This post was originally published on January 30, 2017 and updated on April 13, 2020.

You may be reading and hearing more about tocotrienols. This less-common form of vitamin E has earned the attention of researchers, health experts and the media because it’s a potent antioxidant.

Studies have shown that premium tocotrienol supplements, derived from Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil, may help protect your brain from stroke damage, promote younger skin, support liver health and even reduce cancer risk.

The two forms of vitamin E

While they are both part of the nutrient we call vitamin E, the two forms have different health benefits:

  • Tocopherols: This is the common form of vitamin E found in multivitamins and stand-alone vitamin supplements. They are naturally found in nuts and seeds. Tocopherols possess anti-inflammatory properties among other benefits. They are inexpensive to obtain and possess
  • Tocotrienols: Found most abundantly in red palm oil, tocotrienols have as much as 40 to 60 times the antioxidant power of tocopherols. Tocotrienols excel at keeping wrinkles at bay, maintaining a healthy brain and retaining eye health.

What experts are saying about tocotrienols

Ohio State University Professor Chandan K. Sen, one of the country’s leading authorities on tocotrienols, said more researchers are focusing attention on this nutrient. “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!”

When discussing his book “The Palm Oil Miracle” on Detroit Radio, certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician Bruce Fife, said tocotrienols are one of the reasons he’s a fan of this tropical oil. “The great thing about palm oil is that it’s loaded with all types of nutrients and vitamins. For example, it’s a very rich source of beta-carotene … vitamin K and vitamin E. It’s got about 20 different carotenoids in it. It has a whole spectrum of vitamin E.”  

Recent studies have also pointed to tocotrienol’s beneficial effect on bone health, skin moisturizing, and adults with metabolic syndrome.

During an interview on Sacramento TV, Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS summed up why he is such a fan of tocotrienol-rich palm oil. “This is the oil of the future, Malaysian palm oil. It’s good for your heart and good for your brain.”
There are synthetic and natural vitamin E supplements available, but Sen recommends that consumers choose tocotrienols from natural sources, such as Malaysian sustainable 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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