Tocotrienol research: past into present

Nutr Rev. 2012 Sep;70(9):483-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00512.x. Epub 2012 Aug 17.


The vitamin E family consists of eight isomers known as alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherols and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienols. Numerous studies focused on the health benefits of these isomers have been performed since the discovery of vitamin E in 1922. Recent discoveries on the potential therapeutic applications of tocotrienols have revolutionized vitamin E research. Nevertheless, despite the abundance of literature, only 1% of vitamin E research has been conducted on tocotrienols. Many new advances suggest that the use of tocotrienols for health improvement or therapeutic purposes is promising. Although the mechanisms of action of tocotrienols in certain disease conditions have been explored, more detailed investigations into the fundamentals of the health-promoting effects of these molecules must be elucidated before they can be recommended for health improvement or for the treatment or prevention of disease. Furthermore, many of the studies on the effects of tocotrienols have been carried out using cell lines and animal models. The effects in humans must be well established before tocotrienols are used as therapeutic agents in various disease conditions, hence the need for more evidence-based human clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / physiology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Diet*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Heart Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Tocotrienols / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin E / physiology*
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Tocotrienols
  • Vitamin E