Vitamin E and tocotrienols - By Doug Cook RD

#012 The Truth About Vitamin E & Tocotrienols

Tan 300x300 - #012 The Truth About Vitamin E & Tocotrienols


Detoxing from dogmatic dietitian education and attitudes for a mind wide open

But first, “you must unlearn what you have learned” YODA


Not all vitamin E is created equal.


You’ve of course heard of vitamin E but you may not know that vitamin E isn’t a single nutrient like vitamin C is. In fact, vitamin E refers to a family of eight similar, yet structurally different molecules, or isomers.


There are four fat-soluble tocopherolsalpha, beta, gamma and delta, and four fat-soluble tocotrienolsalpha, beta, gamma, and delta.


Historically, vitamin E has only referred to as alpha-tocopherol and has been THE form of vitamin E in supplements. To complicate matters more, two versions have been used, one natural and one synthetic which has problems in an of itself.


But there’s another half to the vitamin E story, tocotrienols. Although tocotrienols are structurally similar to tocopherols, each of the eight molecules has slightly different properties. Like a big family with several kids, each sibling has their own strengths and weaknesses.  The same goes with tocotrienols, each one behaves differently, and the group of four offer different benefits.


Experts believe that tocotrienols, such as annatto tocotrienols have many health benefits — some that are even more powerful than those found in the more common tocopherols. These include improved brain health and functionality, anticancer activity, improved skin health, lower degrees of inflammation, and more.


In this episode, Dr. Barrie Tan, the world’s leading authority on all things vitamin E, breaks it all down for us and makes it clear why focusing on tocotrienols is the way to go for optimizing health.

More about Dr. Barrie Tan

Dr. Barrie Tan is hailed as a trailblazer and the world’s foremost expert on vitamin E, credited with discovering tocotrienol in three major natural sources: Palm, Rice, and Annatto.


A scientist first and foremost, Dr. Tan earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry/Biochemistry from the University of Otago, New Zealand and spent several years as a professor at UMass. Today, his research focuses on lipid-soluble nutrients that reduce and slow chronic conditions.​

Connect with Dr. Tan

Dr. Barrie Tan




Some great tocotrienol (vitamin E) resources by Dr Tan

The Truth about Vitamin E_Dr Barrie Tan

Vitamin E. A closer look at tocotrienols. Barrie Tan PhD

Annatto. Deriving tocotrienols from Amazonia. Barrie Tan PhD

Other research on tocotrienols

Tocotrienols – Effects in aging and disease

The Science Behind Vitamin E Tocotrienols_White_paper

EVNol SuperBio_Tocol_whitepaper

Parmacological potential of tocotrienols – a review

Pervez – Tocotrienol Effects on NASH 2020

Pervez – Delta T3 and Fatty Liver 2018

Jakobsen – Delta T3 Ovarian Cancer Trial 2019

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Doug Cook RDN is a Toronto based integrative and functional nutritionist and dietitian with a focus on brain and mental health and antiaging nutrition.  Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.