Tocopheryl Acetate: Everything You Need to Know

Tocopheryl Acetate oil and soft gels

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Alpha-tocopheryl acetate (ATA), also known simply as tocopheryl acetate, is a synthetic form of vitamin E found in dietary supplements and skincare products. It is considered the most stable and active form of vitamin E and the best option overall for treating vitamin E deficiency.

Tocopheryl acetate is marketed to prevent several health conditions or diseases. Yet, research on tocopheryl acetate and vitamin E supplementation, in general, has not proven many of these health claims.

This article describes the various uses of tocopheryl acetate and what the current research says about its effectiveness. It also explains the possible risks of tocopheryl acetate.

Dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF. 
However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and check in about potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Supplement Facts

  • Active ingredient(s): Vitamin E
  • Alternate name(s): Vitamin E acetate, tocopherol acetate, A-tocopherol, alpha tocopherol, D-alpha tocopherol
  • Suggested dose: Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E ranges from 4 to 19 milligrams depending on age; supplemental doses often go beyond RDA amounts; Tolerable Upper Limits (TUL) for vitamin E are 1,500 IU for natural vitamin E supplements and 1,100 IU for synthetic vitamin E supplements.
  • Safety considerations: Supplemental vitamin E may interact with medications; avoid supplemental vitamin E if you have heart failure; discuss supplement regimen with a healthcare provider.

Uses of Tocopheryl Acetate 

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease. 

Tocopheryl acetate has many proposed uses, primarily because of its antioxidant properties, which are thought to protect cells from free radicals.

Marketed but unproven uses of tocopheryl acetate include:

However, there is not enough evidence to support most of these claims. Many studies have found tocopheryl acetate to be ineffective for these uses. There is some evidence that vitamin E may even cause harm.

Tocopheryl Acetate Deficiency

Tocopheryl acetate is a form of vitamin E supplement. Although rare, vitamin E deficiency occurs in people with fat malabsorption disorders.

Those at risk of developing a vitamin E deficiency include people with Crohn's disease or cystic fibrosis. Occasionally, people undergoing bariatric surgery may have a malabsorptive procedure done that ultimately puts them at greater risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Signs of vitamin E deficiency include:

  • Loss of sensation in the limbs (arms and legs)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of body control
  • Problems with vision
  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle damage
  • Weakened immune system

Deficiency can be confirmed with a blood test. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are at risk for a vitamin deficiency and suspect you may be deficient.

Treating Vitamin E Deficiency

Tocopheryl acetate may be used to treat vitamin E deficiency. However, in cases of fat malabsorption, a water-soluble form of vitamin E may be needed instead.

People with a rare inherited disorder called abetalipoproteinemia have poor absorption of vitamin E. They require large doses of vitamin E. Sometimes, as much as 100 milligrams/kilogram of body weight is needed. This should be managed under medical supervision.

What Are the Side Effects of Tocopheryl Acetate?

Tocopheryl acetate is relatively safe when taken in recommended amounts. If you take the maximum daily intake or less, tocopheryl acetate is unlikely to cause side effects. Higher doses in the long term increase the chances of adverse health effects.

Taking too much supplemental tocopheryl acetate could result in:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache

Skin care products with tocopheryl acetate may cause a local skin reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction of the skin include reddening or a rash in the area that the cream or ointment was applied.


If any of the following apply to you, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about whether tocopheryl acetate is safe to take:

  • Allergies: Tocopheryl acetate may contain ingredients that could cause allergic reactions (e.g., soybeans)
  • Pregnancy: Tocopheryl acetate should only be used if needed to treat deficiency during pregnancy. One review showed that taking vitamin E supplements combined with other supplements did not affect the health outcomes of the mother or infant.
  • Bleeding disorders, blood clotting problems, or blood thinner use: Talk to your healthcare provider before taking tocopheryl acetate.
  • Heart failure: Vitamin E in doses over 400 IU daily may increase the risk of heart failure. Do not take vitamin E if you have heart failure.
  • Cancer treatment (chemotherapy or radiation): Taking antioxidants during cancer treatment is generally not recommended. Supplemental antioxidants during chemotherapy or radiation therapy could negatively impact the benefits of these cancer treatment modalities.
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Recent surgery

Dosage: How Much Tocopheryl Acetate Should I Take?

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs. 

The amount of vitamin E required daily depends on a person’s age and other factors. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E is:

  • Birth to 6 months: 4 milligrams
  • Infants 7 to 12 months: 5 milligrams
  • Children 1 to 3 years: 6 milligrams
  • Children 4 to 8 years: 7 milligrams
  • Children 9 to 13 years: 11 milligrams
  • Teens 14 to 18 years: 15 milligrams
  • Adults: 15 milligrams
  • Pregnant people: 15 milligrams
  • Breastfeeding people: 19 milligrams

It should be noted that the vitamin E RDA recommendations are for alpha-tocopherol alone, as it is the only form of vitamin E maintained and measurable in the blood. Additionally, the RDA for vitamin E is provided in milligrams (mg). However, vitamin E may still be listed as international units (IU) instead of milligrams.

