It would be nice if losing weight were as simple as taking a pill, but vitamin E weight loss is just as exaggerated as the vitamin B and vitamin B12 weight loss pills recommended years ago. Vitamin E performs many essential functions in the human body, but it's difficult to be deficient in this vitamin, and most people already take in more than enough for overall health. There is no proven link between higher intakes of vitamin E and weight loss, and in fact taking too many vitamin E supplements may be harmful to blood vessels and the heart.
Vitamin E Weight Loss Facts
The myths about vitamin E weight loss may stem from its role as a supplement often recommended for diabetics. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, supplementation with vitamin E may help diabetics maintain better blood glucose control, particularly in type 2 (adult onset) diabetics. Most of the research on vitamin E and diabetes examines the effects of vitamin E as an antioxidant. Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant and mops up free radicals. This appears to benefit the entire cardiovascular system. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are often part of a cluster of symptoms called metabolic syndrome, a condition that occurs as a precursor to type 2 diabetes or in conjunction with diabetes. Several studies listed on the Linus Pauling Institute's website examined the roles of vitamin E in preventing or reducing the effects of cardiovascular disease. Taken with the research on diabetes, vitamin E supplementation may be a good recommendation for people with such diseases, if their doctors agree.
Yet there's no correlation between taking vitamin E supplements and weight loss. Vitamin E helps the body prevent oxidative stress from free radicals and acts upon LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol in the body. But it does not appear to speed up metabolism or boost fat burning in any way. You'd be better off engaging in brisk aerobic activity regularly or weight training exercises to build lean muscle mass if you're looking to raise your metabolic rate.
Can Vitamins Help Weight Loss?
It's rare to find someone in the developed world with a severe vitamin deficiency. While people can become deficient in many vitamins, especially if they follow a restricted or poor diet, most people consume an adequate amount of the basic vitamins needed for healthy growth, metabolism, and maintenance of all body tissues.Weight loss is a complex function scientists are only beginning to understand. They know, for example, that people have a basal metabolic rate, or a basic rate at which calories are burned. To lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories than you burn, and do this consistently over a period of time.
The standard accepted science today is that no food or vitamin will automatically help you lose weight. There are many food and vitamin myths associated with weight loss. For example, many people believe that eating celery or so-called 'negative calorie' foods improves weight loss. While such foods are low in calories, high in water and fiber and make an excellent weight loss choices, the truth is that no one food is the magical answer to your weight loss woes. The same goes for vitamins; you cannot put together synthetic vitamins in a pill, swallow the pill, and watch the fat melt away. If you do lose weight after taking vitamin supplements, the chances are good that your new attention to health has inspired you to subconsciously choose better foods and eat less. There is no scientific evidence linking vitamin supplements such as vitamin E, weight loss and fat burning.
The following websites provide the latest information about vitamin E studies. Most studies are looking at vitamin E's potential to treat or prevent cancer, improve heart disease and blood cholesterol, or its use in diabetics.
- Mayo Clinic overview of vitamin E.
- University of Maryland Medical Center provides an overview of vitamin E and a good list of drugs that vitamin E supplements may interact with.
- National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements provides an extensive overview of vitamin E and its role in health.
- Medline Plus cites new research linking excessive vitamin E intake with adverse reactions.
Vitamin E Supplements
Vitamin E supplements are sold over the counter. See a nutritionist or dietician or talk to your physician for the proper dose if you wish to take vitamin E supplements. The dose depends upon your current health, your current supplement regimen and your diet. Good food sources of vitamin E include corn, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach and green leafy vegetables. Remember that supplements add to whatever vitamins you are already getting from a multivitamin supplement, fortified foods and natural foods. You may be getting more vitamin E than you think you are, and it is fat soluble, meaning it can be stored by the body. If you have any questions about supplements and health, please talk to your doctor or a medically qualified person.