Tocotrienols Sources


Vitamin E is a group of 8 forms of fat-soluble compounds. Eight forms have 4 Tocopherols (Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta), 4 Tocotrienols (Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta). These 8 forms make up the compound of vitamin E in varied proportions in different sources.

In this, Tocotrienols are considered the potent form in the Vitamin E family. Vitamin E is one of the best antioxidants that show amazing healing and body regulating abilities. Tocotrienols are considered a missed gem because only in recent decades tocotrienols came under the spotlight of research and it is shown possessing incredible health benefits. Clinical trials and studies have concrete data to say it as the best form of Vitamin E. Especially the Delta Tocotrienols and Gamma Tocotrienols.

Sources and Its Comparison:

Tocotrienols provide better results than other forms of the vitamin E family because of their chemical structure. The Chemical structure of tocotrienols makes them easily absorbed by the human body, easily float across the membranes, capture free radicals leading to increased protection against oxidation. This structural difference provides the positive edge for tocotrienols against Tocopherols.

There are various sources of tocotrienols. They naturally occur in some vegetable oils like

Rice bran oil, Palm Oil, Wheat Germ, Saw Palmetto, Annatto, Barley, Oats, safflower oil, coconut oil etc.Other sources include Nuts, Grains and oil derived from them. Flaxseed, Hazelnut, Grapeseed, Pumpkinseed, Walnut, Maize, Poppy, cocoa etc.,

The extract may vary from one source to another in its composition. Tocotrienols composition have a different proportion of its forms (Alpha tocotrienols, Beta tocotrienols, Gamma Tocotrienols and Delta Tocotrienols) and in many sources have some proportion of Tocopherols with it.

Research and studies also have shown evidence of Alpha-Tocopherol interfering with the health benefits of Tocotrienols, as the former inhibits the absorption of later by the body. Hence researchers concluded that effective tocotrienols should contain less than 15% of Tocopherols and more than 60% of desmethyl Tocotrienols (Gamma and Delta Tocotrienols). Within the forms of Tocotrienols, Delta Tocotrienols and Gamma tocotrienols are found to be the best combo for maximum health benefits. Third come alpha and beta comes to the rear position inside the tocotrienol family.

Source Alpha-Tocotrienols Beta-Tocotrienols Gamma-Tocotrienols Delta-Tocotrienols Tocopherol
Annatto No No Yes Yes No
Palm Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rice Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wheat germ Yes No No No Yes
Coconut Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Cocoa Yes No No No Yes

Fortunately, the combination which gives the maximum health benefits is found in annatto beans. It has only Tocotrienols with no Tocopherol and 90% Delta Tocotrienol and 10% Gamma Tocotrienol hence making the best source of potent Tocotrienols.

Tocotrienols though is 60- 70-fold potent than tocopherols its availability is scarce. Red palm also contains 75% of tocotrienols but it also has 25% percent of tocopherols which is 10% more than the minimum desired level. This makes annatto plant the only source of non-tocopherol tocotrienol.