Tocotrienols with Dr. Barrie Tan: Rational Wellness Podcast 127

Dr. Barrie Tan discusses Tocotrienols with Dr. Ben Weitz.

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Podcast Highlights

2:52  Dr. Tan was interested in studying carotenoids and in 1982 he got a grant from the Malaysian government to study palm oil and he was trying to figure out what kept palm oil so stable and he discovered tocotrienol.

4:00  Vitamin E is a family of molecules that includes alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherol and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienols. Alpha tocopherol was first discovered and was first called vitamin E in 1922. It was called tocopherol from Greek words meaning birth and to bear or carry because it was found to be essential for fertilized eggs to result in live births in rats.  Even today, alpha tocopherol is considered to be vitamin E and most of the research has been done with alpha tocopherol and it is most well known as an antioxidant. If you go the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center at Oregan State University in a long article on Vitamin E only a few sentences are devoted to tocotrienols.  Both tocopherols and tocotrienols look similar but the tail of a tocopherol is long and it is saturated, while the the tail of a tocotrienol is shorter and is unsaturated.  This tail allows tocotrienols to function differently than tocopherols.  Dr. Tan believes that the data that has shown the benefits of vitamin E was really attributable to tocotrienols rather than to tocopherol, which are both found in some of the same foods, which is why so many of the studies of vitamin E done with alpha tocopherol failed to prevent heart disease or cancer or cognitive decline or to decrease mortality.  Researchers Asaf Qureshi and Charles Elson at the University of Wisconsin first discovered in the 1980s that tocotrienol rather than tocopherol caused the reduction of cholesterol, esp. LDL, through the post-transcriptional suppression of HMGR (3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase), which is the enzyme responsible for cholesterol synthesis.  Unlike statins, which also block CoQ10 synthesis, tocotrienols do not block CoQ10 synthesis, and tocotrienols can also be added to Red Yeast Rice or to statins and it enhances the effects.  When tocopherol was added to tocotrienols, it blunted the effect to lower cholesterol.  So to achieve the therapeutic benefits of tocotrienols, they must be taken apart from tocopherols.

7:22  Alpha tocopherol may actually have a negative effect on lipids. In studies where tocotrienols are shown to lower cholesterol, when tocopherols were combined, the ability of tocotrienols to lower cholesterol were blocked.  This likely explains why some of the studies on vitamin E showed little or no benefit.  Dr. Tan mentioned that tocotrienols also lower triglycerides and that they can also work synergistically with EPA/DHA fish oil for this purpose.  Here is a study showing that tocotrienols can protect against the lipid oxidation of fish oil more effectively than tocopherols:  Antioxidant activities of annatto and palm tocotrienol-rich fractions in fish oil and structured lipid-based infant formula emulsion.

14:40  Tocotrienols have been shown to have an anti-cancer effect in cellular and animal studies against bladder, brain, breast, cervical, colon, gastric, leukemia, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and skin cancer.  There are currently a number of clinical trials using tocotrienols in humans with cancer, including a phase 2 trial that was recently published on ovarian cancer. They looked at patients with metastatic ovarian cancer and gave one group Avastin and the other group Avastin plus tocotrienols–300 mg three times per day and their survival doubled at 12 months and was 25% increased at 24 months.  Dr. Tan did not think that taking tocotrienols is a problem for patients taking traditional chemo or radiation because the effect of both is not simply as a pro-oxidant but have a number of mechanisms by which they fight cancer and taking tocotrienols has not been shown to reduce their effects. In fact, so far, the opposite has been shown to be true.

21:00   Tocotrienols have been shown to improve bone health in post-menopausal women. Dr Tan talked about a study done at Texas Tech University with women with osteopenia that showed that tocotrienols improved bone formation by 100% and reduced bone breakdown by 15% and reduced oxidative stress by 48% [Tocotrienol supplementation suppressed bone resorption and oxidative stress in postmenopausal osteopenic women: a 12-week randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial.]  Calcium is a constituent in bone. Vitamin D is a chaperone to escort the calcium into the bone. Vitamin K2 helps to form osteocalcin which helps to trap the calcium in the bone.  Tocotrienol both increases osteoblastic activity and reduces osteoclastic activity, which improves bone density and strength over time.  The bisphosphonate drugs like Fosamax and Actonel reduce osteoclastic activity, so while you get an increase in bone, there is a tendency to get an accumulation of weaker, junky bone and it can cause osteonecrosis of the jaw.  But Dr. Tan has also developed another nutritional product called geranylgeraniol (GG), that will be available from Designs for Health, that can block this breakdown of the osteonecrosis of the jaw caused by bisphosphonate drugs.

25:57  Dr. Tan explained that they have studied delta tocotrienols for osteoarthritis and it improves joint health and cartilage repair and reduces inflammation.  In fact, tocotrienols reduced cartilage erosion by 200%.

