Did you know that vitamin E is actually a family of eight separate but similar molecules, rather than just one compound? It’s composed of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols, all which offer unique benefits.
What researchers didn’t discover until recently, however, is that alpha-tocopherol must be present in order for the health benefits of tocotrienols to be observed.
Vitamin E Supports Endothelial Health, But Only if Alpha-Tocopherol is Present
Previously, it was thought that alpha-tocopherol might actually interfere with the absorption of its sibling molecules, but new research from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University found that alpha-, delta-, and gamma-tocotrienols were ineffective for improving endothelial health in the absence of alpha-tocopherol.
The study looked at the effects of both single tocotrienols and a vitamin E complex on blood vessel relaxation and oxidation. While the tocotrienols did scavenge free radicals on their own, they only improved overall endothelial function if alpha-tocopherol was present. The takeaway? Vitamin E compounds work in close synergy to deliver potent cardiovascular support.
Pretty interesting stuff, eh?
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease On the Rise
Fatty liver disease has become an increasingly alarming problem in our modern society as obesity rates continue to skyrocket. Though fatty liver is often seen as an outcome of excessive, prolonged alcohol use, instances of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are on the rise.
In 2011, researchers estimated that if our current obesity trends continue for the next 20 years, the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease will increase by 50% by the year 2030.
Vitamin E Found to Boost Liver Function
A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrition studied the effects of vitamin E on people with NAFLD and found that it may be able to improve liver function. In subjects who supplemented with vitamin E, serum biochemical parameters and hepatic histology, fibrosis, irritation, and ballooning all improved.
This meta-analysis of five randomized, controlled trials is the first to quantify the beneficial effect of vitamin E on liver health in the hopes of helping patients establish more accurate dosing. The Liver Foundation suggests taking 800IU of vitamin E daily.