Supplementing vitamin E above the RDA level will depend on your vitamin E status and clinical condition.

The Food and Nutrition Board has established Tolerable Upper Limits (TUL) for vitamin E intake as follows:

  • 1 to 3 years: 200 milligrams
  • 4 to 8 years: 300 milligrams
  • 9 to 13 years: 600 milligrams
  • 14 to 18 years: 800 milligrams
  • 19 years and older: 1,000 milligrams

Long-term intakes exceeding the TUL will increase the risk of negative health effects.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Tocopheryl Acetate?

Taking too much tocopheryl acetate may increase your risk of side effects Long-term high dosages can lead to toxicity.

Symptoms of vitamin E toxicity from long-term use of more than 400 IU (268 milligrams) to 800 IU (536 milligrams) per day may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Rash
  • Thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the vein due to a blood clot)

Some studies have found an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in people taking alpha-tocopherol supplements.Another study found an increased risk of prostate cancer with vitamin E supplementation compared to a placebo.


Medications that may interact with tocopheryl acetate include:

  • Jantoven (warfarin) or other blood thinners, such as aspirin or heparin: High doses of vitamin E (over 400 IU per day) should not be taken with these medications because it may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Statins or niacin: High doses of vitamin E taken with other antioxidants may reduce the effectiveness of statins and niacin.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation: Supplementation with 400 milligrams of vitamin E acetate (about 600 IU) was found to interfere with the effectiveness of tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer.

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review the supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.

How To Store Tocopheryl Acetate

Store tocopheryl acetate away from light, heat, and moisture. Be sure to store medications and supplements out of reach of children and pets.

Similar Supplements

Alpha-tocopherol is another form of vitamin E supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which foods are high in vitamin E?

    Food sources high in vitamin E include plant oils, such as wheat germ, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, and to a lesser extent, corn and soybean oils. Other foods high in vitamin E include:

    • Broccoli and green leafy vegetables such as spinach (provides some vitamin E)
    • Nuts
    • Kiwifruit
    • Tomato
    • Mango
  • Could vitamin E supplementation be helpful for people with diabetes?

    There is insufficient evidence to suggest that vitamin E would benefit people with diabetes. Vitamin E supplementation showed no clinical effect on glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.

    A later meta-analysis found no beneficial effect of vitamin E supplementation on glucose control, hemoglobin A1C, or insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

  • Is tocopheryl acetate beneficial for people with mental health disorders?

    There is not enough evidence to suggest that more vitamin E in supplement form is helpful for treating mental disorders. Research on vitamin E for the treatment of anxiety and depression has been mixed, and researchers are unable to draw conclusions.

Source of Tocopheryl Acetate & What to Look For

Since tocopheryl acetate is a synthetic form of vitamin E, it isn't found in food. However, vitamin E is available in wheat germ, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and spinach or broccoli.

Tocopheryl acetate is available as an oral supplement or a topical solution. It can be found in various commercial preparations, including:

  • Capsules
  • Lotions
  • Moisturizing skin creams and oils
  • Anti-aging products

Most of the commercial preparations of vitamin E are available in dosages, sold as international units (IU), but you may also see listings for milligrams (mg).

Vitamin E supplements are available as a single nutrient supplement or can be found in antioxidant formulations and multivitamins.

Alpha-tocopheryl acetate is absorbed as efficiently as alpha-tocopherol.

When purchasing supplements, always look for ones that have been third-party tested by the U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or These groups test supplements to be sure they contain what is reported on the supplement facts label and that they do not contain any harmful contaminants.


Tocopheryl acetate is a type of vitamin E supplement available. Vitamin E is an essential nutrient. Most people get the required amount of vitamin E from their diet. A vitamin E deficiency is possible but rare.

Vitamin E has been studied for preventative measures against certain diseases. Research shows that vitamin E mostly appears to have no benefit and, in some cases, may cause more harm. When weighing the benefit-to-risk ratio, there appears to be little benefit to moderate risk.

Always discuss supplements with your healthcare provider before taking them.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Jennifer Lefton, MS, RD/N, CNSC, FAND
Jennifer Lefton, MS, RD/N-AP, CNSC, FAND is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and writer with over 20 years of experience in clinical nutrition. Her experience ranges from counseling cardiac rehabilitation clients to managing the nutrition needs of complex surgical patients.

Originally written by Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong

Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.

Learn about our editorial process