Annatto Tocotrienols (T3s) are a form of Vitamin E that most people are not familiar with, which come from the annatto seed. Most people are familiar with the tocopherol form of Vitamin E which is usually available at your local supermarket.
There are few things more important than your health. Money, for instance, is great, but what good is it if you don’t have good health?
That’s why I’d like to talk about the health benefits of Annatto Tocotrienols in this post.
What Are Tocotrienols?
Since most people are familiar with Vitamin E, I’ll start there. Vitamin E, in its natural form, is made up of 4 parts of tocotrienols and 4 parts tocopherols. These compounds get further isolated down to a specific substance, say alpha-tocopherol, for example, the most common form of Vitamin E supplements commercially sold in the United States.
The tocotrienol portion is found in lower quantities in nature and is therefore not normally included in your typical Vitamin E supplement.
The tocotrienols chemically differ from tocopherols by the presence of 3 double bonds found in the side chain of the compound, where these double bonds are absent from the tocopherols side chain. This tocotrienol compound can be naturally found in superfoods such as walnuts, and also palm oil and rice bran oil.
The annatto seed, unlike palm or rice bran oil, does not contain any tocopherols so it is a natural source of the most pure tocotrienol compound, undiluted by tocopherols.
The annatto seed contains twice the amount of tocotrienol as palm oil and 3 times the amount of rice bran oil.
As a result, annatto seeds have the highest concentration of tocotrienols commercially available.
OK! So Whats So Great About Tocotrienols?
According to the following article excerpt on Annatto Tocotrienols:
The tocotrienols (T3s), especially delta tocotrienol has been shown to have the most potent cholesterol lowering, neuroprotective, anti-oxidant activity and anti-cancer effects that are often not exhibited by tocopherols.
Significantly, tocotrienols has been shown to offer dramatic cholesterol lowering only when tocopherols are not ingested simultaneously.
Tocotrienols are more valuable than tocopherols in protecting the interior cell membranes, such as those that surround the cell nucleus and mitochondria, because of their greater fluidity and ease in being incorporated into cellular membranes…
Cholesterol is something that is given so much attention by pharmaceutical companies that there are all kinds of synthetic cholesterol lowering drugs the doctor will give you. Simply getting undiluted annatto tocotrienols in your diet will accomplish the same thing without the harmful side effects.
…Numerous clinical studies have shown that gamma and delta tocotrienols inhibit manufacture of cholesterol in the liver…
Tocotrienols have cardiovascular benefits:
Tocotrienols have been shown to exert additional benefits to the cardiovascular system, including an ability to decrease the amount of cholesterol plaque in arteries, lower the level of the extremely damaging lipoprotein, prevent the aggregation of platelets, and inhibit the expression of cellular adhesion molecules…
Tocotrienols have shown to have anti-cancer effects:
Gamma and delta-tocotrienols, but not alpha- and gamma-tocopherols, have shown significant tumor-inhibition activity in several studies.
…In addition to the free radical scavenging effect, the antioxidant function of tocotrienols is also associated with lowering tumor formation, DNA damage and cell damage…
The above applies to several types of cancers such as breast, skin, liver cancer, and more…
Concerning tocotrienols effect on the nervous system:
Tocotrienols have been shown to effect acute nerve damage and repair, neural degenerative genetic disease, acute brain damage, chronic nerve/brain damage, brain trauma, neural toxicity, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s…
What about Inflammatory and Diabetes?
Delta-tocotrienol significantly lowers triglyceride levels, reverses insulin resistance and decreases C-reactive protein (a risk index for cardiovascular inflammation).
…Daily intake of dietary tocotrienols by type 2 diabetics has shown to be useful in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and atherogenesis. Tocotrienols showed a reduction of LDL-Cholesterol from an average of 179 mg/dl to 104 mg/dl.24
Tocotrienols effectively prevented increase in AGE (Advanced Glycation End product), and caused decrease in blood glucose in diabetic rats…
Even Osteoporosis is no match for gamma-tocotrienol:
Gamma tocotrienols, but not alpha-tocopherols, were shown to prevent the loss of bone mineral density, reduce osteoporosis, reduce body fat mass and improve the bone calcium content of rats…
There’s even been research done on tocotrienols as a radiation countermeasure agent. An excerpt from Wikipedia’s Tocotrienol page states that:
…..Tocotrienols almost fully restored bone marrow cellularity to normal levels following radiation, while overall cellularity in untreated controls remained depleted. In both cases, prophylactic treatment 24 hours pre-radiation was more effective than post-radiation treatment. These results suggest that tocotrienols, especially of the [delta]- and [gamma]-isoforms, could be used as powerful radioprotectors in first responders to nuclear fallout areas, radiation workers, and cancer radiotherapy patients. Annatto tocotrienol is the only source containing exclusively [delta]-tocotrienol (90%) and [gamma]-tocotrienol (10%) that may be useful for radiation countermeasures…..
Wow! Tocotrienols are really some pretty powerful compounds and should be included in your diet regularly. Unfortunately, T3s, especially delta-tocotrienol, are expensive to isolate and are only found in low levels in some foods.
That’s why they are not a part of your local supermarket’s Vitamin E supplements, or they would be a lot more expensive. The good news is, annatto tocotrienols are available as a supplement.
Where to Buy Tocotrienols
Another low cost alternative is at The Vitamin Shoppe.