excerpts from Dr. Joseph Mercola's
comments & articles including the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition February 2005 Vol. 81(2) 508-514
"Are You Taking the Best Type of Vitamin E"
Controversies have surrounded vitamin E ever since its discovery in 1922 and there is still considerable confusion over what type of vitamin E is best. Dietary vitamin E is found in certain nuts and green leafy vegetables, but many Americans do not consume vitamin E-adequate diets (which range widely from 100-800 units a day, depending on your metabolic type). It seems obvious to me that vitamin E should ideally be consumed in its natural state found in foods.
Please understand that vitamin
E is actually composed of two natural compounds, tocopherols and tocotrienols,
each with four forms (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol, and alpha-,
beta-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienol).
Each form has its own potency and its own functional use in the body.
Additionally, research is beginning to focus on specific tocopherols and tocotrienols, rather than on just "vitamin E." Studies are now emerging that suggest tocotrienols, found in palm, rice bran and barley oils, could be the most important part of vitamin E. Full-spectrum vitamin E, which contains a mixture of tocopherols (alpha, beta, delta, and gamma) and tocotrienols (alpha, beta, delta, and gamma), may be a wise choice to protect against disease and provide maximum benefits.
Nonetheless, the vitamin E most often referred to and sold in most stores is a synthetic form of vitamin E called dl-alpha-tocophero l-- but I do not recommend this type of vitamin E as it is synthetic. So please be certain that check to see that your vitamin E supplement is not this type.
Please understand, however, that the best way to obtain vitamin E is not by taking it in a supplement form, such as a pill. The best way to get your intake of this vitamin is through the consumption of natural healthy unprocessed foods.
Aside from cancer and Alzheimers (and cognitive decline) prevention, additional health benefits associated with vitamin E intake include:
Reduces heart disease risk
May lower risk of asthma and allergies
May help treat menstrual pain
Improves circulation in diabetics
May help hot flashes
By Dr. Joseph Mercola www.mercola.com
May 12, 2005
I've been keeping a close eye on the research front for studies on tocopherols and tocotrienols, the natural compounds that make up vitamin E. The big question: Which one is more important to your health? Tocotrienols, according to new findings, appear to get the nod. A supplement of tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF), a component of vitamin E isolated from rice bran oil, lowered LDL cholesterol levels in tests on animals by an amazing 62 percent and overall cholesterol numbers by 42 percent.
Although Tocotrienol Rich Fraction also comes from barley, oats and palm, the best form comes from rice bran oil, which is contained in the outer grain hull of rice. Its properties appear to inhibit the activity of HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme involved in cholesterol biosynthesis.
Because taking vitamin E seems controversial to some -- if you choose to take it, look for a natural kind consisting of mixed tocopherols including gamma-tocopherol -- researchers sought the minimum effective dosage of TRF that would provide the maximum antioxidants and effectively lower cholesterol.
Based on studies of rats and extrapolating those figures for humans, the effective dose of TRF for a patient weighing 154 pounds is 560 IUs.
This good news certainly supports other studies that have shown the antioxidant effects of tocotrienols to be 40 to 60 times more effective than alpha tocopherol. Tocotrienols have also been shown to reduce the risk of stroke by reversing atherosclerosis.
The difference between tocotrienols and tocopherols: Although both have a similar chemical structure, tocotrienols are more unsaturated, meaning they are more mobile and more reactive, while tocopherols tend to cluster.
What are Tocotrienols, and Why do You Need
By Dr. Joseph Mercola with Rachael Droege
Vitamin E is comprised of two groups of molecules, tocopherols and tocotrienols, each with four forms (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol, and alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delat-tocotrienol). Research is beginning to focus on specific tocopherols and tocotrienols, rather than just "vitamin E." Nonetheless, the vitamin E most often referred to and sold in most stores is a synthetic form called dl-alpha-tocopherol.
Tocopherols, which are found in corn, soybeans and olive oil, were the preferred form of vitamin E because they have been widely accepted by the medical community as useful for reducing the risk of heart disease and other serious illness.
However, new research is beginning to emerge that says the tocotrienols, found in palm, rice bran and barley oils, could be the most important part of vitamin E, and a form of vitamin E called full-spectrum vitamin E, which contains a mixture of tocopherols (alpha, beta, delta, and gamma) and tocotrienols (alpha, beta, delta, and gamma), may be needed to protect against disease and provide maximum benefits.
For instance, one breast cancer study found that while standard alpha-tocopherol vitamin E supplements did not appear to reduce breast cancer rates, women who consumed foods rich in other forms of vitamin E reduced their risk of breast cancer by as much as 90 percent. Other studies have also found that tocotrienols inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Further, studies have shown the antioxidant effects of tocotrienols to be 40 to 60 times more effective than alpha tocopherol. Tocotrienols have also been shown to reduce the risk of stroke by reversing atherosclerosis, and to reduce the level of LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
Tocotrienols and tocopherols are similar in chemical structure, but tocotrienols are more unsaturated, which means they are more mobile and more reactive, while tocopherols tend to cluster.
While I have believed in vitamin E for over 30 years and have been taking it for many of those years, there is clearly some controversy here as to what type of vitamin E is best, and the more I study health, the more I realize we don't know.
So it all boils down to the basics again. Eat a healthy diet with minimal grains and sugars, as outlined in the No-Grain Diet, and eat foods that are as pure as possible. Ideally, it would also be beneficial to eat for your Metabolic Type. Reviewing my nutrition plan is a great way to get started.
If you do decide to take vitamin E, it would be wise to get a full-spectrum variety to ensure you are getting all eight of the naturally occurring isomers that vitamin E has to offer. Additionally, since vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, if you take it on an empty stomach very little will be absorbed into your bloodstream. It is best to take vitamin E with a fat-containing food such as fish oil.
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