27:17  Most plants that are good sources of vitamin E have both tocopherol and tocotrienol, like rice and palm.  Dr. Tan discovered that the annatto plant contains purely tocotrienols. When Dr. Qureshi, the researcher from the University of Wisconsin, found out about this, he told Dr. Tan that he was going to test it to see if it lowered cholesterol levels. Dr. Tan suggested that he also test to see if it also lowered inflammation, since this is a big factor in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The study showed that tocotrienols lowered inflammation by 30% as well as lowering cholesterol by 20% and also lowering triglycerides.  Tocotrienols will also lower oxidized LDL, which is important since oxidized LDL is more atherogenic than LDL.  Here is a good review article on the benefits of tocotrienols for cardiovascular disease:  Tocotrienol is a cardioprotective agent against ageing-associated cardiovascular disease and its associated morbidities

30:55  Tocotrienols can also be beneficial for helping to reverse Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).  A study showed that patients taking 600 mg tocotrienols per day and it lowered liver enzymes 15-20% and reduced C-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation.  NAFLD is common in patients who are overweight and tocotrienols also helped with weight loss. After taking tocotrienols for 3 months, patients lost 10 lbs and they lost 20 lbs after only 6 months.

36:05  Recommended dosages for tocotrienols: 600 mg for fatty liver; for cancer 400-500 for stage one but 900 for metastatic disease; for patients with lipidemia or heart disease, 250-300 mg.

43:28  Dr. Tan explained that tocotrienols also kill cancer stem cells and this has been shown with prostate, breast, pancreatic, and skin cancers. Cancer stem cells are rogue cells that can continue even after you get rid of cancer.  Dr. Tan has also edited a text book on tocotrienols called Tocotrienol, Vitamin E beyond Tocopherol.


Dr. Barrie Tan is a PhD in chemistry, who is dedicating to researching Vitamin E.  Dr. Tan discovered tocotrienols in palm, rice, and annatto, with annatto being the most efficient source, since palm and rice also contain substantial amounts of tocopherols and alpha tocopherol inhibits tocotrienols.  He produces an Annatto Tocotrienol product through his American River Nutrition Company.  Dr. Tan is offering a free book, The Truth About Vitamin E .

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111 or go to www.drweitz.com.


Podcast Transcript

Dr. Weitz:            This is Dr. Ben Weitz, with the Rational Wellness podcast, bringing you the cutting edge information on health and nutrition from the latest scientific research and by interviewing the top experts in the field.  Please subscribe to the Rational Wellness podcast on iTunes and YouTube, and sign up for my free ebook on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health.  Hello Rational Wellness podcasters. Thank you so much for joining me again today. Please, if you like the Rational Wellness podcast, go to Apple podcasts and write us a review. That’ll help us come up in the searches for alternative health in Apple podcasts. Also, if you want to see the video version, go to my YouTube page, and if you go to my website, drweitz.com, there will be detailed show notes and a complete transcript.

Our topic for today is tocotrienols with Dr. Barrie Tan.  Some of us may not know what tocotrienols are. They are part of the vitamin E family, which consists of eight fat soluble iso forms. Alpha, beta, gamma and Delta tocopherol, and alpha, beta, gamma and Delta tocotrienols.  Most multivitamins only contain alpha tocopherol, which is generally what is considered to be vitamin E. One of the better sources for research on vitamins, The Linus Pauling institutes micronutrient information center in its detailed article on vitamin E is almost exclusively about alpha tocopherol, and there’s only one small paragraph about Tocotrienols.

                                Dr. Barrie Tan is a PhD in chemistry, who’s dedicated to researching vitamin E, and is an assistant professor at the university of Massachusetts. He’s credited with discovering tocotrienols in Palm rice and annatto, with annatto being the most efficient source. And there’s an annatto plant right in the background behind Dr. Tan. And since palm and rice also contain substantial amounts of tocopherols, an alpha tocopherol inhibits tocotrienols. He produces annatto Tocotrienols product through his American River Nutrition company. Dr. Tan, thank you so much for joining me today.

Dr. Tan:               Thank you for the nice welcome. I look forward to the program and to your listeners who’s participating with us.

Dr. Weitz:            Absolutely. So Dr. Tan, what got you so interested in vitamin E, and particularly in Tocotrienols

Dr. Tan:               The year was 1982, ’83. I started as an assistant professor at the university of Massachusetts. I was there for about 12 years. And during that time I got a grant from the Malaysian government trying to study what kept the Palm oil so stable. So when I extracted all… at the time I was really interested in carotenoids because Palm oil is very bright orangy color. So when I remove all the fat, remove all the carotene, which is what I was interested in, there’s a few drops of something at the bottom.  And then I found out what it was; it was largely Tocotrienol.  When I reported back to the Malaysian government they say, “Oh, that’s just vitamin E. Is it?” “No, this is a little different than normal vitamin E alpha tocopherol. It does contain some, but it contain other peaks. And then I later found out to be Tocotrienols. So that was my simple start, probably 1984 or 1985 when I did it. This was long time ago.

Dr. Weitz:            Okay. And so vitamin E, as I mentioned, is not a single molecule. Can you give us a little more detail into what vitamin E is and how it was first discovered?

Dr. Tan:                It almost looked like if it weren’t me and a few others pushing for Tocotrienol, Tocotrienol probably never would have existed today. As you mentioned, Oregon State University only gave a tiny little sentence or two about Tocotrienol.  Tocopherol was found almost 50 years before Tocotrienol. And when it was found, it was known famously as vitamin E alpha tocopherol from UC Berkeley research. And it was to help the fetus to bring into full term. Most people don’t even know that, but probably know that it’s an antioxidant. But that was the reason.

