Is your body rejecting this weight loss vitamin?

You’ve probably already heard that vitamin D deficiency can throw a wrench in your efforts to lose weight. That’s because lower levels of vitamin D are associated with higher numbers on the scale.

But did you know that there’s another vitamin deficiency that could be equally responsible for your stubborn body fat and the health risks that come along with it?

It’s vitamin E deficiency. And chances are it could be taking a toll on your health. Especially if you’re overweight or suffer from something called metabolic syndrome…

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The condition that puts your weight loss vitamin in a catch 22

Metabolic syndrome is extremely widespread. More than one in three Americans have it. In order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have three of these five common health risks:

  1. Excess abdominal fat
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Low “good” cholesterol
  4. High blood sugar or
  5. High triglycerides

If you have metabolic syndrome, you’re more likely to develop major diseases like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. So it’s not something to take lightly. The good news is vitamin E could potentially help you get your health back on track.

If only your body could absorb it properly…

At the end of last year, researchers from Ohio State University and Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute found that obese people with metabolic syndrome have a major problem absorbing vitamin E, and it could be contributing to their health and weight loss problems.

Now, vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, which means your body needs fat to absorb it. So common sense would suggest that people who eat fattier foods and have more body fat would be absorbing it like nobody’s business. But you know what is actually happening?

Overweight people, especially those with metabolic syndrome, aren’t absorbing vitamin E because of their extra body fat…

You see, vitamin E tends to hitch a ride with the fat in your bloodstream. In an ideal world, this fat and vitamin E from your bloodstream find a way into your tissues, so your body can make good use of them. But if your tissues already have more than enough fat, they may reject vitamin E and the fat that comes with it because they see it as more fat — something they don’t need. That means the vitamin E you consume may never make its way to your tissues and is pretty much useless to your body.

Now, that’s a real shame, because people who are overweight or who have metabolic syndrome need vitamin E more than anyone else. Extra fat and the numerous health issues that accompany metabolic syndrome increase oxidative stress in your body. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights oxidative stress. That’s probably why it’s been shown to help a long list of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Working on your vitamin E predicament

Basically, vitamin E could be the missing ingredient that finally turns your weight loss efforts and your health around. You just need to follow some guidelines to give your body the vitamin E it needs…

Researchers have a few suggestions for people who find themselves in a predicament where their body probably isn’t absorbing vitamin E efficiently:

  • Don’t cut back on fat. Some people try this to lose weight, but it will only make your vitamin E situation and your weight loss problems worse. Vitamin E is found in a lot of fatty foods like almonds, avocados, sunflower oil, coconut oil and olive oil. So if you cut back on fat, you cut back on vitamin E. Your body also needs fat to absorb vitamin E, since it’s a fat-soluble nutrient. So cutting back on healthy fat is going to make your vitamin E absorption worse than ever.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet that helps weight loss but doesn’t cut back on healthy fats. The first diet that comes to my mind is the Mediterranean diet, but the Paleo diet could fit the bill too. Both of these diets will help you lose weight, which will gradually increase your vitamin E absorption over time.
  • Take a daily multivitamin that gives you 100 percent of your recommended daily vitamin E intake, which is 15 milligrams.

There are many types of vitamin E, including synthetic versions.  Gamma- and delta-tocopherols are a lot closer to what you’d get in your diet. This type has also been found to slash your cancer risk, so it’s the ideal supplement for getting your metabolism and health back on track. For more on choosing the best vitamin E, see Dr. Michael Cutler’s post here.

Editor’s note: If you want solid health, long life, there are clear fundamentals and things you can do moderately that will make clear, immediate and lasting improvements to your health. They’re easy, fun and will allow you to be a “part-time” health nut! To discover how to attain your best health without extreme diets, dangerous pills or brutal workouts, click here!


  1. “Obese people need more vitamin E, but actually get less.” Oregon State University- Linus Pauling Institute. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  2. S. Yang, et al. “Does Vitamin E Prevent or Promote Cancer?” Cancer Prevention Research, 2012.
  3. “Vitamin E.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved October 15, 2016.


Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and