Vitamin E Tocotrienols Show Cardiovascular Benefits For Healthy Adults

Vitamin E Tocotrienols Show Cardiovascular Benefits For Healthy Adults

Vitamin E Tocotrienols Show Cholesterol Benefits For Healthy Adults

With consumers always on the lookout for strong, science-based supplements offering a range of heart-healthy benefits, tocotrienol, a form of Vitamin E, may fast become the next popular nutrient for promoting heart health. A recent study published in Nutrition and Metabolism (2011) suggests that tocotrienol-rich supplements may help support healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range , particularly in people over 50. 1

According to the Nutrition Business Journal, sales of vitamins and dietary supplements grew 9.2 percent to $3 billion in 2010 in the food, drug and mass merchandisers (FDM) channel and 4.2 percent in the natural channel reaching $750 million. The recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, reported a 26 percent rise in the use of dietary supplements since 1994. 1 With such a ripe and ready market, supplement business owners can consider a wide range of high-quality nutritional supplements for promoting basic health as well as supplements that promote condition-specific health benefits.

The study group in Malaysia consisted of 62 participants each randomly assigned either a placebo or 160 mg a day of a tocotrienol-rich supplement for six months. The Vitamin E supplement used in the study contained 74 percent tocotrienols and 26 percent tocopherol. At the end of the study, both age groups (the 35-49 age group and those over 50), showed an improvement in cardiovascular health markers versus the placebo group. Those over 50 years of age also showed increased levels of Vitamin E. The study was able to establish a relationship between Vitamin E supplementation and oxidative damage, as well as antioxidant levels in those who are older.

Background: Tocotrienol

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that consists of eight natural isomers: tocopherol and tocotrienol, each as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. Of these, alpha-tocopherol has been well-studied and nutritional supplement manufacturers have been using this form of Vitamin E for quite some time. But recent studies show tocotrienols to be more bio-available and more effective in improving health than the more popular tocopherols.

One of the earliest studies conducted on tocotrienols was completed in 1986. A paper written by Dr. A. Quereshi in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, reported that barley and oats, followed by rye, wheat and corn exhibited cardiovascular system-supporting properties because of the concentration of tocotrienols found in these cereals. 2 Up until 2000, tocotrienol was rarely heard of in the market, but thanks to the efforts of Dr. Qureshi and other research studies, tocotrienol has quickly gained a significant place in health and nutrition.

Tocotrienol is mostly found in vegetative tissues of plants. Palm oil is one of the most abundant sources of tocotrienol and most commonly used for manufacturing tocotrienol supplements. Crude palm oil consists of roughly 30% tocopherols and 70% tocotrienols (gamma and alpha).

Tocotrienol for Cardiovascular Health

Tocotrienol supplementation may prove to be a potentially effective nutritional means to promote cardiovascular health. Established by the study conducted in Malaysia, tocotrienol exhibits cardio-supportive properties. The mechanism lies in tocotrienol’s ability to influence the activity of HMGCoA-reductase, an enzyme that limits the rate of cholesterol biosynthesis, thereby supporting healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range. 3-4

Like other compounds in the Vitamin E family, tocotrienols possess powerful antioxidant properties. The antioxidant properties of tocotrienols support cardiovascular health through the production of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. 5-9

Studies have also shown the importance of taking all eight forms of Vitamin E as found in natural food sources. The synergistic effect of all eight compounds has been demonstrated to be more effective in supporting cardiovascular health than taking alpha-tocopherol supplements alone. 10 A nutritional supplement manufacturer can also formulate tocotrienol supplements using other science-based heart-healthy ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, resveratrol, cocoa flavanols and more.

A 2009 report, “InvestFrost Chemicals – U.S. Heart Health Ingredients Market” from Frost & Sullivan notes, “Improved consumer awareness on the benefits of heart health ingredients coupled with the aging baby boomers population conscious of living healthy life is expected to be beneficial for the market. 11 More consumers understand that the application of heart-healthy ingredients to significantly improve cardiovascular health, provide antioxidant benefits, support healthy blood pressure levels already within the normal range, and promote overall health.

Tocotrienol for Neurological Health

Sixty percent of the brain consists of phospholipids which reside in cell membranes. As powerful antioxidants, tocotrienols play a role in protecting the cell membrane against oxidative stress, thus playing a vital role in helping to reduce neurodegeneration. 12-13 Tocotrienols support healthy brain cell functions and may be useful in supporting neurological health in combination with tocopherols and other vital brain nutrients.


Vitamin E Supplement Manufacturing

Consumers are becoming more aware of the specific health benefits of tocotrienols. A nutritional supplement manufacturer can provide your customers with this type of targeted nutrition to combat a variety of condition-specific health conditions. NutraScience Labs can help you design a high-quality Vitamin E supplement that contains all eight Vitamin E compounds for a synergistic effect on health or a combination of heart-healthy ingredients to produce a more comprehensive heart health formula. Talk to our Production Specialists or submit a request to receive a free quote to find out how we can help you either customize a unique formula to meet your target market or private label Vitamin E supplements.


1. Nutrition & Metabolism 2011, 8:42.

2. Journal of Biological Chemistry (Volume 261, pp. 10544-10550).

3. Lipids 1995;30:1171-1177.

4. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:1021S-1026S.

5. Eur J Appl Physiol 2009;107:587-595.

6. Clin Exp Hypertens 1999;21:1297-1313.

7. Pharmacol Toxicol 1996;79:334-339.

8. J Biol Chem 2007;282:809-820.

9. Biomed Pharmacother 2010;64:327-332.

10. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2008;294:H970-H978.


12. J Biol Chem 2003;278:43508-43515.

13. J Biol Chem;275:13049-13055.

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