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Search Health Information    Tocotrienols

Tocotrienols

Uses

Tocotrienols are members of the vitamin E family. Like vitamin E, tocotrienols are potent antioxidants against lipid peroxidation (the damaging of fats by oxidation).1 , 2

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Atherosclerosis
200 mg daily
Tocotrienols are potent antioxidants that may help slow down the build-up of plaque in the arteries.

Tocotrienols may offer protection against atherosclerosis by preventing oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol.3 In a double-blind trial in people with severe atherosclerosis of the carotid artery—the main artery supplying blood to the head—tocotrienol administration (200 mg per day) reduced the level of lipid peroxides in the blood. Moreover, people receiving tocotrienols for 12 months had significantly more protection against atherosclerosis progression, and in some cases reductions in the size of their atherosclerotic plaques, compared with those taking a placebo.4

2 Stars
High Cholesterol
200 mg daily
Tocotrienols may lower cholesterol levels. Tocotrienols inhibited cholesterol synthesis in test-tube studies, and two trials found that tocotrienols reduced cholesterol levels by 13–15%.

Tocotrienols , a group of food-derived compounds that resemble vitamin E , may lower blood levels of cholesterol, but evidence is conflicting. Although tocotrienols inhibited cholesterol synthesis in test-tube studies,5 , 6 human trials have produced contradictory results. Two double-blind trials found that 200 mg per day of either gamma-tocotrienol7 or total tocotrienols8 were more effective than placebo, reducing cholesterol levels by 13–15%. However, in another double-blind trial, 200 mg of tocotrienols per day failed to lower cholesterol levels,9 and a fourth double-blind trial found 140 mg of tocotrienols and 80 mg of vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol) daily resulted in no changes in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol levels.10

1 Star
Stroke
Refer to label instructions
In one trial, people with atherosclerosis, a condition that may contribute to stroke, who were given a palm oil extract containing tocotrienols saw significant improvement.

In a double-blind trial, people with atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries were given a palm oil extract containing 160–240 mg of tocotrienols (a vitamin E-like supplement) and approximately 100–150 IU vitamin E per day. After 18 months, they had significantly less atherosclerosis or less progression of atherosclerosis compared to a group receiving placebo.11 Vitamin E plus aspirin , has been more effective in reducing the risk of strokes and other related events than has aspirin, alone.12 However, most preliminary trials have shown no protective effects from antioxidant supplementation.13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 A large Finnish trial concluded that supplementation with either vitamin E or beta-carotene conferred no protection against stroke in male smokers,19 although a later review of the study found that those smokers who have either hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes  do appear to have a reduced risk of stroke when taking vitamin E.20

People with high risk for stroke, such as those who have had TIAs or who have a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation,21 are often given aspirin or anticoagulant medication to reduce blood clotting tendencies. Some natural inhibitors of blood clotting such as garlic ,22 , 23 , 24 fish oil ,25 and vitamin E ,26 , 27 may have protective effects, but even large amounts of fish oil are known to be less potent than aspirin.28 Whether any of these substances is an adequate substitute to control risk of stroke in high-risk people is unknown, and anyone taking anticoagulant medication should advise their prescribing doctor before beginning use of these natural substances.

How It Works

How to Use It

The typical recommendation is 140 to 360 mg per day. Most studies have used 200 mg daily.

Where to Find It

Tocotrienols are found primarily in the oil fraction of rice bran, palm fruit, barley, and wheat germ. Supplemental sources of tocotrienols are derived from rice bran oil and palm oil distillates. Tocotrienol supplements are available in capsules and tablets.

Possible Deficiencies

As it is not an essential nutrient, no deficiency state exists.

Interactions

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • Anastrozole

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.29 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Bicalutamide

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.30 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Diethylstilbestrol

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.31 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Estramustine

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.32 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Leuprolide

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.33 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Megestrol

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.34 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Nilutamide

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.35 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Tamoxifen

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.36 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Testolactone

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.37 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Toremifene

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.38 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Triptorelin Pamoate

    Tocotrienols are compounds similar to vitamin E that are found in palm oil. Test tube studies have shown that tocotrienols enhance the effects of tamoxifen.39 Controlled studies are needed to determine whether supplementing with tocotrienols might enhance the anticancer effects of tamoxifen.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

  • none

Explanation Required

  • none

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.

References

1. Kamal-Eldin A, Appelqvist LA. The chemistry and antioxidant properties of tocopherols and tocotrienols. Lipids 1996;31:671-701 [review].

2. Kamat JP, Devasagayam TPA. Tocotrienols from palm oil as potent inhibitors of lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation in rat brain mitochondria. Neurosci Lett 1995;195:179-82.

3. Suarna C, Hood RL, Dean RT, Stocker R. Comparative antioxidant activity of tocotrienols and other natural lipid-soluble antioxidants in a homogeneous system, and in rat and human lipoproteins. Biochim Biophys Acta 1993;1166:163-70.