                                Now if you fast forward 40 years, Tocotrienol was found. So very simplistically, structurally, a tocopherol has a head and a tail, like that. And the tail is saturated. A Tocotrienol, same kind of head and a tail. The tail is shorter slightly. And then they have double bonds, so it is unsaturated. So chemically, a tail of a Tocotrienol is unsaturated, otherwise look pretty similar, both as antioxidant. And now if you fast forward almost 100 years later, just about every thing that show vitamin E to work belongs to Tocotrienol. Just about everything that had been shown for tocopherol study fail, with the exception that it is a fat antioxidant.

Dr. Weitz:            It’s interesting, for years I’d seen these studies where they’ve used vitamin E and you try to test it to see if it prevents heart disease or cancer, and every time I’ve looked at the studies, I always thought, “Wow, I wonder why it’s not working. Ah, I don’t think they’re giving enough vitamin E. They only gave 200 micrograms or international units or they only conducted to study for two years and that’s not long enough to prevent cancer.”

Dr. Tan:                Yeah. And actually that concern that you have, I have too. I have no intention here to demonize tocopherol. I struggle as you did. The large, large clinical study, some of them done over eight, 10 years, simply did not pan out, Alpha tocopherol did not work. At best, it didn’t work. At worse, it may even raise the possibility of cancer and cardiovascular disease. That brought a lot of concerns to me. And then they thought that maybe it’s a synthetic vitamin E, so then they moved to using natural vitamin E, till alpha tocopherol, and is still continue not to work at high doses, 400 IUs, 600 IU.  So then I knew that if vitamin E were to work, and if Tocotrienol were to have a shot, let me stay with Tocotrienol. And that all came because of the fundamental seminal work in the 1980s. Much later when they found out that Tocotrienol, without exception not tocopherol caused the reduction of lipid. That came off from University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Weitz:            Interesting. I’ve heard you say that alpha tocopherol can actually have a negative effect on lipids.

Dr. Tan:                Yes. That came about because after the Wisconsin group came up that Tocotrienol could lower cholesterol, they did several clinical trials. About 60% work and 40% not. So it’s almost 50, 50. So it bothered the researcher. So the way they did it was, wait a minute, before we do any more clinical trials, it’s too expensive and take too long, we got to stop. So they went back to the bench work to find out in animal study, and this is what they did.  They were suspicious there’s something with the Tocotrienol, maybe a matter. At first, they thought that the Tocotrienol presence will be innocuous, so they put this amount of Tocotrienol with no tocopherol, then the next study, same amount, they add in a little bit more tocopherol, and then the next one, same Tocotrienol, more tocopherol.  And then when they did this, remember, a same amount of Tocotrienol. As they increased the amount of tocopherol, then they found out that the ability to lower cholesterol simply stopped. Now that was in… They published that in 1997. Since then, 2007. And 2007, 20 years after that, people have done it for cancer, for cardiovascular disease, and for metabolic syndrome systematically.  Every time tocopherol is present with Tocotrienol, tocopherol put brakes on the function of Tocotrienol.

Dr. Weitz:            Right. So there’s quite a number of articles now looking at the benefits of tocotrienols for cardiovascular disease.  And it was interesting looking at the mechanism by which it lowers LDL cholesterol, which is different than the way statins work, right?

Dr. Tan:               That is correct. And that came about… that study was discovered probably at the very end of the 1980s.  Statins work directly. If this is the LDL receptor that the statin locks it up, and then the drop is very dramatic. But we’ve Tocotrienol, we see a lot of cholesterol coming. So the scientific lingo is post-transcriptional, after it makes it, they down regulate the HMG reductase so it lower.  So if you translate them into application, a statin would lower say 40, 50% cholesterol; very dramatic.  And a Tocotrienol will probably lower it to about 20%. But hey, for a nutritional supplement to lower 20%, I’m fine with that.

Dr. Weitz:            And by the way, we’re specifically talking about LDL, right?

Dr. Tan:               Yes. The LDL cholesterol. And we have also found, in addition, in the earliest study, the Tocotrienol also lower triglyceride.  Now triglyceride is also cardiovascular, but when you have people with high triglycerides, it’s of particular import with people who have metabolic syndrome, for example, many of your listeners would be interested to lower triglycerides, so they take fish oil.  So fish oil lowers triglycerides.  So Tocotrienol also lowers triglycerides particularly for the interests of metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Weitz:            Cool. And Tocotrienols can be used synergistically way with statins or red yeast rice. Is that correct?

Dr. Tan:                Yes. Some people even add Tocotrienol with red yeast rice to do the cholesterol lowering.  And others put Tocotrienol with fish oil to lower triglycerides. And I even tell people, a little bit of a new one.  It was just published in the American heart association that anybody who wants to lower their triglycerides to take about three grams, at least two grams, perhaps three grams of DHA and EPA.  Particularly EPA because they say that the combination of EPA and DHA will lower the triglyceride, but there’s a possibility that the LDL may increase, which is a no-no to people who are diabetic like that. So if people add fish oil to Tocotrienol, not only they lower their triglycerides, they will resist the LDL from increasing for one, but possibly even lower the LDL.  So it’s a great combo to have fish oil and Tocotrienol for lowering the triglyceride as well as the LDL.

Dr. Weitz:            Brilliant. Plus, isn’t there a synergistic benefit because when you take a lot of unsaturated fatty acids like Omega-3s, they can become oxidized and the tocotrienols taken at the same time can prevent that oxidation?

