Key Points 

  • Anemia
  • Numbness/tingling in feet and hands
  • Speech and eye movement affected
  • Muscle/ nerve damage
  • Reduced immune syste

Vitamin E Deficiency


Vitamin E has several important functions within the body. Firstly it acts as an antioxidant (1) particularly helping with chronic conditions associated with oxidative stress (2), this is due to its functions of being a chain-breaking antioxidant that prevents the propagation of free radical reactions (3) and also helps protect the body’s cell membranes (4). As well as this it can help maintain healthy skin and eyes (5) and gives a boost to the immune system (6). 


Being deficient in vitamin E can cause damage to nerve and muscle tissue, this can initially be felt with numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, followed by a loss of feeling (7). Other systems are affected such as body movement control, eye movement and speech is imparied. 

Anemia is another sign of being deficient as it can impair the delivery of oxygen by a lack of haemoglobin (8).

A vitamin E deficiency can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system which can increase risk of infections and disease (9). It is recommended to consume 15 milligrams a day.


1- Burton, G. W., & Traber, M. G. (1990). Vitamin E: antioxidant activity, biokinetics, and bioavailability. Annual review of nutrition, 10(1), 357-382.

2 – Brigelius-Flohe, R., & Traber, M. G. (1999). Vitamin E: function and metabolism. The FASEB Journal, 13(10), 1145-1155.

3 – Tappel, A. L. (1962). Vitamin E as the biological lipid antioxidant. Vitamins & Hormones, 20, 493-510.

4 –  Packer, L. (1991). Protective role of vitamin E in biological systems. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 53(4), 1050S-1055S.

5 – Bartlett, H. E., & Eperjesi, F. (2008). A randomised controlled trial investigating the effect of lutein and antioxidant dietary supplementation on visual function in healthy eyes. Clinical Nutrition, 27(2), 218-227.

6 – Meydani, S. N., Meydani, M., Blumberg, J. B., Leka, L. S., Siber, G., Loszewski, R., … & Stollar, B. D. (1997). Vitamin E supplementation and in vivo immune response in healthy elderly subjects: a randomized controlled trial.Jama, 277(17), 1380-1386.

7 – Sokol, R. J. (1988). Vitamin E deficiency and neurologic disease. Annual review of nutrition, 8(1), 351-373.

8 – OSKI, F. A., & BARNESS, L. A. (1968). Hemolytic anemia in vitamin E deficiency. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 21(1), 45-50.

9 – Lewis, E. D., Meydani, S. N., & Wu, D. (2019). Regulatory role of vitamin E in the immune system and inflammation. IUBMB life, 71(4), 487-494.