Tocotrienols – A Multi-Dimensional Nutrient Powerhouse
Tocotrienols should be a main part of any person’s dietary supplement program. Not only do they offer superior antioxidant protection, they work in numerous other ways to provide powerful health protection – especially to your brain and circulatory system.
Tocotrienols are a form of vitamin E that is far different than the common vitamin E known as d alpha tocopherol. This is because common d alpha tocopherol, which is an excellent antioxidant, is limited in its function by a "long stiff tail." In comparison, tocotrienols have a "short flexible tail" that is highly interactive with cell membranes enabling them to provide superior protection to all cells in your body.
A number of studies have shown that this makes a dramatic difference in cells of your nervous system and brain – offering protection that is not provided by common vitamin E. Nerve related wear and tear has various forms ranging in nature from poor stress tolerance, memory loss, and poor mental skills to more advanced nerve-related wear and tear that occurs as a person ages. Conditions of nerve wear and tear, whether small or large, typically involve excessive neuro-excitation heats up nerves and weakens them – leading to eventual nerve decay and destruction as the wear and tear trend continues over time.
Primary causes of such problems include exposure to general pollution in any city, acute chemical exposure, excess stress, and chemicals the FDA allows in the food supply (MSG, aspartame, food coloring, pesticides, etc.). All of these forms of nerve irritation induce what is known as glutamate-driven excitotoxic damage. As it turns out, alpha tocotrienol can completely prevent this common and typical form of nerve damage that otherwise drives the nerve decay process. There is no natural molecule more effective than tocotrienols in this regards.
Studies with tocotrienols show that they readily cross the blood brain barrier and protect your nerves. They also have a high ability to accumulate in all vital organs – lending an unparalleled degree of nutritional support and protection. It is important to maintain regular supplementation of doses ranging from 35 mg to 300 mg a day, depending on the degree of support desired. Higher amounts offer more protection. If supplementation is discontinued the extra cellular protection is lost within several months.
In addition to extraordinary nerve and brain protection, tocotrienols are natural regulators of many aspects of health. Unlike common vitamin E, studies show that tocotrienols:
1) Protect against prostate and breast cancer.
2) Activate p53 genes, which are regulators of the cell cycle and the guardians of the human genome against cancer.
3) Turn down the master inflammatory switch known as NF-kappaB, which is also a central problem in the growth of all types of cancer.
4) Prevent improper blood flow to tumors, in diabetics, and during arthritis.
5) Stop cell adhesion molecules that are needed to attach cholesterol into plaque, resulting in hardened and clogged arteries.
6) Naturally regulate the synthesis of cholesterol, helping to lower high cholesterol.
7) Are now touted by scientists as one of the best all-purpose cardiovascular nutrients, also protecting the heart and supporting healthy heart rhythms.
Any drug that could do 20% of what tocotrienols do would be the best selling drug in the world. And there are no adverse side effects.
Characterization of the potent neuroprotective properties of the natural vitamin E alpha-tocotrienol.
The natural vitamin E tocotrienols possess properties not shared by tocopherols. Nanomolar alpha-tocotrienol, not alpha-tocopherol, is potently neuroprotective. On a concentration basis, this finding represents the most potent of all biological functions exhibited by any natural vitamin E molecule. We sought to dissect the antioxidant-independent and -dependent neuroprotective properties of alpha-tocotrienol by using two different triggers of neurotoxicity, homocysteic acid (HCA) and linoleic acid. Both HCA and linoleic acid caused neurotoxicity with comparable features, such as increased ratio of oxidized to reduced glutathione GSSG/GSH, raised intracellular calcium concentration and compromised mitochondrial membrane potential. Mechanisms underlying HCA-induced neurodegeneration were comparable to those in the path implicated in glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. Inducible activation of c-Src and 12-lipoxygenase (12-Lox) represented early events in that pathway. Overexpression of active c-Src or 12-Lox sensitized cells to HCA-induced death. Nanomolar alpha-tocotrienol was protective. Knock-down of c-Src or 12-Lox attenuated HCA-induced neurotoxicity. Oxidative stress represented a late event in HCA-induced death. The observation that micromolar, but not nanomolar, alpha-tocotrienol functions as an antioxidant was verified in a model involving linoleic acid-induced oxidative stress and cell death. Oral supplementation of alpha-tocotrienol to humans results in a peak plasma concentration of 3 microm. Thus, oral alpha-tocotrienol may be neuroprotective by antioxidant-independent as well as antioxidant-dependent mechanisms.
Khanna S, Roy S, Parinandi NL, Maurer M, Sen CK. Characterization of the potent neuroprotective properties of the natural vitamin E alpha-tocotrienol. J Neurochem. 2006 September 98(5):1474-86.
Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Department of Surgery, Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Colombus, Ohio 43210, USA.