Dr. Tan:                Yes. I have been trying to support this.  I’m a member of GO-ED, the global organization, EPA and DHA. Trying to convince people, convince company to make fish oil.  Everybody knows that taking fish oil is a good thing. Everybody also knows that oxidized fish oil is a bad thing.  So they would consider the possibility of putting Tocotrienol to protect the oxidation of these very unsaturated fat that’s unstable. And we have that study. That study was done for us at University of Georgia in Athens.

Dr. Weitz:            Interesting. So let’s say I was going to take two grams of EPA, DHA, how much Tocotrienols do you think I would need to protect that?

Dr. Tan:                Okay. If it is just for the protection of the omega-3, probably anywhere from one to two milligram. In one capsule of one gram fish oil will be enough to protect the extended shelf life. But if it is to add in so that it will support your LDL to drop and not increase, then probably more like 100 milligram. So depending on the intention of this. So one or two milligram or 100 milligram.

Dr. Weitz:            Okay. So particularly it’s delta tocotrienol that’s the most potent

Dr. Tan:                Yes. If you do a PubMed search, say people out there, say, “Oh, Dr. Tan is biased.” Which is fine. I understand that because I made this compound. If you go online, if you type Tocotrienol, right up sticking up like a sore thumb would be things of Delta Tocotrienol and gamma Tocotrienol. And then a beta Tocotrienol just about doesn’t exist in any effect at all. And then Alpha Tocotrienol trail. It’s a distant third; if anytime. So therefore on Tocotrienol studies, more than 90% of it would be on the function of Delta and gamma Tocotrienol.

Dr. Weitz:            Cool. I read several papers about the anticancer effects of Tocotrienols, including this review paper written this year that, “Tocotrienols modulate a life or death decision in cancer.” Talking about Tocotrienols having anticancer effects against bladder, brain, breast, cervical, colon, gastric, leukemia, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and skin cancer.  It’s amazing.

Dr. Tan:                I know.  When people first read something like that, the first blush is it just sound like snake oil. Now, when you read all of those things there, there were actually studies done on it.  If you were to type Tocotrienol on animal and cell lines study on those, I’m going to guess they’re probably 300 to 400 papers; lots of them. So we were among the first to decide if it worked in cell line and animal study, we should be all in to do clinical trials.  Currently, we have six clinical trials on cancer study.  One of them is published on it.  And the cancers we study on human trials are ovarian, breast, lung, and colon cancer.  And my colleagues are doing it on pancreatic cancer.

                            And so if you like I can tell you the ovarian cancer that was published. So we have two groups. One group is stage four cancer, which means that the cancer have gone everywhere, and within six months or so, most of the patient did not survive, and they’re taking the very expensive drug called Avastin. What Avastin does is anti-angiogenic; it prevents the artery from the tumor, it chop off like that. But even so, most of it did not live much more than six months. And then the other group is on Avastin plus Tocotrienol. Then their survival doubled to 12 months. And even at 24 months, 25% of the patients were still living. We consider that remarkable for a simple nutritional supplement.

Dr. Weitz:            Yeah. No, it’s amazing. Now what about if patients are taking traditional chemo?  It’s generally thought that taking high dosages of antioxidants can prevent the effectiveness of chemo and radiation since… maybe not targeted drugs like Avastin, but the traditional chemo drugs work by using free radical reactions to kill cancer cells.

Dr. Tan:                Yeah. This is a particular fixation about cancer doctors in the US. I asked professor Jacobson in Denmark, where all our trials were done. He said that they don’t have that as a problem.  When a chemo drug works to stifle the ability of the cancer to cell signaling or killing the cell directly, it may or may not work to end any antioxidant capability.  At the place where Tocotrienol will work to kill the cancer is largely not as an anticancer, is anti-angiogenic, not necessarily antioxidant.  It actually turn the signal of the cancer to multiply itself, turn the cancer on to make it die itself. You see it work on other operative besides antioxidant. So to the best of my knowledge, when Tocotrienol has been used in adjunct with chemo drug or without, sometime they compare neck to neck but not in adjunct. And oftentimes, the Tocotrienol work same as the chemo or better. In the pancreatic cancer is one. In the Tamoxifen, it did not antagonize the Tamoxifen in breast cancer. But if you use alpha tocopherol, the tocopherol would antagonize a function of Tamoxifen.

Dr. Weitz:            Interesting. Interesting. Yeah. I know one prominent integrative oncologist talks about the fact that people are sometimes worried about taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C, which has a very modest antioxidant properties, and then encourage everybody to eat fruits and vegetables, and a cup of blueberries has like five, 10,000 times the antioxidant properties of a vitamin C tablet.  So how can it be that eating fruits and vegetables enhances your ability to fight cancer potentially whereas a vitamin C tablet is going to prevent it?

Dr. Tan:                Yeah. I don’t know who started this idea that if you take antioxidant it will counter the effect of cancer.  I actually have read the opposite. If you go to the study of professor Drisko, Jeanne Drisko from University of Missouri, Kansas City. She came up with a cocktail of antioxidant for women cancer survival, and then they’re able to have better quality of life.  So I’ve seen that more than that it hurts.  If a cancer drug work as a pro-oxidant to kill the cancer just like that, I believe that that will be too simplistic. If it is like that. If you look at most cancer drugs, they are very toxic to the patient. So if it really worked, it worked to kill the cancer and probably also slowly kill the patient themselves. This antioxidant and oxidant thing is too simplistic. It works on other direct mechanism to go after the tumor. But with Tocotrienol in animal study and in humans study, we have done it now over two years, we systematically do not find negative effects of Tocotrienol on the patient, whether they are cancer study or non cancer study.

