Tocotrienol Benefits with Dr. Barrie Tan: Rational Wellness Podcast 284
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Dr. Barrie Tan discusses Tocotrienols and Their Many Benefits with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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2:53 Annatto Tocotrienols. In 1994, a professor, Johanna Seddon at Harvard Medical School was an opthamologist who discovered that in the back of the retina of the eye there are certain polyphenols, zeaxanthin and lutein, that filter the blue light to protect the retina from macular degeneration. Dr. Tan went down to South America to the Amazon to harvest some giant marigolds to extract the polyphenols and he noticed the annatto plant, which has this beautiful red color and he figured that it must have some polyphenols producing that color. But he discovered that it contained little to no polyphenols but it contained tocotrienols that were protecting the color from degradation and tocotrienols with no tocopherol. The other sources of tocotrienols that Dr. Tan had discovered–palm and rice–also contain 25 to 50% tocopherols, so annatto is a unique source of tocotrienols. And since tocopherols can inhibit tocotrienols, then the annatto is very important.
8:05 When the first form of vitamin E was discovered in 1922, two scientists at UC Berkley discovered that alpha tocopherol was necessary to help a rat fetus go to full term and for this reason it was given the status of a vitamin. It was discovered that vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects the fetus from oxidative damage. They also discovered that this alpha tocopherol is found in vegetable oil and that it protects the vegetable oil from oxidation. We got locked into alpha tocopherol as vitamin E and ignored the other isotopes of vitamin E. There are actually 8 different isotopes of vitamin E: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta tocopherol and Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta tocotrienol. In the 1960s tocotrienols were discovered in rubber that they protect the rubber from oxidation.
11:26 There is a case to be made for gamma tocopherol, which is the most common form of vitamin E found in plants and its purpose, as for the other forms of vitamin E, is to prevent the oxidation of fats. Our cell membranes are made of fatty acids, so preventing fat oxidation is crucial for the proper working of our cells.
16:12 Tocotrienols are more effective than gamma tocopherol because the tocotrienol molecular tail is shorter and can travel around the cell much faster to be able to capture oxygen radicals.
18:15 Alpha tocopherol inhibits tocotrienols, esp. if the amount of tocopherol is above 100 mg or higher. If you take a multivitamin that has only 15-20 mg, then it would not inhibit tocotrienols. But Dr. Tan recommends not taking multivitamins that contain tocopherol at all, with the exception being for pregnant women and the US RDA for alpha tocopherol is 15 mg per day. Designs For Health offers several multivitamins that contain only tocotrienols and no tocopherols, such as their Primal Multi.
21:15 The health benefits of tocotrienols. Let’s start with the potential to help prevent cancer. Most of the research on tocotrienols is on their benefits for chronic conditions, but about 10% of the research is on cancer. There are several mechanisms by which tocotrienols may kill cancer cells and one is to short circuit the ability of cancer cells to multiply faster than normal cells. This appears to be by interfering with the PI3K-AKT, the MAP kinase and WNT signaling pathways. Tocotrienols may also interfere with angiogenesis, which is the ability of cancer tumors to grow new blood vessels to allow them to continue to grow. The third mechanism is by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis that cancer cells need to be able to form new cell walls and be able to multiply.
28:17 Most oncologists and radiation oncologists tell their patients not to take antioxidants for fear that this would block the cancer killing effects of chemotherapy and radiation that work through oxidation. Tocotrienols have been studied with patients with stage three and four cancer who were taking the standard of care and they were given a very high dose of tocotrienols–300 mg three times per day with meals that contain enough fat to be able to emulsify and absorb it. After six months only one patient given standard of care was alive, while the patients taking tocotrienols, 60% were still alive. After 24 months, 24% were still alive in the tocotrienol group.
38:20 Tocotrienols for preventing and reversing Cardiovascular Disease. Tocotrienols have been shown to lower triglycerides and elevated triglycerides precedes hyperglycemia, which results in diabetes. High triglycerides often leads to Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and such fatty liver can eventually lead to liver failure. Recent studies show that taking tocotrienols reduces fatty liver and it resulted in both reduce inflammation and reduced fat deposition in the liver. Fatty liver can eventually lead to fibrosis and scarring as NAFLD becomes Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitits (NASH). The studies even showed either the containment of the fibrosis or the reversal of the fibrosis.
Dr. Barrie Tan is a PhD in chemistry and he is world’s foremost expert on vitamin E. He is credited with discovering tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E, in palm, rice, and annatto, with annatto being the most efficient source, since palm and rice also contain substantial amounts of tocopherols and alpha tocopherol inhibits tocotrienols. He produces an Annatto Tocotrienols product through his American River Nutrition company. He is also the Chief Science Officer for Designs For Health. Designs For Health supplements are professional supplements sold through licensed doctors and practitioners like myself.
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for Functional Nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss and also athletic performance, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111. Dr. Weitz is also available for video or phone consultations.
Dr. Weitz: Hey, this is Dr. Ben Weitz, host of the Rational Wellness Podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field to bring you the latest in cutting edge health information. Subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast for weekly updates, and to learn more, check out my website, drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me, and let’s jump into the podcast.
