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While test-tube studies , animal studies , and open human trials seemed to suggest that tocotrienols can correct high cholesterol , 1 properly designed studies failed to find benefit. 2 3 Test-tube and animal studies, as well as one double-blind human trial have found promising hints that tocotrienols may help prevent cancer. 4 The double-blind study among these specifically found that tocotrienols might help prevent DNA damage, which could, in theory, help prevent many disease associated with aging, not just cancer. 5 However, none of this evidence rises above the level of "highly preliminary."
The bottom line: The health benefits of tocotrienols, if there are any, remain to be established.
- Khor HT, Chieng DY, Ong KK. Tocotrienols inhibit liver HMG-CoA reductase activity in the guinea pig. NutrRes. 1995;15:537–544.
- Mustad VA, Smith CA, Ruey PP, et al. Supplementation with 3 compositionally different tocotrienol supplements does not improve cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women with hypercholesterolemia. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76:1237–43.
- Kerckhoffs DA, Brouns F, Hornstra G, Mensink RP. Effects on the human serum lipoprotein profile of beta-glucan, soy protein and isoflavones, plant sterols and stanols, garlic and tocotrienols. J Nutr. 132(9):2494-505.
- Qureshi AA, Mo H, Packer L, Peterson DM. Isolation and identification of novel tocotrienols from rice bran with hypocholesterolemic, antioxidant, and antitumor properties. J Agric Food Chem. 48(8):3130-40.
- Chin SF, Hamid NA, Latiff AA, et al. Reduction of DNA damage in older healthy adults by Tri E® Tocotrienol supplementation. Nutrition. 2007 Sep 19. [Epub ahead of print]