Single, pure tocotrienol isoforms are not as effective as the natural full spectrum palm tocotrienol/tocopherol complex, in reducing oxidative stress and restoring endothelium-dependent relaxation in a newly published study, conducted at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT), Australia. The study also highlights that the presence of alpha-tocopherol is essential for tocotrienols to exert this restoration for vascular health.
Abnormal endothelial cell function (endothelial dysfunction) is a sign of various vascular diseases and importantly, an early marker in the development of atherosclerosis and where there is disease-induced oxidative stress such as diabetes and hypertension.
This study set out to compare antioxidant activity of individual tocotrienol isoforms (alpha, gamma, and delta), alpha-tocopherol, and a natural, full-spectrum tocotrienol-tocopherol complex derived from palm oil, consisting of approximately 78% tocotrienols and 22% alpha-tocopherol. In addition, the study investigated the potency of these various vitamin E groups in preserving endothelial function during oxidative stress.
The researchers found that all individual tocotrienol forms (alpha, gamma, delta) effectively scavenged superoxide, but did not improve endothelial function unless alpha-tocopherol is present. Alpha-tocopherol and alpha, gamma, and delta tocotrienols were able to reduce oxidative stress at concentrations as low as 10-3 mg/ml, whereas the palm tocotrienol natural mixture was able to achieve the same effect at much lower concentrations – as low as 10-5 mg/ml. The palm tocotrienol natural mixture is more potent than alpha-tocopherol at restoring endothelial function since its effectiveness begins at 100 times lower concentration than that of alpha-tocopherol.
The capacity of the palm tocotrienol natural mixture to preserve endothelium-dependent relaxation was attributed to its rapid elimination of superoxide, as has been previously reported with superoxide dismutase preservation of relaxation in the presence of oxidative stress.
This is an exciting study that provides new evidence showing that alpha-tocopherol plays an important role in preserving endothelial function by itself as well as in an increased synergy with the tocotrienols. The natural complex of tocotrienols and alpha-tocopherol function synergistically to prevent oxidative stress and restore endothelial function at a very low concentration. Approximately 100 times more potent than alpha-tocopherol alone.
There are 8 isoforms of vitamin E in nature, and all vitamin E forms exist for important reasons as nature knows best that for vascular protection, both tocotrienols and tocopherols work together synergistically to confer a higher beneficial effect. This also reflects recent European research studies that show high blood levels of all vitamin E forms (mixed tocopherols and mixed tocotrienols) protect elderly people from the risk of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
Robin Miller, USA: she is a health and nutrition editor with more than 30 years of industry experience. She researches and writes about the nutritional benefits of palm fruit oil, with the goal of giving readers factual, science-based information that will be useful in their daily lives.