The NatureCity Guide to Tocotrienols
Vitamin E has become synonymous with the compound known as “alpha-tocopherol” because it’s the form of vitamin E principally found in most of the foods we eat in the USA.
A little-known fact is that vitamin E is actually a family of eight different compounds that include four tocopherols (alpha, beta, delta and gamma) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, delta and gamma).
The exciting news is that emerging science is demonstrating that tocotrienols appear to have a much greater antioxidant activity once inside cell membranes and tissue, and may offer many more health benefits than alpha-tocopherol alone.
Table of Contents
- What is Vitamin E?
- What are tocotrienols and what are they good for?
- What is a tocotrienol-tocopherol complex?
- What's the difference between using a vitamin E supplement and a tocotrienol complex supplement?
- How do I know I am getting an ethically sourced vitamin E supplement?
What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for vision, reproduction, and the health of your blood, brain, and skin.
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties as well. Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells from the effects of free radicals, which are harmful molecules that are created in our bodies during normal metabolic functions that keep us alive and healthy.
Excessive free radicals also result when we overtax our bodies from factors such as stress, excessive alcohol consumption, eating fatty foods, smoking cigarettes, secondhand tobacco exposure, and from other environmental pollutants.
When an abundance of free radicals overwhelm our antioxidant defense system, and cause oxidative stress, it can cause a variety of health issues.
So we want to try to protect ourselves from the possible damage that they can inflict upon us by maitaining a strong antioxidant defense.
What are tocotrienols and what are they good for?
Vitamin E is made up of both tocotrienols and tocopherols. Researchers are becoming more interested in how taking tocotrienol supplements may benefit health because the typical American diet contains more tocopherols than tocotrienols.
According to research, tocotrienols appear to have a number of health benefits, including:
- Supporting Cognitive Function Tocotrienols may help protect brain cell damage induced by glutamate, which can accumulate outside brain cells as we age and disrupt cogntive function.1 Additionally, tocotrienols may help protect the vascular network of blood vessels and arteries in the brain as we age.2
- Supporting Cardiovascular Health Cholesterol is good for us when it stays at a healthy level. On the other hand, cholesterol, especially LDL-cholesterol, is bad for us when it gets too high. Tocotrienols may help you maintain healthy LDL cholesterol levels, and protect LDL cholesterol from being oxidized. In addition tocotrienols can help maintain artery flexibility and promote blood flow.3,4
- Hair and Skin Health Oxidative stress has a negative impact on skin and hair health, which is why strong antioxidants can help preserve the beauty of skin and hair by reducing oxidative stress. Tocotrienols has up to 40 to 60 times stronger antioxidative activity than tocopherols, and may help reduce oxidative stress and support hair and skin health.5 In particular, taking tocotrienols as a supplement was found to promote healthy looking hair.6
- Supports Liver Health. Tocotrienols are preferentially distributed and accumulated in the liver cells. Being a more potent form of antioxidant, it helps to protect oxidation of lipids and fatty acids in the liver, and may help you maitain healthy liver enzyme levels.7 8
Some food sources of tocotrienol include:
- Rice Bran
- Crude Palm Oil
What is a tocotrienol-tocopherol complex?
Simply put, the tocotrienol-tocopherol complex contains traditional vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) as well as other forms of vitamin E known as tocotrienols – which may be more potent and are difficult to get from diet alone.
It is possible that studies showing little or no effect from vitamin E supplementation may have failed in part because they used only alpha-tocopherol, rather than also including other tocopherols and tocotrienols.
That’s why here at NatureCity, our Full Spectrum Tocotrienol Complex, TrueE, offers an all-in-one source of alpha-tocopherol and the four tocotrienols.
What's the difference between using a vitamin E supplement and a tocotrienol complex supplement?
Although tocopherols and tocotrienols have different degrees of vitamin E activity, they share a similar chemical structure. Tocotrienols and tocopherols both function as potent antioxidants on their own, but tocotrienols-tocopherol complex has potent neuroprotective, heart health, and liver health-supporting characteristics that vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol alone does not have.
The functions of tocotrienols and tocopherols are different and unfortunately, many people believe that tocotrienols are just another form of vitamin E and that since they are already taking vitamin E in their multivitamin, they are covered and mistakenly see no additional benefit in also taking supplemental tocotrienols.
Unfortunately, alpha-tocopherol or mixed tocopherols from soy are what’s found in the majority of dietary vitamin E supplements, and many of them are semi-synthetic. Nearly all of the vitamin E in these supplements is in the tocopherol form, and tocotrienol is mostly missing.
However, tocotrienol complex supplements from red palm oil are different because they contain BOTH the alpha-tocopherol and mixed tocotrienol forms.
Are tocotrienols absorbed well during digestion?
Tocotrienols are not easily absorbed into the blood stream. To improve absorption, choose a tocotrienol supplement with an enhanced delivery system to increase absorption and bioavailability in the bloodstream. One such system is found in the EVnol Suprabio tocotrienol and tocopherol complex. This ingredient from red palm oil was found to increase the absorption and bioavailability of the tocotrienols by up to 250%.
How do I know I am getting an ethically sourced Vitamin E supplement?
Here at NatureCity, it was important to us that we obtained ethically sourced vitamin E.
Plantations are struggling to find enough laborers as global demand for palm oil rises, frequently relying on brokers who prey on the most vulnerable people (as seen in palm oil farms in Malaysia for example).9 Many foreign workers are deceived by recruiters and are frequently unable to communicate in the local language, making them especially vulnerable to trafficking and other abuse.
In light of this, we decided to partner with the ExcelVite brand (makers of EVNol Suprabio) who have made it a priority of theirs to work ethically with farmers while producing ingredients with sustainability in mind.
ExcelVite is committed to upholding fundamental values and human rights, freedoms and basic standards of treatment for everyone without distinction of any kind – such as race and ethnicity, gender, religion, linguistic and other statuses.10
TrueE, our full Spectrum tocotrienol complex is made with EVNol™ SupraBio from Non-GMO, sustainable red palm fruit oil, the “super vitamin E.” EVNol SupraBio™ uses a patented natural delivery system that turbocharges the oil – significantly increasing the absorption of tocotrienols into your bloodstream. Learn more about TrueE and EVNol™ SupraBio and make it a part of your nutritional regimen today!
|- Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, LDN|
|Maryann is a registered dietitian & wellness expert who's helped thousands achieve their nutrition and wellness goals while still being able to live their lives and enjoy the foods they love! Read more from Maryann!|