You probably know that you need to get a certain amount of vitamin E, whether through foods or supplements, to maximize your health. We bet you didn’t know that tocotrienols are part of vitamin E’s chemical group, which also includes tocopherols. Most of our vitamin E consumption comes from tocopherols, but tocotrienols can help target specific free radicals and reduce inflammation.
Here’s how this “secret ingredient” can work its wonders on your body.
Tocotrienols and vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Its main function is to find free radicals in your cells and eliminate them, before they can cause inflammation and disease. In fact, free radicals can cause skin aging, which is part of why vitamin E is common in skincare products and marketed as a skin support vitamin.
There are four forms of tocotrienols: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienols. They all have somewhat different health benefits, and can be found in sources like crude palm oil, oats, rye and barley.
Both tocotrienols and tocopherols are forms of vitamin E. The main difference between the two is chemical, and which sources of inflammation and types of free radicals they target. When you’re looking for a vitamin E supplement, try to get one with both tocopherols and tocotrienols. It’ll give you the best nutrients to resist disease.
While there are no known, serious side effects to this form of vitamin E, it’s still important that you don’t get too much. As always, talk to your doctor before you start a new diet or take a new supplement. They’ll advise you as to the optimum levels.
Benefits of tocotrienols
- Boost your brain health. Free radicals can wreak havoc on your brain, causing dementia, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases or brain decline. No one wants to spend their golden years confused and deteriorating. Vitamin E, including tocotrienols, fights specific free radicals that may cause brain disease. Some research indicates that it may slow or prevent Parkinson’s.
- Keep your bones strong. Osteoporosis is bone loss, which affects older adults. Tocotrienol reduces the damage that nicotine use does, and may slow free-radical-induced bone loss. In some cases, it can even help replace the bone loss that osteoporosis causes.
- Improve heart health. Cardiovascular disease is one of the top killers in America. Free radicals can damage your heart cells, making you more prone to disease—but tocotrienols are great for reducing or even reducing the damage they cause. It even helps reduce the way high cholesterol affects your heart health.
- Promote a healthy gut. If your gastrointestinal system takes after Shrek’s, you might want to make sure you’re getting the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E. Tocotrienols fight the effect of stress on the gastrointestinal system, and can reduce the acidity in your gut. If you frequently develop painful lesions in your gastrointestinal system, getting more tocotrienols can help.
- Make your hair and skin glow. Vitamin E is a perennial favorite in hair and skincare. Because it’s an antioxidant, it can target the free radicals in your skin cells. That will help prevent premature aging, so you’ll glow inside and out.
- Fight your cancer risk. Cancer is all too common, so anything we can do to prevent getting it is a good choice. Tocotrienols fight free radicals, which can cause cancer. They may also slow cancer growth—studies have shown that they promote cancerous cell death in breast cancer studies. Furthermore, tocotrienols (especially the gamma and delta types) play a role in fighting off other serious cancers, such as pancreatic, colon, prostate, lung and more.
Get your daily dose of tocotrienols
As you can see, this nutrient is a heavy hitter—and since there are few, if any side effects, you can feel safe adding a supplement to your diet. Of course, dietary supplements are no substitute for medical expertise, so make sure that you see your doctor regularly. It’s tempting to eschew traditional Western medicine for other methods, but if you’re dealing with any of the diseases above, vitamins alone won’t save you.
If you’re thinking about adding more vitamin E to your diet, make sure to get a supplement with both tocotrienols and tocopherols for the best nutritional value. Free radicals won’t stand a chance when you eat a healthy, balanced diet along with a daily dose of vitamin E.