What The Hell is Tocotrienol?


by Tom Valentine


Despite all the commercials and bullshit pitches for “Vitamins” most Americans remain as dumb as rocks about quality nutrition. This is because the complex nature of digestion and metabolism biochemistry cannot be explained in sound bites, and the establishment is not crazy for folks to learn nutrition and health.

To best explain recent news of importance, allow me to dredge up a feature from my True Health newsletter circa 2005:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have funded studies to determine the mechanism by which alpha-tocotrienol exerts its nerve protective action. The vitamin E material is taken from tocotrienols derived from palm oil. The study is designed to lay the foundation for a safe and efficient approach to preventing cell death and securing normal nerve function under challenging conditions—such as following a stroke.

The project is headed by Dr. Chandra K. Sen of Ohio State University. Earlier studies by Dr. Sen have learned that tiny amounts of this palm-derived alpha-tocotrienol blocked glutamate-induced nerve cell death. Glutamate toxicity is a major contributor to pathological cell death within the nervous system.

This vitamin E research is not only unique in the annals of modern medicine, but it promises to turn everything we ever thought about vitamin E upside down. Ironically, these studies come at a time when the establishment is trumpeting headlines proclaiming that vitamin E may actually make some heart conditions worse.

The recent hype denigrating vitamin E does not reflect even a half-truth about this remarkable nutrient. In fact, when the truth wills out, the negatives will be found linked only to the cheap synthetic version of alpha tocopherol, which is spelled alpha tocopheryl and has been known to be nutritionally inferior to natural vitamin E since 1965. In fact, only nutritional ignorance keeps tocopheryl on the market.

What’s the whole story, and how is it that the NIH is funding studies on a form of vitamin E the general public doesn’t even know exists?

The ignorance may be blamed on past scientific errors of assumption that concluded the alpha tocopherol to be the only nutritional form of vitamin E having any value for mammals and humans.

Vitamin E occurs naturally in eight different forms—4 forms of tocopherol and 4 forms of tocotrienol. The two forms each have four divisions based upon the structures of the heads or chromanol rings; these are designated alpha, gamma, beta, and delta. They are distinguished from one another by their side chains. Tocopherols have a saturated tail, called the phytyl, and tocotrienols have unsaturated tails. This is essentially the same chemistry that distinguishes saturated fats from unsaturated fats. Vitamin E is a fat, or a fat-soluble nutrient.

In recent years it has been hypothesized that tocotrienols taken orally may not be delivered to the organs due to inefficient transport by what has been named “tocopherol transfer protein,” which appears in test tubes to have a greater affinity for tocopherols than for tocotrienols.

In the first published study by Prof. Sen, subjects given 400 mg of Tocomin®SupraBio™ (the form of tocotrienol developed by the Maylasian company Carotech, Inc., had their blood tested after 2, 4, 6 and 8 hours following supplementation. Peak plasma tocotrienol levels were found to be 12 to 30 times higher than those needed to completely prevent stroke-related neurodegeneration as determined by earlier research.

Prof. Sen stated: “Our results demonstrate that tocotrienol is efficiently delivered to the bloodstream despite the fact that the transfer protein has a lower affinity for tocotrienol than it has for tocopherol.”

In the second study, published in the June 2006 issue of Journal of Neurochemistry, Prof. Sen’s team determined that tocotrienols protect against stroke-induced neurodegeneration in two different ways: first by acting as an antioxidant at higher concentrations, and secondly providing non-antioxidant protection at lower levels.

Palm oil is the second most common vegetable oil produced in the world
(soy is first) with 90% of it used for nutritional purposes. Unlike other tocotrienol sources such as rice fatty acid distillate or palm fatty acid distillates, the meticulous and mild Tocomin® process produces a unique, wholesome combination of tocotrienols, phytosterols, squalene, mixed carotenoids and even a trace of coenzyme Q-10 all working synergystically to confer the most effective health benefits.

For several decades the palm oils suffered from the false premise about saturated fats and oils that dominated nutritional thinking due to a misplaced faith in flawed studies from the early years of cholesterol scare nutritional oil research.

However since 1986 the peer-reviewed scientists have acknowledged the earlier error (although most advertising has not) and palm and coconut oils have been shown to benefit cholesterol levels in humans and animals rather than be harmful as previously assumed.

Clinical studies show that Tocomin®Supra Bio™supports the human cholesterol level systems and the blood quality against clotting and clogging. It also protects the cells from oxidation damage and helps the various body systems cope with inflammation in an ideal manner.


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Tom Valentine (born August 20, 1935, same day as Ron Paul) is a businessman, writer, commentator and radio host with an anti-establishment perspective. He worked with Radio Free America from 1988 to 2004. He tends to align with issues from left and right ends of the political spectrum, as well as libertarianism. His main journalistic interests have been unorthodox health care methods and conspiracy theories. He is a believer in many alternatives as cancer cures, and believes that soy products are unhealthy for human consumption. All of his views are at odds with the mainstream medical community.