Dr. Weitz:            Interesting. I also saw several papers on tocotrienols improving bone health in postmenopausal women. Can you talk about that?

Dr. Tan:                Yes. Bone health. We started a trial after we had many animal studies in Texas Tech University at Lubbock. So at the Lubbock Texas study, we did the osteopenia trial. We gave the women one year, but not more than 10 years after menopause. So we don’t want them to be in the period where they’re osteoporotic.  Only in the osteopenic stage. So we noticed that after three months, the bone turn over, which means the building of the bone, increased by 100% or more.  And the bone resorption, the indicators show drop by 15% or more. That’s resorption, the breakdown of the bone.  And then during this stage where oxidative stress is also increased, and the oxidative stress is reduced by 48%, almost 50%. So we considered that those three combo is fantastic. Now this is unique of Tocotrienol. Why? Because people who know about bone health usually think about calcium, they take above vitamin D and more recently they think about vitamin K2. But we’ve shown that in Tocotrienol, this unique vitamin E is able to do what I just told. And that was published last year. So that’s the bone study. [Tocotrienol supplementation suppressed bone resorption and oxidative stress in postmenopausal osteopenic women: a 12-week randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial.]

Dr. Weitz:            Interesting. Can you explain what the mechanism by which it improves bone health?

Dr. Tan:                Okay. I’ll do it based on this. Calcium is a constituent inside the bone.  So that’s why we take calcium.  Vitamin D is a chaperone that helps the calcium to get into the bone.  And hence vitamin D.  Vitamin K2 is to form the osteocalcin, the protein inside the bone.  It’s like a protein lattice to trap the calcium in its place.  So I told you all the other one.  But with Tocotrienol, Tocotrienol actually increases the bone building, the osteoblast, and decreases the bone breakdown osteoclasts. So it’s actually work on the bone cells itself. So in that way, the workings of Tocotrienol differentiate from the other three things that I mentioned to you.

Dr. Weitz:            Interesting.  Do you have any idea in humans of what percentage change it would be in bone?

Dr. Tan:                The study that we currently had done is only for three months. It’s too early to tell a dexa test to work. So we only see the biomarkers. The increase of the bone building and a decrease of the bone breakdown. So all together it would resist bone loss over time during the osteopenic stage before they get to osteoporosis.

Dr. Weitz:            Wait, but that’s amazing if it increases the osteoblastic activity because currently the drugs that are typically used for osteoporosis are drugs that block the osteoclastic activity.  And so there’s a tendency to have some problems down the line because you get more bone but you tend to get more junky bone.  We need those osteoclastic cells to clear out the old junky bone.  And so the key is really to prevent that stronger bone to prevent fractures, not simply a more bone.

Dr. Tan:                Yeah. That comment you make is very interesting Dr. Weitz because when the people use this bisphosphonate drug to make this junkie bones like that on the bone-

Dr. Weitz:            These are drugs like Fosamax, for example, and Actonel.

Dr. Tan:                Yeah. Now when they use this way, they have a very unusual side effect, the junkie bone, it cause the osteonecrosis of the jaw. It’s got B-R-O-N-J like that. We are actually working with a compound, another time you can interview me on this, it’s called geranylgeraniol, Designs for Health sells this. Just started the launches. I acronyze it to GG. And GG will stop the breakdown of the osteonecrosis of the jaw caused by bisphosphonate drugs. Isn’t that amazing?

Dr. Weitz:            Really?

Dr. Tan:                Yeah. And after the interview is over, I’ll be happy to send you some study and also if the audience are interested, I will be able to do that. But for this osteopenia, for bone health, we have so far been able to study on a clinical trial on osteopenia like I described. And then we also did an animal study and I thought that your audience will be interested because you are a chiropractor by background. We also studied this osteoarthritis, and we found out that in animals study, in two study where we gave them Delta Tocotrienol, it improved the synovial fluid, and then the cartilage repair, which is a very specific part of the bone as opposed to the solid bone here, but is the bone at the joint. And also reduce the inflammation. So I know that you didn’t ask me, so while I add it, it’s only an animal study. It reduces C-reactive protein. It’s making junky bone.  It reduces that.  It reduces the inflammation of the cell at the joint, and finally it reduces the cartilage erosion, approximately 200% or so.

Dr. Weitz:            200%. Wow.

Dr. Tan:               Yes. We’ll be happy. One of them is published last month. The other one is published about 10 years ago.

Dr. Weitz:            Wow. Amazing. You just mentioned that tocotrienols have an anti-inflammatory effect, and we think of them, we think of vitamin E or tocotrienols as an antioxidant, but it also has an anti-inflammatory effect?

Dr. Tan:               Yes. And the way we tested that was when this doctor from Wisconsin found out that we figured out how to extract this from annatto.  Annatto is a unique plant because when you think of the plant kingdom, most of them have tocopherol.

Dr. Weitz:            And that’s the plant in the picture behind you?

Dr. Tan:               Yes. That’s the plant in the picture. And this is not a weird plant. We use the annatto here for coloring cheese. If you look at cheese, they say, Annatto color. So we remove the color from the cheese here and then you have the tocotrienol. The Tocotrienol is made by the plant to protect the color that is put in the cheese like that.  So basically that is what the plant use it for. So when he found out-

Dr. Weitz:            So the plant is using the tocotrienols to protect the carotenoids that are in the plant.