Hello, Rational Wellness podcasters. I’m very excited today to be speaking with Dr. Barry Tan, and we’ll be talking about tocotrienols and also about GG. Tocotrienols, many of us may not know what they are, but they are part of the Vitamin E family, which consists of eight fat-soluble isoforms, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherol, and alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols. Most multivitamins and other nutritional supplements that contain vitamin E only contain alpha tocopherol, which is generally what is considered to be vitamin E in popular nomenclature. One of the better sources for research on vitamins, the Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center, in its detailed article on vitamin E, is almost exclusively about alpha tocopherol, and there’s only one small paragraph about tocotrienols. So, the word has not really gotten out, and that’s one of the things we want to do today, is get the word out about tocotrienols.
Dr. Barry Tan will be joining us today, and he has a PhD in chemistry. He’s dedicated to researching vitamin E and related compounds, and he is or was previously an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts. He’s credited with discovering tocotrienols in palm rice and annatto, with annatto being the most efficient source, since palm and rice also contain substantial amounts of tocopherols. Alpha tocopherol, as we’ll talk about, acts to inhibit tocotrienols. Dr. Tan produces annatto tocotrienols through his American River and Nutrition Company. Dr. Tan, thank you so much for joining us today.
Dr. Tan: Thank you. Thank you, Ben. I look forward to being on your show and to your followers that listen to you. So I’m hoping that this will be a good time to disseminate information about vitamin E, which 20 years ago was at high point, and then it dipped down. Then, vitamin D, we talk about, and then now we talk about vitamin K. I’m hoping to bring back something of vitamin E that is long forgotten or not known, so hopefully-
Dr. Weitz: A long forgotten fat-soluble vitamin.
Dr. Tan: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Dr. Weitz: So I thought, since everybody likes a love story, perhaps you can tell us how you went down to South America and met one of the true loves of your life.
Dr. Tan: Yes, thank you. That’s a wonderful thing. The year was 1994, and at the time, there was a professor, Johanna Seddon, at Harvard Medical School. She was a ophthalmologist. She found out that, in the back of the retina of the eye, where the fovea, the main point, have a lot of zeaxanthin, as you flank out the retina, have lutein, and of course, if you… And it filters the blue light to protect the retina. And today, of course, everybody know, “Oh, Dr. Tan is talking about macular degeneration. I know about that.” But remember, this is 1994. It was a while back like that, and then I knew there were giant marigold. So I went to South America and this is a younger me with a little bit more hair, but you can see the giant marigold in my hair, it was just like that. And this is, by way, this is in “The Truth about Vitamin E” book that you can, later, I can give you the link, you can download this free of charge. I did this as a labor of love to tell the story. But anyway, I did that. So when I went down to South America, I had already studied vitamin E now for 20 years, I was taking a break because of this unusual lutein and zeaxanthin thing. And truth has it, literally 20 feet away from me, I found this annatto plant, and the annatto plant is a beautiful plant to look like this. Look at how beautiful it is. If you touch this as it were, I’m doing it like that, it will sting your hand. Now, the color is keratin and I know, and this is truly an Amazonian plant. Here, I took this in the botanical garden in Tampa, this is a very zoom in, the frog is about the size of a dime. So the seed is about the size of a grape seed, so this is a very tiny, it’s called the Amazonian tree frog, so here, to keep themselves away from the elements.
All this to say, I discovered from this Amazonian plant. I thought that to protect the keratin, it would be some antioxidant like polyphenol. There are many polyphenols like that. To my surprise, it contained little to no polyphenol, so that’s not the one that protect the color from degradation. And then I thought, “Oh.” Then I found out that it only contained vitamin E, surprisingly. And most surprisingly, it contained only tocotrienols, free of tocopherol, and I said, “Oh my goodness.” I previously discovered tocotrienol from palm and rice that you mentioned, and palm and rice typically contain 25% to 50% tocopherol. So this plant containing free of tocopherol and only to tocotrienol is unique in nature. I believe the plant makes the tocotrienol, the two most potent vitamin E, to protect the degradation of the color keratin, so that it deceive the birds of the air and the animal thinking that the wonderful looking seed is actually a fruit. You see, it’s actually a seed. Then they swallow the seed and therefore able to procreate. But if the color disappear, then you look brownish, it doesn’t look like a fruit, neither does it have the nice floral smell. That was it. It was an accidental find, like much of my life. I am no smarter than any other scientist, I just happened to be in the right place at right time. And for the audience to suggest that why this is so…
As a chemist, there are more than 50 million chemicals documented by the American Chemical Society, and most people would tell story because they’re medicine men, they go to this, that and other places. Yes, I was in Amazonia, but it was an accidental thing. I did not go and nearly bitten to death by snake or mosquito like that. I just was looking for something for macular degeneration protection, which is lutein and zeaxanthin, I show you the picture. But this was literally 20 feet away I saw this plant, my curiosity was aroused and therefore I look. And that was 1999, thereabouts. And so for the last 20 or 25 or so years, my time had been arrested. I returned back to tocotrienol, which I already previously have 20 years of experiencing it. All told, I’ve been on to tocotrienol now for almost 40 years, if not that. Thank you so much for allowing me to tell that story.
Dr. Weitz: So how did we make this mistake and think that alpha tocopherol was really the most important vitamin E compound?
