Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that stores in the body, may influence many different types of pain, according to preliminary research. For instance, some studies show that foods high in vitamin E can reduce PMS-related breast tenderness, nervousness, depression, headache, fatigue, and insomnia. While vitamin E won’t replace nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or topical moist heat, experts did believe there was a positive pain-reducing effect. For women with fibrocystic breast changes, studies confirm that patients reported relief from breast pain after ingesting vitamin E.
Vitamin E also fights arthritis-like damage -- in mice. French scientists discovered that vitamin E reduces joint destruction in mice with a rheumatoid-like arthritis. In humans, experts believe the rheumatoid arthritis patients have low blood levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and C, which are necessary to fight the destructive effects of free radicals, potentially damaging by-products of the body's metabolism. Investigators found that after six weeks of vitamin E treatment, the arthritic mice had less severe bone and cartilage destruction than that in animals that did not receive vitamin E. Of course, more studies are needed to see if this works in humans -- but it does show the possible value of nutrients in keeping us disease- and pain-free.
The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) is 30 International Units (IU). The health risk of too much vitamin E supplementation is low, although there are few studies on long-term supplementation. The Institute of Medicine has set the upper tolerable limit for vitamin E supplementation at 1,500 International Units (1,000 milligrams), as bleeding may occur at higher levels.