Dr. Tan:               That is correct. And it was intuitively, I found out, because if you touch the plant, it stains your hand.  So usually carotenoids are bound to something, like the beta-carotene in carrot, lycopene in tomato, otherwise they’re terribly unstable like the foliage color; two weeks of fantastic splendor and then it turns brown.  It’s not stable at all.  But this color here-

Dr. Weitz:            It turns brown because it gets oxidized.

Dr. Tan:               Yes, rapidly oxidized. So in this plant here, the color does not go away fast.  So this is about 22 years ago when I stumbled on this plant. I surmised that it’s got to be a powerful antioxidant that protects it.  And fortunately, thank goodness, thank God that I discovered, they are 50 million chemicals on earth, how would I have guessed?  And when I did this, I thought it was a polyphenol.  I wasn’t thinking it was a Tocotrienol, vitamin E, much less Tocotrienol.  And then when I found out and analyzed it’s pure Tocotrienol, no tocopherol, remember most plants have tocopherol.  Some plants like rice and palm have a mixture of tocopherol and Tocotrienol.  The annatto plant consists purely of Tocotrienol.  So therefore Dr. Qureshi, who did this study, he said, “Barrie, I’m going to test this and see if it reduces cholesterol.” He did.  So I told him that the Harvard Medical school study found out that half the problem with arteriosclerosis is high cholesterol, the other half is inflammation.  Can you please do inflammation study for us, which is the question you ask.  So when the study completed, a lower triglyceride, lower cholesterol, about 15 to 20% like I indicated to you.  And then he also measured the inflammation.  So surprisingly, the C reactive protein dropped approximately 30%. I say yes. So it addresses the lipid as well as the inflammation. So yes. To answer your question, Tocotrienol clearly quenched the fire in our body.

Dr. Weitz:            Wow. So we can measure oxidized LDL on advanced lipid profile, and so we can use Tocotrienols to lower that oxidized LDL.

Dr. Tan:                Yes, we can. And other people have shown that if you use Tocotrienol, it will reduce the oxidized LDL because people said that LDL is potentially atherogenic, oxidized LDL is definitely atherogenic. So if there’s any way that you can protect, if you happen to have high LDL, if you have a compound that can protect this oxidation, is a good thing.

Dr. Weitz:            Awesome. And I understand it can also be beneficial. There’s a liver condition that is much more prevalent than people realize. It’s generally ignored, but doctors and researchers who are experts on liver disease believe that this condition is going to result in as tsunami of people needing liver transplants in the next decade or two. And it’s nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Dr. Tan:                Yes.

Dr. Weitz:            This is very common now in our population, maybe as many as 100 million people in the United States may have this, and it’s part of the obesity epidemic. I understand tocotrienols can have some benefit with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Dr. Tan:                Thank you Dr. Weitz for asking this question. Currently, the reason I got into this was other people who have been studying animal study, and even the clinical trials surmising that this would work. And we already know that Tocotrienol work on metabolic syndrome, diabetes and obesity, and this kind of thing overlap each other. And then the silent group is fatty liver because you don’t feel anything. The liver is the largest solid organ. It performs 600 different function. It’s got so many function.  So if the liver failed to function properly, is a bad news. 20 more years ago, this kind of liver condition is caused by excess amount of alcohol drinking. Mayo clinic discovered it. So they had a patient coming in the doctor surmised that the patient is probably drinking too much alcohol because the liver was fatty. The patient said no. So when they found out that… So because it was not alcohol-related, that’s why they called the disease non-alcohol fatty liver disease, and it’s a dietary thing because the fat back flush into the liver and can go out anywhere.

                                So we knew this. So we did a study and is this fantastic. The study, we gave people 600 milligram per day of annatto Tocotrienol. We found that the liver enzyme dropped about 15, 20%, the fatty liver index dropped, the C-reactive protein dropped, which is a very good… By the way, C-reactive protein is manufactured in the liver.  So it’s a stress protein from the liver, usually is a marker for all inflammation, but for me, is a particular marker for the inflammation of the liver and also drop.  So we did a study, 600 milligram for three months.  We now just completed a study still at 600 milligram for six months, and a dramatic effect on these people is that at the three months, they dropped 10 pounds. Normally I do not subscribe that Tocotrienol help people to lose weight. It’s not lose weight. But after three months, it dropped 10 pounds, and after six months, it dropped almost 20 pound, like 18 pounds. Dr. Weitz, this is very important because if their weight drop, that means that their liver is recalibrating their body. Their enzymes in the liver drop, the weight drop, the C-reactive protein drop, and the fatty liver index drop. I don’t know what’s there not to like. This is fantastic.  Right now there’s no cure for this.

Dr. Weitz:            Do you know how amazing it is to have a product that would cause 18 pounds of weight loss? We have debates in the nutrition world about which diet to use for weight loss, and one diet ends up producing two and a half pounds of weight loss and that’s considered a success over a period of months. But to create 18 pounds of weight loss, that’s like unbelievable.

Dr. Tan:               Yeah. I think that probably in the next three months or so, the six months study will be published for the almost-

Dr. Weitz:            What is this? Kill their appetite or something?

