Daily supplements of a natural full spectrum palm mixed tocotrienol complex may protect against the progression of white matter lesions in human brains, says a new study from Malaysia and the UK.
The study is said to be the largest ever human clinical study using tocotrienols for neuroprotection, and included 121 people aged 35 and above with cardiovascular risk factors and white matter lesions, which are linked to development of neurodegenerative diseases and to an increased stroke risk.
Volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either 200 mg of Carotech’s Tocovid SupraBio product in softgels or placebo twice daily for two years, report the researchers in the peer-reviewed American Heart Association’s journal Stroke .
Data indicated that the mean WML volume of the placebo group increased whereas those who received vitamin E tocotrienol supplementation remained unchanged.
WH Leong, Vice President at Carotech Inc, said the company was “extremely excited and proud of this significant scientific breakthrough” shown by the publication of the “long awaited results of this clinical trial”.
“Considerable evidence exists that palm tocotrienol complex protects stroke-induced injuries in vitro and in animal studies,” he said. “This study clearly demonstrates neuroprotective effect of Tocomin SupraBio supplementation in human, as reflected by significant decrease of white matter lesion volume.”
The study was funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
The vitamin E family
There are eight forms of vitamin E: Four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta).
The majority of the science in the past has looked at vitamin E in the alpha-tocopherol form in the context of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and eye disease.
Led by Prof Kah Hay Yuen, the researchers recruited 121 people to participate in their randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trial. Changes in white matter in the brain were measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the start of the study, and again after one and two years of supplementation.
Results showed that, for the 88 people who completed the study, the white matter lesion volume in the tocotrienol group remained constant over time, while a gradual increase was observed in the placebo group.
“This is the first clinical trial to investigate the protective effect of [tocotrienols] on brain white matter, and the results showed that [tocotrienols] could attenuate the progression of WML,” wrote the researchers.
“Because they are natural vitamins and shown to be well tolerated, they can be used as a long-term supplement that may help to minimize injury of brain tissues particularly in the white matter region during an ischemic event. Also, the present study demonstrated that WMLs can be used for investigating the prophylactic effects of potential neuroprotectants with objective measurements,” they concluded.
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.004449
“Clinical Investigation of the Protective Effects of Palm Vitamin E Tocotrienols on Brain White Matter”
Authors: Gopalan Y, Shuaib IL, Magosso E, Ansari MA, Abu Bakar MR, Wong JW, Karim Khan NA, Liong WC, Sundram K, Ng BH, Karuthan C, Yuen KH