Q:

What happens if you don't get enough vitamin E?

A:

Quick Answer

Someone with a vitamin E deficiency may have vision problems, muscle weakness, abnormal eye movements, loss of muscle mass and unsteady gait, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website. The UMMC website says a prolonged vitamin E deficiency may also cause kidney and liver problems.

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What happens if you don't get enough vitamin E?
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Full Answer

Experts from the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements say clinically evident vitamin E deficiency is rare. Obvious deficiency symptoms have not been found in healthy people who consume little vitamin E in their diets. The ODS website says people with fat-malabsorption disorders are more likely to develop vitamin E deficiency. This is because the digestive system needs fat to absorb vitamin E properly. Deficiency is also more likely in babies who are born prematurely and have very low birth weights, as per the ODS vitamin E fact sheet.

One of the main functions of the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E in humans is neutralizing free radicals, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Free radicals form in response to metabolic activity as well as exposure to pollutants and cigarette smoke. Vitamin E may also play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer; managing the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis; and preventing macular degeneration, as per the UMMC website.

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