The latest findings from Mohammad Minhajuddin, Ph.D., and colleagues, are reported in the May 2005 Food and Chemical Toxicology journal. They show that total cholesterol levels in animals dropped by 42 percent, and LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels dropped up to 62 percent, after their diets were supplemented with a concentrated form of Vitamin E called tocotrienol rich fraction or TRF isolated from rice bran oil.
Vitamin E, which has been widely studied for its health benefits, consists of both tocopherols and tocotrienols. Much research has focused on the tocopherols derived from corn, wheat and soybean. But the tocotrienols (TRF) seem to have greater antioxidant properties and are becoming more noteworthy in scientific research, Minhajuddin says. TRF is derived from barley, oats, palm and rice bran.
The best form of TRF comes from rice bran oil, which is contained in the outer grain hull of rice. Its properties inhibit the activity of HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme involved in cholesterol biosynthesis. However, since taking any form of Vitamin E for a long time can be harmful, the purpose of Minhajuddin's latest reported research was to find the minimum dose of TRF that provided the maximum antioxidants and effectively lowered cholesterol.
The results: The most effective dose in rats was 8 IU kg/day. Extrapolated to humans, a person with an average body weight of 154 pounds would get around 560 IU, which is close to the 400 IU of Vitamin E normally taken. (The upper tolerable intake of Vitamin E is 1500 IU).
Researchers have been investigating natural ways (besides diet and exercise) to achieve lower cholesterol levels, despite the popularity and effecti
Contact: Leslie Orr
University of Rochester Medical Center