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Vitamin E - Sources of Vitamin E

Child Nutrition Basics

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Updated November 22, 2008

Sunflower seeds are a healthy snack, with fiber, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals.

Sunflower seeds are a healthy snack, with a lot of fiber, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals.

Photo by Juan Monino

Unlike other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, and vitamin D, parents don't often worry that their kids don't get enough vitamin E.

After all, kids often eat plenty of foods that are good sources of vitamin E, such as vegetable oils, peanut butter, and vitamin E fortified cereals.

Sources of Vitamin E

In addition to simply taking a multivitamin with vitamin E, kids can get all of the vitamin E they need from these foods, which are good sources of vitamin E:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Vegetable oil
  • Tomatoes and tomato products
  • Mixed nuts
  • Carrot juice
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Greens

Foods that are fortified with vitamin E include:

  • Total Raisin Bran cereal
  • Product 19 cereal
  • Special K cereal
  • Peter Pan Plus peanut butter

Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important vitamin that also acts as a powerful antioxidant, which helps to protect cells against damage caused by free radicals. It is thought that these free radicals may cause cancer, heart disease, and cataracts.

Claims about the benefits for vitamin E in preventing cancer and heart disease are still controversial though, so parents likely don't need to be giving their kids extra vitamin E.

In fact, too much vitamin E can lead children to have bleeding problems.

Vitamin E is also thought to have other effects, including as a:

  • possible treatment for teens and women with menstrual pain and primary dysmenorrhea
  • preventative for preeclampsia
  • topical treatment for scars

Vitamin E Deficiency

Fortunately, vitamin E deficiency is rare in children, even those who are picky eaters.

Children who are at risk for developing a vitamin E deficiency include:

  • premature babies
  • children with malabsorption who can't absorb fat soluble vitamins, including children with Crohn's disease and cystic fibrosis
  • children with abetalipoproteinemia, a rare condition that affects how they make and digest fats and fat soluble vitamins, and rare genetic conditions that affect the transfer proteins that maintain normal vitamin E levels in the blood

Most of these children can be treated with vitamin E supplements.

Vitamin E Supplements

Multivitamins for children that typically have 50 to 150% of the daily recommended allowance for vitamin E include:

  • Centrum Kids Complete MultiVitamins, Chewable Tablets
  • One-A-Day Kids Scooby-Doo! Complete Multivitamin, Chewable Tablets
  • My First Flinstones Multivitamin, Chewable Tablets
  • Flintstones Children's Complete Multivitamin, Chewable Tablets
  • Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol Supplement Drops, Multivitamin
  • Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol Supplement Drops, Multivitamin with Iron
  • L'il Critters Gummy Vites Kids Multivitamin

In general, supplements that contain high doses of vitamin E aren't made for kids.

In addition to vitamin E supplements, children who need extra vitamin E, like those with cystic fibrosis, will usually be encouraged to eat extra vitamin E rich foods.



Sources:

Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed.

NIH. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin E Fact Sheet.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18. Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) (mg) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, sorted by nutrient content.

Vitamin E greatly reduced the severity and duration of menstrual pain in girls with primary dysmenorrhea. Dawood MY - Evidence-based Obstetrics & Gynecology. - March/June 2006; 8(1), 22-23

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