Gamma delta tocotrienols reduce hepatic triglyceride synthesis and VLDL secretion

Zaiden N, Yap WN, Ong S, Xu CH, Teo VH, Chang CP, Zhang XW, Nesaretnam K, Shiba S, Yap YL.

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2010 Oct 27;17(10):1019-32.


Aim: Present study aimed to elucidate the suppression of serum lipids by gamma- and delta-tocotrienol (γδT3).

Methods: The lipid-lowering effects of γδT3 were investigated using HepG2 liver cell line, hypercholesterolemic mice and borderline-high cholesterol patients.

Results: In-vitro results demonstrated two modes of action. First, γδT3 suppressed the upstream regulators of lipid homeostasis genes (DGAT2, APOB100, SREBP1/2 and HMGCR) leading to the suppression of triglycerides, cholesterol and VLDL biosyntheses. Second, γδT3 enhanced LDL efflux through induction of LDL receptor (LDLr) expression. Treatment of LDLr-deficient mice with 1 mg/day (50 mg/kg/day) γδT3 for one-month showed 28%, 19% reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels respectively, whereas HDL level was unaltered. The lipid-lowering effects were not affected by alpha-tocopherol (αTP). In a placebo-controlled human trial using 120 mg/day γδT3, only serum triglycerides were lowered by 28% followed by concomitant reduction in the triglyceride-rich VLDL and chylomicrons. In contrast, total cholesterol, LDL and HDL remained unchanged in treated and placebo groups. The discrepancies between in-vitro, in-vivo and human studies may be attributed to the differential rates of post-absorptive γδT3 degradation and LDL metabolism.

Conclusion: Reduction in triglycerides synthesis and transport may be the primary benefit caused by ingesting γδT3 in human.

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Tocotrienol enriched palm oil prevents atherosclerosis through modulating the activities of peroxisome proliferators-activated receptors

Li F, Tan W, Kang Z, Wong CW.

Atherosclerosis. 2010 Jul;211(1):278-82. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

Palm oil is enriched in vitamin E in the form of alpha-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienols. Dietary tocotrienol supplements have been shown to prevent atherosclerosis development in patients and preclinical animal models. However, the mechanistic basis for this health beneficial effect is not well established. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors alpha, gamma, and delta (PPARalpha, PPARgamma, and PPARdelta) are ligand regulated transcription factors that play essential preventive roles in the development of atherosclerosis through regulating energy metabolism and inflammation. In this study, we presented data that the tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF) of palm oil activated PPARalpha, PPARgamma, and PPARdelta in reporter based assays. Importantly, TRF attenuated the development of atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mice through inducing PPAR target gene liver X receptor alpha (LXRalpha) and its down-stream target genes apolipoproteins and cholesterol transporters, suggesting that modulating the activities of PPARs is a key aspect of the in vivo action of tocotrienols.

Red palm oil: Nutritional, physiological and therapeutic roles in improving human wellbeing and quality of life

Oguntibeju OO, Esterhuyse AJ, Truter EJ.

Br J Biomed Sci. 2009;66(4):216-22.

The link between dietary fats and cardiovascular disease has created a growing interest in dietary red palm oil research. Also, the link between nutrition and health, oxidative stress and the severity or progression of disease has stimulated further interest in the potential role of red palm oil (a natural antioxidant product) to improve oxidative status by reducing oxidative stress in patients with cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic diseases. In spite of its level of saturated fatty acid content (50%), red palm oil has not been found to promote atherosclerosis and/or arterial thrombosis. This is probably due to the ratio of its saturated fatty acid to unsaturated fatty acid content and its high concentration of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, tocotrienols, tocopherols and vitamin E. It has also been reported that the consumption of red palm oil reduces the level of endogenous cholesterol, and this seems to be due to the presence of the tocotrienols and the peculiar isomeric position of its fatty acids. The benefits of red palm oil to health include a reduction in the risk of arterial thrombosis and/or atherosclerosis, inhibition of endogenous cholesterol biosynthesis, platelet aggregation, a reduction in oxidative stress and a reduction in blood pressure. It has also been shown that dietary red palm oil, taken in moderation in animals and humans, promotes the efficient utilisation of nutrients, activates hepatic drug metabolising enzymes, facilitates the haemoglobinisation of red blood cells and improves immune function. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the nutritional, physiological and biochemical roles of red palm oil in improving wellbeing and quality of life.