Dr. Tan: Okay. The mistake, if I can so call it, is because when we lock onto something, we tend hard to change. It’s just kind of human nature, and if it’s true of human being, it’s probably also true of scientists. In the vitamin E, there are four tocopherols and four tocotrienols, and with the four Greek letter, alpha, beta, delta, gamma, alpha, beta, delta, gamma, like that. So when in 1922, exactly 100 years ago, and is a very American affair. Two scientists, medical doctor at UC Berkeley, they discovered that vitamin E helped the fetus to go to full term. That was a discovery. Because it helped the fetus to full term, for that alone, it was therefore given the status of a vitamin. And they followed each of the letter and the next letter was E, so vitamin E helped to bring the fetus to full term. However, in the process of knowing that, they found out that it protects the fetus from oxidative damage. And very quickly, they found out that this is found in plant. And they found in plant, they’re rich in vegetable oil, it protect the vegetable oil from oxidation. So to this day, most people know vitamin E as an antioxidant, powerful antioxidant. And that antioxidant and that additional vitamin E was alpha tocopherol, so we kind of lock in on that and then we move on.
If I have time to tell you other story about vitamin K, about vitamin D, it’s the same thing. We got locked into one and did not move on. Vitamin K would be classic. It was discovered as anti-clotting, and today, much of the vitamin K activity is in menaquinone MK-4, but let’s say…
So the tocotrienol piece was discovered about 40 years after alpha tocopherol, so it is almost a distant brother of vitamin E tocopherol, that almost missed the chance of discovery. It was discovered by USDA and scientists at University of Liverpool, England. Together, they found that in rubber, to protect the rubber from oxidation. And then another 40 years later, I show up as a young assistant professor at University of Massachusetts stumbling on this. At that time, everybody was studying alpha tocopherol, but I was doing the path less travel on tocotrienol. And then, as you know, towards the end of 1990s and 2000, and all the published study of alpha tocopherol came out nada, and came out even a negative for people. So I just thought, “Oh, will I be thrown away? The baby thrown away with the bath water?” He said, “I hope not.” But I persisted in tocotrienol, and now, 30 years later, thank God. My discovery of this from annatto is yielding solid fruit about tocotrienol. Properties of tocotrienol aren’t shared by tocopherol, so I love to share this with your audience.
Dr. Weitz: It’s interesting, when I first saw those vitamin E studies, my first reaction was, “Well, they didn’t give enough vitamin E.” Then, I realize that gamma-tocopherol was really the form of tocopherol that was much more common in food and was actually more beneficial. So, my next conclusion was, the problem was that they were just giving alpha, and if they had given gamma or mixed tocopherols, then that would’ve been better. And now, this story has evolved to learn that, really, it’s tocotrienols that are much more beneficial for us.
Dr. Tan: Yes. Now, on the gamma tocopherols in the plant, there is a case for gamma tocopherol. If you look into the plants, where else, the discovery of alpha tocopherol is the vitamin. And where else, alpha tocopherol help the fetus to go to full term, all correct. However, in the plant, the most dominant vitamin E it produces is gamma tocopherol. It produces gamma tocopherol to protect the fat and the oil in the plant not to go bad, like in corn, because you have corn oil. Like in soy, because you have soy oil like that. And then canola, many other things. So they are mostly gamma tocopherol, a few exception, but mostly gamma tocopherol.
So now, for tocotrienol in a plant is even rarer. But when we first did the study, people can synthesize the tocotrienol, so something about tocotrienol that is different. So while, at this, I may explain. If you think of a cell, the cell looked like a bean shape like that, and all the constituent in the cell that we know of, like mitochondria, the nucleus and all these other thing, it had to have the cell wall to contain the content we call organelles in the cell for the cell to function.
Now, for the audience simplistically, the major composition of the cell membrane is fatty acid. They need protection like mad. And you probably have interviewed people to take omega-3, very good fat, and omega-3 is very unstable. When you take the omega-3, first you go into blood, eventually, it doesn’t stay in the blood. Eventually, it stay in the cell membrane. And why is a cell membrane so important? The nucleus is the holy of holy. The mitochondria produce energy and the other golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, I know those, this is kind of like… They make things your body need when you make protein, they’re required. So therefore, inside the cell, it’s very well protected and the cell membrane is a gated community. You want nutrients to go in, you want ways to go out. If the cell membrane is compromised, then life as we know it will age. That is, I’ve called, aging process. Now, come back to the original thing again. The cell membrane is mostly fat and the fat need antioxidant. Vitamin E is the kind of molecule that best can protect the integrity of the gated community. They have done study on this, there are many… I know the audience is bewildered with many words of antioxidant, I will cut it to the chase. If you learn this, I am grateful and hope you are grateful.
With everything people talk about is antioxidant, but I want to champion to you, what is the critical antioxidant you care about? It’s not like protecting ding ding or ding ding or whatever, other ding ding, like that. If you put a stick of butter in the summertime, that’s off smell. If you drive past a road kill, that off smell. That first oxidation thing is fat. So as the same thing, the lowest lying food of oxidation is fat. Yes, protein oxidation is no good, carbohydrate oxidation is no good, nucleic acid, which DNA, oxidation is no good, but none of them get oxidized so fast. The fastest thing to get oxidized is fat. So therefore, to protect the fat, if people remember the story of Massachusetts, they will be the minute man. The minute man will be the first to go off and the minute man is tocotrienol, you want it to protect the fat because it’ll be the first to go. So if you care about that-
Dr. Weitz: Now, are tocotrienols better than gamma tocopherol as-
Dr. Tan: Yes.
