More good news about the cardiovascular benefits of annatto tocotrienols

Vitamin E tocotrienols from annatto reduce the inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers associated with cardiovascular and ageing disease, suggests a clinical study

Annatto tocotrienol – composed mainly of delta-tocotrienol – improves cardiovascular risk factors including inflammatory cytokines, nitric oxide (NO) and C-reactive protein (CRP), according to clinical findings published in Clinical & Experimental Cardiology.

After only 4 weeks, of doses ranging from 125–750mg/day, an optimum is 250mg/day, which – along with a healthy diet – decreased inflammatory and oxidative stress markers significantly.

'These results suggest that delta-tocotrienol is a potential candidate for therapeutic applications in the maintenance of health and protection from ageing diseases,' concluded the researchers, led by Asaf Qureshi of the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Supplement details

Vitamin E is a family of eight separate but related molecules: four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). While alpha-tocopherol exists in most multivitamins and is supplemented in foods, a growing base of evidence suggests that this popular vitamin E interferes with the uptake and function of tocotrienols.

Tocotrienols are derived from three major sources, including rice, palm and annatto. Annatto provides the only tocopherol-free source of tocotrienols. The current study used the DeltaGold annatto tocotrienol ingredient supplied by American River Nutrition, and typically contains ~90% delta- and 10% gamma-tocotrienol.

Study details

Traditionally, cardiovascular disease is linked with clogging of the arteries owing to elevated cholesterol. This view, however, is challenged by the fact that half of the patients who suffer from heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.

Based on scientific evidence, inflammation was pinpointed to be cholesterol’s accomplice in firing up cardiovascular disease progression, recruiting a constant influx of white blood cells to arterial walls, causing them to become 'sticky' and allowing for plaque build-up.

The current clinical study underscores the supplement’s impressive anti-inflammatory benefits. Among the most notable biomarkers to be affected by a 250mg tocotrienol dosage were CRP, NO and malondialdehyde, with decreases of 40%, 40% and 34%, respectively. Total antioxidant status, by contrast, increased by 22%.

Several inflammatory cytokines and microRNAs were found to be modulated by tocotrienol treatment, suggesting more favourable outcomes in cardiovascular and ageing diseases with supplement use. An earlier publication of the same group of hypercholesterolemic subjects revealed that a daily dose of 250mg also reduced total cholesterol by 15%, LDL cholesterol by 18%, and triglycerides by 14% after only 4 weeks.

Commenting on the research, Dr Barrie Tan, President of American River Nutrition Inc., said: 'This work represents a comprehensive effort of Dr Qureshi, arguably the ‘father of tocotrienol functions’ who spearheaded research differentiating tocotrienols from tocopherols, particularly tocotrienol’s enhanced mitigating effect on pathology compared with tocopherol.'

Tan continued to note that 'cardiovascular disease is now well-known to be half-owned by inflammation that participates in many – if not all – stages of atherosclerosis. In their last two published studies, Dr Qureshi and his team showed that delta-tocotrienol works by reducing both halves of cardiovascular agents, namely lipids and inflammation, a remarkable feat for a vitamin E tocotrienol.'