Other Name(s):

(2R)-2,5,7,8-tetramethyl-2-[(3E,7E)-4,8,12-trimethyltrideca-3,7,11-trienyl]-3,4-dihydrochromen-6-ol; (2R)-2,5,8-trimethyl-2-[(3E,7E)-4,8,12-trimethyltrideca-3,7,11-trienyl]-3,4-dihydrochromen-6-ol; (2R)-2,7,8-trimethyl-2-[(3E,7E)-4,8,12-trimethyltrideca-3,7,11-trienyl]-3,4-dihydrochromen-6-ol; (2R)-2,8-dimethyl-2-[(3E,7E)-4,8,12-trimethyltrideca-3,7,11-trienyl]-3,4-dihydrochromen-6-ol, 8-Methyltocotrienol, Alpha-Tocotrienol, Beta-Tocotrienol, Delta-Tocotrienol, Epsilon-Tocopherol, Epsilon-Tokoferol, Gamma-Tocotrienol, Zeta1-Tocopherol.


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 does it work?

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.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • 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.
  • Aging.
  • Alzheimer's disease.
  • Clogged arteries.
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Stroke.
  • Burns.
  • Hair growth.
  • Scars.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate tocotrienols for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

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.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking tocotrienols if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

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.


Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

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 appropriate dose of tocotrienols depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for tocotrienols (in children/in adults). Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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