Tocotrienol is a natural form of vitamin E found abundantly in palm oil (Nesaretnam et al., 1998). Palm tocotrienol extracted from palm oil contains approximately 70% of the tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) and 30% of tocopherol (Gapor, 1995, Choo et al., 1997, Nesaretnam et al., 2000). Tocotrienols can also be found in cereal grains such as wheat, barley and rice bran. This analogue of vitamin E possesses many health-enhancing effects and has been the focus of increasing research interest as a unique nutritional compound. Scientific evidence has shown that in addition to being powerful biological antioxidants tocotrienols may reduce cholesterol levels in people with hypercholesterolemia, and may slow down the progression of atherosclerosis (Gapor, 1995, Choo et al., 1997, Nesaretnam et al., 2000). Tocotrienols have been proven to have anti-cancer effects, and are useful as an adjuvant for enhancing an anti-tumour immune response in cancer immunotherapy (Abdul Hafid et al., 2010, 2013). Other than that, tocotrienols have also been reported to have potential as woundhealing agents (Musalmah et al., 2002, 2005). Both of these properties are discussed in this article.
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB),
6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi,
43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.