Background: Studies on the cholesterol lowering activity of tocotrienols have yielded mixed results, with some showing cholesterol lowering effect while some showing no activity.
Aim: A randomized, double-blind, parallel group study was conducted to investigate the cholesterol lowering activity of tocotrienols.
Methods: Thirty-two hypercholesterolemic subjects were randomly assigned to orally receive either 300 mg of mixed tocotrienols capsules daily or placebo capsules containing 300 mg of soya bean oil for a period of 6 months. The subjects were monitored before supplementation and monthly thereafter for their serum cholesterol as well as tocotrienol and tocopherol concentrations.
Results: The serum total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol of the subjects in the tocotrienol supplementation group were decreased significantly by -8.9 ± 0.9% and -12.8 ± 2.6% respectively after 4 months of supplementation and the reduction persisted till the end of the 6-month study, with a reduction of -10.8 ± 1.0% and -17.3 ± 1.8%, respectively from baseline. Moreover, there was a 22fold increase in the total tocotrienol concentrations from baseline during supplementation compared to the placebo group, while the concentration of alpha-tocopherol recorded only a modest increase. On the other hand, the serum cholesterol, total tocotrienol and alpha-tocopherol concentrations of subjects in the placebo group remained essentially unchanged.
Conclusions: Supplementation with mixed tocotrienols at dose of 300 mg per day resulted in the lowering of the serum total and LDL cholesterol levels after 5 months of supplementation.