Dr. Weitz: …. As a antioxidant for fat?
Dr. Tan: Yeah, it’s better in this way. The tocopherol tail, this is a vitamin E molecule, this one here like that. And this, if I block it, this O, H, that’s an antioxidant. And if I block it the other way, the tail, this is the tail here. If you look carefully on the tail, you see at three, four places the double bond, it look like an O ring, like my finger pointing here. That is double bond and hence, we are trying three double bond. In tocopherol, the three double bond disappear, therefore, a tocopherol tail is longer. All that to say, a tocopherol tail is longer, anchored deeper into the cell membrane. A tocotrienol tail is shorter and less deeper. So I am sure you hear this for the first time. A tocopherol would go around the cell membrane like this, let’s say one mile per hour. And the tocotrienol will go around the cell 50 times faster, like that. So to capture oxygen radical, to protect the fat from going bad. So therefore, a tocotrienol and tocopherol does the same job, like a police to capture the bad guys. A tocopherol will be like a police person that stay in the confine of the town. A tocotrienol would be like a state trooper that will cross the entire state, so it cover a larger surface area faster. So if you got that, I have given you the simplistic understanding why tocotrienol is 50 time more potent than tocopherol, simply because the tail is slightly shorter. Thank you for asking, that is, often time I miss that if people don’t ask me the question. Thank you, Ben.
Dr. Weitz: Now, I’ve heard you say multiple times in interviews that taking tocopherols inhibits tocotrienols. Now, a lot of multivitamins and other supplements contain some tocopherol. Is it okay to take a multi that maybe has a modest amount of tocopherol and also take a tocotrienol? Or is it okay, say for example, to take your multi at one time and take your tocotrienols at another time? Or is it better to just get rid of any supplements that have tocopherols?
Dr. Tan: So, your question is three layer. Personally, I have stopped taking tocopherol for the last 20, 30 years, and I’m still alive. Nothing is happening to me, I would say the only-
Dr. Weitz: But have you brought a rat fetus to term?
Dr. Tan: I have not done that. I use it sometimes as a joke. Also, if you think about that, if it is a vitamin, is to bring a fetus to full term, men shouldn’t have necessarily… I would say the only exception would be in a prenatal, then a person should have 100% IU of the vitamin E as alpha tocopherol, but the 100% RDA for vitamin E is about 15 milligram. Now, keep that in mind. 15 milligram 100%, but most people take 400 IU and 800 IU. That’s insanely high amount like that, and 100% is merely 15, 20 IU like that. Now, if it is in a multi, if the multi has about 15 to 20 IU and then one would take tocotrienol 100 to 200 milligram or higher, then the amount of tocotrienol would not be interfered by tocopherol. Personally, I would take a multi that only contain tocotrienol, and Designs For Health have such, they call it, “Primal multi” like that. And we are trying to convince more company to… It is pennies for them to replace it because the multivitamin is a long list of many other things, this is only one line something. So when does the tocopherol interfere? When you take supplement of anywhere 100 IU and above, and most vitamin E is about 400 to 800 IU. Then at 400 to 800 IU, the tocotrienol would not have a [inaudible 00:20:55] to be absorbed, that the alpha tocopherol would block the absorption. But not typically in a multi, and certainly are not discouraging a pregnant woman to not take a prenatal that the doctor would accept, because that was the reason why alpha tocopherol was first discovered.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, let’s get into the health benefits of tocotrienols. So I’d like to start with the big C because, as we know, that’s a major killer for today and cancer rates are increasing. Can you explain how tocotrienols may help to prevent, and may even be helpful as part of a treatment approach for cancer?
Dr. Tan: Yes. Before I said that right, I started my career on tocotrienol on chronic conditions, and then in the 1990, if you find all the published work, about 90% of the published work will be in chronic condition, not cancer. And about 10% will be on cancer and chronic conditions like prediabetes, diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, fatty liver disease, lipidemia, and all this other thing like that. And then, as I went 20 years into it, I noticed that this will be in the 2000. 50% will be on chronic condition, 50% will be on cancer. It changed like that.
Dr. Weitz: And, of course, a lot of us now recognize cancer as a chronic condition as well.
Dr. Tan: Yes, it is. And there is so much study on this, and then I said, “Wow, there are nobody doing clinical study on cancer.” And then the compelling reason on cancer, so we embarked about 10 years ago, to engage in the clinical trial. Now, when I do this, for the audience purposes, to let you know that I’m not a pusher of sales like that. I am truly interested in science. If it bears out, you can go and read it. But how is the nutritional supplement allowed by the FDA for cancer prevention or cancer treatment is not going to be allowed. But if I believe the scientific enterprise and then, as it happened, in the kingdom of Denmark, they decided to conduct five clinical trial and now they’ve expanded it to six or seven like that, I’m losing count. In the US, there’s one on pancreatic cancer. And the four cancers that we study, some of them are repeat on different angles like that, altogether five, if you include the other one in Florida, then it’ll be six. But the four in Denmark will be breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung and colon cancer. So those are the four cancer. And you ask for the mechanism how it killed-
Dr. Weitz: If you want to increase research in the United States, you need to have the drug companies patent some new form of tocotrienol that they can make billions off of.
