Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Vitam Horm. 2007;76:203-61.

Tocotrienols: the emerging face of natural vitamin E.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Department of Surgery, Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.

Abstract

Natural vitamin E includes eight chemically distinct molecules: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherols and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienols. More than 95% of all studies on vitamin E are directed toward the specific study of alpha-tocopherol. The other forms of natural vitamin E remain poorly understood. The abundance of alpha-tocopherol in the human body and the comparable efficiency of all vitamin E molecules as antioxidants led biologists to neglect the non-tocopherol vitamin E molecules as topics for basic and clinical research. Recent developments warrant a serious reconsideration of this conventional wisdom. The tocotrienol subfamily of natural vitamin E possesses powerful neuroprotective, anticancer, and cholesterol-lowering properties that are often not exhibited by tocopherols. Current developments in vitamin E research clearly indicate that members of the vitamin E family are not redundant with respect to their biological functions. alpha-Tocotrienol, gamma-tocopherol, and delta-tocotrienol have emerged as vitamin E molecules with functions in health and disease that are clearly distinct from that of alpha-tocopherol. At nanomolar concentration, alpha-tocotrienol, not alpha-tocopherol, prevents neurodegeneration. On a concentration basis, this finding represents the most potent of all biological functions exhibited by any natural vitamin E molecule. Recently, it has been suggested that the safe dose of various tocotrienols for human consumption is 200-1000/day. A rapidly expanding body of evidence supports that members of the vitamin E family are functionally unique. In recognition of this fact, title claims in publications should be limited to the specific form of vitamin E studied. For example, evidence for toxicity of a specific form of tocopherol in excess may not be used to conclude that high-dosage "vitamin E" supplementation may increase all-cause mortality. Such conclusion incorrectly implies that tocotrienols are toxic as well under conditions where tocotrienols were not even considered. The current state of knowledge warrants strategic investment into the lesser known forms of vitamin E. This will enable prudent selection of the appropriate vitamin E molecule for studies addressing a specific health need.

PMID:
17628176
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3681510
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk