Palm Oil Developments No.69 (December 2018) p16-19

Tocotrienols: Emerging Evidence of Health Benefits from Clinical Trials

Puvaneswari Meganathan* and Fu Ju Yen*

Vitamin E was discovered in the 1920s and has exhibited various health protective effects (Aggarwal et al., 2010, Fu et al., 2014). It consists of tocopherols (TP) and tocotrienols (T3) with tocotrienols being different from their counterpart due to the presence of an unsaturated side chain. Compared to other natural sources such as soyabean, corn and rice bran, palm oil has a higher ratio of tocotrienols to tocopherols (Kannappan et al., 2012). For many years, vitamin E has been referred to synonymously as alpha tocopherol. However, in the last three decades, scientific evidence has shown that tocotrienols are much more potent as antioxidants than alpha tocopherol. In addition, tocotrienols have shown such therapeutic effects as neuroprotective, cardioprotective and anti-cancer, and as a cholesterol lowering agent as shown in Figure 1 (Fu et al., 2014). From pre-clinical studies to clinical trials, many mechanisms have been elucidated in the quest of an explanation for tocotrienols’ health-promoting qualities. This article will discuss the important findings from clinical trials that can serve as a bridge to connect scientists and clinicians.

Author information:
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB),
6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi,
43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.