Invisible Vitamins May Be Next Big Health Breakthrough
You probably know that vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that’s linked to many health benefits. But did you know that there’s no single substance that’s vitamin E?
Like the B vitamin family, “vitamin E” is actually a group of related nutrients. And each form of vitamin E works differently from the rest. But only one – alpha-tocopherol – has been studied well. In fact, about 95% of all vitamin E studies have focused on this one form.
So, when a study says “vitamin E,” it usually really means just one type of vitamin E. And the results often don’t apply to other forms. Here’s why that’s important to you…
Vitamin E is divided into 4 tocopherols (T1) and 4 tocotrienols (T3). Only about 1% of vitamin E studies have looked at tocotrienols. They’re practically invisible. But what little research there is shows they may be the most powerful forms of vitamin E.
For example, doctors in one study gave patients with high cholesterol either alpha-tocopherol or T3. After just four weeks, total cholesterol in the T3 group had dropped by more than 10%. That was 30% better than the T1 group fared.1
In another study, Indian doctors gave T3 to a group of patients with high cholesterol and blood sugar problems. After 60 days, T3 promoted an overall drop of 23% in total cholesterol… and a whopping 42% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol.2
Other research shows that may just be the beginning of T3’s health benefits.
A team at Ohio State University discovered that the alpha form of T3 – in even the tiniest amounts – promotes nerve system health. In fact, they said it’s the most powerful biological effect ever recorded for any form of vitamin E.3
Tocotrienols appear to promote heart health, too. Researchers at the University of CT found T3 may promote a “preconditioning effect” against certain serious heart problems.4
Other studies show T3 may help keep arteries clear5 and promote prostate health.6 And, of course, like all forms of vitamin E, T3’s are powerful antioxidants.
Unlike T1, only a handful of foods are rich in T3’s. The best source is palm oil. Palm oil is a saturated fat, but it has a different structure from animal fats. Palm oil hasn’t been linked to the heart problems that animal-based saturated fats have.
Other good sources of T3’s are rice bran and wheat germ. But because these come from grains, I prefer palm oil as a source.
There’s only a little research available on tocotrienols right now… but it’s intriguing. With all the potential health benefits, I don’t think these vitamins will remain “invisible” for long.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Ajuluchukwu JN, et al. Comparative study of the effect of tocotrienols and -tocopherol on fasting serum lipid profiles in patients with mild hypercholesterolaemia: a preliminary report. Niger Postgrad Med J. 2007 Mar;14(1):30-3.
2 Baliarsingh S, et al. The therapeutic impacts of tocotrienols in type 2 diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis. 2005 Oct;182(2):367-74. Epub 2005 Apr 20.
3 Sen CK, et al. Palm oil-derived natural vitamin E alpha-tocotrienol in brain health and disease. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3 Suppl):314S-323S.
4 Das S, et al. Tocotrienols in cardioprotection. Vitam Horm. 2007;76:419-33.
5 Li F, et al. Tocotrienol enriched palm oil prevents atherosclerosis through modulating the activities of peroxisome proliferators-activated receptors. Atherosclerosis. 2010 Jul;211(1):278-82. Epub 2010 Jan 25.
6 Srivastava JK and Gupta S. Tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis selectively in human prostate cancer cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jul 28;346(2):447-53. Epub 2006 Jun 2.