Top 3 Heart Health Benefits of Tocotrienols You Should Know

Sep 15, 2021

Tocotrienols – a class of chemicals of the vitamin E family – have a unique combination of potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, they have enormous potential to protect your heart against aging-associated diseases.

Tocotrienols Fast Facts

● Like tocopherols, they belong to the vitamin E family.
● Since their discovery in the late 1980s, they have generated considerable attention among the public and scientific community.
● Tocotrienols are 50 times more potent as an antioxidant than tocopherols.1
● The US FDA has categorized palm oil-derived tocotrienols as “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” for consumption.2

What are Tocotrienols?

The vitamin E family comprises two similar classes of chemicals – tocotrienols and tocopherols. Vitamin E is a well-known antioxidant that neutralizes the effects of harmful substances called free radicals.

Free radicals are linked to many health problems, such as aging, cancer, and heart disease.3 Notably, high levels of free radicals can also lead to chronic inflammation.

The rich sources of TOCOTRIENOLS include:

● Rice bran
● Oats
● Barley
● Rye
● Crude palm oil

They exist in four forms: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol. Each type has a unique role in maintaining and promoting your health.

Tocotrienols vs. Tocopherols

Both these compounds have vitamin E activity. However, they have slightly different chemical structures, which make tocotrienols a richer source of antioxidants.

Sadly, unlike tocopherols, tocotrienols do not occur widely in nature. As such, the American diet contains more tocopherols than tocotrienols.

3 Heart Health Benefits of Tocotrienols, Based on Science

Over the last 3 decades, scientific studies have found promising results to support the use of tocotrienols for promoting heart health. Some of the notable findings include:

1. Tocotrienols may help reduce cholesterol levels

High cholesterol level is a common condition that affects millions of Americans. Having high blood cholesterol makes you more likely to develop heart disease and stroke.

According to a CDC report,4

  • 93 million American adults 20 years or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL (the upper limit for the age group).
  • Likewise, 29 million adults have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL.
  • 7 in 10 children and adolescents between 6 to 19 years have high total cholesterol.

TOCOTRIENOLS may help lower cholesterol levels by blocking an enzyme your body uses to make cholesterol. A 2001 study investigated the effects of rice bran-derived TOCOTRIENOLS in 90 participants with high cholesterol levels.5

At the end of the study, researchers found that the participants had significantly lower blood cholesterol, lipids, and LDL (the “bad cholesterol”).

2. They may help lower blood pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) affects about 116 million American adults, reports the Department of Health and Human Resources.6 Hypertension increases your risk of developing stroke and heart disease – the two major causes of death in the U.S.

Researchers believe TOCOTRIENOLS may prevent increases in blood pressure by:7

  • Relaxing the blood vessels
  • Increasing the body’s natural antioxidants
  • Helping your body make more prostacyclin – a chemical that relaxes the blood vessels

Nonetheless, more studies are needed to confirm the beneficial roles of TOCOTRIENOLS in people with hypertension. It is because most studies used animal models, and the results may not always apply to humans.

3. They may help prevent aging-associated heart conditions

Aging is a non-modifiable risk factor for diseases of the heart and blood vessels. In addition, increased oxidative stress and chronic inflammation have been consistently linked to aging-related health issues.

As you age, your mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouse) produce more free radicals, leading to an increased risk of heart disease. Besides, aging also impairs the body’s defense mechanisms against free radicals.

Because tocotrienols have proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, their use may cut down the risk of high cholesterol, hypertension, irregular heart rhythms, and heart disease.8

Our E-Tocotrienol softgels contain 100% Tocotrienols (90% delta-isomers and 10% gamma-isomers) obtained from the annatto tree and are great for undoing the damage from the harmful free radicals.

Resources:

  1.  Ramanathan, Nardev et al. “Tocotrienol is a cardioprotective agent against aging-associated cardiovascular disease and its associated morbidities.” Nutrition & metabolism vol. 15 6. 19 Jan. 2018, doi:10.1186/s12986-018-0244-4.
  2. “GRN No. 307 Palm oil-derived tocols with tocotrienols and α-tocopherol as the principal components”, US Food and Drug Administration, https://www.cfsanappsexternal.fda.gov/scripts/fdcc/index.cfm?set=GRASNotices&id=30.
  3.  Narendra Maddu (March 6th 2019). Diseases Related to Types of Free Radicals, Antioxidants, Emad Shalaby, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.82879. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/65067.
  4. “High Cholesterol Facts”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm.
  5.  Qureshi, Asaf A et al. “Dose-dependent suppression of serum cholesterol by tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF25) of rice bran in hypercholesterolemic humans.” Atherosclerosis vol. 161,1 (2002): 199-207. doi:10.1016/s0021-9150(01)00619-0.
  6. “Estimated Hypertension Prevalence, Treatment, and Control Among U.S. Adults”, Million Hearts, https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/data-reports/hypertension-prevalence.html.
  7. Weng-Yew, Wong, and Lindsay Brown. “Nutrapharmacology of tocotrienols for metabolic syndrome.” Current pharmaceutical design vol. 17,21 (2011): 2206-14. doi:10.2174/138161211796957445.
  8. Ramanathan, Nardev et al. “Tocotrienol is a cardioprotective agent against aging-associated cardiovascular disease and its associated morbidities.” Nutrition & metabolism vol. 15 6. 19 Jan. 2018, doi:10.1186/s12986-018-0244-4.
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