Preventive Effects of Tocotrienol on Stress-Induced Gastric Mucosal Lesions and Its Relation to Oxidative and Inflammatory Biomarkers.

Nur Azlina MF, Kamisah Y, Chua KH, Ibrahim IA, Qodriyah HM.

PLoS One. 2015 Oct 14;10(10):e0139348.


This study aimed to investigate the possible gastroprotective effect of tocotrienol against water-immersion restraint stress (WIRS) induced gastric ulcers in rats by measuring its effect on gastric mucosal nitric oxide (NO), oxidative stress, and inflammatory biomarkers. Twenty-eight male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to four groups of seven rats. The two control groups were administered vitamin-free palm oil (vehicle) and the two treatment groups were given omeprazole (20 mg/kg) or tocotrienol (60 mg/kg) orally. After 28 days, rats from one control group and both treated groups were subjected to WIRS for 3.5 hours once. Malondialdehyde (MDA), NO content, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity were assayed in gastric tissue homogenates. Gastric tissue SOD, iNOS, TNF-α and IL1-β expression were measured. WIRS increased the gastric MDA, NO, and pro-inflammatory cytokines levels significantly when compared to the non-stressed control group. Administration of tocotrienol and omeprazole displayed significant protection against gastric ulcers induced by exposure to WIRS by correction of both ulcer score and MDA content. Tissue content of TNF-α and SOD activity were markedly reduced by the treatment with tocotrienol but not omeprazole. Tocotrienol significantly corrected nitrite to near normal levels and attenuated iNOS gene expression, which was upregulated in this ulcer model. In conclusion, oral supplementation with tocotrienol provides a gastroprotective effect in WIRS-induced ulcers. Gastroprotection is mediated through 1) free radical scavenging activity, 2) the increase in gastric mucosal antioxidant enzyme activity, 3) normalisation of gastric mucosal NO through reduction of iNOS expression, and 4) attenuation of inflammatory cytokines. In comparison to omeprazole, it exerts similar effectiveness but has a more diverse mechanism of protection, particularly through its effect on NO, SOD activity, and TNF-α.

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Regulation of inflammatory pathways by an a-tocopherol long-chain metabolite and a d-tocotrienol-related natural compound.

Schmölz L, Wallert M, Heise J, Galli F, Werz O, Birringer M, Lorkowski S.

Free Radic Biol Med. 2014 Oct;75 Suppl 1:S48


Vitamin E is the most important lipid antioxidant which is widely used to prevent age-associated diseases. In the liver a-tocopherol (a-TOH), the most active isomer, is metabolized by side-chain truncation. Hydroxylation and oxidation steps in peroxisomes form the long-chain metabolite (LCM) a-13′-COOH, which has been recently reported by our group to occur in human serum. Only little is known about the modes of action of the LCM. We therefore investigate the influence of the physiologically relevant a-13′-COOH and the tocotrienol (T3)-related garcinoic acid (GA) on LPS-induced inflammatory response of murine macrophages (mMF). We report here that a-13′-COOH occurs in human serum and can be detected by LC/MS-QTOF which provides evidence for its systemic bioavailability. Translating these results into mechanistic studies we use semi-synthetically derived LCM starting with garcinoic acid, isolated from the bitternut Garcinia kola, because LCMs are not commercially available as pure compounds. We also report that a-13′-COOH and GA inhibit pro-inflammatory pathways in comparison to a-TOH in LPS-stimulated mMF. A screening of inflammation-related genes showed significant decreases of Il1ß by all compounds, while Il6 and Tnfa were only down-regulated by GA. However Cox2 and iNos were significantly reduced on mRNA and protein level by more than 70% and also the formation of signaling molecules, such as NO and PGE2, was significantly reduced by a-13′-COOH and GA. Key role in regulation of inflammatory response is regulated by activation of NF?B along with p65 subunit translocation. Neither expression nor translocation were regulated by a-13′-COOH and GA. The LCM and d-T3 show high activity in inhibiting pro-inflammatory pathways and associated signal transduction. We speculate that physiological a-LCM represent a new class of regulatory metabolites.

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Anti-inflammatory γ- and δ-tocotrienols improve cardiovascular, liver and metabolic function in diet-induced obese rats.

Wong WY, Ward LC, Fong CW, Yap WN, Brown L.

Eur J Nutr. 2015 Oct 8



This study tested the hypothesis that γ- and δ-tocotrienols are more effective than α-tocotrienol and α-tocopherol in attenuating the signs of diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats.


