Ben Greenfield Fitness
At the recent A4M conference in Vegas, I ran into intriguing research from Dr. Barrie Tan, a scientist with a Ph.D in Chemistry and Biochemistry. For the last 35 years, Barrie has immersed himself in the world of Vitamin E (particularly from annatto) and is considered one of the world’s foremost experts credited with discovering a molecule called "tocotrienol" from three major natural sources: -Palm: from his native Malaysia... -Rice: at the invitation of the Prince of Thailand... -Annatto: chance finding while in Ecuador searching for lutein... It turned out that palm and rice lacked the potency as they contain too much tocopherol, so Barrie moved his research interest away briefly from tocotrienol, when by serendipity he found the best-in-class tocotrienol in the annatto plant from the Amazon. Since then, Barrie’s relationship with annatto has spanned 20 years. Barrie has worked with the US Armed Forces on using tocotrienol on “radiation countermeasures” and pioneered the science behind the annatto working with the leading scientists in the world to prove the multiple benefits of tocotrienol. Meanwhile, everyone (lay folk and nutritionist) is languishing with the lack-luster non-performing tocopherol, which Barrie calls the“wrong way to E.” Most tocopherol trials failed and did not deliver. But in multiple clinical trials spanning chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, osteopenia, and inflammation, tocotrienol from annatto has proven clinical benefits. Barrie is currently working on multiple cancer trials after preliminary success with end-stage patients. This is because not all forms of Vitamin E are created equal... ...Vitamin E is not a single nutrient, but rather a complex made up of 8 distinct compounds: 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols. These components have slightly different chemical structures, and these differences impart unique properties that influence their biochemical functions and their effects in the body. Most conventional supplements are typically rich in tocopherols—alpha-tocopherol, in particular—but the tocotrienol fractions have unique effects across a variety of tissues that make them desirable to supplement on their own, without tocopherols. Tocotrienols, especially delta-tocotrienol as sourced from the annatto plant (bixa orellana), have shown impressive effects in supporting overall health. Tocotrienols are associated with significantly positive effects on cardiovascular health, particularly with regard to influencing healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They may also be beneficial for a healthy inflammatory response, an important asset since chronic inflammation is a factor in damage to the cardiovascular system. Having a positive influence on lipids (fats in the blood), tocotrienols may be beneficial for those with a buildup of fat in the liver, as well as those who need help managing blood sugar and insulin levels. Clinical research also suggests tocotrienols may be a valuable addition to the supplement regimens of those who need nutritional support for strong, healthy bones. Here is a recent remark of Jonathan Lizotte, Designs for Health Founder and Board Chairman: “The health benefits realized by annatto tocotrienol go beyond that of any other nutrient I know. It’s the one supplement I would want with me if I were stranded on a desert island! This is a change for me as after 35 years in this industry, my top desert island supplements have switched between magnesium and fish oil and now it stands firmly as annatto tocotrienol alone. A minimum of 150 mg per day is a must for every adult alive.” Apart from tocotrienol, Barrie discovered and has extracted the first-in-class geranylgeraniol (GG), also from the annatto plant. GG has benefits as 1) testosterone and progesterone booster; 2) pain alleviation and; 3) sarcopenia, myopathy and muscle building from this endogenous nutrient. GG is the last common step between plant and mammal (has huge implications), and may possibly be the last frontier in anti-aging nutrients. Here are Dr. Tan’s two anti-aging bottom-line nutrients: tocotrienol (exogenous) will work from outside-in, and geranylgeraniol (endogenous) will work from inside-out. During our discussion, you'll discover: -How Dr. Tan discovered Annatto and became interested in Vitamin E...9:05 Began while an assistant prof at U of Mass in Amherst Palm oil in his native Malaysia is orange; is bleached out when it's processed Received grant from Malaysian government to research Research process on palm oil: Remove all fats and oil Remove all kerosene colors (orange) 25% of what was left was alpha-tocopherol, the most common variant of Vitamin E Remainder was tocotrienol Led to research on different forms of lung cancer (stopped soon after) Prince of Thailand hired him to research Buddhists don't like anything mitochondrial related Wanted plant-derived, not animal-derived research Most beneficial results came from rice bran oil (contained tocotrienol) Research funding slowed due to a slow economy in 1987 Needed a break in 1998 from studying tocotrienol; this led to studying treating macular degeneration Vitamin E is made up 8 different compounds 4 of them are tocopherols; 4 are tocotrienols The most common are tocopherols, particularly alpha-tocopherols Tocotrienols are less common, and is the locus of Dr. Tan's research Research on the efficacy of Vitamin E as it pertains to exercise was primarily done on tocopherols Vitamin E was