Dr. Tan: I know.
Dr. Weitz: Then the research will happen.
Dr. Tan: I know. And because this is a natural extract, they’re not going to pump in any money on this.
Dr. Weitz: No.
Dr. Tan: So I’m doing this for what it can do and the audience can read-
Dr. Weitz: Don’t worry, some drug company will come up with some way to bind it with some other compound and patent it.
Dr. Tan: And they probably very well might. I have companies sometime, from time to time, contacting us for this and another thing, but nothing materialized. So my goal is to push forward in it. So right now-
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Tan: … I see two mechanism that I believe, two or three, I believe the strongest. There are many mechanism how they think that this will kill cancer. One would be, because the cancer cell multiply say about a hundred time faster than normal cell, they have certain connection. So it’s like circuitry. They have certain… We call it cell signaling, so it’s a circuitry that short chain it to get there faster. And so the tocotrienol is able to file off the short chain, they cut it off so they cannot do this, so that’s certain mechanism that do that.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. I was looking at an article and he mentioned the PI3K-AKT, the MAP kinase and WNT signaling pathways
Dr. Tan: Yeah. And all these kind of signaling pathway allow certain application of the cell to multiply and increase ferociously much faster. So therefore, if you can file this thing off, you cut off the circuitry that make them grow better. That’s it. Another one would be, this is already past that stage where the cell has become a tumor. So it’s not a cancer cell, it’s now it’s a cluster of cancer cell-
Dr. Weitz: Which means you now have billions of cancer cells.
Dr. Tan: Yes, the billion of cancer cells, so it’s a solid mass. Now, not all cancer are solid mass, most cancer are. The cancer that are not solid mass would be like leukemia, but most other cancer is a solid mass. They stay put in the place, they can also metastasize, of course. So when you have a solid mass somewhere like that, they still have to grow. So when, in order to feel its massive grow, it grow artery out of the tumor, into the nearby artery, to suck nutrient to feed it. So in this case, it’s an aberrant, unusual plumbing job. That’s it. So this artery is called angiogenesis, a growth of new artery. So a way to kill this it with anti-angiogenic drug, if you go to Amgen, and you can see they have anti-angiogenic drug. Angiogenesis is a growth of new artery, anti-angiogenesis is to cut off. And tocotrienol function to cut off the artery and angiogenesis, to block the feeding tube to feed the tumor, so essentially starving the tumor to death. So if the tumor is already in place, you want to starve the tumor to death. So that is a second mechanism.
And the third one is, when the cell is multiplying so fast, they need a lot of cholesterol on the cell wall. It’s well known, cholesterol is on the cell wall and tocotrienol inhibits cell wall cholesterol synthesis, and therefore it cannot furnish the cell wall, and therefore the multiplication of the cell is… It cannot grow fast. So those are the three mechanism I buy the most. But mostly, when we saw in animal study, we saw the death of the cancer cell, we saw the shrinking of the tumor, and we also saw the reduction of metastasis of the tumor from the origin to other places. So those are just fantastic model mechanism for which we believe the tocotrienol work against cancer.
Dr. Weitz: Now, obviously there would not be any problems in a preventative approach, but in a treatment setting where a patient is undergoing chemo or radiation, it’s well known that most oncologists and almost all radiation experts are going to tell their patients, “Under no circumstances should you ever take any antioxidants because they will uncouple the therapy.”
Dr. Tan: Yes. That concept is in the US and a few drugs are in that kind of a regime like that. We did not have problem, this was raised as a question, we did not have problem in arriving at the IRB. IRB means institutional review board. You have to pass that stage to ethically approve the use of a certain medicine or supplement to mitigate a certain condition. And those five clinical studies done in Denmark are giving a patient with very high dose tocotrienol, 900 milligram, three capsule of 300 milligram for breakfast, for lunch and dinner. They should be taken with a meal, have enough fat or oil so that they can emulsify and absorb properly. And now, in none of those clinical study did we ever see any contraindication or negative impact of the tocotrienol on those cancer patients.
Now, before you move on, just for the audience purposes, every study has a contact. When we did this study in Denmark, they were not studying a stage one and two cancer patient. We were studying stage three and four cancer patient, which means that the cancer have already metastasized. In stage four, it even gone the last stage, which means that there are no available options given, so that the patient is under palliative care. So therefore, they are taking standard of care with the anti-angiogenic drugs, and in the other study, standard of care and with tocotrienol. That’s the only study, if they’re interested, I’ll tell you briefly what the study is, so be like this. So in other word, they are not based on people with stage one and two with many options available, operative, radiation and chemo. On the stage four, only chemo is allowed because you barely, they are so ill you cannot operate anymore, so there are no options available except for chemo.
Dr. Weitz: And that study’s already been published?
Dr. Tan: That study is published and the shorthand is this. Because they’re stage four on ovarian cancer on standard of care, after six months, there are no more patients. They’re one. And then in the standard of care with tocotrienol, after six months, 60% still survive.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Dr. Tan: Would this to be a medicine? So wow, they didn’t save all, correct. We’re talking about patient with stage four. If this were to be a medicine, this will hit the Wall Street already, but it isn’t.
Dr. Weitz: It would be a multi-billion dollar drug. Absolutely.
Dr. Tan: And then, even after 24 months, 24% still survive. So we consider this to be a significant place the tocotrienol is making an impact to a situation that is not good, at the very end stage of a person’s life.
