Do you supply your diet with vitamin E supplements? Are you aware that most vitamin E supplements in the market consist primarily of alpha tocopherol and very little of gamma tocopherol?
Vitamin E looks as a single vitamin, however is a family of two groups:
- TOCOPHEROLS beta-, alpha-, gama-, delta-
- TOCOTRIENOLS beta-, alpha-, gama-, delta-
Studies on Vitamin E – Tocotrienols versus Tocopherols
Gama tocopherol has the ability to protect brain cells against peroxynitrite damage. There are also reports showing Gama Tocofherols being significantly more potent than alpha tocopherol in delaying blood clot formation in arteries but also decreases superoxide free radical generation in arteries, lipid peroxidation, LDL oxidation and increases naturally produced superoxide dismutase activity.
Studies at the University of Michigan, while comparing the effects of alpha and gamma-tocopherol supplementation on prostate cancer, they found that the gamma form was superior for inhibiting cancer growth.
Tocotrienols have smaller molecules than Tocopherols . Tocotrienols can move quick through of the cell membrane into a larger area which make Tocotrienols having more health benefits than Tocopherols. Tocotrienols have potent antioxidant activity in the cells that may neutralise free radicals more efficiently than tocopherols.
Researchers found Delta Tocotrienol as having the most powerful and activate compound followed by Gamma Tocotrienols ; when combined they are synergistic.
Studies show that vitamin E’s gamma tocopherol form may be more potent than alpha tocopherol in suppressing damaging free radicals. While alpha tocopherol inhibits the production of free radicals to some degree, it is gamma tocopherol that is required to trap and neutralize existing free radicals.
Some studies show that taking tocopherols mainly in the form of alpha tocopherols may increase blood pressure in healthy individuals.
Benefits of taking Vitamin E Suplements
Some researchers suggest that the following properties are exclusive to delta tocotrienols and gama tocotrienols, and not shared by tocopherols:
- May prevent blood clotting, thereby reducing the risk of stroke
- Inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
- Supports healthy cholesterol and triglycerides and apolipoprotein B
- Assists to maintain normal blood pressure in healthy individuals
- Neutralizes free radicals
- Neuroprotection benefits (protects the brain)
Sources of Tocopherols
Tocopherols are found abundantly in western diet trough vegetable oils, fruits, nuts.
Sources of Tocotrienols
Tocotrienols only occur at very low levels in nature, with the highest concentration found in palm oil, so it is impossible to attain the amount of tocotrienols that show beneficial effects from the normal diet alone. Tocotrienols are found in palm oil and rice bran, and palm-derived tocotrienols are better supported by research. Annatto a fruit sourced from the Amazon Rainforest has 100% of tocotrienols and is free of tocopherols while rice bran and palm oil also contain 35 % to 50% of tocopherols.
How to take vitamin E
- Use only the natural (d-) forms of tocopherols and tocotrienols and avoid the mixed dl-synthetic forms.
- It is still controversial to use both tocopherols and tocotrienols together or separated to get all the benefits that Vitamin E could give to an individual . Some researchers recommend to use a supplement that contains all 8 vitamin E components (tocopherols and tocotrienols).
- Some researchers are showing that taking tocopherols in the form of supplement may interfere with the absorption of tocontrienols and they should not be taken together.
- The perfect ration of tocopherols or tococtrionols is still not clear. Researchers recommend to keep daily intake of alpha-tocopherol below 100 IU, preferably near 30 IU and be careful of “so-called” mixed tocopherol supplements, which usually contain mostly alpha-tocopherol.
- Some researchers suggest that alpha-tocopherol could interfere with tocotrienol benefits, and recommend taking tocopherols in the morning, and tocotrienols in the evening or at least six hours apart from the tocopherol supplement. Taking tocotrienols in the evening with dinner has an additional benefit: The body’s cholesterol production peaks after midnight, so tocotrienol levels would peak in the blood when they are needed most. Because vitamin E is fat-soluble, it’s best absorbed when taken with a meal containing some fat.
The studies on the benefits of Vitamin E supplements continue, the factor is that Tocotrienols is considered the new generation of Vitamin and is called the Anti ageing vitamin.
This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with a health practitioner before starting on a dietary supplement program.