting more vitamin E, eating foods with high vitamin E is a safe way to accomplish this goal. Fruits such as mangoes, papayas and tomatoes have high levels of the vitamin. Vegetables include spinach, turnips and beets. Processed foods such as certain breakfast cereals and sunflower oil provide extra vitamin E. As these foods contain relatively small amounts of vitamin E when compared to vitamin E supplements, one can eat as many vitamin E rich foods as one pleases and not have to fear a vitamin E overdose.


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Post 3

@ZipLine-- My dog once managed to open my vitamin E supplement bottle when I was not home and ate some of it. When I got home and realized what happened, I rushed him to the vet. We waited there for a long time, despite the vet saying that he would be fine. I wanted to make sure that he would be treated in case something happened. Thankfully, he did not experience any negative vitamin E side effects.

It's a good idea to hide supplement bottles at home if you have pets. I also don't think that the vitamin E in dog foods is harmful. But if a pet eats human vitamin supplements, then that's definitely dangerous.

Post 2

@ZipLine-- I don't think you need to worry about vitamin E toxicity from foods.

I asked my doctor about vitamin E overdose because I take a vitamin E supplement daily. He told me that I cannot overdose on vitamin E at the amounts that I'm getting from food and supplements. Even though vitamin E is fat soluble, apparently the body has ways of getting rid of excessive amounts. My doctor said that most of us need to worry about vitamin E deficiency, not overdose.

I'm sure that the same applies to pets. I doubt that pet foods would have enough vitamin E to cause toxicity in pets.

Just make sure that if you use vitamin E supplements, that it's naturally sourced. This type of natural vitamin E is called d-alpha-tocopherol. Dl-alpha-tocopherol is synthetic vitamin E.

Post 1

More and more processed foods seem to be adding vitamin E into the ingredients list as an antioxidant and preserver. It's also a very common ingredient in pet foods. I'm sincerely starting to worry about vitamin E toxicity in my dogs. I have not found a dry dog food that doesn't have vitamin E.

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