What’s the big difference among vitamin E supplements? Most of the time, the vitamin E found in multi-vitamins or alone as supplements is vitamin E tocopherols. These have much different benefits in the body than the vitamin E tocotrienols, found abundantly in products made with Malaysian red palm oil.
Why does this matter? Studies have shown that alpha-tocotrienol is 40 to 60 times more potent as an antioxidant than alpha-tocopherol. Other studies have shown that tocotrienols are beneficial for cholesterol management, maintaining healthy arteries, reducing our risk of blood clots, promoting healthy skin, reducing cancer risk and helping to protecting our brains in case of stroke.
Roles of dietary fats
Palm oil is grouped under edible oils and fats cited by CODEX Alimentarius. Fats including palm oil help to improve flavours and aroma of meals and most importantly contribute to the feeling of satiety. With a caloric contribution of 9 kcal/g, fat is an important macronutrient that fulfills important body functions such as for maintenance of membrane functions and integrity, cellular growth, brain development, vision and transport of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). The recommended optimum daily intake of fats is between 30%–35% of the total daily energy supply.
NOT ALL VITAMIN E IS CREATED EQUAL: THE AMAZING TOCOTRIENOLS
In nature, vitamin E exists in 8 different chemical forms. There are 4 tocopherol isomers (alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols) and 4 tocotrienol isomers (alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols). Vitamin E is a fat soluble antioxidant that protects the cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Besides that, it is also involved in immune function, cell signalling, regulation of gene expression and other metabolic processes (Traber, 2006). Tocotrienols are one of the most fascinating members of the vitamin E family. Unlike tocopherols, tocotrienols have unsaturated side chain, which allows efficient penetration into tissues that have saturated fatty layers such as the brain and liver (Suzuki et al., 1993).