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What Is Gamma Tocotrienol?

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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Gamma tocotrienol is one of the eight forms of vitamin E that occurs naturally and is just one form of tocotrienol. The others are alpha, beta, and delta. This type of vitamin E is not as well-known as tocopherol, but its discovery can be traced as far back in the 1960s. Gamma tocotrienol has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant and can lower one’s cholesterol levels. This antioxidant in naturally present in virgin palm oil and grains such as barley, oats, and rye.

Chemically speaking, gamma tocotrienol has a structure described as an “unsaturated side chain,” which means that the elements making up the compound are attached to the molecule’s core, called the “backbone.” This “unsaturated” structure makes the compound more effective in entering tissues, even those with layers of fat that cannot be penetrated by other compounds. Tocotrienols, not only the gamma form but all four forms, are also defined as “double bonds,” which use four electrons for bonding. This makes the compound stronger and more reactive as compared to single bonds that only use two bonding electrons.

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The chemical structure of the gamma tocotrienol actually makes it a more potent and effective antioxidant, compared to tocopherol types of vitamin E more commercially used in many anti-aging and wellness products and supplements. In fact, a person who is deficient in alpha-tocopherol can take the gamma form of tocotrienol to reduce negative symptoms. All types of tocotrienols have the ability to decrease chances of several types of cancer and brain cell deterioration, abilities that tocopherol types do not have.

Recent studies involving laboratory rats have shown that gamma tocotrienol is the most powerful of all tocotrienol types when it comes to protecting the heart. The tocotrienol was found to reduce occurrence of heart attacks, improve the performance of ventricles, and protect the heart when blood supply is insufficient. Researchers have also linked gamma tocotrienol and prostate cancer; experiments have shown that human prostate tumors grafted on rats experience 50% of shrinkage during two weeks of gamma tocotrienol intake. Similarly positive results were also seen in breast, stomach, and colon cancers, in which the gamma-type tocotrienol either prevented the cancer cells from spreading or ultimately killed the cancer cells. The vitamin was also proven to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy for those with melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Such positive evidence for gamma tocotrienol have pushed scientists to advocate for the use of the vitamin and ultimately replace tocopherol types of vitamin E. Pharmaceutical companies have yet to use tocotrienol in their supplements. Some studies have also shown that combining tocotrienol and tocopherol might not be beneficial, since the latter impedes the body from absorbing the full benefits of the former.

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