Vitamin E found to have bone health benefits: Research finds it improves bone density in postmenopausal women
02/07/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

A new study revealed that vitamin E -- in particular tocotrienol -- could improve the bone density of postmenopausal women. The study was carried out by a group of scientists from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the Georgia State University who assessed the benefit of vitamin E to bone health.

In the study, 89 postmenopausal women with osteopenia, a condition wherein bone mineral density is lower than normal, took part and were randomly divided into three groups. A placebo group was given 430 milligrams (mg) olive oil per day, while a low tocotrienol group had 430 mg of 70 percent pure tocotrienol per day. Finally, a high tocotrienol group received 860 mg of 70 percent pure tocotrienol per day. The participants were given soft gel capsules of their assigned group to be taken every day for 12 weeks.

It was revealed that the supplementation of tocotrienol for 12 weeks reduced bone resorption and enhanced bone turnover rate by suppressing bone remodeling regulators in postmenopausal women with osteopenia.

“This study showed that supplementation of tocotrienols, mainly delta-tocotrienols, suppressed bone [bone remodeling regulators],” the researchers wrote in the report. “Such osteoprotective tocotrienol's effects may be, in part, mediated by an inhibition of oxidative stress.”

Barrie Tan, founder and president of American River Nutrition which sponsored the study, explained that tocotrienol does not act like vitamin D, which supports calcium in building bones. Instead, tocotrienol acts directly with living bone cells, to make a balance that is beneficial to the build-up of bones. The findings of the study were published in the journal Osteoporosis International.


Tocotrienol and its other benefits

Tocotrienols are a form of vitamin E that is less common than tocopherols. There are more tocopherols in people's diets, and some vitamin E supplements only contain tocopherols. There are four forms of tocotrienols: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienol. The nutrient, rich in antioxidants can be found in rice bran, oats, barley, rye, and crude palm oil. Here are some other benefits that tocotrienol can provide.

  • Protects the brain – Since tocotrienols have antioxidant properties and some brain health conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer's, are linked to free radical damage. A study in 2014 found reconfirmed that the antioxidant effects of tocotrienol and tocopherol protect the body from free radical injury to brain cells. Other research also indicates that tocotrienols may help fight Parkinson's disease or slow down its progression.
  • Enhances heart health – This form of vitamin E can support heart health as it can reduce or reverse inflammation and free radical damage that damages the heart. Moreover, it can reduce the impact of other cardiovascular health risk factors such as high cholesterol.
  • Reduces risk of cancer – Tocotrienols can also reduce the risk of cancer by fighting free radical damage. Several studies also indicate that it can slow the growth of cancer cells and promote the death of breast cancer cells in the lab.
  • Prevents osteoporosis – This vitamin E can help prevent and reduce osteoporosis-related bone loss. In rat studies, it was found that tocotrienol can slow down the course of free radical-related bone loss.
  • Boosts gastrointestinal health – Gastrointestinal health can be improved by tocotrienol as it can reduce acidity and prevent the growth of painful ulcers. In a rat study, it was observed that tocotrienol alone prevented hormonal and acidity changes related to stress.
  • Supports hair and skin health – Since tocotrienol is an antioxidant, it may help reverse or slow down skin damage caused by free radicals. Moreover, some cosmetic and skin care vitamin E products contain both tocopherol and tocotrienol.

If you'd like to read more news stories and studies on natural supplements, visit

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