Take On Cholesterol
By Anthony Almada, MS

Meet some little-known members of the vitamin E family—tocotrienols. Found in extracts of rice bran, palm oil, and cranberry seeds, these natural antioxidants appear to influence blood cholesterol metabolism in a manner similar to that of statin drugs, which are commonly prescribed to patients with high cholesterol.

The most recent studies suggest that, when taken while on a low-fat diet, a proprietary tocotrienol/low-tocopherol rice bran extract works synergistically with a statin drug to further improve blood lipid levels. But research is preliminary, and the majority of studies showing this benefit have been led by a researcher who has several patents on the product. The long-term safety of tocotrienols is unknown. A recent animal toxicology study suggested that liver function and blood-cell profiles might be altered with high-dose tocotrienol supplementation. Look for research down the road to determine if, in fact, this form of vitamin E does reduce blood lipid levels and provide other health benefits.

Nutrition and exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, MS, has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies. He is cofounder of Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS), and founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition.