Supplements of vitamin E tocotrienols from annatto may enhance the cardiovascular benefits of the American
Heart Association Step1 diet, suggests a new clinical study.
Scientists from the University of Missouri – Kansas City report that tocotrienol doses ranging from 125 – 750mg/day
combined with the healthy diet decreased lipid levels significantly after only 4 weeks, with 250mg/day found to be the
The higher doses of annatto tocotrienol, which is mainly composed of deltatocotrienol, did not reduce lipid levels, said
the researchers. However, throughout the 30week study period no adverse events were reported for any of the
dosages, reflecting the safety of the supplement, according to clinical findings published in the British Journal of
Medicine and Medical Research.
“The results confirm that consumption of deltatocotrienol plus AHA Step1 diet causes significant reduction in serum
lipid parameters and several cytokines at a low optimal dose,” concluded the researchers, led by Dr Asaf Qureshi, a
pioneer in vitamin E tocotrienol research.
Vitamin E is a family of eight separate but related molecules: four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four
tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). While alphatocopherol is found in most multivitamins and is supplemented in
foods, a growing base of evidence suggests that this popular vitamin E interferes with the uptake and function of
tocotrienols. Tocotrienols are derived from three major sources, including rice, palm and annatto. Annatto is the only
tocopherolfree source of tocotrienols.
The current study used the DeltaGold annatto tocotrienol ingredient supplied by American River Nutrition, and typically
contains about 90% delta and 10% gammatocotrienol.
potential cholesterol lowering effects of tocotrienols are reported to involve
posttranscriptional suppression of HMGR (3hydroxy3methylglutarylCoA
reductase the enzyme/protein responsible for the body’s cholesterol
production) via controlled degradation of the reductase protein. This protein
degradation is reportedly only seen with delta and gammatocotrienol.
In the current study, researchers tested the effects of annatto tocotrienol doses
ranging from 125 – 750mg per day on 31 people with elevated cholesterol
levels. Results showed that after only 4 weeks, the optimum daily dose of 250mg
decreased total cholesterol by 15%, LDL cholesterol by 18%, and triglycerides
Furthermore, cytokines associated with cardiovascular disease and their gene
expression, including TNFalpha, IL2, IL4, IL6, and IL8, were downregulated
3964%. Selected microRNAs that are typically downregulated in
hypercholesterolemic individuals were upregulated by tocotrienol treatment, suggesting a beneficial effect on these
A lack of lipidlowering effects with the smaller 125mg daily dose may have been remedied by extending the treatment
period to 8 weeks, said the researchers. Higher doses of 500mg and 750mg, however, did not decrease lipids
compared to baseline. None of the participants reported any adverse events throughout the course of the study,
indicating the supplement’s safety across the range of dosages utilized.
1/8/2015 Clinical trial supports cardiovascular benefits of annatto tocotrienols
Commenting on the research, Dr. Barrie Tan, president of American River Nutrition Inc. said: “Dr. Asaf Qureshi has
pioneered tocotrienol research for nearly 35 years. His work continues to yield critical clinical studies, particularly in
connection to delta and gammatocotrienols.”
British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.9734/BJMMR/2015/13820
“Dosedependent modulation of lipid parameters, cytokines and RNA by deltatocotrienol in hypercholesterolemic
subjects restricted to AHA Step1 diet”
Authors: A.A. Qureshi, D.A. Khan, W. Mahjabeen, N. Qureshi