Vitamin E status and immune function

Methods Enzymol. 1997;282:247-63. doi: 10.1016/s0076-6879(97)82112-x.


Evidence from animal and human studies indicates that vitamin E plays an important role in the maintenance of the immune system. Even a marginal vitamin E deficiency impairs the immune response, while supplementation with higher than recommended dietary levels of vitamin E enhances humoral and cell-mediated immunity. The current RDA level of vitamin E prevents clinical deficiency syndrome but in some situations, especially in older subjects or in a disease state, fails to maintain optimal host defense. The immunological parameters reviewed are all sensitive to changes in the availability of vitamin E and, therefore, may reflect the vitamin E status of a given individual more accurately than conventional methods.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunologic Techniques
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Nutritional Status / immunology*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Skin Tests / methods
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Vitamin E / immunology*
  • Vitamin E Deficiency / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Vitamin E