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).
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.
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.
What are tocotrienols and why should you care? Let’s look at some of the recent news about tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E that involves the prevention of cancer, heart disease and inflammation, as well as being important to nerve health and protective against radiation and bacteria. We’ll also discuss whether the form of vitamin E in most dietary supplements is the primary form of vitamin E in American diets, and if not, can it matter?
When my kids were growing up in the 1970s, my wife could always consult the teachings of our friend, pediatrician Lendon Smith, M.D. His advice helped us through many of the problems common to children of all eras. Mothers can always use the good advice of seasoned pediatricians who are also well educated in orthomolecular medicine as well as conventional medicine. Pediatrician Ralph Campbell, M.D., has taken the time to pass along some of his sage advice to today’s mothers in his new book, The Vitamin Cure For Children’s Health Problems.
A few years ago, we had a couple cases of a flesh-eating bacteria bringing fear to many in my part of the world. Two local citizens died and an acquaintance’s life was finally spared after a heroic battle that included having his right leg amputated. At the same time, other neighbors died of sepsis.
The study of drugs involves testing a single compound to see what it does. Drugs act alone. A nutrient, on the other hand, closely interacts with other nutrients and is dependent on having adequate amounts of all of its supporting nutrients. Studying a single nutrient in isolation of all other nutrients is a failed concept that may be suitable to drugs, but is definitely not suitable for nutrients. Yet, this is exactly what is done in clinical studies, using the randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over, large prospective studies that are called the “gold standard” of evidence-based medicine (EBM).
The interests of young adults are more in tune with athletic performance than with preventing the diseases of aging. John J. Cannell, M.D., is reaching out to the young adult audience to help them be healthier for life, by teaching them how to become faster, quicker and stronger as athletes. However, we all can learn how to be healthier from his teachings. Dr. Cannell is a physician, scientist, researcher, teacher and perhaps most importantly, a health activist.
Last month, we discussed with Dr. Robert Smith how the media distorted a questionable observational study with multivitamins. Just as scientists were setting the record straight about that study, a vitamin E study captured headlines. Fortunately, Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., quickly distributed accurate information through the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (OMNS). Dr. Saul was kind enough to further discuss vitamin E and the recent report with us.
Let’s clarify what a recent study of multivitamins actually found and put this one study in perspective with the larger body of scientific evidence on multivitamins. The “take home” message is that most people are not getting the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals solely from their diets and are healthier with supplementation to overcome their multiple deficiencies. Secondly, no, there is no valid scientific evidence that taking multivitamins shortens anyone’s life. Dr. Robert Smith and I will discuss some of the most important details later in this column.