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Tocotrienol As Possible Anti-Aging Compound

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September 1st , 2000

A study from the School of Medicine, Tokai University, Japan found that the administration of palm tocotrienol complex to animals results in a reduction of oxidative stress risks. The study further indicated that palm tocotrienols complex may be a possible natural compound for anti-aging and oxidative stress prevention.

The study which was published in the June 2000 issue of Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences provided evidence on the role of oxygen free radicals in the aging process and how the pre-administration and post-administration of palm tocotrienol complex increased the mean life-span and reduced oxidative stress of a free-living nematode.

Oxidative damage due to free radicals or reactive oxygen species has been implicated in the process of aging, hence the free radical theory of aging. Much of our understanding of the process and biology of aging come from organisms such as mice and rats but significant progress has been made in the past decade with a simple 1mm long worm, Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans, is about as primitive an organism that exists which nonetheless share many of the essential biological characteristics that are central problems of human biology. This fascinating little worm is the only multi-cellular organism whose entire collection of genes has literally been read, making it probably the most completely understood organism. Thus, C. elegans provides scientists and researchers with the ideal model in learning crucial lessons about many diseases such as aging, cancer, aging, muscular dystrophies, etc.

UVB irradiation was used to induce acute oxidative stress in the C. elegans. UVB was used because it generates hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals in fibroblasts and skin which subsequently results in protein oxidation, lipid peroxidation and lipophilic antioxidant depletion.

It was observed that administration of palm tocotrienol complex prevented protein oxidation and consequently extended the life span of C. elegans. Palm tocotrienol complex administration recovered the mean life span of the UVB irradiated group compared to the non-irradiated group, whereas alpha-tocopherol administration did not give a significant recovery. This indicates that palm tocotrienol complex has a greater protective function against acute oxidative stress induced by UVB irradiation compared to alpha-tocopherol, the more commonly known Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is major chain-breaking antioxidant that is crucial in preventing the propagation of free radical damage to the membranes. Tocotrienols are also natural membrane antioxidant as alpha-tocopherol in many organelles. In membrane, tocotrienol has been shown to be 40-60 times higher in antioxidant activity compared to tocopherol. Results from this study indicate the protective property of palm tocotrienol complex against acute oxidative damage to the membrane. Administration of palm tocotrienol complex may provide an efficient and natural way in oxidative-stress prevention treatment and possible natural agent for anti-aging.

In summary, this new enlightening study carried out on the most completely understood organism, hold promise in indicating that naturally occurring palm tocotrienols complex may be an effective natural compound in preventing skin aging and oxidative-stress related conditions. Even though the study was carried out on a worm, it nevertheless showed promising results in the protection of membranes.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The study is a small step forward in basic science on study of skin aging and prevention of skin aging. An important point in this study is tocotrienol was shown to be a better form of vitamin E in preventing skin aging and oxidative stress related conditions. The small study suggests that taking moderate levels of tocotrienols may be beneficial.

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