Dr. Weitz: A cancer drug is considered successful in a clinical trial if it extends life by three months.
Dr. Tan: I know, you are right. Thank you for providing that knowledge. So right now, we are trying to do other upgraded study, but as the audience know, and I know sometime when people have conditions like this, we are impatient, and I fully understand. But we are a small company and not a pharmaceutical company. The fact that we can even do study like this is intended, I do this… We don’t want to be a snake oil company, we just simply want to do this and then the audience will know this. We will never be able to say on any bottle. So if you want to have… “Well, so if I have, blah, blah, blah, this and that, should I be taking?” I cannot advise you on this.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Tan: But if you go on a website, we will tell you all the different studies have been done. They are literally about, more than 500, possibly close to 1000 published study in animal study, on about 300 to 400 cancer, how tocotrienol worked to kill the cancer. Oh, by the way, and all the tocotrienol kill the cancer, alpha tocopherol just about didn’t work. And the top two vitamin E that do work are delta and gamma tocotrienol, and the one that worked the best is delta tocotrienol. Now, having said that, we have a machine that when we study from this annatto plant that we extract from this annatto plant here, typically, when you run a machine, they will have four or five peaks. They’ll have a mixture of tocopherol and a mixture of tocotrienol. And most of the time, it will have more tocopherol than tocotrienol, like in palm and annatto. You see 25% to 50% tocopherol, and then the other 50% to 75% tocotrienol. When you do this spectrum to read tocopherol, it will look like this. It would have… No, this one here, of the color in the background. This will be delta tocotrienol. Then, it would have this amount of gamma tocotrienol, and then where the tocopherol is, nothing, just like that. So it’s 90% delta, 10% gamma. So therefore, annatto contain almost the most active vitamin E that have been ever studied like this. So to us, it’s not a surprise, which is why Denmark decided to study this. And the pancreatic cancer done in University of Southern Florida in Tampa, also was using pure delta tocotrienol on cancer.
Dr. Weitz: Right. Okay. Just in case, if anybody’s partisan to words, I think when you were explaining that, you meant to say, “If you look at palm or rice, you’ll see that there’s a combination of tocopherol and tocotrienol, but only in annatto is it almost exclusively tocotrienols.
Dr. Tan: Yes.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Tan: Thank you. Yeah.
Dr. Weitz: I saw somewhere where you said that, or there was an article or something that, tocotrienols help to counter some of the side effects of radiation.
Dr. Tan: Yes. Those studies were done by the US armed forces, very interesting. If the audience want to read about that and you go to AFRRI, it’s just acronym for Armed Forces Radiobiology and Radiation Institute. So this is inside the Uniform Services University in Maryland. This is a place that the US government are not training soldiers. This is a place the US government are training our armed forces to get Masters and PhD degrees. So why did I mention that? It was during the Iraq war, I’m not making a political statement, I’m just trying to give you the fact. During the Iraq war, President Bush said that it was axis of mass destruction in Iraq, like that, and as it turned out, it wasn’t. Our armed forces are doing research. If our army were to go to a hotspot, most of the time they’ll never come back out alive, because you’ll be radiated to death like that. Just like in Fukushima, except that was a tsunami type situation. So the armed forces is wanting to do research study, what would be supplement of medicine they can take to protect, like a shield for them. And they study hundreds and hundreds of different compound, and I kid you not, and of the hundreds of different compounds, in the short list of six, is delta and gamma tocotrienol. If you type AFRRI or Uniform Services University, and you type tocotrienol and radiation protection, you’ll be able to find on the site. We did nothing, we only provided the pure gamma tocotrienol and pure delta tocotrienol.
Dr. Weitz: It’d be interesting to see if it has some benefits for patients getting targeted radiation for cancer, because that has a lot of devastating side effects.
Dr. Tan: Yes. My gut feeling it has. They do not study that, they clearly told me that, we are doing… He said that’s an important concern is that we do not study civilian who have cancer.
Dr. Weitz: Right, okay.
Dr. Tan: We study armed forces, but because they study in so severe situation, as opposed to what you, that is total body radiation, and this is a targeted radiation. And I’m still trying to find a radiation oncologist that can help me to do this study. To date, we are not a successful in finding. If I could, then I would go down that road.
Dr. Weitz: So let’s talk about the role of tocotrienols for preventing and reversing cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Tan: Okay.
Dr. Weitz: This is obviously the number one killer in the United States and around the world.
Dr. Tan: Yeah. The first study in this, Ben, was a lower cholesterol. It was done in the mid 80s, and then I follow through, and as we were studying, it did lower cholesterol and then we got stumble on 10 years delay, because we didn’t know that alpha tocopherol will interfere and it did. So we had to figure out that, and we figured out, we pick up from where we left, and continue on that. And when we continue, we notice the cholesterol lower, but even more dramatically, the triglyceride lower more. Now, is still cardiovascular disease, but the triglyceride lowering is peculiar to people with Metabolic Syndrome. Meaning that the triglyceride lower has to do with people with diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and fatty liver. How do we come up to that? Before it was called Metabolic Syndrome, Ben, it was called Syndrome X. If you were around in 1990, it was called Syndrome X.
Dr. Weitz: Yep, yep.
