Vitamin E is found in abundance in vegetable oils, as plants are the only species capable of producing this vitamin. In the diet, nuts and whole grains and their oils are the predominant sources. Vitamin E was assumed to be so abundant in the diet, its use in the food and beverage industry (in tocopherol form)was relegated to the status of a common antioxidant preservative. Most of the time, it wasn’t even labeled as a vitamin, but as “tocopherols.”
By the 1980s, however, it was determined that, due to a sharp decline in intake of vitamin E-rich foods, many Americans were coming up deficient. The lipid-soluble vitamin is, however, critical for a number of functions throughout the body, from maintaining cell integrity to involvement in thousands of enzymatic activities that control systemic and neurological functions to gene expression, fertility (for both men and women), eye health, bone health and immunity.