Tocotrienols are a class of compounds which fall under the umbrella term of “vitamin E.” These compounds have distinct antioxidant properties. Here is a look at tocotrienols, and the particular benefits that supplementing with tocotrienols can provide for you.
What Are Tocotrienols?
Most people are not aware that the term “vitamin E” is actually an umbrella term for eight different naturally occurring, fat-soluble compounds. There are two subsets of these compounds: four are called tocopherols, and four are tocotrienols.
The four different tocotrienols are known as alpha-tocotrienol, and beta-, gamma-, and delta-, respectively. Once ingested, these compounds contribute to biological processes in the body. Among them is their ability to reduce inflammation. While the most commonly recognized vitamin E compound is alpha-tocopherol, all four of the tocotrienols also provide health benefits. These compounds are metabolized in the body and distributed by the liver.
The Benefits of Taking Tocotrienols
Supplementing with tocotrienols provides a variety of potential benefits. Many of these benefits are a result of their anti-inflammatory effect, although there are other mechanisms at play, too. Consider how these benefits could apply to you and/or your family members:
Reducing cholesterol: Tocotrienols reduce the production of certain enzymes which contribute to higher cholesterol. Supplementing with them can reduce the levels of negative LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Tocotrienols also lower the levels of lipid-carrying proteins which cause heart disease, and they actually do this better than alpha-tocopherol, the most common form of vitamin E.
Neural health: Studies of the interactions of tocotrienols in humans suggests that these forms of vitamin E reach the brain quickly and easily. As a result, they are likely to meaningfully contribute to the health and functioning of neuron cells in the brain. This benefit could contribute to the prevention of Parkinson’s disease.
Preventing stroke: Tocotrienols have been shown to work in more ways than one to help prevent ischemic stroke (reduced blood flow to the brain), which is a leading cause of disability and death. One way tocotrienols do this is by reducing oxidative damage in brain tissue.
Bone healing: Some research shows that tocotrienols have the potential to help strengthen and heal bones from a fracture. This could be especially helpful for individuals with osteoporosis. Tocotrienols are thought to be more useful for this purpose than other forms of vitamin E.
Preventing hair loss could be achieved by supplementation with tocotrienols, according to some studies.
Supporting the immune system: Another less-studied yet possible benefit of tocotrienols is that of supporting the immune system.
Tocotrienols are a lesser-known form of vitamin E that should not be underestimated. Consider how the above-mentioned benefits of tocotrienols could make them a worthwhile supplement for you or your family members. Talk to your healthcare provider before adding this supplement to your regimen.