Vitamin E Basics

Tocopherols and Tocotrienols

What are they?

Commonly known as Vitamin E, tocopherols and tocotrienols (tocols) are essentially fat-soluble antioxidants found in our foods. This means that Vitamin E requires fat to be present in order to be absorbed by the body. With that in mind, it’s no wonder why most good sources of Vitamin E are also good sources of fat.

Beneficial Impacts:

Tocopherols and Tocotrienols are phenolic compounds. Phenolic compounds are known to be:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-mutagenic
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-diabetic
  • anti-aging

(Atalay and Erge 495)

The wide variety of health benefits that phenolic compounds possess is impressive, however, tocols specifically have some pretty remarkable benefits as well. Because they are antioxidants, tocols protect cells from the harmful effects of oxidation. Additionally, tocols have heart disease prevention potential (Shahidi et al. 12)

What foods are rich in Vitamin E (tocols)?

  • Almond oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Linseed oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Olive oil
  • Cod
  • Most nuts and seeds

(Shahidi et al. 3)

Like mentioned before, the fat-soluble property of Vitamin E makes helps explain why it’s found in so many sources of fat. It’s no secret that Americans consume a diet rich in fats, thus, it’s been found that the typical the diet meets vitamin E requirements. However, increasing this vitamins intake above minimum requirements can provide additional benefits (Shahidi et al. 3). A great way to improve tocol intake is to follow a Mediterranean eating pattern. A Mediterranean eating pattern is rich in foods with high tocol content, therefore, it can help to reap their beneficial impacts.

What to take away:

Generally known as Vitamin E, tocols are important in body functions and they provide a variety of potential health benefits. Most diets already meet the recommended intake but a Mediterranean eating pattern is a good way to increase tocol consumption if desired (be sure talk to your doctor before changing your diet drastically).

Want to learn more about phenolic compounds and antioxidants? My National Hot Tea Month infographic and blog post talk more about them!

Works Cited:

Atalay D, Erge HS. Determination of some physical and chemical properties of white, green, and black teas. GIDA / The Journal of Food. 2017;42(5):494-504

Shahidi, Fereidoon and Adriano Costa de Camargo. “Tocopherols and Tocotrienols in Common and Emerging Dietary Sources: Occurrence, Applications, and Health Benefits.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 17, no. 10, Oct. 2016, pp. 1-29. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3390/ijms17101745.



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