A rice bran oil diet improves lipid abnormalities and suppress hyperinsulinemic responses in rats with streptozotocin/nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetes

Chou TW, Ma CY, Cheng HH, Chen YY, Lai MH.

J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2009 Jul;45(1):29-36. Epub 2009 Jun 30.

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of rice bran oil (RBO) on lipid metabolism and insulin resistance in rats with streptozotocin/nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Rats were divided into two groups: the control group (15% soybean oil, contains 0 g gamma-oryzanol and 0 g gamma-tocotrienol/150 g oil for 5 weeks) and the RBO group (15% RBO, contains 5.25 g gamma-oryzanol and 0.9 g gamma-tocotrienol/150 g oil for 5 weeks). Compared with the control group, the RBO group had a lower plasma nonesterified fatty acid concentration, ratio of total to high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, hepatic cholesterol concentration, and area under the curve for insulin. The RBO group had a higher high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol concentration and greater excretion of fecal neutral sterols and bile acid than did the control group. RBO may improve lipid abnormalities, reduce the atherogenic index, and suppress the hyperinsulinemic response in rats with streptozotocin/nicotinamide-induced T2DM. In addition, RBO can lead to increased fecal neutral sterol and bile acid excretion.

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Influence of pasture intake on the fatty acid composition, and cholesterol, tocopherols, and tocotrienols content in meat from free-range broilers

Ponte PI, Alves SP, Bessa RJ, Ferreira LM, Gama LT, Brás JL, Fontes CM, Prates JA.

Poult Sci. 2008 Jan;87(1):80-8.

Over the last centuries, Western diets acquired a dramatic imbalance in the ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) to saturated fatty acids (SFA) with a concomitant reduction in the dietary proportion of n-3 PUFA. Pastures are a good source of n-3 fatty acids, although the effect of forage intake in the fatty acid profile of meat from free-range chicken remains to be evaluated. In addition, it is unknown if consumer interest in specialty poultry products derived from free-range or organic production systems is accompanied by a greater nutritional quality of these products. In this study, broilers of the RedBro Cou Nu x RedBro M genotype were fed on a cereal-based diet in portable floorless pens located either on subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum) or white clover (Trifolium repens) pastures. Control birds were maintained at the same site in identical pens but had no access to pasture. The capacity of ingested forage to modulate broiler meat fatty acid profiles and the meat content of total cholesterol, tocopherols, and tocotrienols was investigated in broiler chicks slaughtered at d 56. The results suggested that pasture intake (<5% DM) had a low impact on the fatty acid and vitamin E homologue profiles of meat from free-range broilers. However, breast meat from birds with free access to pasture presented lower levels of the n-6 and n-3 fatty acid precursors linoleic acid (18:2n-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3), respectively. In spring the levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) in breast meat were significantly greater in birds consuming pastures, which suggests greater conversion of alpha-linolenic acid into eicosapentaenoic acid in these birds. Finally, when compared with meat from slower-growing genotypes obtained under the conventional European free-range production systems with slaughtering at d 81, meat from birds of the Ross genotype raised intensively and slaughtered at d 35 seemed to have greater nutritional quality.

Effect of citrus flavonoids and tocotrienols on serum cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic subjects

James M. Roza, CN; Zheng Xian-Liu, PhD; Najla Guthrie

Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 Nov-Dec;13(6):44-8

Context • Preliminary studies have suggested that both citrus flavonoids and palm tocotrienols reduce cholesterol levels in laboratory animals.

Objective • To examine the effect of these nutrients in combination on blood levels of cholesterol and related cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Design • Two open-label studies and 1 double-blind study are reported.