4. Tomeo AC, Geller M, Watkins TR, et al. Antioxidant effects of tocotrienols in patients with hyperlipidemia and carotid stenosis. Lipids 1995;30:1179-83.

5. Parker RA, Pearce BC, Clark RW, et al. Tocotrienols regulate cholesterol production in mammalian cells by post-transcriptional suppression of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase. J Biol Chem 1993;268(15):11230-8.

6. Pearce BC, Parker RA, Deason ME, et al. Hypocholesterolemic activity of synthetic and natural tocotrienols. J Med Chem 1992;35:3595-606.

7. Qureshi AA, Bradlow BA, Brace L, et al. Response of hypercholesterolemic subjects to administration of tocotrienols. Lipids 1995;30:1171-7.

8. Qureshi AA, Qureshi N, Wright JJ, et al. Lowering serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic humans by tocotrienols (palmvitee). Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:1021-6S.

9. Wahlqvist ML, Krivokuca-Bogetic A, Lo CS, et al. Differential serum response of tocopherols and tocotrienols during vitamin supplementation in hypercholesterolemic individuals without change in coronary risk factors. Nutr Res 1992;12:S181-201.

10. Mensink RP, van Houwelingen AC, Kromhout D, Hornstra G. A vitamin E concentrate rich in tocotrienols had no effect on serum lipids, lipoproteins, or platelet function in men with mildly elevated serum lipid concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:213-9.

11. Tomeo AC, Geller M, Watkins TR, et al. Antioxidant effects of tocotrienols in patients with hyperlipidemia and carotid stenosis. Lipids 1995;30:1179-83.

12. Steiner M, Glantz M, Lekos A. Vitamin E plus aspirin compared with aspirin alone in patients with transient ischemic attacks. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62(6 Suppl):1381-4S.

13. Blot WJ, Li JY, Taylor PR, et al. Nutrition intervention trials in Linxian, China: supplementation with specific vitamin/mineral combinations, cancer incidence, and disease-specific mortality in the general population. J Natl Cancer Inst 1993;85:1483-92.

14. Gaziano JM, Manson JE, Ridker PM, et al. Beta-carotene therapy for chronic stable angina. Circulation 1990;82(Suppl III):III-201 [abstract].

15. Ascherio A, Rimm EB, Hernan MA, et al. Relation of consumption of vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids to risk for stroke among men in the United States. Ann Intern Med 1999;130:963-70.

16. Mark SD, Wang W, Fraumeni JF Jr, et al. Do nutritional supplements lower the risk of stroke or hypertension? Epidemiology 1998;9:9-15.

17. Hennekens CH, Buring JE, Manson JE, et al. Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with beta carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease. N Engl J Med 1996;334:1145-9.

18. The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med 1994;330:1029-35.

19. Leppala JM, Virtamo J, Fogelholm R, et al. Controlled trial of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements on stroke incidence and mortality in male smokers. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2000;20:230-5.

20. Leppala JM, Virtamo J, Fogelholm R, et al. Vitamin E and beta carotene supplementation in high risk for stroke: a subgroup analysis of the alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene cancer prevention study. Arch Neurol 2000;57:1503-9.

21. Kopecky SL, Gersh BJ, McGoon MD, et al. Lone atrial fibrillation in elderly persons: a marker for cardiovascular risk. Arch Intern Med 1999;159:1118-22.

22. Bordia A, Verma SK, Srivastava KC. Effect of garlic (Allium sativum) on blood lipids, blood sugar, fibrinogen and fibrinolytic activity in patients with coronary artery disease. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1998;58:257-63.

23. Berthold HK, Sudhop T. Garlic preparations for prevention of atherosclerosis. Curr Opin Lipidol 1998;9:565-9 [review].

24. Kiesewetter H, Jung F, Pindur G, et al. Effect of garlic on thrombocyte aggregation, microcirculation and other risk factors. Int J Pharm Ther Toxicol 1991;29(4):151-5.

25. Leaf A, Weber PC. Cardiovascular effects of n-3 fatty acids. N Engl J Med 1988;318:549-57 [review].

26. Calzada C, Bruckdorfer KR, Rice-Evans CA. The influence of antioxidant nutrients on platelet function in healthy volunteers. Atherosclerosis 1997;128:97-105.

27. Steiner M. Vitamin E: more than an antioxidant. Clin Cardiol 1993;16:I16-8 [review].

28. Heemskerk JW, Vossen RC, van Dam-Mieras MC. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and function of platelets and endothelial cells. Curr Opin Lipidol 1996;7:24-9 [review].

29. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

30. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

31. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

32. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

33. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

34. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

35. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

36. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

37. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

38. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

39. Guthrie N, Gapor A, Chambers AF, Carroll KK. Inhibition of proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 and -positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by palm oil tocotrienols and tamoxifen, alone and in combination. J Nutr 1997;127:544S-8S.

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