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Tocotrienol (Vit. E)


Is it different from regular Vitamin E (Tocopherols)?

Dr. Perricone became well known for  his expensive creams including Tocotrienol as a main ingredient. Is it really all it is made out to be? Let this research sway your opinions.

Tocotrienols are members of the vitamin E family. An essential nutrient for the body, vitamin E is made up of four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). Tocotrienols are about 50 times more potent than tocopherols as antioxidants. (1) The slight difference between tocotrienols and tocopherols lie in the unsaturated side chain having three double bonds in its farnesyl isoprenoid tail. Tocotrienols are natural compounds found in select vegetable oils, wheat germ, barley, saw palmetto, and certain types of nuts and grains. This variant of vitamin E typically only occurs at very low levels in nature. Tocotrienol rich fractions from rice, palm, or annatto, used in nutritional supplements, functional foods, and anti-aging cosmetics, are available in the market at 20%, 35%, 50%, and 70% total vitamin E content.(2) The Tocotrienol used in our Youth-Derm® is naturally derived from Palm, and includes a combination of naturally occurring Tocotrienols and Tocopherals at 50%.

Chemically, vitamin E in all of its forms functions as an antioxidant. All of the tocotrienol and tocopherol isomers have this antioxidant activity due to the ability to donate a hydrogen atom (a proton plus electron) from the hydroxyl group on the chromanol ring, to a free radical in the body. This process inactivates (“quenches”) the free radical by effectively donating a single unpaired electron (which comes with the hydrogen atom) to the radical.(3) . Its key biological function is to protect lipids from oxidation and free radical damage. Lipids are the building blocks of cell membranes and other important biochemical structures. Lipid-based entities are so vulnerable to oxidation that if left unprotected, they disintegrate in a matter of hours.(4)

In a 2009 study at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, scientists found reduction in skin cancer cells when treated with gamma-tocotrienol with chemotherapy drugs. For the first time, researchers recorded the anti-invasion and chemonsensitization effect of gamma-tocotrienol against human malignant melanoma cells. In cell line and animal studies, δ- and γ- tocotrienols have been shown to suppress the growth of melanoma.(5) With these antioxidant properties just think what else it can do to aid in the protection of every day oxidative stress from a polluted environment.

July 2010, Singapore – Scientists in Singapore have found that tocotrienols, which are members of the Vitamin E family, are effective in inhibiting the production of melanin – the pigment that gives skin its color. The study also found that tocotrienols are capable of suppressing melanin biosynthesis that has been induced by ultraviolet light. Hence, these results strongly suggest that tocotrienols could have an instrumental role to play in skin whitening.(6)

The idea of using tocotrienols in cosmetic and personal care products is fairly new. Being a more potent vitamin E, research scientists especially at the University of California, Berkeley, have started to investigate the additional benefits of tocotrienols over the alpha tocopherol vitamin E in the prevention of skin aging and skin damage. A study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley showed that diet-derived or topically applied tocotrienols preferentially accumulate at the stratum corneum to defend against free radicals generated by exposure to environment agents such as sun ray (UV), ozone, chemicals, etc.(7)

Current developments in vitamin E research clearly indicate that members of the vitamin E family are not redundant with respect to their biological functions. alpha-Tocotrienol, gamma-tocopherol, and delta-tocotrienol have emerged as vitamin E molecules with functions in health and disease that are clearly distinct from that of alpha-tocopherol. At nanomolar concentration, alpha-tocotrienol, not alpha-tocopherol, prevents neurodegeneration. On a concentration basis, this finding represents the most potent of all biological functions exhibited by any natural vitamin E molecule. An expanding body of evidence support that members of the vitamin E family are functionally unique.(8)

We have added a liberal amount of Tocotrienol to our Youth-Derm® Ultra Healing Aloe Cream knowing that our customers will appreciate the added antioxidant properties within. Not to mention, all the recent research that suggest much more!

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