The importance of tocotrienols

Tocotrienols is one type of vitamin E; the other type is the tocopherols. Both are powerful antioxidants that helps neutralise free radicals in the human body.

The tocotrienols are a less common form of vitamin E than the tocopherols. It should also be noted that some vitamin E supplement contain tocopherols only. Eating them will thus give you no tocotrienols.


Why does some vitamin E supplements contain tocopherols only? Because research have shown that only tocopherols can correct a vitamin E deficiency in humans. This led some producers to conclude that tocotrienols were “useless”. Today however, several studies suggest that even though tocotrienols will be enough to prevent vitamin E deficiency, people who are interested in getting the most benefits from their vitamin E supplement should probably pick one that contains both tocopherols and tocotrienols.

Tocotrienols are powerful antioxidants, which means that they can protect from some of the damage caused by free radicals in the body. Free radicals are linked to a host of health issues, including certain cancers and chronic inflammations.

Tocotrienols can be divided into four groups: alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienol. Each group is believed to offer its own set of health benefits.

Examples of foods rich in tocotrienols

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Rice bran

Examples of tocotrienols benefits

Brain protection

In 2014, a study showed that tocotrienol and tocopherol protects brain cells from being damaged by free radicals. For more information, see Brain damage caused by free radicals has been linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Research also suggest that tocotrienols might be helpful in slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Source:

Heart protection

  • Tocotrienols can reduce and even reverse inflammation and free radical damage in the heart.
  • Tocotrienols can reduce the impact of high cholesterol.

Killing cancer cells

In 2013, a study showed that tocotrienols can promote the death of breast cancer cells in the lab.


Improved bone health

Tocotrienols can help prevent and reduce osteoporosis-related bone loss.

Currently, research is carried out to see if tocotrienols can also support bone growth to help the body replace bone that has already been lost to osteoporosis.

Protecting the gastrointestinal system from stress

Tocotrienols have been show to help the body fight the effects of stress on the gastrointestinal system.

In a study on rats, tocotrienols were able to stop certain hormonal and acidity changes in stressed test subjects.