Tocotrienols, like tocopherols, are members of the vitamin E family. The tocopherols have saturated side chains, whereas the tocotrienol side chains contain three double bonds. Both have α, β, γ, and δ forms, which describe the positions of one or more methyl groups on the aromatic ring.
δ-Tocotrienol is the most biologically active tocotrienol. Studies have shown that it may be useful for treating conditions such a stroke-induced injury; high serum cholesterol; diabetes; and pancreatic, breast, prostate, and skin cancer. It is important that vitamin E mixtures not be used in tocotrienol studies because α-tocopherol interferes with δ-tocotrienol absorption.
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