You may not think much about your liver as you go through your daily routine, but you need it to be healthy to detoxify your body. Previous research suggests that palm oil-derived tocotrienols are beneficial to the liver. Now scientists have found even more evidence that this is true. A new study showed that vitamin E tocotrienols may help protect the liver from drug-induced injury.
Many prescription medications – even acetaminophen – can be hard on your liver. Researchers point out that drug-induced liver injury (DILI) accounts for more than half of all cases of acute liver failure in the U.S.
Only one form of vitamin E shown to be the most effective
There are actually eight different forms of vitamin E in nature: four are classified as tocopherols and four are classified as tocotrienols. Alpha-tocopherol is the form of Vitamin E most commonly found in vitamin supplements. It is the easiest and least expensive to manufacture. Palm fruit oil is nature’s richest source of tocotrienols.
How tocotrienols help protect against drug-induced liver injury
In this study, researchers found that alpha-tocotrienol was the most potent among the different types of vitamin E in terms of protecting liver cells from drug-induced injury. It also supported the regeneration of the remaining liver cells.
Both tocopherols and tocotrienols are healthful
It’s important to note that tocopherols are known to have much different health benefits than tocotrienols. Researchers cited numerous studies indicating the protective role of each individual vitamin E form for different health conditions. “Hence, one must not focus only on a specific vitamin E form (be it tocopherol or tocotrienol) and forgo the others,” they cautioned.
Those studies included:
- For neuroprotection: Alpha-tocotrienol is the most potent for potentially reducing stroke injuries. Further, European population studies suggest that people with higher levels of gamma-tocopherol, beta-tocotrienol and total tocotrienols have a significantly lower risk of cognitive impairment.
- For oral bioavailability: Alpha-tocotrienol is the most easily absorbed by our bodies, followed by gamma-tocotrienol.
- For liver support: A combination of tocopherols and tocotrienols has been shown to have protective effects against nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
- For heart health: Gamma-tocotrienol and delta-tocotrienol have been found to be equally effective at lowering cholesterol. Alpha-tocopherol has been shown to have no effect on cholesterol levels.