Natural Vitamin E Tocotrienol Reaches Blood at Protective Levels

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Vitamin E and Disease

Two recent studies offer new evidence suggesting an alternative form of natural vitamin E can be taken by mouth and will reach the blood in humans at levels determined to protect against stroke and other diseases.

Vitamin E occurs naturally in eight different forms. The primary vitamin E on drugstore shelves is called tocopherol, or TCP. But another natural form of vitamin E surfacing as a potent neuroprotective agent in repeated Ohio State University Medical Center studies is tocotrienol, or TCT.

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This form, while not abundant in the American diet, occurs naturally in palm oil; this vegetable oil is increasingly used in prepared foods because it has no trans fat.

In the first study of this form of the nutritional supplement in humans, Ohio State researchers determined that a moderate dose of tocotrienol reached concentrations in human blood plasma that would be more than adequate to protect against neurological damage that follows stroke. These findings were published in the May issue of the journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling.

In a separate study, the scientists determined that TCT is effective at two concentrations, one at which it functions as an antioxidant, and another, lower concentration at which the supplement offers non-antioxidant protection. Both functions of TCT are directed against neurodegeneration. These findings were published June 26 in an online edition of the Journal of Neurochemistry.

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