discovered in 1922 at Berkeley Was extracted from spinach Assisted in bringing fetus to full-term Alpha-tocopherol is the "currency" of Vitamin E; all other strains (delta, gamma tocopherol) is converted into alpha during processing Even "all-natural" alpha-tocopherol is partly synthetic How to undo the damage from an alpha-tocopherol heavy supplement: Best thing is to stop taking alpha-tocopherol supplement Ideal intake of alpha-tocopherol is 15 mg per day, derived from natural foods If you didn't get all that, get this... A Vitamin E supplement is not derived from what we would find in nature. It is only a few strands of tocopherol, mostly alpha-tocopherol. The original use of alpha-tocopherol has long outlived its purpose. Dr. Tan advocates for the other strands, particularly tocotrienols for humans to derive the full benefits of Vitamin E. -The major differences between alpha-tocopherols and tocotrienols...30:55 Tri = 3; E = double bond Tocopherol has a head with an OH group; tail is saturated Tocotrienol tail has 3 double bonds, so it is unsaturated; head is smaller than tocopherol Lipid antioxidants is the low-hanging fruit for our body to be oxidized Astaxanthin is a powerful singlet antioxidant (efficacious in an environment that is oxygen-deficient) >90% of antioxidants in the phospholipid cells are Vitamin E molecules Remaining ~10% are hydro carbon caratonoids Beta carotene and and lycopene contain nothing else than hydrogen and carbon 1995 study by Dr. Lester Packer of UC Berkeley: Used electron-resonance spectroscopy to compare alpha-tocopherol and tocotrienol Concluded that both capture free radicals, to protect the lipid from oxidation However, tocotrienol is 50 times more effective in protecting the cell Comparison: Tocopherol is like municipal police within a small jurisdiction; tocotrienol is like a state trooper with far larger jurisdiction Tocotrienol recruits to cancer cells 10X more than tocopherol Critics say that only alpha-tocopherol is found in the blood; therefore all advocacy for tocotrienol is moot Only alpha-tocopherol has a "transport protein", which chaperones a particular molecule to a site of action The transport protein ensures the conservation of alpha-tocopherol (which is why supplementation is bad news) -Dr. Tan's discovery of the amazing Annatto plant while living in South America...43:20 Went to find lutein and zeaxanthin Discovered the Annatto while searching for marigold flowers in Brazil It was nicknamed the "lipstick plant" due to its intense red color on the inside South Americans called it "achuite"; is used as a food coloring Dr. Tan recognized the Annatto to be a caratenoid: Carotene in nature has to be protected by something due to its instability (plants changing color in the spring) Because the Annatto did not change color, he realized it was a potentially powerful antioxidant Biggest surprise of his research: Did not contain polyphenols, nor any type of tocopherol. It contained primarily delta-tocotrienol, which had been shown to be the most potent form of Vitamin E. The plant is naturally free of any type of tocopherol -How the Annatto plant is used to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)...52:30 NAFLD is the new name for "metabolic syndrome" 20% of youth, and 40% of adults in America are obese 3 of 5 risk markers: Elevated triglycerides Reduced HDL Increased weight circumference 80-100 million Americans have NAFLD in some form The liver is very intolerant of fat Symptoms resemble those of alcoholics, hence the name "non-alcoholic" Notable data from Dr. Tan's study: Gave people 600 mg of tocotrienol Vitamin E; 300 mg twice daily 70 patients; double blind; placebo controlled Did at the beginning, 3 months after, 6 months after 3 months: lost average 10 pounds 6 months: lost average 17 pounds Waist circumference dropped 3 cm Use caution when purchasing products using the words "liver support" in its packaging -The other compound Dr. Tan found in the Annatto plant in addition to tocotrienols...1:03:10 GG: geraniol geranial It's an endogenous nutrient, naturally produced by the human body Helps with the synthesis of testosterone Older folks take it, not for the sex drive, but to have zest for life Required for the synthesis of caratenoid GG is a prerequisite for the synthesis of CoQ10 GG is currently in development; not currently on the market Its use as a pain management tool is complimentary, but not similar to, CBD -And much more! Resources from this episode: -Designs For Health Annatto-E -Book: Tocotrienols: Vitamin E Beyond Tocopherols -Book (edition 2): Tocotrienols: Vitamin E Beyond Tocopherols, Second Edition -Article: Annatto: Delivering tocotrienols from Amazonia -Article: Vitamin E: A closer look at tocotrienols Episode Sponsors: -Kion: My personal playground for new supplement formulations. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners receive a 10% discount off your entire order when you use discount code: BGF10. -Trusii: Contains a host of anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, and anti-allergy benefits. For this reason, I have decided to now make consumption of hydrogen-rich water an important part of my daily nutritional routine...and I highly recommend it! Save 30% off your order when you use discount code: BEN -Four Sigmatic: I’ve been using Four Sigmatic products for awhile now and I’m impressed by the efficacies of their mushroom products. I use them. I like them. I support the mission! 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