Dr. Tan: Because it was a sexy phrase, because we-
Dr. Weitz: [Inaudible 00:39:41].
Dr. Tan: Yep. And then the X Files, this and that, so the Syndrome X. So in the Syndrome X, they just notice that the sugar is moderately high, but not high enough to be diabetes. The triglyceride is high, but not high enough to make people really sick, but it bothers people on this condition. I met the professor who came up with Metabolic Syndrome. His name is Gerald Reaven, R, E, A, V, E, N. You can Google him from Stanford, he did all this clinical study. He shorthand answer is that I met him one time, he was catching a plane, he didn’t want to be disturbed. I was really an impediment to him going to the airport, but he just gave me the shorthand, and even though he gave me the shorthand I never forgot what he said. I’ll say it exactly what he said, and then I shorten it for you.
He said, “Hypertriglyceridemia precedes hyperglycemia. That means high triglyceride precedes high sugar. So you do not have type two diabetes until you have high triglyceride and you cannot contain the high triglycerides, the floodgates open and the sugar shoots up and then you have diabetes.” So hypertriglyceridemia, then, is a hallmark of Metabolic Syndrome. And remember, I accidentally got introduced, because I noticed that the triglyceride in people with high cholesterol, the triglyceride dropped. Then I said, “Wait a minute. Why does the high triglyceride drop?” Then I know it, “Oh my goodness, this high triglyceride drop addresses Metabolic Syndrome.”
So I went after it hardcore. So I use tocotrienol to study pre-diabetes, worked. I use it to study diabetes, worked. And that was when I finally, in the last eight years, I went hard after people with fatty liver disease, for fatty liver is a silent disease. No pain, no nothing, until the doctor find out that you have high triglyceride, jaundice or whatever in the liver. About 25 to 30 million American have fatty liver, NAFLD D, non-alcohol fatty liver disease. And it’s such an awkward phrase. All that to say, the liver, when you study them, you have a biopsies, they look like people with alcohol cirrhosis. Who would have guessed, 30, 40 years today, our liver can be damaged by a bad diet exactly as alcohol would destroy the liver.
Dr. Weitz: Absolutely. No, this has been talked about, this as a major pandemic that nobody’s really thinking about. But this is, in large part, related to our consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugar. And we’re going to end up with the tsunami of patients needing liver transplants and we got to do something about this.
Dr. Tan: And the tsunami of liver transplant, Ben, is not sustainable because you have 90 million people, if they all need liver transplant, you simply will not have 90 million livers available live. We had it managed when we were alcohol cirrhosis for liver transplant. But who would have guessed? I had thought this numerous time. When people abuse the liver with excess of alcohol, now we are saying you can do this to the liver by carbohydrate, refined carb and high fat diet, exactly as alcohol can do. It’s a stunning… And this is only discovered in Mayo Clinic. I was in Minneapolis this past weekend, discovered in Minneapolis in the 1980. It was not long ago when the doctor said that, “Mr. Jones, do you drink alcohol?” Because they read the thing, and Mr. Jones said, “No.” And then he went back to look at the data, come back, “Are you sure you do not drink alcohol?” And now, Mr. Jones feel accused. He said, “No, I do not drink alcohol.” That was when the phrase non-alcohol fatty liver disease was discovered.
So in the last eight years, I want to really tell you the study. In the last eight years, it took me eight years, ladies and gentlemen, to do it. We did fatty liver, and because we went for the big one like that. First we did a three month study, then we did a six month study and finally, we did a 12 month study. We get the same dose. So this is a time dependent, they are different patient. So the three month study, we were studying if did the liver enzyme drop, the liver enzyme drop. So we were happy. So in a six month study, we continue to study, whenever we study. We published the three months study and then six months study, the liver enzyme drop. Now we study, did the inflammation drop? The inflammation drop. And then, did the fat remove from the liver? We used ultrasound, the fat removed from the liver. Then we also study, did the sugar in the blood drop a little bit and then the triglyceride drop a little bit. So definitely is back out of [inaudible 00:45:16] back into balance again.
Something else also dropped, but I wasn’t… Then I decided that, because it’s the largest organ in the body, I need to know if it’s sustainable after 12 months. So we did the 12 month study, which is really long. And the 12 month study is finished and we just published live. So the three month study published, the six month study, the 12 months study, so this is actual. In a 12 month study, all the other things I said before, also drug, this time, we use a CAT scan to understand if the fibrosis. If the fat is stored in the liver too much, they become fibrotic, which means they have scarring tissue. And generally, hepatologists, people who see scarring tissue, is not reversible, which means NAFLD will go to NASH, N, A, S, H. It just acronyzed for non alcohol steatohepatitis. So they begin fibrotic like that, not good.
So we saw either the containment of the fibrosis or the reversal of the fibrosis. We saw that also, my chief assigned director told me, he said, “Barry, did you notice that in the three month and the six month something else?” I didn’t want to pay attention to it, but it was reverse, reduce, sustain and statistically relevant, then that is weight loss. I did not want to mention weight loss because if you tell the public weight loss, they’re going to expect something is going to happen in two weeks and four weeks. We never had a study two to four weeks. It would be insane to see the liver have something happen in weight. It’d be total waste of a study. But we had a study at three months, six months and 12 months. So now, I have to report, and truth be told, statistically significant in three, six and 12 months, the patient with fatty liver disease have weight loss and sustain about 10 to 15 pound, approximately 5% of the body weight. I am floored. So I have to report this, I did not set up the study for weight loss you can see-
Dr. Weitz: Dr. Tan, this is incredible news about tocotrienols, but unfortunately, some of those patients were probably taking their tocotrienols after they had their Big Mac and fries. Can we repeat this study and put people on a healthy diet and exercise as well? And this shows why it’s absolutely crucial, if we’re going to do something about the chronic disease burden in this country, that we focus on prevention.
