Vitamin E: Setting the Record Straight

online learning

This presentation will cover important milestones in vitamin E research, distinguish between the vitamin’s two subgroups and identify current sources and compositions of tocotrienols.

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For 90 years, vitamin E research has produced prolific and notable discoveries, including isolation from plants, chemical identifications, and total syntheses. Until the last few decades, however, attention has focused primarily on the biological activities and underlying mechanisms of alpha-tocopherol, which we now know is only one of more than eight vitamin E isomers. Alpha-tocopherol is no longer considered innocuous, but may be a liability to all other forms of vitamin E, tocopherols and tocotrienols alike, a fact not appreciated by many health professionals. Tocotrienols have proven to contain some exceptional benefits that are not shared by their "older" tocopherol siblings. Today, the brightest spot for tocotrienol research is in chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and osteopenia/osteoporosis.

This presentation will cover important milestones in vitamin E research, distinguish between the vitamin's two subgroups, tocopherols and tocotrienols, and identify current sources and compositions of tocotrienols. Additionally, alpha-tocopherol interference with tocotrienol functions will be discussed, as well as the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties observed with tocotrienol application in cardiovascular and cardiometabolic disease, cancer, radiation exposure, and the aging bone. Latest studies will highlight tocotrienol's role as the 21st century vitamin E.

CPE: 1 hour

Learning outcomes:

  1. Explain the origins, history, and sources of Vitamin E
  2. Identify vitamin E as a family of 8 distinct vitamers
  3. Identify and appraise appropriate sources of scientific evidence

Barrie Tan, Ph.D.

Dr. Barrie Tan earned his doctorate in chemistry (University of Otago, New Zealand; 1979), and became a professor of chemistry and food science/nutrition (University of Massachusetts, Amherst; 1982-1992). His research expertise includes lipid-soluble nutrients (carotenoids, E vitamers, CoQ10, and omega-3s). He was the first to introduce tocotrienol's benefits to the nutrition industry, and developed the first-ever tocopherol-free tocotrienol product derived from annatto. Today, his research focuses on lipid-soluble nutrients that impact chronic conditions. Dr. Tan is the senior editor of Tocotrienols: Vitamin E Beyond Tocopherols (2013), and continues to collaborate with numerous universities worldwide to further tocotrienol research.


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