Intake of alpha-tocopherol is limited among US adults

J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Apr;104(4):567-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2004.01.004.


Objective: To examine alpha-tocopherol intake and food sources of alpha-tocopherol in the US population relative to current Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin E.

Design: We analyzed food source and intake data from the 1994 to 1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII) with added values for alpha-tocopherol from the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 15.

Subjects: Data from 5,056 men and 4,703 women aged 20 years and older were obtained from the 1994 to 1996 CSFII.

Statistical analyses performed: The complex design and sampling weights of the CSFII survey were taken into account to calculate the mean alpha-tocopherol intake from diet, the SEM, and the percent of the Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) for alpha-tocopherol intake by age group and region.

Results: Only 8.0% of men and 2.4% of women in the United States met the new EARs for vitamin E intake from foods alone. Regionally, only 5.8% of men and 2.1% of women in the South met these EARs, relative to 9.0% and 2.6%, respectively, in the Northeast. Top contributors of alpha-tocopherol for men and women included ready-to-eat cereal, sweet baked products, white bread, beef, oils, and salad dressing.

Applications/conclusions: The majority of men and women in the United States fail to meet the current recommendations for vitamin E intake. Many of the top contributors are not particularly high sources of alpha-tocopherol but are consumed frequently. Greater inclusion of sources such as nuts, seeds, and vitamin E-rich oils, could improve intake of alpha-tocopherol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Food Analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritive Value
  • United States
  • alpha-Tocopherol / administration & dosage*


  • Antioxidants
  • alpha-Tocopherol