Last update: June 10, 2018

Vitamin E

Very Low Risk for breastfeeding

Safe. Compatible.
Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

There are several substances, natural or synthetic, that form the vitamin E complex.
The most important component are the tocopherols, the α-tocopherol being the most active and widely distributed in nature. Beta, gamma and delta tocopherol are also natural. Tocotrienols are also vitamin E.
Natural alpha-tocopherols are d-isomers. The dl form, less active, is synthetic.

The daily vitamin E requirements for a breastfeeding mother are 12 to 19 mg (28 IU) daily; and for an infant in the first year of life, 4 to 5 mg (6 to 8 IU) (NIH 2016, Ares 2015, Hall 2010).
No supplements are necessary if diet and nutritional status are adequate.
Supplementation does not increase milk levels in well-nourished women, but does so in those with low nutritional status.

The concentration of vitamin E (α-tocopherol) is highest in colostrum (6.5 to 15 mg/L) (Xue 2017, Melo 2017) and drops to half/a third in transition milk and a third/a fifth in mature milk (Xue 2017, Silva 2017, Jiang 2016, Lima 2014).
The high concentration of α-tocopherol in colostrum causes breastfed newborns to reach adult plasma levels of vitamin E (initially one third of them) in 4 to 6 days (Ostrea 1986).

The first week’s milk of mothers of premature babies and of children over 4kg at birth has a higher content of α-tocopherol (Grilo 2013, Gross 1985). Alpha tocopherol may be slightly decreased in mature milk after high-risk pregnancies (Sámano 2017).

Preterm infants with preterm breast milk had a higher plasma level of vitamin E than those fed with mature milk and both groups had a higher level than those fed artificial formula (Gross 1985).
Breastmilk contains greater contcentration of vitamin E than cow's milk. In the first year of life, breastfed infants had better plasma vitamin E levels than non-breastfed infants (Martínez 1984).

Maternal vitamin E supplementation increases the concentration of vitamin E in colostrum and transition milk (Melo 2017, Pires 2016, Clemente 2015), but not in mature milk (Pires 2016) and no relationship has been found between diet and the concentration of α-tocopherol in breastmilk (Jiang 2016). Maternal vitamin E deficiency is not related to breastmilk levels (da Silva 2016).

The contribution of vitamins of the B complex and vitamins C and E to HIV+ mothers improves the weight gain of their infants (Villamor 2005).

The topical application of vitamin E on the nipples of breastfeeding mothers over 6 days caused a significant increase in the plasma levels of vitamin E in the infants, who did not show adverse effects (Marx 1985).


We do not have alternatives for Vitamin E since it is relatively safe.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.


Vitamin E belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Vitamin E in its composition:

  • Adermicina A Post Solar™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Alpharégul Homme™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Atomoderma A-E™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Auxina E
  • Elevit™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Ephynal
  • Factor AE™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Framintrol™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Masivol™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Pinosol™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Pinosol (Пиносол)™. Contains other elements than Vitamin E in its composition
  • Vedrop


Variable Value Unit
Bioavailability 80 %
Molecular weight 431 daltons
T1/2 282 hours


  1. Melo LR, Clemente HA, Bezerra DF, Dantas RC, Ramalho HM, Dimenstein R. Effect of maternal supplementation with vitamin E on the concentration of α-tocopherol in colostrum. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2017 Abstract
  2. Sámano R, Martínez-Rojano H, Hernández RM, Ramírez C, Flores Quijano ME, Espíndola-Polis JM, Veruete D. Retinol and α-Tocopherol in the Breast Milk of Women after a High-Risk Pregnancy. Nutrients. 2017 Abstract
  3. Silva ALCD, Ribeiro KDDS, Melo LRM, Bezerra DF, Queiroz JLC, Lima MSR, Pires JF, Bezerra DS, Osório MM, Dimenstein R. VITAMIN E IN HUMAN MILK AND ITS RELATION TO THE NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENT OF THE TERM NEWBORN. Rev Paul Pediatr. 2017 Abstract
  4. Xue Y, Campos-Giménez E, Redeuil KM, Lévèques A, Actis-Goretta L, Vinyes-Pares G, Zhang Y, Wang P, Thakkar SK. Concentrations of Carotenoids and Tocopherols in Breast Milk from Urban Chinese Mothers and Their Associations with Maternal Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients. 2017 Abstract
  5. NIH - National Institutes of Health. Datos sobre la vitamina E. Hoja informativa para consumidores. 2016 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. NIH - National Institute of Health. Vitamin E. Fact Sheet for Consumers. 2016 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. da Silva Ribeiro KD, Lima MS, Medeiros JF, de Sousa Rebouças A, Dantas RC, Bezerra DS, Osório MM, Dimenstein R. Association between maternal vitamin E status and alpha-tocopherol levels in the newborn and colostrum. Matern Child Nutr. 2016 Abstract
  8. Pires Medeiros JF, Ribeiro KD, Lima MS, das Neves RA, Lima AC, Dantas RC, da Silva AB, Dimenstein R. α-Tocopherol in breast milk of women with preterm delivery after a single postpartum oral dose of vitamin E. Br J Nutr. 2016 Abstract
  9. Jiang J, Xiao H, Wu K, Yu Z, Ren Y, Zhao Y, Li K, Li J, Li D. Retinol and α-tocopherol in human milk and their relationship with dietary intake during lactation. Food Funct. 2016 Abstract
  10. Ares Segura S, Arena Ansótegui J, Díaz-Gómez NM; en representación del Comité de Lactancia Materna de la Asociación Española de Pediatría. La importancia de la nutrición materna durante la lactancia, ¿necesitan las madres lactantes suplementos nutricionales? [The importance of maternal nutrition during breastfeeding: Do breastfeeding mothers need nutritional supplements?] An Pediatr (Barc). 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. Clemente HA, Ramalho HM, Lima MS, Grilo EC, Dimenstein R. Maternal supplementation with natural or synthetic vitamin E and its levels in human colostrum. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2015 Abstract
  12. Lima MS, Dimenstein R, Ribeiro KD. Vitamin E concentration in human milk and associated factors: a literature review. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2014 Abstract
  13. Grilo EC, Lira LQ, Dimenstein R, Ribeiro KD. Influence of prematurity and birth weight on the concentration of α-tocopherol in colostrum milk. Rev Paul Pediatr. 2013 Abstract
  14. Hall Moran V, Lowe N, Crossland N, Berti C, Cetin I, Hermoso M, Koletzko B, Dykes F. Nutritional requirements during lactation. Towards European alignment of reference values: the EURRECA network. Matern Child Nutr. 2010 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  15. Kanno C, Kobayashi H, Yamauchi K. Transfer of orally administered alpha-tocopherol into human milk. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1989 Abstract
  16. Ostrea EM Jr, Balun JE, Winkler R, Porter T. Influence of breast-feeding on the restoration of the low serum concentration of vitamin E and beta-carotene in the newborn infant. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986 Abstract
  17. Gross SJ, Gabriel E. Vitamin E status in preterm infants fed human milk or infant formula. J Pediatr. 1985 Abstract
  18. Marx CM, Izquierdo A, Driscoll JW, Murray MA, Epstein MF. Vitamin E concentrations in serum of newborn infants after topical use of vitamin E by nursing mothers. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1985 Abstract
  19. Martinez FE, Jorge SM, Gonçalves AL, Desai ID. Evaluation of plasma tocopherols in relation to hematological indices of Brazilian infants on human milk and cows' milk regime from birth to 1 year of age. Am J Clin Nutr. 1984 Abstract

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