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Why the tocotrienols in palm oil are getting so much attention by researchers

Products made with Malaysian Palm Oil are getting a great deal of media attention in part because of their tocotrienol content. A form of vitamin E not found in the typical Vitamin E supplement, researchers have associated tocotrienols with neuroprotective properties after strokes; there is also evidence that tocotrienols may be beneficial in helping to protect against blood clots, cancer and high cholesterol.

Ohio State University Professor Chandan K. Sen, one of the country’s leading authorities on tocotrienols, has commented about why medical researchers are focusing so much attention on this nutrient. Calling scientific research “painstaking and tedious”, he explains that the scientific community gets most excited when the evidence of an ingredient’s effectiveness builds, study after study. “This is a much higher calling than creating a product,” he states, adding that he’s skeptical of products that are based on preliminary studies but no follow-up research is completed.

Dr. Sen is humbled that the National Institutes of Health and other key foundations are very supportive of his work. It’s a slow process, and he’s gratified that many of his peers are now convinced of tocotrienols’ potential benefits. “When I started my research over 10 years ago, there were zero papers on tocotrienols. Now just the neuroprotective claims on tocotrienols have been cited by more than 200 research manuscripts. That is how science builds!”

There are synthetic and natural vitamin E supplements out there, and Dr. Sen recommends that consumers choose tocotrienols from natural sources, such as palm oil. “It’s now known that the body can discriminate the difference,” he says. “Our human studies are all done with tocotrienols from natural sources.”

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