Dr. Tan:               The control group and the normal group were asked to do exercise, eat a normal diet like that, but they’re not on a regiment diet, just have a healthy diet. So we know that it is compared correctly. I would say that this is really quite something. If the audience want to address fatty liver, this would be a good way to reduce the inflammation. Silence the enzyme that is highly inflamed. And in fact, we also check the glucose level, is it called HOMA-IR, it’s a homeostatic something of the glucose function. It’s an American Diabetes Association measurement. Even the HOMA-IR drop.  I am really thrilled about this, and looking much forward to the published study enable to recommend people who have fatty liver to do this, at least to control and contain further the damage to the liver, which is otherwise not good, and enable to help to reverse it possibly.

Dr. Weitz:            So let’s talk about dosages. You mentioned 600 milligrams for fatty liver. What about for reducing cholesterol and triglycerides? What kind of dosage should we use optimally?

Dr. Tan:                Probably about half that amount. Depending on a person’s weight, two to 300 milligram would suffice. And then fatty liver because a person is already gone that direction on fatty liver, 600 milligram. Many of our clinical study on cancer, they use 900 milligram. But now in the newest study it looked like if they are not end stage cancer, if they’re stage two or three, probably half the dosage will be enough. Four to 500 milligrams. So the extreme thing, 900 milligram, but the one, the frank disease, then probably about midway about 500 or five, 600 milligram. And of people who just have normal lipidemia or have a family history of this but don’t have the disease themselves, probably half that again, from two to 300 milligrams.  And remember, when you take it, it’s a lipid soluble thing. You don’t need to make it any liposomal or other thing, just take it with a meal. There’s enough emulsification in the stomach, bowel sock in the gut, and that should be able to emulsify to absorb the Tocotrienol.

Dr. Weitz:            Okay. I was reading one of the papers on cancer and they did say that there’s an issue with bioavailability.

Dr. Tan:               Yeah, the bioavailability on-

Dr. Weitz:            That 2019 Tocotrienols Modulate a Life or Death Decision in Cancer. That author talked about the bioavailability.

Dr. Tan:               Yes. They raised that as a question because in the cancer study, you may need highest dose, like it’s 900 milligram like that. Where it is not advisable, would be to take all the 900 milligram at one shot. So it should be taken 300 milligram with breakfast, lunch and dinner. So it’s T-I-D. So if you take a 600 milligram, take it 300 milligram, they call it B-I-D, which means take two doses with lunch and dinner or breakfast and lunch.  In other words, at one single dose, it should be up to 300 milligram but not more. So if you wanted to take 250 milligram, is fine. And precisely because of that, Designed for Health, for example, sells it 115 milligram and a 300 milligram. So you can go online, they have it. And you can also buy it from Amazon as well.

Dr. Weitz:            What about for cardiovascular disease?

Dr. Tan:                Cardiovascular disease. The study that we did was at 250 milligram, between 200 and 300. So at the time we make the soft gel 125 milligram. We gave to patient 125, they take two soft gel, 250, three for 375, and four for 500. So when we dose escalate, we find out that 250 hit the number. And if you want to reduce inflammation, maybe 500 milligram, otherwise if to just to reduce lipid, 250 milligram would be fine.

Dr. Weitz:            So if you’re going to take it for cardiovascular, you would do the 250, and you would do that once a day and preferably when you take your fish oil or if you’re using red yeast rice or a statin, take it with that?

Dr. Tan:                Yeah. You take it with that and take them with a meal. The statin drug, you can take it with or without a meal. The fish oil oftentimes is taken because fish oil is a lipid. So if you take it with fish oil, with a meal… When I say with a meal, and sometime people are religion, I just mean that one hour before a meal, up to two hours after a meal. Why do I say that? If you take it one hour before a meal, when you eat the meal an hour later, you masticate with the meal will be fine.  And why you can take it two hours?  Because as you eat food, the food is not going to get out of your stomach for at least two hours. So when I say with a meal, I mean one hour before, up to two hours after, not religiously must be, I eat the food, now I got to take it now. People ask me like that’s so..

Dr. Weitz:            No, no. It’s good to clarify that because some patients are trying really hard to follow the directions exactly, and they’ll agonize if they’re told to take it with the meal and they take it right after the meal or… So what you’re saying is it takes a long time for the fruit to get digested, as long as it’s somewhere around the time of the meal. That’s fine.

Dr. Tan:                That’s fine. Yeah.

Dr. Weitz:            I know you have a small book for consumers, The Truth About Vitamin E, and you also have a textbook, right? That’s available as well.

Dr. Tan:                Yeah.

Dr. Weitz:            Can you ask about those?

Dr. Tan:                I’m going to show you. This is a picture of the book here, like that. The Truth About Vitamin E. And it’s a short book. It’s only about 70, 80 pages long. So if you wanted to have a copy of this book here, you can go on barrietan.com, and my name is spelled B-A-R-R-I-E.com. And then if you put the code word, wellness, because we are on your program here, wellness, and then you can download an electronic copy.  So if you wish to have a hard copy, you can email me through that. Otherwise, if you want it faster, you get download and it’s free, and then you can see a lot more study and a lot more things that we discussed here; dosage, this and then what is useful for what area. It should be in there. So I did that as a public service, as a love for this, that I spent almost my whole life studying this, to let people know today of that special vitamin E. That’s why I say the truth about vitamin E is actually Tocotrienol, not tocopherol.  There are just too many problems with tocopherol to find that is any use.  That even if you use it, you have to tiptoe around all the benefit because of the potential negative benefit.  So I decided that I’m done with tocopherol.

Dr. Weitz:            And what about you have a textbook also?

