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Health News Archive 102 - Stroke
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Vitamin E Tocotrienols Protect Against Stroke

New Study Linking Tocomin® to Protection Against Stroke-Induced Neurodegeneration

The publication of the NIH-funded study conducted at the Ohio State University Medical Center that confirms earlier studies suggests that natural full spectrum palm tocotrienol complex (Tocomin® brand) may significantly benefit stroke-induced neurodegeneration.

Published in the October issue of the American Heart Association’s journal STROKE, Vitamin E tocotrienols showed significant protection against stroke-induced injury compared with matched controls.

In a previous study, Professor Chandan Sen from the Ohio State University Medical Center showed that tocotrienol crosses the blood-brain barrier and in neuronal cells, nanomolar level of alpha-tocotrienol but not alpha-tocopherol blocked glutamate-induced cell death. Glutamate-induced toxicity is a major contributor to pathological cell death within the nervous system.

In the current study, to further explore the effects of tocotrienol and its neuroprotective mechanism, the researchers supplemented spontaneously-hypertensive rats with Tocomin® natural palm tocotrienol complex. The animal model chosen for the trial is commonly used in stroke research as hypertension represents one of the major risk factors for stroke. The brain infarct volume was measured 24 hours subsequent to stroke.

Oral supplementation with tocotrienols in spontaneously-hypertensive rats led to increased brain levels of tocotrienols. This unique form of vitamin E at subattomole quantity protected neurons from glutamate-challenge, consistent with previous reports that at low doses, the neuroprotective property of tocotrienol is not shared by tocopherol. Alpha-tocopherol itself had no effect at such low doses.

Rats supplemented with tocotrienols showed more protection against stroke-induced injury compared to unsupplemented controls. The neuroprotective effect was associated with suppression of stroke-associated c-Src activation, which is a key mechanism that contributes to neurodegeneration. Next, Prof. Sen went on to identify that 12-lipoygenase as another tocotrienol-sensitive molecular check-point that proved to be critical in executing neuron deaths. Tocotrienol lowers the tyrosine phosphorylation of 12-lipoxygenase and hence protects the neurons from apoptosis. The site of action is in the cytosol and not nuclear.

This study demonstrates that oral supplementation with Tocomin® may protect against stroke. Tocotrienols effectively modulates two key molecular check-points - the c-Src and 12-lipoxygenase activity to favour survival of the neurons

“Eighty three years after the discovery of vitamin E in 1922, it is long overdue to closely examine all naturally occurring forms of vitamin E side by side,” said Prof. Sen, who noted that the general misconception is that tocopherols are the only vitamin E molecules in nature. “Attention to the naturally occurring tocotrienols, especially to their neuroprotective properties, could well provide us with a powerful tool to combat neurodegeneration especially stroke, by safe dietary means”.

Source: Stroke. Oct 2005

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