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J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Apr;104(4):567-75.

Intake of alpha-tocopherol is limited among US adults.

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  • 1Dietary Assessment and Epidemiology Research Program, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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