Your brain has amazing abilities. And it can heal itself.
That’s not something you’re likely to hear from mainstream medicine — especially if you or a loved one suffer from the effects of stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or another form of dementia.
Here at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I’ve seen many people with brain damage. And, sadly, most have been deemed “hopeless” by so-called medical experts.
But I can tell you there is nothing hopeless about dementia — no matter what its cause. With the right nutrients, there are times when brain damage can be reversed.
And now recent research from a university in Malaysia backs up what I’ve observed for years in my own clinic.
These new studies show that one, special vitamin not only prevents brain damage, but it can help repair it.
I’m talking about an overlooked form of vitamin E called tocotrienols.
These nutrients significantly reduce the formation of scar tissue in your brain — called white matter lesions — found in stroke, Alzheimer’s and other dementia patients. This scar tissue is what blocks brain-signal traffic.
You see, vitamin E is actually eight vitamins in one — four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Together they make up the most important fat-soluble antioxidant known to man.
For years, the traditional medical establishment was interested only in tocopherols. But from my own research in my clinic, I’ve seen that the real anti-aging strength of vitamin E lies in the power of its tocotrienols.
Scientists at Universiti Teknologi Mara, in Malaysia, conducted a two-year investigation on 121 volunteers with white matter lesions. White matter lesions are damaged areas of the brain that contribute to dementia, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.
In the study, two groups were selected randomly — one group was given tocotrienols extracted from palm oil and the other was given a placebo.i
And at the end of the two-year study, the placebo group showed an increase in white matter lesions — but in the group that took the tocotrienols, no new white matter lesions had formed.
Tocotrienols are one of the most powerful weapons in my anti-aging arsenal and they are key to extending your healthspan in more than a dozen ways.ii
Tocotrienols also help:
- Reduce cholesterol oxidation;
- Lower risk of developing heart disease;
- Reduce inflammation by targeting inflammatory molecules directly;
- Boost bone strength and heal gastric ulcers;
- Maintain healthy triglyceride levels;
- Support normal blood pressure levels;
- Help your skin stay smooth and youthful.
Tocotrienols have also been proven to safeguard against eyesight degeneration and even reverse obesity. Studies show that tocotrienols also help prevent weight gain from high insulin levels.iii,iv,v,vi
These powerful antioxidants also mop up free radicals — biochemical molecules which are linked to cancer and aging.
They can even cross the protective blood-brain barrier to do their jobs.
I recommend tocotrienols as a hugely important anti-aging nutrient because they protect and lengthen your telomeres, the caps at the ends of chromosomes that determine each cell’s biological age.vii
Longer telomeres signify more youthful health. Shorter ones signal faster aging and mean that you’re the more prone to chronic diseases and reduced life expectancy.
My own research in my clinic has revealed that the gamma tocotrienol in particular is a powerful telomere protector. Another study from Malaysia showed that cells given gamma tocotrienol were protected from telomere shortening.viii
At the same time, gamma tocotrienol also preserved telomerase activity in cells. Telomerase is the enzyme that rebuilds the telomere.
So gamma tocotrienol delivers protection and rebuilding in the same package.
Other studies suggest that all four tocotrienols, not just the gamma, elongate telomere length in human cells.ix
A good way to naturally get tocotrientols is to add them to your diet:
- My favorite source is annatto oil. I first discovered annatto — the extract from the achiote tree — while on a research trip in the Andes Mountains. This substance contains more tocotrienols than any other source, roughly 15 mg per tablespoon.
- Palm oil is also a good source of tocotrienols. One tablespoon contains 8 mg.
- You can also get tocotrienols from nuts and dark leafy greens.
- A handful of cashews, almonds or pistachios will provide around 2 mg. And one serving of kale, broccoli or spinach has between 1 mg and 2 mg of tocotrienols.
Most people can’t get enough tocotrienols in their diet, so I recommend supplements.
But here’s the problem. Vitamin E supplements usually include only the tocopherol forms. Here’s what I tell my patients:
- Make sure you get supplements that contain natural vitamin E — not its synthetic form. Vitamin E in the form of all-rac-alpha-tocopherol-acetate or dl-alpha-tocopherol should be avoided. There are serious questions about their safety and whether your body even recognizes such substances.
- Supplement with 50 mg of tocotrienols twice a day. Ideally, the purer the tocotrienol the better. And like all fat-soluble vitamins, take them with a meal.
Tocotrienols are an extremely effective and inexpensive way to set yourself on an anti-aging path that will pay health dividends for years to come.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
iGopalan Y1, Shuaib IL, et al. “Clinical investigation of the protective effects of palm vitamin E tocotrienols on brain white matter.” Stroke. 2014 May;45(5):1422-8. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.004449. Epub 2014 Apr 3.
iiGlynn RJ, Ridker PM, Goldhaber SZ, Zee RY, Buring JE. Effects of random allocation to vitamin E supplementation on the occurrence of venous thromboembolism: report from the Women’s Health Study. Circulation 2007;116:1497-1503.
iiiZhao L et al. “Gamma-tocotrienol attenuates high-fat diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance by inhibiting adipose inflammation and M1 macrophage recruitment.” Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 Jul 21. doi: 10.1038/ ijo.2014.124.
ivKYW Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross. November 11, 2015
vChong EW-T, Wong TY, Kreis AJ, Simpson JA, Guymer RH. Dietary antioxidants and primary prevention of age-related macular degeneration: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2007;335:755.
viBrown, L. “Gamma-tocotrienol from annatto oil ameliorates metabolic syndrome developed
viiTocotrienols Extend Telomeres and Prevent DNA Damage J Biomed Biotechnol. Makpol S, Durani LW, Chua KH, Mohd Yusof YA, Wan Ngah WZ.
viiiMakpol S, Abidin A, Sairin K, Mazlan M, Top G, Ngah W. “Gamma-Tocotrienol prevents oxidative stress-induced telomere shortening in human fibroblasts derived from different aged individuals.” Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2010;3(1):35-43.
ixMakpol S et al. 2011. Tocotrienol-rich fraction prevents cell cycle arrest and elongates telomere length in senescent human diploid fibroblasts. J Biomed Biotechnol, 2011: 506171.