Mixed Tocotrienols Shown to Reverse Baldness
Natural strategies for premature baldness are not magic bullets. Rather, they help the body help itself.
Research shows that a tocotrienol complex – a form of vitamin E different than most E supplements – may increase hair growth in men with alopecia – baldness. The eight-month study, done at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Science Malaysia, followed 28 subjects with male pattern baldness.
According to data provided by Dr. Sharon Ling presented at the 2009 Vitafoods International Conference, the subjects, who were between 18 and 59 years old, supplemented 100 milligrams of a tocotrienal complex called Tocomin SupraBio produced by Carotech. The supplement is reported by the company to increase tocotrienol availability by 300 percent.
The randomized, placebo-controlled study also gave a placebo group a capsule, this one containing soybean oil. Both groups did not alter their lifestyles or diets outside of the supplementation intervention.
The researchers found that hair growth significantly increased by 41.8% among the tocotrienol group, but no significant growth occurred among the placebo group. Hair growth was calculated by counting the number of hairs within a selected area of the balding men’s scalp.
Male pattern baldness is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia. For those with male pattern baldness, about two-thirds will start showing symptoms by age 60, and about a quarter will start by age 30. About 95% of hair loss cases are due to male pattern baldness, according to a review by the American Medical Association. About 40 million American men have male pattern baldness.
Supporting this clinical study is a more recent study from researchers at Cairo University’s Department of Dermatology. This randomized study examined 60 adults – 45 patients with either psoriasis, vitiligo or alopecia areata (baldness). In other words, the study included 15 patients with baldness. The study examined blood and tissue levels of both vitamin E and paraoxonase 1 (PON1). All of the skin issue patients – including the baldness group – suffered from low levels of both vitamin and and PON1. The researchers stated:
“An association between oxidative stress and pathogenesis of these autoimmune diseases is identified. Attenuation of oxidative stress might be a relevant therapeutic approach and it would be useful to recommend additional drugs with antioxidant effects in the treatment of these conditions.”
What are Tocotrienols?
While most consider vitamin E a single nutrient, there are at least eight forms of vitamin E. Four of them are tocopherols, which include alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, and delta-tocopherol. There are also four tocotrienol forms of vitamin E. This includes alpha-tocotrienol, beta-tocotrienol, gamma-tocotrienol, and delta-tocotrienol. The primary vitamin E form in most supplements is alpha-tocopherol.
Most of the research on vitamin E has utilized only alpha-tocopherols. Multiple studies that included a mix of tocotrinols have found that they support cardiovascular health.
Diets can vary in terms of their vitamin E forms. Western diets are typically restricted to alpha-tocopherols and gamma-tocopherols. However, a mixed plant-based diet that includes coconut and palm foods, whole grain rice and other whole grains will render a mix of the tocotrienol forms.
Vitafoods International Conference 2009
Ramadan R, Tawdy A, Abdel Hay R, Rashed L, Tawfik D. The antioxidant role of paraoxonase 1 and vitamin E in three autoimmune diseases. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2013;26(1):2-7. doi: 10.1159/000342124.