Tocotrienols (subgroup of Vitamin E) Have Anti-Cancer Effect

Tocotrienols Have Anti-Cancer Effect 

A new study confirmed earlier research and revealed some of the precise mechanisms of how tocotrienols have an anti-cancer effect.(1) Vitamin E is actually a group of vitamins that includes both the tocopherol subgroup and the tocotrienol subgroup, each of which have an alpha, beta, gamma, and delta form. It has been common to only refer to alpha tocopherol as vitamin E, but this leaves out the other forms, some of which are more effective than the alpha and may get blocked by taking too much alpha. This is why I only recommend supplements that contain mixede tocopherols and ideally should contain the tocotrienols as well.  This is partially because in recent years we have come to learn that tocotrienols have several anti-cancer effects, in addition to the antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits. In recent years, studies have reported on tocotrienols, esp. gamma-tocotrienol, as having antiproliferative effects against breast cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer.(2)

In a new study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers compared the cytotoxic potency of alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienols and explored their apoptotic mechanisms in human lung cancer cells (adenocarcinoma A549) and brain cancer cells (glioblastoma U87MG).  The study demonstrated that all tocotrienols inhibited the growth of both the lung and brain cancer cells via apoptsis, which is programmed cell death. Both gamma and delta tocotrienol are more bioavailable and thus are thought to be potentally more effective against cancer than the other isoforms.  This study found that delta-tocotrienol possessed the highest efficacy and effectiveness of apoptosis in both lung and brain cancer cells as compared to alpha- and gamma-tocotrienols. Thus, you should consider taking a vitamin E supplement that contains tocotrienols as part of your cancer preventative regimen.

Speak to Dr. Weitz or Amber about whether vitamin E supplements that include tocotrienols along with tocopherols or tocotrienol only supplements would be recommended in your case and at what dosage.

1. Lim SW, Loh HS, Ting KN, Bradshaw TD, Zeenathul NA. Cytotoxicity and apoptotic activities of alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienol isomers on human cancer cells. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Dec 6;14(1):469
2. Kannappan R, Gupta SC, Kim JH, Aggarwal BB: Tocotrienols fight cancer by targeting multiple cell signaling pathways. Genes Nutr 2012, 7(1):43-52.

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