Setting • Outpatient clinical research setting.

Patients • Three groups (n=10, n=10, n=120) of hypercholesterolemic men and women (cholesterol levels >230 mg/dL) between the ages of 19 and 65 years were recruited.

Intervention • Subjects were randomized to consume either 270 mg citrus flavonoids plus 30 mg tocotrienols (S) or placebo (P) daily for a period of 4 weeks (group 1 [G1] and group 2[G2]) or 12 weeks (group 3 [G3]).

Main Outcome Measures • Measurements of fasting levels of blood cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides were made at baseline and 4 weeks (all groups) and at 8 weeks and 12 weeks (G3).

Results • Daily treatment with S significantly improved cardiovascular parameters compared to P in all groups. Significant reductions were shown in total cholesterol (20%-30%), LDL (19%-27%), apolipoprotein B (21%), and triglycerides (24%-34%). HDL levels remained unchanged in G1 and G2 but increased 4% (nonsignificant) in G3 and was accompanied by a significant increase in apolipoprotein A1 (5%).

Dose dependent elevation of plasma tocotrienol levels and its effect on arterial compliance, plasma total antioxidant status, and lipid profile in healthy humans supplemented with tocotrienol rich vitamin E

Rasool AH, Yuen KH, Yusoff K, Wong AR, Rahman AR.

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2006 Dec;52(6):473-8.

Tocotrienols are a class of vitamin E reported to be potent antioxidants, besides having the ability to inhibit the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme. This study assessed the effects of 3 doses of tocotrienol-rich vitamin E (TRE) on plasma tocotrienol isomer concentration, arterial compliance, plasma total antioxidant status (TAS), aortic systolic blood pressure (ASBP), serum total cholesterol (TC) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in healthy males.

Methodology: This randomised, blinded end-point, placebo-controlled clinical trial with a parallel design involved 36 healthy male subjects who took either an oral placebo or TRE at doses of 80, 160 or 320 mg daily for 2 mo. Baseline and end-of-treatment measurements of vitamin E concentration, arterial compliance [assessed by aortic femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) and augmentation index (AI)], ASBP, plasma TAS, serum TC and LDL-C were taken.

Results: Baseline tocotrienol isomer concentrations were low and not detectable in some subjects. Upon supplementation, all TRE-treated groups showed significant difference from placebo for their change in alpha, gamma and delta tocotrienol concentrations from baseline to end of treatment. There was a linear dose and blood level relationship for all the isomers. There was no significant difference between groups for their change in PWV, AI, plasma TAS, ASBP, TC or LDL-C from baseline to end of treatment. Groups 160 mg (p = 0.024) and 320 mg (p = 0.049) showed significant reductions in their ASBP. Group 320 mg showed a significant 9.2% improvement in TAS.

Conclusion: TRE at doses up to 320 mg daily were well tolerated. Treatment significantly increased alpha, delta, and gamma tocotrienol concentrations but did not significantly affect arterial compliance, plasma TAS, serum TC or LDL-C levels in normal subjects.

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Proposed mechanisms for red palm oil induced cardioprotection in a model of hyperlipidaemia in the rat

Esterhuyse JS, van Rooyen J, Strijdom H, Bester D, du Toit EF.

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Dec;75(6):375-84.

High-cholesterol diets alter myocardial and vascular NO-cGMP signaling and have been implicated in ischaemic/reperfusion injury. We investigated the effects of dietary red palm oil (RPO) containing fatty acids, carotonoids, tocopherols and tocotrienols on myocardial ischaemic tolerance and NO-cGMP pathway function in the rat. Wistar rats were fed a standard rat chow+/-RPO, or a standard rat chow+cholesterol+/-RPO diet. Myocardial mechanical function and NO-cGMP signaling pathway intermediates were determined before, during and after 25 min ischaemia. RPO-supplementation improved aortic output recovery and increased myocardial ischaemic cGMP concentrations. Simulated ischaemia (hypoxia) increased cardiomyocyte nitric oxide levels in the two RPO supplemented groups, but not in control non-supplemented groups. RPO supplementation also increased hypoxic nitric oxide levels in the control diet fed, but not the cholesterol fed rats. These data suggest that dietary RPO may improve myocardial ischaemic tolerance by increasing bioavailability of NO and improving NO-cGMP signaling in the heart.