Five groups of rats were fed a corn starch-rich (C) diet containing 68 % carbohydrates as polysaccharides, while the other five groups were fed a diet (H) high in simple carbohydrates (fructose and sucrose in food, 25 % fructose in drinking water, total 68 %) and fats (beef tallow, total 24 %) for 16 weeks. Separate groups from each diet were supplemented with either α-, γ-, δ-tocotrienol or α-tocopherol (85 mg/kg/day) for the final 8 of the 16 weeks.


H rats developed visceral obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, cardiovascular remodelling and fatty liver. α-Tocopherol, α-, γ- and δ-tocotrienols reduced collagen deposition and inflammatory cell infiltration in the heart. Only γ- and δ-tocotrienols improved cardiovascular function and normalised systolic blood pressure compared to H rats. Further, δ-tocotrienol improved glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, lipid profile and abdominal adiposity. In the liver, these interventions reduced lipid accumulation, inflammatory infiltrates and plasma liver enzyme activities.Tocotrienols were measured in heart, liver and adipose tissue showing that chronic oral dosage delivered tocotrienols to these organs despite low or no detection of tocotrienols in plasma.


In rats, δ-tocotrienol improved inflammation, heart structure and function, and liver structure and function, while γ-tocotrienolproduced more modest improvements, with minimal changes with α-tocotrienol and α-tocopherol. The most important mechanism of action is likely to be reduction in organ inflammation.

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Tocotrienol-Rich Fraction from Rice Bran Demonstrates Potent Radiation Protection Activity.

Krager KJ, Pineda EN, Kharade SV, Kordsmeier M, Howard L, Breen PJ, Compadre CM, Hauer-Jensen M, Aykin-Burns N

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:148791


The vitamin E analogs δ-tocotrienol (DT3) and γ-tocotrienol (GT3) have significant protective and mitigative capacity against the detrimental effects of ionizing radiation (IR). However, the expense of purification limits their potential use. This study examined the tocotrienol-rich fraction of rice bran (TRFRB) isolated from rice bran deodorizer distillate, a rice oil refinement waste product, to determine its protective effects against IR induced oxidative damage and H2O2. Several cell lines were treated with tocotrienols or TRFRB prior to or following exposure to H2O2 or IR. To determine the radioprotective capacity cells were analyzed for morphology, mitochondrial bioenergetics, clonogenic survival, glutathione oxidation, cell cycle, and migration rate. TRFRB displayed similar antioxidant activity compared to pure tocotrienols. Cells pretreated with TRFRB or DT3 exhibited preserved cell morphology and mitochondrial respiration when exposed to H2O2. Oxidized glutathione was decreased in TRFRB treated cells exposed to IR. TRFRB reversed mitochondrial uncoupling and protected cells migration rates following IR exposure. The protective antioxidant capacity of TRFRB treated cells against oxidative injury was similar to that of purified DT3. TRFRB effectively protects normal cells against IR induced injury suggesting that rice bran distillate may be an inexpensive and abundant alternate source.

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HPLC Separation of Vitamin E and Its Oxidation Products and Effects of Oxidized Tocotrienols on the Viability of MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells in Vitro.

Drotleff AM, Büsing A, Willenberg I, Empl MT, Steinberg P, Ternes W

J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Oct 14;63(40):8930-9


Tocotrienols, a vitamin E subgroup, exert potent anticancer effects, but easily degrade due to oxidation. Eight vitamin E reference compounds, α-, β-, γ-, or δ-tocopherols or –tocotrienols, were thermally oxidized in n-hexane. The corresponding predominantly dimeric oxidation products were separated from the parent compounds by diol-modified normal-phase HPLC-UV and characterized by mass spectroscopy. The composition of test compounds, that is, α-tocotrienol, γ-tocotrienol, or palm tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF), before and after thermal oxidation was determined by HPLC-DAD, and MCF-7 cells were treated with both nonoxidized and oxidized test compounds for 72 h. Whereas all nonoxidized test compounds (0-100 μM) led to dose-dependent decreases in cell viability, equimolar oxidized α-tocotrienol had a weaker effect, and oxidized TRF had no such effect. However, the IC50 value of oxidized γ-tocotrienol was lower (85 μM) than that of nonoxidized γ-tocotrienol (134 μM), thereby suggesting that γ-tocotrienol oxidation products are able to reduce tumor cell viability in vitro.

