Tocotrienols are part of the vitamin E family. The Vitamin E family is comprised of eight different compounds: alpha, beta, gamma and delta-tocotrienols and tocopherols. Tocopherols are the most common form used for vitamin E fortification, but tocotrienols may be a more potent source of vitamin E. Tocotrienols have similar structure to tocopherols but contain three double bonds in the carbon side chain of the molecule. This unique structure makes tocotrienols a potent anti-oxidant with many health benefits. Tocotrienols are found in numerous sources in nature, with oil extracted from palm fruit being the source with the highest tocotrienol content.

What is Tocotrienols ?
Vitamin E is one of the most important phytonutrients in edible oils. It consists of eight naturally occuring isomers, a family of four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) homologues.

Where it is found
Edible oil originating from plants are rich source for tocotrienols. Crude palm oil extracted from the fruits of oil palm Elaeis guineensis particularly contains a high amount of tocotrienols (up to 800 mg/kg), mainly consisting of gamma-tocotrienol, alpha-tocotrienol and delta-tocotrienol.

Tocotrienols From Normal Diet Alone
Since tocotrienols only occur at very low levels in nature, with the highest concentration found in palm oil, it is virtually impossible to attain the amount of tocotrienols that show beneficial effects from the normal diet alone. For example, one would need to consume a cup of palm olein (cooking oil) a day to get the level required for effectiveness as described in most studies.

Tocotrienols From Normal Diet Alone

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Benefits / uses
Cholesterol Reduction
Inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol. Alpha tocotrienol suppresses hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity that results in the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels.

Tocotrienols which are naturally occurring in palm oil, have been shown to suppress / lower plasma cholesterol in human. Combination of gamma-tocotrienol and alpha-tocopherol is found as a potential hypolipemic agent in hyperlipemic humans at atherogenic risk. Tocotrienols inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.

Reversing Carotid Atherosclerosis
Reverses arterial blockage (carotid atherosclerosis), hence reducing the risk factors for cardio-vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and stroke. Palm based tocotrienol is the first and natural compound to be shown by human study to have the ability to reverse atherosclerosis. Medical human research showed that patients with confirmed carotid atherosclerosis, who consumed 240mg of palm based tocotrienol complex per day for 18-36 months had a decrease in the amount of cholesterol plaque in their carotid artery while those receiving placebo did not show such an effect. Palm based tocotrienol complex protects the ApoE knockout mice against cholesterol build-up and hence prevent arteriosclerosis.

Protection Against Ischemia/Reperfusion Heart Injury.
Medical study suggests that palm based tocotrienols were more efficient than alpha-tocopherol alone in the protection of the heart against oxidative stress induced by ischemic reperfusion.

Inhibit of Platelet Aggregation
Delta-tocotrienol was significantly more potent than the alpha and gamma-tocotrienols, in the inhibition of platelet aggregation. Palm based tocotrienols may serve as an antithrombotic agent by decreasing platelet aggregation significantly

Most Cardioprotective
Based on new scientific publication on tocotrienol and cardioprotection - gamma-tocotrienol is the most potent for cardioprotection.

Based on on-going NIH-funded study and in collaboration with the Ohio State University Medical Center - Prof. Chandan Sen has published 5 peer-reviewed papers which proved that alpha-tocotrienol is the most potent in preventing stroke-induced injuries to the brain.

Anti-cancer and Tumour Suppresive
Palm based tocotrienols had shown to inhibit human breast cancer cells irrespective of estrogen receptor status. Tocopherol has no effect at all on human breast cancer cells. Delta - tocotrienol was found to be the most effective tocotrienols in inducing apoptosis (cell death) in estrogen-responsive and estrogen-nonresponsive human breast cancer cells. Confer anti-cancer properties. Inhibit tumor growth of certain cancers. Alpha-tocotrienol and gamma-tocotrienol have shown to prolong the life span of cancer-infected mice. Gamma-tocotrienol is 3 times more potent in inhibiting growth of human breast cancer cultured cells than Tamoxifen. Published research from the East Tennessee University and MD Anderson Cancer Center (Texas) revealed that gamma-tocotrienol was the most potent in inhibiting prostate cancer cells.

Potent Natural Super - Antioxidant
Alpha-tocotrienol has been shown to be 40 - 60 times more potent than alpha-tocopherol as an antioxidant in the prevention of lipid peroxidation. Effective antioxidant in the prevention of protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation after strenous exercise for athletes, joggers and body builders.

Anti - Aging / Cosmetics and Personal Care
Preferentially accumulates at the stratum corneum of the skin. First line of defense against free radicals generated in the skin by UV/ozone rays. Prevention of skin aging and damage by oxidative rays. Being a more potent antioxidant, the tocotrienols neutralizes free radicals at a faster rate and hence protect tocopherols. Protection against UV-induced skin damage and skin aging. Tocotrienols topically applied onto the skin was found to penetrate rapidly through the skin and the highest concentrations are found in the uppermost 5 microns. Tocotrienol-treated skin contained Vitamin E at concentration 7-30 fold higher than control values. Tocotrienol augments the efficacy of sunscreens containing compounds that reduce penetration of or absorb ultraviolet radiation.

Lower Blood Pressure
Palm gamma-tocotrienol has ability to prevent development of increased blood pressure in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats (SHR) after 3 months supplementation.

Research studies / References
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arw Sen CK, Khanna S, Roy S, Packer L (April 2000). "Molecular basis of vitamin E action. Tocotrienol potently inhibits glutamate-induced pp60(c-Src) kinase activation and death of HT4 neuronal cells". The Journal of Biological Chemistry 275 (17): 13049-55. doi:10.1074/jbc.275.17.13049. PMID 10777609.

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