Vitamin E-Mixed Tocopherols and its Newly Discovered Benefits   

Vitamin E-Mixed Tocopherols and its Newly Discovered Benefits


Mixed Tocopherols and its Newly Discovered Benefits

When vitamin E was first discovered in 1922, scientists mistakenly concluded that vitamin E was a single compound - d-alpha tocopherol. For the next 70-80 years vitamin E supplements contains only d-alpha tocopherol.

Only in the last decade have scientists discovered the important health benefits of the long-ignored 'black-sheep' members: d-gamma, d-delta and d-beta tocopherol.

These have many properties, including anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective activities. Some of the benefits offered by d-gamma, d-beta and d-delta tocopherol are similar to those of d-alpha tocopherol but others are completely different. Hence while d-alpha tocopherol alone does provide certain benefits, vitamin E supplements give more benefits when they contain all four tocopherol members of the vitamin E family. Therefore if you are taking d-alpha tocopherol alone, you may be missing out on the synergistic benefits offered by the whole tocopherol family.

Vitamin E for All

Everyone should take vitamin E, especially heart patients. Doctor discovered back in the 1940s that vitamin E benefited patients who suffered from cardiovascular disease. Today most health practitioners agree that everyone can benefit from vitamin E because It Is a potent fat-soluble antioxidantlS1 and is crucial for protecting against free-radical damage that results in degenerative diseases.

Vitamin E helps protect against oxidation of LDL cholesterol and raise "good" HDL cholesterol. It's been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, rev up the immune system, fight cancer and lower the risk of developing cataracts. The surprising development is that while high levels of dietary vitamin E have consistently shown these effects, typical vitamin E supplements have not. And there is a reason. 

Gamma Tocopherol- The 'Star' of the Vitamin E family

The latest research places particular importance on the recently discovered benefits of gamma tocopherol as found in mixed tocopherol vitamin E supplements. Since taking large doses alpha tocopherol depletes plasma levels of gamma-tocopherol, the health-conscious consumer who takes only alpha tocopherol supplements may need to reconsider this practice. Likewise, most vitamin E supplements provide only alpha tocopherol. New evidence suggests that this may be inadequate supplementation.

After reviewing numerous studies, the authors concluded that it was time to abandon the outdated view that only alpha tocopherol is important and to conduct more research on gamma tocopherol, the promising 'other' vitamin E.

A few large studies have shown immense benefits of vitamin E ill reducing cardiovascular disease and death from heart attack, while others have been unsuccessful in showing similar results. This discrepancy may well be due to the fact that only alpha tocopherol was studied in isolation, while mixed tocopherols (especially gamma) were not considered.

This may also explain why vitamin E found ill rood is more effective than the conventional vitamin E supplements containing only alpha tocopherol in reducing death from cardiovascular disease. Food provides a broader spectrum of the vitamin E family than conventional vitamin E supplement.

Alpha-to-Gamma Tocopherol Ratio and Coronary Heart Disease

A Swedish study found that patients with coronary heart disease had lower levels of gamma tocopherol and a higher alpha-to-gamma ratio than healthy age-matched subjects.

Mixed Tocopherols: Powerful Fat-Soluble Antioxidant

Researchers are now showing that the vitamin E team is much more effective as an antioxidant than alpha tocopherol alone. The different forms of vitamin E have complementary effects as free-radical scavengers.

Together they can fight a wider spectrum of free radicals than alpha tocopherol alone.

Free radicals are naturally produced in the body as byproducts of metabolism within the cell. They are also formed in the body if you inhale smog, house-cleaning detergents or cigarette smoke, drink polluted water or take drugs. Exercise, exposure to sunlight, illnesses and high blood sugar can also contribute to the production of free radicals.

One particular research group found that gamma tocopherol, as found in mixed tocopherol supplements, is significantly more effective than alpha tocopherol in inhibiting the powerful and harmful oxidizing agent, peroxynitrite. Gamma tocopherol can, therefore, protect cells against the mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of this damaging reactive nitrogen species. Nitrogen free radicals playa role in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of artery), and also neurological disorders.

Anti-inflammatory Properties of Gamma (Mixed) Tocopherol

Bboth gamma tocopherol and its water-soluble metabolite inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX-2) activity and the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2. Alpha tocopherol showed no anti-inflammatory activity at the same concentrations.

Free radicals can stimulate and intensify inflammation by turning on genes that promote inflammation. Many serious degenerative conditions, including atherosclerosis, various types of cancer and Alzheimer's disease, appear lo be promoted by chronic inflammation.

Research scientists found that gamma tocopherol plays a superior role in suppressing inflammation than alpha tocopherol.

Blood Thinning Properties of Gamma (Mixed) Tocopherols

The tendency of blood platelets sticking together (aggregation) promotes the formation of blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The blood thinning benefit of vitamin E helps to decrease platelets sticking together.

Gamma (Mixed) Tocopherol- Protects Smokers' Health Studies have shown that smokers have notoriously low levels of vitamin E particularly when it comes to gamma tocopherol. This is because cigarette smoking depletes gamma tocopherol. Hence, it is vital that smokers choose a vitamin E that comprises of gamma (mixed) tocopherol rather than the conventional single compound, alpha tocopherol, as it helps smokers maintain better health.

Balancing Alpha Tocopherol with Mixed Tocopherols

If you are currently taking the conventional vitamin E (only alpha tocopherol), you should consider balancing your alpha tocopherol supplement with a supplement containing mixed tocopherols. Bear in mind that taking large amounts of alpha tocopherol lowers the plasma levels of gamma tocopherol; taking gamma tocopherol, on the other hand, increases the levels of both alpha tocopherol and gamma tocopherol.


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