Paradoxically, meta-analysis of human randomized controlled trials revealed that natural but not synthetic α-tocopherol supplementation significantly increases all-cause mortality at 95% confidence interval. The root cause was that natural α-tocopherol supplementation significantly depressed bioavailability of other forms of vitamin E that have better chemo-prevention capability. Meta-analysis outcome demonstrated flaws in the understanding of vitamin E. Reinterpretation of reported data provides plausible explanations to several important observations. While α-tocopherol is almost exclusively secreted in chylomicrons, enterocytes secrete tocotrienols in both chylomicrons and small high-density lipoproteins. Vitamin E secreted in chylomicrons is discriminately repacked by α-tocopherol transfer protein into nascent very low-density lipoproteins in the liver. Circulating very low-density lipoproteins undergo delipidation to form intermediate-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins. Uptake of vitamin E in intermediate-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins takes place at various tissues via low-density lipoproteins receptor-mediated endocytosis. Small high-density lipoproteins can deliver tocotrienols upon maturation to peripheral tissues independent of α-tocopherol transfer protein action, and uptake of vitamin E takes place at selective tissues by scavenger receptor-mediated direct vitamin E uptake. Dual absorption pathways fortocotrienols are consistent with human and animal studies. α-Tocopherol depresses the bioavailability of α-tocotrienol and has antagonistic effect ontocotrienols in chemo-prevention against degenerative diseases. Therefore, it is an undesirable component for chemo-prevention. Future research directions should be focused on tocotrienols, preferably free from α-tocopherol, for optimum chemo-prevention and benefits to mankind.
Background: Chronic, low-grade inflammation provides a link between normal ageing and the pathogenesis of age-related diseases. A series of in vitro tests confirmed the strong anti-inflammatory activities of known inhibitors of NF-κB activation (δ-tocotrienol, quercetin, riboflavin, (-) Corey lactone, amiloride, and dexamethasone). δ-Tocotrienol also suppresses β-hydroxy-β-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase activity (the rate-limiting step in de novo cholesterol synthesis), and concomitantly lowers serum total and LDL cholesterol levels. We evaluated these compounds in an avian model anticipating that a dietary additive combining δ-tocotrienol with quercetin, riboflavin, (-) Corey lactone, amiloride, or dexamethasone would yield greater reductions in serum levels of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and inflammatory markers (tumor necrosis factor-α [TNF-α], and nitric oxide [NO]), than that attained with the individual compounds.
Results: The present results showed that supplementation of control diets with all compounds tested except riboflavin, (-) Corey lactone, and dexamethasone produced small but significant reductions in body weight gains as compared to control. (-) Corey lactone and riboflavin did not significantly impact body weight gains. Dexamethasone significantly and markedly reduced weight gain (>75%) compared to control. The serum levels of TNF-α and NO were decreased 61% – 84% (P < 0.001), and 14% – 67%, respectively, in chickens fed diets supplemented with δ-tocotrienol, quercetin, riboflavin, (-) Corey lactone, amiloride, or dexamethasone as compared to controls. Significant decreases in the levels of serum total and LDL-cholesterol were attained with δ-tocotrienol, quercetin, riboflavin and (-) Corey lactone (13% – 57%; P < 0.05), whereas, these levels were 2-fold higher in dexamethasone treated chickens as compared to controls. Parallel responses on hepatic lipid infiltration were confirmed by histological analyses. Treatments combining δ-tocotrienol with the other compounds yielded values that were lower than individual values attained with either δ-tocotrienol or the second compound. Exceptions were the significantly lower total and LDL cholesterol and triglyceride values attained with the δ-tocotrienol/(-) Corey lactone treatment and the significantly lower triglyceride value attained with the δ-tocotrienol/riboflavin treatment. δ-Tocotrienol attenuated the lipid-elevating impact of dexamethasone and potentiated the triglyceride lowering impact of riboflavin. Microarray analyses of liver samples identified 62 genes whose expressions were either up-regulated or down-regulated by all compounds suggesting common impact on serum TNF-α and NO levels. The microarray analyses further identified 41 genes whose expression was differentially impacted by the compounds shown to lower serum lipid levels and dexamethasone, associated with markedly elevated serum lipids.
Conclusion: This is the first report describing the anti-inflammatory effects of δ-tocotrienol, quercetin, riboflavin, (-) Corey lactone, amiloride, and dexamethasone on serum TNF-δ and NO levels. Serum TNF-δ levels were decreased by >60% by each of the experimental compounds. Additionally, all the treatments except with dexamethasone, resulted in lower serum total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The impact of above mentioned compounds on the factors evaluated herein was increased when combined with δ-tocotrienol.
Byron J. Richards
Numerous studies over the past two decades have clearly proven that the tocotrienol form of vitamin E is a top choice for cardiovascular protection and heart health. A recent review oftocotrienol science points out that they are also being researched for benefits to bone health, blood sugar metabolism, brain health, and cancer. Since tocotrienols offer a safe and effective way to help achieve or maintain healthy cholesterol, while simultaneously protecting your arteries, it is worthwhile to understand more about them and how they can help you with your health.