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New Study shows that Gamma-Tocotrienol is the most Cardioprotective Tocotrienol Within the Vitamin E Spectrum
In a recent study published in the AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 2008, researchers at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, used various isomers of tocotrienols, to study the effects and mechanism of tocotrienols’cardioprotective function especially on their ability to improve post-ischemic ventricular function and reduce myocardial infarct size in rats. The results showed that all forms of tocotrienols used (the palm tocotrienol complex and individual tocotrienol isomers) were able to provide significant cardioprotection. However, gamma-tocotrienol was the most cardioprotective of all the isomers. This is an interesting finding with far reaching consequences as the gamma-tocotrienol form (and gamma-tocopherol) is the most abundantly found in our diet. Gamma-tocotrienol was the most effective in :
1. Improving post-ischemic ventricular function
2. Reducing myocardial infarct size
3. Reducing the percentage of apoptotic cardiomyocytes
4. Partially protecting the proteasome during ischemia
5. Producing the least MDA content in heart
6. Significantly enhancing Akt Phosphorylation (improve survival).
Alpha-tocotrienol was the second most protective in improving the effects shown above. Interestingly, delta-tocotrienol was the least potent. Except from being able to inhibit deactivation of proteasomes, delta-tocotrienol did not show significant cardioprotection. The results indicate that, contrary to popular belief, delta-tocotrienol is not the most cardioprotective form of tocotrienol.
The cardioprotection conferred by tocotrienols does not appear to be potentiated by their antioxidant abilities, but likely to be caused by the different effects individual tocotrienol isomers have on the c-Src inhibition and/or proteasome protection. An earlier study has demonstrated the importance of proteasomes in tocotrienol-mediated cardioprotection. The researchers suggested that during ischemia, the partial deactivation of proteasome by tocotrienols, especially the gamma-tocotrienol and alpha-tocotrienol isomers, results in effective removal of active Src (which generates pro-death signals) and at the same time increases Akt phosphorylation (which generates pro-survival signals). This creates a balance between cell survival and cell death signals. Delta-tocotrienol on the other hand, completely inhibited the proteasome dysfunction, resulting in the least Akt phosphorylation and thus low survival signals.
The researchers also concluded that tocotrienols have much higher cardioprotective properties compared to regular alpha-tocopherol vitamin E.
Source: Das S, et al. Cardioprotection with palm oil tocotrienols: comparision of different isomers. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Feb;294(2):H970-8. Epub 2007 Dec 14.