Tocotrienols Boost Gene Signaling to Protect the Heart

Thursday, October 06, 2011
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Tocotrienols are the only form of vitamin E proven to lower LDL cholesterol. A new animal study now demonstrates that they can also protect the heart against adverse gene signaling that is a consequence of elevated cholesterol, offering a whole new level of cardiovascular protection.

In the study rabbits were placed on a high cholesterol diet for 60 days and then placed on alpha, gamma, or delta tocotrienols for 30 days, and then subjected to experimentally induced heart attack. The serum cholesterol was cut in half in the rabbits on gamma tocotrienol and almost in half with alpha tocotrienol, wheras delta tocotrienol was much less helpful. In the control animals left ventricular function of the heart was compromised, which was restored to normal by alpha and gamma tocotrienol, but not by delta. Gamma tocotrienol reduced damage to the heart by 77 percent as a result of the experimentally produced heart attack, and alpha tocotrienol reduced the damage by 67 percent.

A detailed genomic analysis showed that tocotrienols were reversing gene signals that were being elevated by the high cholesterol diet, offsetting the damage that the poor diet was inducing. This study not only indicates the power of tocotrienols as a cardioprotective nutrient for general health and well being, it also shows that alpha and gamma tocotrienol intake is likely to help protect individuals with existing high cholesterol problems—while they work to get their cholesterol metabolism into a healthier state of function.

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