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 been given mostly to the biological activities and underlying mechanisms of alpha-tocopherol, while more than one-third of all vitamin E tocotrienol research over the last 30 years was published in the last three years (2009–2011).

It sounded like doom. After having taken a vote by secret ballot on July 5th, the Chairman of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Mr. Sanjay Dave, solemnly announced the results of the voting on whether or not ractopamine1 standards were adopted. Out of 143 ballots cast, the vote was 69 for ractopamine, 67 against ractopamine, with seven abstaining. If only one vote had shifted from the “for” camp to the “against” camp, then the result would have been completely different and the ractopamine standard would have been defeated.

If you believe the hype surrounding September’s big organic story, you might buy into the mentality that organic is nothing more than an expensive gimmick. In my view, the charged headlines only give us another reason not to believe everything we hear or read.

It is common knowledge that organic food products have endless benefits, ranging from nutrition to the environment. For some, these benefits are well worth the switch to an organic lifestyle. For others, the advantages aren’t clear. But while deciding how organic could play a role in your lifestyle, it’s key to understand how the organic food system works.

Warning! Some readers may have their vitamin E knowledge foundation seriously “adjusted” by this provocative discussion. A few readers may be disturbed or even shocked by the “growing gorilla in the room,” suggesting that the most common form of vitamin E in supplements (alpha-tocopherol) may detrimentally interfere with other natural forms of vitamin E. As the body of science grows about the forms of vitamin E, surprises occur. Dogma must adapt to discovery. The objective is to utilize the new information to obtain even greater health benefits.

In 1980, you couldn’t find yogurt in a supermarket. By the early 1990s, Peter Roy and John Mackey of Austin, TX-based Whole Foods Markets were “rolling up” the largest independent natural products retailers around the U.S. to form the first national chain of “supernatural” supermarkets. By the 2000s, every conventional supermarket of any size was carrying not only yogurt, but also all natural foods categories and capturing significant natural market share.

Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, it’s hard not to get immersed in the Olympic Games. How could you not be in awe of Team USA with the Fab Five gymnasts, the Dream Team (version 6.0) and the “The Greatest Swimmer of All Time” to root for?  In typical American style, we sent the best of the best and they did us proud with their impressive performances. These athletes are models of determination, strength and talent.

While stressed, your body is in an emergency state: your brain releases adrenaline and cortisol (two chemicals that could cause depression), stress hormones cause your liver to produce more blood sugar and increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, among other possible risks. But don’t worry; there are many natural ways to avoid stress and its hazardous side effects.

Last month, we discussed the tocotrienol form of vitamin E and cancer prevention with Dr. Barrie Tan. We talked about the differences between the tocotrienol and tocopherol forms of vitamin E and that tocotrienols have proven to contain some exceptional properties that are not shared by tocopherols. This month, we will examine additional specific roles of tocotrienol compared to the tocopherol forms of vitamin E with Dr. Barrie Tan, Ph.D. These roles include reducing heart disease risk and controlling inflammation, as well as supporting nerve health and protecting against radiation and bacteria.