A rice bran oil diet increases LDL-receptor and HMG-CoA reductase mRNA expressions and insulin sensitivity in rats with streptozotocin/nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetes

Chen CW, Cheng HH.

J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6):1472-6.

A rice bran oil (RBO) diet can reduce plasma lipids; this was attributed to the specific components, gamma-oryzanol and gamma-tocotrienol, which individually were shown to be hypocholesterolemic; however, the mechanism of their effects on diabetic hyperlipidemia and the development of diabetes is not known. Rats with streptozotocin/nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetes were divided into control, RO10, and RO15 groups, and fed cholesterol-free diets containing 0, 10, and 15 g RBO with 0, 352, and 528 g gamma-oryzanol and 0, 6.0 and 9.0 mg gamma-tocotrienol/100 g diet for 4 wk. Diabetic rats fed the RBO diet had greater insulin sensitivity (P = 0.02) than rats fed the control diet. Diabetic rats fed the RBO diet also had lower plasma triglyceride (P = 0.003), LDL cholesterol (P = 0.028), and hepatic triglyceride concentrations (P = 0.04), as well as greater fecal neutral sterol and bile acid excretion than those fed the control diet. After 4 wk, there was an approximately 100% (P < 0.001) increase in the abundance of hepatic cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase, an 89% (P < 0.001) increase in the hepatic LDL-receptor, and a 50% (P < 0.001) increase in hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase mRNA in rats fed the RBO diet compared with those fed the control diet. These findings support the conclusion that a rice bran oil-containing diet can significantly suppress hyperlipidemic and hyperinsulinemic responses in diabetic rats. The high contents of gamma-oryzanol and gamma-tocotrienol in RBO can lead to increased fecal neutral sterol and bile acid excretion, via upregulation of cholesterol synthesis and catabolism.

Dose-response impact of various tocotrienols on serum lipid parameters in 5-week-old female chickens

Yu SG, Thomas AM, Gapor A, Tan B, Qureshi N, Qureshi AA.

Lipids. 2006 May;41(5):453-61.

The cholesterol-suppressive action of the tocotrienol-rich-fraction (TRF) of palm oil may be due to the effect of its constituent tocotrienols on beta-hydroxy-beta-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase activity. The tocotrienols, modulate HMG-CoA reductase activity via a post-transcriptional mechanism. As a consequence small doses (5-200 ppm) of TRF-supplemented diets fed to experimental animals lower serum cholesterol levels. These findings led us to evaluate the safety and efficacy of large supplements of TRF and its constituents. Diets supplemented with 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, or 2000 ppm of TRF, alpha-tocopherol, alpha-tocotrienol, gamma-tocotrienol, or 6-tocotrienol were fed to chickens for 4 wk. There were no differences between groups or within groups in weight gain, or in feed consumption at the termination of the feeding period. Supplemental TRF produced a dose-response (50-2000 ppm) lowering of serum total and LDL cholesterol levels of 22% and 52% (P < 0.05), respectively, compared with the control group. alpha-Tocopherol did not affect total or LDL-cholesterol levels. Supplemental alpha-tocotrienol within the 50-500 ppm range produced a dose-response lowering of total (17%) and LDL (33%) cholesterol levels. The more potent gamma and delta isomers yielded dose-response (50-2,000 ppm) reductions of serum total (32%) and LDL (66%) cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol levels were minimally impacted by the tocotrienols; as a result, the HDL/LDL cholesterol ratios were markedly improved (123-150%) by the supplements. Serum triglyceride levels were significantly lower in sera of pullets receiving the higher supplements. The safe dose of various tocotrienols for human consumption might be 200-1000 mg/d based on this study.