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Tocotrienols, Super Amazing for our Health

Tocotrienols are ½ of the vitamin E family. The essential nutrient vitamin E is composed of four tocopherols: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta, along with four tocotrienols: also alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. Many people have been consuming supplements composed of only D alpha tocopherol even though D alpha is only ⅛th of Vitamin E.

It is common knowledge that naturally occurring vitamin E has numerous essential functions and acts as an antioxidant in the human body [1]. Please don’t get that confused with synthetic DL alpha tocopherol available in the pharmacy. Remember that the L in DL stands for lousy! The synthetic DL form has no useful purpose in the human body. On the contrary, numerous clinical studies show that the synthetic form behaves quite differently from the naturally occurring form and does not reduce oxidative stress.

Current medical research shows that tocotrienols are the most beneficial part of the vitamin E family. In fact, studies now show that tocotrienols protect against brain cell damage [2], reduce bad cholesterol [3], and help prevent cancer [4]. Studies on tocotrienols and breast cancer show that gamma-tocotrienols target cancer cells by inhibiting Id1, a key cancer-promoting protein [5][6]. Gamma-tocotrienol was shown to trigger cancer cell apoptosis (death) as well as being an anti-proliferant of cancer cells. This mechanism of tocotrienols has also been observed in prostate cancer and melanoma (skin cancer) studies [7].

Vitamin E, both tocopherols and tocotrienols, is extremely sensitive to the heat used in cooking. Therefore, one should look to uncooked food high in all the forms of vitamin E, or quality food supplements. The best commercially available food source of tocotrienols is rice bran, with a ratio of tocopherol-to-tocotrienol of 50:50, making rice bran also the most balanced source.

Sunwarrior’s Classic Protein starts out with organic whole grain brown rice, keeping the bran along with the protein. It is made at very low temperatures to keep the nutrients intact and is an excellent source of tocotrienols.

I have been consuming tocotrienol-rich rice bran for many years and the micronutrient tests that I take twice a year from SpectraCell Laboratories continue to show at the cellular level that my vitamin E levels are optimal.

Dr Craig B Sommers

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1 Cerecetto H, López GV (March 2007). "Antioxidants derived from vitamin E: an overview". Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry 7 (3): 315–38.doi:10.2174/138955707780059871. PMID 17346221.

2 Sen CK, Khanna S, Roy S (March 2006). "Tocotrienols: Vitamin E Beyond Tocopherols". Life Sciences 78 (18): 2088–98. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2005.12.001.PMC 1790869. PMID 16458936.

3 Parker RA, Pearce BC, Clark RW, Gordon DA, Wright JJ (May 1993). "Tocotrienols regulate cholesterol production in mammalian cells by post-transcriptional suppression of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase". The Journal of Biological Chemistry 268 (15): 11230–8.PMID 8388388.

4 Nesaretnam K (October 2008). "Multitargeted therapy of cancer by tocotrienols". Cancer Letters 269 (2): 388–95.doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2008.03.063. PMID 18504069.

5 Henke E, Perk J, Vider J, de Candia P, Chin Y, Solit DB, Ponomarev V, Cartegni L, Manova K, Rosen N, Benezra R (January 2008). "Peptide-conjugated antisense oligonucleotides for targeted inhibition of a transcriptional regulator in vivo". Nat. Biotechnol. 26 (1): 91–100. doi:10.1038/nbt1366. PMID 18176556.

6 Mellick AS, Plummer PN, Nolan DJ, Gao D, Bambino K, Hahn M, Catena R, Turner V, McDonnell K, Benezra R, Brink R, Swarbrick A, Mittal V (September 2010). "Using the transcription factor inhibitor of DNA binding 1 to selectively target endothelial progenitor cells offers novel strategies to inhibit tumor angiogenesis and growth". Cancer Res. 70 (18): 7273–82. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1142. PMC 3058751. PMID 20807818.

7 Yap WN, Zaiden N, Tan YL, Ngoh CP, Zhang XW, Wong YC, Ling MT, Yap YL. (November 2009). "Id1, inhibitor of differentiation, is a key protein mediating anti-tumor responses of gamma-tocotrienol in breast cancer cells". Cancer Lett 291 (2): 187–99. doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2009.10.012.PMID 19926394."

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