Tocotrienols are antioxidants that are part of the vitamin E family; they provide a number of health benefits. This nutrient is not commonly found in a wide range of foods, but you can find them in some natural foods, as well as added into some processed foods. Do not consume tocotrienols in any food as a means of treating a medical condition without first speaking with your physician.
You can find tocotrienols in palm oil. This type of oil is quite high in vitamin E, although food labeling may not reflect it, according to Victor R. Preedy and Ronald Ross Watson, the authors of "The Encyclopedia of Vitamin E." Palm oil, derived from oil palm tree fruit, is used in cooking and baking. It may be used as a cooking oil or as an ingredient in commercial margarine, noodle dishes and baby and infant formulas. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute warns against consuming palm oil as it is high in unhealthy saturated fats.
The bran of rice -- the layer between the outer hull and the inner grain of white rice -- contains the majority of the food's nutrients, including a helping of tocotrienols. A study published in the October 2001 issue of "The Journal of Nutrition" investigated the tocotrienols available in rice bran and their effect on atherosclerotic plaque formation in mouse models. Research indicates that the nutrients reduced the size of atherosclerotic lesions, leading scientists to speculate rice bran may be a good option for supporting cardiovascular health.
Eat oats to increase your intake of tocotrienols. Research featured in the May 2003 issue of the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" refers to oats as a "good source" of this nutrient. In fact, the tocotrienols in oats account for 57 percent of the total vitamin E, as noted in "Functional Foods: Biochemical and Processing Aspects."
In addition to the benefits on cardiovascular health offered by tocotrienols, they may also provide protection against cancer. A study published in the September 2011 issue of "Free Radical Biology and Medicine" indicates that tocotrienols stopped the growth of pancreatic cancer cells in a laboratory setting. This nutrient may also play a role in inhibiting lung cancer, according to research published in the October 2011 issue of the "Journal of Cellular Biochemistry."
- The Encyclopedia of Vitamin E; Victor R. Preedy and Ronald Ross Watson
- American Palm Oil Council: Palm Oil Uses
- Bob's Red Mill: Rice Bran
- The Journal of Nutrition; Novel Tocotrienols of Rice Bran Inhibit Atherosclerosis Lesions in C57BL/6 ApoE-Deficient Mice; A.A. Qureshi, et al.
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; Normal Phase High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Method for the Determination of Tocopherols and Tocotrienols in Cereals; G. Panfili, et al.
- Functional Foods: Biochemical and Processing Aspects; John Shi, et al.
- The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Facts About Blood Cholesterol