(NaturalNews) Many people are already aware of the fact that vitamin E helps to rid the body of free radicals and protect it from cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart disease and other serious illness. However there are two forms of vitamin E that each serve a unique purpose: tocopherols and tocotrienols. While tocopherols are the most common form of vitamin E available on the market, tocotrienols are just now beginning to emerge in the Western world as a superior addition to the vitamin E family, particularly in the form of palm fruit oil where they are most richly found.
Most available vitamin E supplements contain only mixed tocopherols, or alpha, beta, delta and gamma tocopherols. These four tocopherols represent only half of the vitamin E family, and research is now revealing that alpha, beta, delta and gamma tocotrienols are also necessary to provide the full range of antioxidant power contained in vitamin E. Together, these eight compounds offer complete antioxidant protection.
Tocotrienols are roughly 50 times more potent than tocopherols when it comes to antioxidant power. Recent studies have shown that tocotrienols distribute themselves more evenly than tocopherols do in the fatty layers of cell membranes. They are effective at preventing and treating serious degenerative diseases like cancer, stroke-induced injuries, diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. In one study, tocotrienols increased the lifespan of laboratory rats by 20 percent.
So why are tocopherols, rather than tocotrienols, the most prevalent form of vitamin E on the market? Many foods and oils are rich in tocopherols, but few contain significant levels of tocotrienols. In fact, most of the popular oils used in food preparation – olive, soybean, safflower, sunflower, corn, cotton and peanut – contain only tocopherols. The only oil that contains significant levels of all four types of tocotrienols is palm fruit oil.
Although tocopherols are generally sufficient for meeting minimum vitamin E levels and maintaining an average level of good health, there is far more to be gained from getting the full range of both tocopherols and tocotrienols. Rice bran oil, wheat germ, barley, oats, coconut oil and palm kernel oil all contain one or more types of tocotrienols as well, however none besides palm fruit oil contain all four types.
Palm fruit oil is composed of 30 percent tocopherols and 70 percent tocotrienols. The oil is extracted from the fleshy mesocarp of the palm fruit, and is useful in a myriad of food preparations. It is said to be the most widely used oil in the world, perhaps because it is more heat stable than other vegetable oils and provides superior taste and texture qualities.
Aside from preventing and treating the serious illnesses mentioned above, palm oil improves blood circulation and prevents clotting, boosts immunity, improves general nutrient absorption, supports healthy lung and liver function, strengthens bones and teeth, reinforces eye health and supports brain function. Studies have shown that virgin red palm oil is the variety that offers the most medicinal benefit, but all varieties seem to be beneficial.