Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect protect the body from the damage caused by free radicals. Several studies have been performed in relation to fertility health, revealing its importance for reproductive function and health.
A study published by Fertility and Sterility in April, 2010, showed that vitamin E supplementation may aid in increasing the thickness of the endometrium in women with thin uterine lining of <8mm (1). Researchers also wanted to see if this supplement could increase uterine radial artery (uRA) blood flow. Results showed Vitamin E given at 600mg a day increased uRA in 72% of patients and endometrial thickness (EM) in 52% of patients
In a more recent study published in 2015 , Vitamin E has been linked with miscarriage whereby researchers looked at two forms of vitamin E – alpha-tocopherol (the most active form of the vitamin in the body) and gamma-tocopherol. Nearly three out of four women in the study had what was considered vitamin E deficiency, with low alpha-tocopherol levels. When looking at alpha-tocopherol, 5.2 percent of women with adequate levels in their blood miscarried in the first or second trimester as compared with 10.2 percent of women who miscarried with low levels (2).
“For nearly a century, we have known about vitamin E and its role in the fertility of animals,” says one of the study’s leaders, Kerry Schulze, PhD, an associate scientist in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Furthermore “Vitamin deficiencies are considered a form of hidden hunger because they are not readily apparent but they can have huge health consequences,” Schulze says. “What we really want to do is optimize health before women become pregnant, because if they don’t start with a good vitamin E status, they are at a high risk of negative outcomes.”
Vitamin E should be taken before and during pregnancy as it has also been shown that Vitamin E administered antenatally can result in a higher level of natural antioxidants in children's body (3).
Please note that Vitamin E supplements may be harmful for people who take blood thinners and other medicines. Check with your health care provider before taking the supplements.
1. Takasaki A, Tamura H, Miwa I, Taketani T, Shimamura K, Sugino N (April 2010). “Endometrial growth and uterine blood flow: a pilot study for improving endometrial thickness in the patients with a thin endometrium”. Fertil. Steril. 93 (6): 1851–8. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.12.062. PMID 19200982.
2. Shamim AA, Schulze K, Merrill RD, Kabir A, Christian P, Shaikh S, Wu L, Ali H, Labrique AB, Mehra S, Klemm RD, Rashid M, Sungpuag P, Udomkesmalee E, West KP Jr.
First-trimester plasma tocopherols are associated with risk of miscarriage in rural Bangladesh. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Feb;101(2):294-301. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.094920. Epub 2014 Nov 26. PubMed PMID: 25646326.
3. Kukushkina IP, Dmitrieva NV. [Evaluation of the effect of vitamin E on the fetus and newborn baby]. Pediatriia. 1991;(5):13-6. Russian. PubMed PMID: 1866229.
Dr Nicole Ng (MBBS) is a medical doctor with a passion in women's health and medical research