Vitamin E (VE) has a recognized leading role as a contributor to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage. However, evidence suggests that the health benefits of VE go far beyond that of an antioxidant acting in lipophilic environments. In humans, VE is channeled toward pathways dealing with lipoproteins and cholesterol, underlining its relevance in lipid handling and metabolism. In this context, both VE intake and status may be relevant in physiopathological conditions associated with disturbances in lipid metabolism or concomitant with oxidative stress, such as obesity. However, dietary reference values for VE in obese populations have not yet been defined, and VE supplementation trials show contradictory results. Therefore, a better understanding of the role of genetic variants in genes involved in VE metabolism may be crucial to exert dietary recommendations with a higher degree of precision. In particular, genetic variability should be taken into account in targets concerning VE bioavailability per se or concomitant with impaired lipoprotein transport. Genetic variants associated with impaired VE liver balance, and the handling/resolution of oxidative stress might also be relevant, but the core information that exists at present is insufficient to deliver precise recommendations.
Keywords: genetic variant; metabolic syndrome; nutrigenetics; obesity; tocopherol; vitamin E.