Dr. Tan:                Oh yeah. A textbook. Yes.

Dr. Weitz:            And this is something more for clinicians who might be interested in delving deep into some of the detailed scientific information about Tocotrienols

Dr. Tan:                Yes. How about while Kim is getting me the textbook for me to show, I know that as a remark that I want to make just in case we didn’t cover it. Currently, we are continuing our study more overweight and obese people, they’re 60, 70 years old, because carrying a lot of heavy fat is not good. They’re healthy. So keep watch, in another year we’ll know that study like that. And another note that you may or may not ask, we also noticed that when you add Tocotrienol, it help… When you address cancer, 1% of cancer is called cancer STEM cell. These are rogue cancer cell that circulate in our body. We now have scientific proof that Tocotrienol actually even nail the cancer STEM cell. We have shown it on prostate cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and skin cancer. Can you imagine that? Even if you nail the cancer, the rogue cell will go on. So we even nail after that. I am so thrilled about that.  So for no other reason, for prevention reason, we should be taking… because in our body, even if we don’t have frank cancer, we have cancer, rogue cancer cell floating around to do this. So to answer your question, for the scientists, this is a book that I added here and I’m the main editor here. So this is called Tocotrienol, Vitamin E beyond Tocopherol. And a picture of annatto here. This a summary of all the different professors and scientists on the research work.

                                So this clearly is not something I say. I’m just a mouth piece to tell other people, yes, we helped to conduct some studies ourselves, but there are other independent researchers, they have published the whatever they find is important, and if it didn’t work, they will say so, if it works, they will say so. So it’s not so much that I’m controlling, and there’s no such thing. The only thing that I have is I’ll say this, I have faith in knowing that this particular vitamin E is unique. Very few vitamin have such credential to actually intervene disease, but Tocotrienol does.

Dr. Weitz:            Yeah. I’m completely amazed and definitely immediately going to add it to my anti-aging regimen. And those are my patients who want to be on an anti-aging regimen as well.

Dr. Tan:                Well, thank you, Dr. Weitz. I’m thrilled about days that you asked me for this interview. Hopefully within a year, we… This by the way, this one here was the second symposium. It was a summary of the… When we have a conference like that, hopefully next year or the year after, we’re going to have the third international symposium, and then we’ll invite all the scientists and researchers and medical doctors of the world to come in. And then would disclose what new findings are on this.  So watch for new things to come. And then as I wrap up, I’m very passionate about this, related to Tocotrienol is a compound, which I mentioned in the program earlier called geranylgeraniol. Now I know it’s a mouthful of a word. And you simply can acronyze it to GG. GG is an endogenous nutrient in a human body, which means our human body makes it. To get your attention, you can Google geranylgeraniol, GG is required for the synthesis of CoQ10. And everybody knows CoQ10.  GG is required for the synthesis of vitamin K2.

                                You talk about vitamin K2 fermentation, is required for the synthesis of vitamin K2. And also required for the synthesis of heme in our body, because it’s endogenous. Can you imagine what it means if you don’t have GG. And the most important thing I consider, GG is required in the synthesis of protein. That is why the reason when we take statin drug to lower cholesterol, it inhibit GG. Most people don’t know that. Most people do know it inhibited CoQ10. And do you know why it inhibit CoQ10? Because it inhibit GG. And GG is required in the synthesis of CoQ10.  But if you take CoQ10, it cannot help you to solve that myopathy problem of statin. But if you take GG, GG will mitigate the problem of statin in myopathy. Get me to talk about GG another day. That is so exciting. And by the way 

Dr. Weitz:            It is available, you said.

Dr. Tan:                Yeah. GIG is. The only company is available now is for design for health, and they have a white page. Dr. Weitz, please go on the white page like that or you can even interview Dr. David Brady. He’s the chief medical officer there, or if not, if you bring me on again, I would love to do this, and be among the very first to do that. I will love to talk to you about that. It was so exciting. You know and then when you do this like… let me tell you this, the entire molecule of GG is on Tocotrienol.  Now the human mammal don’t know how to do that. The plant can do that. Next time when you get me a talk, I’ll show a picture about the picture of Tocotrienol. The entire molecule of GG is on the Tocotrienol. So this is my fate. I’m meant for this. I noticed this fun thing, but I wanted to tell you, the audience, I did not make this up. I’m just fortunate to stumble on this Amazonian plant. And if there’s sheer, pure joy to pass to the consumer is to let them know that this is good for their health.

                                So Tocotrienol is good for all the reasons for the past hour we talk about, and GG is an endogenous nutrient. Without GG, we cannot describe life as we know it, and GG, as we grow older, GG drop. Actually the lowering of CoQ10 as we age is actually a biomarker of lowering of GG because GG is required for the synthesis of Q. Forget the statin thing, the statin thing only make the CoQ10 drop even more. But even if you don’t take statin, the lower CoQ10 with age is a maker for lowering endogenous GG.  I know I got carried away, but that is the very exciting thing. So I hope it’s useful to you all. Thank you so much for inviting me to talk.

Dr. Weitz:            And thank you so much Dr. Tan. I’m going to definitely hold you to that, getting you back on to talk about GG.

Dr. Tan:               Thank you so much, and you have a wonderful day. And thanks for the audience who listen to this talk. Have a great day.

Dr. Weitz:            Thank you for all you’ve given to the world for your discoveries on Tocotrienols and now GG.

Dr. Tan:               Thank you. Much obliged.



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