New Study Shows That Tocotrioenol is the Most Effective Vitamin E in Reducing Endothelial Expression of Adhesion Molecules - Hence, Reducing the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

March 6th ,2002

According to a survey commissioned by the American Heart Association (2000 Heart & Stroke Statistical Update:

In the US:

  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality in the US.
  • 59.7 million of Americans have one or more type of CVD
  • 1 in 5 males and females has some form of CVD
  • 1 in 3 men can expect to develop some major cardiovascular disease before the age of 60, the odds for women are 1 in 10.
  • CVD claimed 953,110 lives in the US in 1997, 1 in every 2.4 deaths.
  • CVD was listed as a primary or contributing cause on over 1,406,000 death certificates.


  • CVD cause 12 million deaths in the world each year (WHO Report 1991-93).
  • In both developed and developing countries, deaths from CVD still account for almost 50% of all deaths.

    Cardiovascular disease is a multifactorial disease involving both genetic and environmental factors. It is the leading cause of death in the United States. This has led to many ongoing researches for newer and more aggressive preventative methods that could potentially lower the risk of developing CVD.

    In a new study published study in Atherosclerosis (160, 21-30, 2002), Dr. Andre Theriault of the Division of Medical Technology, University of Hawaii discovered that alpha-tocotrienol, found in the highest level in palm oil, to be the most effective vitamin E for reducing endothelial expression of adhesion molecules in the blood vasculature.

    Overproduction of adhesion molecules such as ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and E-selectin has been shown to be a critical step in plaque formation and the development of atherosclerosis. Many patients with atherosclerosis have been found to have high circulating levels of soluble adhesion molecules. Attempts to lower the production of these adhesion molecules have received wide attention as a mean of reducing the risk of developing CVD.

    In the study, the relative inhibitory effects of alpha-tocotrienol, alpha-tocopherol and its derivatives on cell surface adhesion molecules, including monocytic cell adherence using human vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) as the model system was carried out. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Dr.Theriault found that alpha-tocotrienol to be superior in reducing the surface expression of VCAM-1, ICAM-1 and E-selectin compared to the regular common alpha-tocopherol and its derivatives.

    Dr.Theriault also showed that alpha-tocotrienol is more potent that alpha-tocopherol and its derivatives in decreasing monocytes’ ability to adhere to endothelial cells. Monocytes are white blood cells that bind to endothelial adhesion molecules and enhances plaque formation.

    The study carried out at the University of Hawaii showed promising results to support the theory that potent antioxidants such as tocotrienols may potentially be an important and novel natural phytonutrients in controlling atherogenesis. The mechanism of action appears to involve gene transcription via NF-êB activation, and signal transduction proteins via small GTP binding proteins.

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