Scientists from Singapore found that tocotrienols, which are members of the Vitamin E family, are effective in lowering the levels of triglyceride, a form of fat in the blood. High levels of triglyceride are closely linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
The scientists found that gamma and delta tocotrienols, derived naturally from palm oil, are potent in lowering triglyceride levels by 28% in the blood of human subjects after two months of supplementation. In addition, tocotrienol-treated subjects in the double blind, placebo-controlled human trial showed decreasing trends in average weight, body fat mass, body fat percentage and waist measurement. The study hence points to the potential of tocotrienols as a natural remedy in fighting obesity.
This research study, which involves collaboration between scientists at Davos Life Science (Singapore), researchers at Malaysia Palm Oil Board (Malaysia) and Phytopharma Co. Ltd. (Japan), was reported in the October 2010 issue of Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, the reputable publication of the Japan Atherosclerosis Society. The study involved twenty human subjects with borderline hypercholesterolemia and was conducted in Takara Clinic in Japan. The subjects were not receiving any cholesterol-lowering medications at baseline.
“Other studies have shown triglyceride-lowering effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a polyunsaturated fatty acid found in oily fish, which is approved by Japan’s Ministry of Health as a treatment for hyperlipidemia. This study reveals that tocotrienols have a more significant serum triglyceride-lowering effect than EPA.
More importantly, tocotrienol did not have any observable side effects, suggesting that it could become a natural remedy to lower triglycerides effectively,” said Dr. Daniel Yap, Head for Tocotrienol R&D, Davos Life Science.
An elevated triglyceride level is one of the risk factors for the identification of metabolic syndrome, which is linked to an increase risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. This study demonstrates – for the first time – that gamma and delta tocotrienols work to lower triglyceride levels, by directly suppressing genes that enable triglyceride production (SREBP1/2, DGAT2 and APOB100), suggesting that tocotrienols are able to directly regulate triglyceride synthesis in the body. At the same time, this down-regulation also translates into a reduction in the level of triglyceride transport lipoproteins (VLDL and chylomicron), which distribute fats around the body. The study supports its in vitro research findings, by demonstrating the triglyceride-lowering effect of tocotrienols in both mice models and human clinical studies.
Moreover, the study also showed that tocotrienols may inhibit the development of atherosclerosis, a medical condition in which fatty plaque, resulting from oxidation of LDL-cholesterol (also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol), builds up inside the arteries. It was found that gamma tocotrienol can enhance the removal of LDL-cholesterol from the blood, by inducing the expression of LDL receptors. This is a key step in achieving healthy blood lipid levels.
“Our studies show that tocotrienols have the potential for the prevention or treatment of metabolic syndrome. This research contributes further evidence that natural tocotrienols is a far more powerful form of vitamin E with unique healthrelated benefits not shared by alpha-tocopherol, the common form of vitamin E,” said Mr Arthur Ling, CEO of Davos Life Science Singapore, a company specialising in the research & development and production of tocotrienols.