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Focus on Pivotal Role of Dietary Intake (Diet and Supplement) and Blood Levels of Tocopherols and Tocotrienols in Obtaining Successful Aging

Rondanelli M, Faliva MA, Peroni G, Moncaglieri F, Infantino V, Naso M, Perna S.

Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Sep 25;16(10):23227-49.


Numerous specific age-related morbidities have been correlated with low intake and serum levels of tocopherols and tocotrienols. We performed a review in order to evaluate the extant evidence regarding: (1) the association between intake and serum levels of tocopherols and tocotrienols and age-related pathologies (osteoporosis, sarcopenia and cognitive impairment); and (2) the optimum diet therapy or supplementation with tocopherols and tocotrienols for the treatment of these abnormalities. This review included 51 eligible studies. The recent literature underlines that, given the detrimental effect of low intake and serum levels of tocopherols and tocotrienols on bone, muscle mass, and cognitive function, a change in the lifestyle must be the cornerstone in the prevention of these specific age-related pathologies related to vitamin E-deficient status. The optimum diet therapy in the elderly for avoiding vitamin E deficiency and its negative correlates, such as high inflammation and oxidation, must aim at achieving specific nutritional goals. These goals must be reached through: accession of the elderly subjects to specific personalized dietary programs aimed at achieving and/or maintaining body weight (avoid malnutrition); increase their intake of food rich in vitamin E, such as derivatives of oily seeds (in particular wheat germ oil), olive oil, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, and cereals rich in vitamin E (such as specific rice cultivar rich in tocotrienols) or take vitamin E supplements. In this case, vitamin E can be correctly used in a personalized way either for the outcome from the pathology or to achieve healthy aging and longevity without any adverse effects.

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Palm tocotrienol-rich fraction inhibits methionine-induced cystathionine β-synthase in rat liver.

Kamisah Y, Norsidah KZ,, Azizi A, Faizah O, Nonan MR, Asmadi AY.

J Physiol Biochem. 2015 Sep 25.


Oxidative stress plays an important role in cardiovascular diseases. The study investigated the effects of dietary palm tocotrienol-rich fraction on homocysteine metabolism in rats fed a high-methionine diet. Forty-two male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to six groups. Five groups were fed with high-methionine diet (1 %) for 10 weeks. Groups 2 to 5 were also given dietary folate (8 mg/kg) and three doses of palm tocotrienol-rich fraction (30, 60 and 150 mg/kg) from week 6 to week 10. The last group was only given basal rat chow. High-methionine diet increased plasma homocysteine after 10 weeks, which was prevented by the supplementations of folate and high-dose palm tocotrienol-rich fraction. Hepatic S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) content was unaffected in all groups but S-adenosyl homocysteine (SAH) content was reduced in the folate group. Folate supplementation increased the SAM/SAH ratio, while in the palm tocotrienol-rich fraction groups, the ratio was lower compared with the folate. Augmented activity of hepatic cystathionine β-synthase and lipid peroxidation content by high-methionine diet was inhibited by palm tocotrienol-rich fraction supplementations (moderate and high doses), but not by folate. The supplemented groups had lower hepatic lipid peroxidation than the high-methionine diet. In conclusion, palm tocotrienol-rich fraction reduced high-methionine-induced hyperhomocysteinaemia possibly by reducing hepatic oxidative stress in high-methionine-fed rats. It may also exert a direct inhibitory effect on hepatic cystathionine β-synthase.

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APCRC – Q part of New Gamma-Tocotrienol Study

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland, the University of Hong Kong, and Davos researchers have found that gamma-tocotrienol is potent in killing prostate cancer stem cells.
APCRC - Q part of New Gamma-Tocotrienol Study

The study, partly led by the APCRC – Q’s Dr Patrick (Ming-Tat) Ling, aims to find a way to eradicate these stem cells. The latest findings showcase the potential of gamma-tocotrienol as a natural remedy for preventing and treating prostate cancer.

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Beyond Fish Oil: How to Lower Triglycerides Naturally with Tocotrienols

Decades of research utilizing alpha tocopherol, just one of the eight naturally occurring vitamin E compounds, has produced mixed results and has underwhelmed medical researchers who had high hopes for this potent antioxidant. But the new vitamin E kid on the block—tocotrienols—is putting vitamin E back in the spotlight. If you have stubbornly high triglycerides and are wondering how to lower triglycerides naturally using supplements beyond fish oil, tocotrienols might be the answer.

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