The tocotrienol-rich-fraction (TRF) from palm oil, being tried as a more economical and efficient substitute for alpha-tocopherol, significantly inhibited oxidative damage in vitro to both lipids and proteins in rat brain mitochondria induced by ascorbate-Fe2+, the free radical initiator azobis(2-amidopropane)dihydrochloride (AAPH) and photosensitisation. The observed inhibitory effect was both time- and concentration-dependent. At a low concentration of 5 microM, TRF can significantly inhibit oxidative damage to both lipids and proteins. The inhibitory effect of TRF seems to be mainly due to gamma-tocotrienol and to a lesser extent alpha- and delta-tocotrienols. TRF was significantly more effective than alpha-tocopherol. This fraction from palm oil can be considered a natural antioxidant supplement capable of protecting the brain against oxidative damage and thereby from the ensuing adverse alterations.