Symptoms Vitamin E Deficiency?



Vitamin E (also known as Tocopherol) is an essential vitamin for your body. It helps regulate the metabolism in your cells. It also functions as an antioxidant, protecting your tissues, organs, muscles and blood vessels.

The vitamin is fat-soluble and is therefore common in fatty products such as oil, nuts, butter, as well as grains, seeds, vegetables and fruits. It’s not harmful to accidentally take in too much vitamin E. Vitamin E deficiency is virtually non-existent.

Although a deficiency is not common, several risk groups have a high chance of a vitamin E deficiency. These groups benefit from taking vitamin E supplements, or from eating more food containing vitamin E.

People with a higher risk of obtaining an vitamin E deficiency are:

  • PersonsThose with an eating disorder,
  • Those with chronic bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease),
  • People with an illness that prevents them from absorbing enough nutrients

A shortage of vitamin E can be recognized by the following symptoms. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it may be wise to consult a physician.


Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant, protecting the tissue from damage. When you are deficient in this vitamin, your muscles may not recover fully. This is because the membranes of the cells within this muscle cannot be repaired sufficiently (1).

Ultimately, a vitamin E deficiency can lead to weakened muscles.

In short: a lack of vitamin E can cause weaker muscles because the cell membranes are unable to recover sufficiently.


Vitamin E also contributes to a healthy nervous system. This means that all your muscles and organs receive enough stimuli to function.

When there is too little vitamin E in the body, it can lead to problems with communication between the nerve endings, which can cause loss of sense and tingling in your limbs (2). With sufficient vitamin E supplementation, however, this problem can easily be resolved.

In short: a vitamin E deficiency can lead to stimuli in your limbs because there is a reduced communication between the nerve endings.


There are two ways in which vitamin E can contribute to your vision. First of all, the antioxidant function of the vitamin helps prevent oxidative damage to your eyes (3).

In addition, vitamin E can also prevent and reduce cataracts in the elderly population (4).

Therefore, a vitamin E deficiency can cause impaired vision and also increase the risk of cataracts.

In short: a vitamin E deficiency can cause poor vision and can even contribute to a greater risk of cataracts.


A vitamin E deficiency can lead to a weakened immune system. Several studies have even shown that vitamin E deficiency in animals can affect the immune system (5). Although the deficiency is less common in humans, it can still produce similar effects when you do suffer from it.

Vitamin E helps to widen the blood vessels when you have an infection or virus so that more white blood cells and antibodies can be transported (6).

When you have too little vitamin E in your body, the blood vessels will not dilate, so that fewer essential substances can be transported to fight against the invader.

In short: a lack of vitamin E can lead to a weakened immune system.


Because vitamin E has a lot of influence on the health of your nerves, and the connections between them, a lack of vitamin E can cause a poor balance (7). Your body has less communication between all the nerves from your body parts, so you can easily take a wrong step or become disoriented when moving.

In short: a vitamin E deficiency can cause balance problems.


A severe vitamin E deficiency can not only cause balance problems but can cause even more severe damage to the nerves. The most common variant of this is ataxia. This makes it challenging to coordinate your movements.

You also have difficulty speaking (dysarthria), loss of sensation in the legs (areflexia of the lower limbs), and even a loss of sense in different parts of the body (peripheral neuropathy)(8).

However, it is true that you can suffer from ataxia due to a vitamin E deficiency, but also vice versa.

In short: a lack of vitamin E deficiency can lead to nerve damage.


Hyporeflexia means having reduced reflexes. Doctors often test this with a hammer on the knee. If your knee does not respond to this, it could be a sign of hyporeflexia.

A vitamin E deficiency can lead to hyporeflexia because your nerves communicate less well with each other (9).

In short: a vitamin E deficiency can lead to hyporeflexion because your nerves communicate less well with each other.


Vitamin E contributes to improved cognition, but a deficiency can actually cause you to suffer from deteriorated cognition later in life.

For example, research has shown a link between Alzheimer's and vitamin E (10).  However; more research needs to be done on these findings, as other factors may have played a role.

In short: a lack of vitamin E can lead to impaired cognition. However, this needs to be investigated even more.

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