Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that contains tocotrienols and tocopherols. Both tocotrienols and tocopherols have similar chemical structures. The difference between tocotrienols and tocopherols is that tocotrienols have double bonds. Tocotrienols are often found in natural sources such as palm or rice brain oil.

People take tocotrienols by mouth for aging, Alzheimer's disease, clogged arteries, cancer, diabetes, a genetic disorder called familial dysautonomia, high cholesterol, kidney failure, and stroke.

People apply tocotrienols to the skin for buns, hair growth, and scars.

How it works

Tocotrienols exist in four different forms: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienols. Tocotrienols seem to have many different effects in the body. Tocotrienols might lower cholesterol levels and provide heart health benefits. Tocotrienols also seem to benefit people with a genetic disorder called familial dysautonomia by increasing levels of a certain protein in blood cells.


Not Proven
Genetic disorder affecting the development of the senses (familial dysautonomia)

Early research suggests that taking tocotrienols for 3-4 months reduces blood pressure problems in people with an inherited disorder called familial dysautonomia.

High cholesterol

Research about the effects of tocotrienols on high cholesterol is not consistent. Some research suggests that taking tocotrienols for 60 days reduces total cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol. Similar findings were found in other studies. However, not all research is positive. Some evidence shows that taking alpha-, delta-, or gamma-tocotrienols daily for 8 weeks, while following the American Heart Association (AHA) Step 1 diet, does not reduce cholesterol levels. Overall, the findings are mixed.

Alzheimer's disease
Clogged arteries
Kidney failure
Hair growth
Other conditions


There isn't enough reliable information available about Tocotrienols to know if it is safe. In some people, applying vitamin E, which contains tocopherols and tocotrienols, may cause contact dermatitis.



Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking tocotrienols if you arepregnantorbreast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.Are there any interactions with medications?

Diabetes: Tocotrienols might lower blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels closely. If you have diabetes, it's best to check with your healthcare provider before starting tocotrienols.

Surgery: Tocotrienols might affect blood sugar levels, so there is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using tocotrienols at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Always consult with your doctor.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Some research shows that tocotrienols might decrease blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. However, conflicting evidence exists. Until more is known, use cautiously in combination with antidiabetes drugs. In theory, taking tocotrienols along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar levels to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely if you take tocotrienols. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional.