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The One Type of Vitamin E We Probably Lack

 Low vitamin E levels can predict your increased risk of degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, according to one important study from the 2013 Journal of Internal Medicine. And the shocking thing is that taking vitamin E supplements is not going to help this problem because there are different types of vitamin E, which fall into two main groups. Most Americans get plenty of one and little of the other, that’s why there is such a worrying amount of Alzheimer’s affecting our populations.


This fascinating article will explain the importance of vitamin E types and also show you how to improve your vitamin E balance to substantially increase the likelihood of you not suffering from Alzheimer’s in the future.

Tocopherols and tocotrienols
Alzheimer's, vitamin E

According to nutritional biochemist and researcher Dr. Shawn Talbott, PhD, there are actually 8 isoforms of vitamin E, all of which our brains need to function healthily. Talbott thinks it’s useful to divide these 8 into two nearly equal groups of antioxidants, which are named tocopherols and tocotrienols. The reason this is a problem is that almost all the vitamin E supplements on the market don’t include any tocotrienols.

So, even though you might be commendably taking vitamin E pills for your health, Talbott believes that you are not actually giving your brain all the antioxidants it requires to perform at its best. Another scientist active in this field, Chandan Sen, PhD, and associate dean for research at Ohio State University, says that most Americans’ blood probably shows a low level of tocotrienol, since we are not generally getting enough of these antioxidants in our diets either.

Alzheimer's, vitamin E

This is particularly important when it comes to brain health because Sen’s research seems to show that tocotrienols are even more important for it than tocopherols. These isoforms have neuroprotective benefits, cholesterol lowering and cancer stopping qualities. A further study has found that they are also incredibly important for fighting inflammations too.

Sad to say but, according to Sen, tocopherols and tocotrienols seem to fight for supremacy in our diet, so that taking too much of the former effectively blocks your absorption of the latter. Taking supplements that are rich in tocopherols (up to 100% of your RDA) can really mess up your body’s antioxidant balance, says Dr. Talbott.

How to Get More Tocotrienols
Alzheimer's, vitamin E

Talbott maintains that only those who only ever seem to eat meat lack tocopherols, so the issue to be resolved is getting enough tocotrienols. He prefers that we maintain a better diet, rather than relying on pills and powders. So, since we can rely on a good measure of fruits, veg, seeds and nuts for our tocopherols, where do we get enough tocotrienols to be able to more confidently fend off debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s?


Though they are a little tougher to find, there are plenty of foods where we can get tocotrienols from, such as:

•  Whole-grain wheat
•  Whole-grain rice
•  Whole-grain barley

Talbott is a fan of the palm-oil industry and recommends both Red palm and rice bran oil as fine sources for tocotrienols, which he says can typically be found at either health food stores or Asian grocery stores. His tip is to search for ‘enriched’ red palm oil. 

Alzheimer's, vitamin E
Finally, he says, if you are still keen on maintaining your usage of vitamin E supplements, stick to those that contain less than 100 IUs of tocopherols from vitamin E, otherwise, your body will not be able to take on board much tocotrienol.
cover image courtesy of depositphotos.com
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