Dr. Tan: Yes, please. Please do. Because as you know, I’m so skittish about talking about weight loss. In normal healthy people this did not happen, neither did we find this in the cancer patient. But in people with fatty liver, they are most certainly to be overweight. Not sure if they’re obese, but they’re overweight. And losing weight for people who are overweight is nothing to sneeze at, regardless. And by the way, on this subject, we are now doing a study in Texas. They are not fatty liver patient but they’re obese patient men and women, it’s ongoing, we will know that by the end of next year, I’ll report to you for people who have no NAFLD, but they are obese. What would happen to them? I don’t know yet. But for now, I am good enough to say at three, six and 12 month with fatty liver people, they lose approximately 5% or less of their body weight. But mostly, I believe-
Dr. Weitz: Well, let’s keep going on the-
Dr. Tan: Okay.
Dr. Weitz: … On the cardiovascular disease a little more. The tocotrienols also inhibit the LDL cholesterol synthesis in the liver, and I saw that it can even potentially be beneficial for reducing lipoprotein A, which is a particularly atherogenic particle and quite challenging to try to reduce.
Dr. Tan: Yes. We haven’t done too much with LP little A, sometime people call them.
Dr. Weitz: Yes.
Dr. Tan: Because they’re an atherogenic particle like that. I have personally, I have genetic hypercholesterolemia. I am a five feet four Asian men, typical, not tall by any measure, and 125 pounds. So I am not otherwise… So you would think that my cholesterol would be normal, but I have genetic hypercholesterolemia, so I take tocotrienol like that and it moderately reduce my cholesterol. I’m still on statin drugs and I’ll come back to see about all the GGPs. But I notice that my LP little A certainly is low and in check, so I’m very pleased. And also, they have another measurement, buoyant LDL and dense LDL.
Dr. Weitz: Yes.
Dr. Tan: Dense LDL is more atherogenic which have a lot more LP little A, and the buoyant LDL is less atherogenic, and most of my LDL is in the buoyant LDL. So those specific nuance-
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, people sometimes refer to it as small, dense LDL or large, fluffy LDL.
Dr. Tan: Yeah. And mine is mostly the fluffy LDL.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Tan: Which have very little LP little A, so therefore, the nuance part is also supported, besides the LDL being dropped. So that would help me in the atherogenic thing, keeping my fingers crossed.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great. Excellent. And is there a synergistic effect of using, say, tocotrienols with, say, natural agents to help manage cholesterol? I’ve often been using tocotrienols along with red yeast rice and, or niacin, as part of a natural LDL managing program.
Dr. Tan: Yeah. Yes. If it is red yeast rice, if small amount of monacolin, that mimic that of a statin. And if you don’t have muscle problem, taking red yeast rice is fine. Some people have genetic disposition to them and that would also work on it. Niacin love to drop triglyceride, and so it also good if you don’t have a red lobster flush, I call it, then it’ll be fine like that. So now, I found that tocotrienol also lower triglycerides dramatically, very good. So therefore, you should include in your dossier of using niacin, if it does not give you the red flush, and red yeast rice, if it doesn’t give you muscle problem, to include tocotrienol. They have no known site effect. The tocotrienol particularly is good to reduce inflammation. It’s just really a fantastic thing to take. So if you would be normal person without any of this condition, an antioxidant use of Tocotrienol would be called for.
Dr. Weitz: So dosage for a patient with cardiovascular risk factors like elevated small dense LDL and lipoprotein A, et cetera, would it be 300 milligrams? Would it be 600 milligrams?
Dr. Tan: I would put it this way, Ben. Good, good question. This is a protocol thing. If a person is squeaky clean with no this and that other condition, just using as an antioxidant. Remember at the beginning of the talk I said you have to protect the cell wall from oxidation, then 100 to 200 milligram would be just fine like that.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Tan: So for normal antioxidative protection. If a person had mild chronic condition, like pre-diabetes, this and that, some of the studies that we have done, would be probably from 200 to 300 milligram like that, they’ll be good. And 400 milligram, depending on the weight of the person, otherwise 200 to 300 milligram would be good. If a person have a severe chronic condition, and I show you some of the clinical trial fatty liver that we use, they use 600 milligram. And the cancer trial, we use 900 milligram. We don’t really encourage people to take the 900 milligram, keeping only in mind we did the 900 milligram because they was stage four cancer patient. So in any other condition that considers serious, probably 400 to 600 milligram would be fine. So that would be my dossier, indicated from clinical study that we have.
Dr. Weitz: And I guess there’s even some animal research showing that it may reverse arterial sclerosis.
Dr. Tan: Yes. In the animal study, it clearly reversed arterial sclerosis. We saw that in the study we done in 2000 ,that the to tocotrienol reverse carotid arterial sclerosis on a carotid artery here like that. But yes, we saw that, we did not have a study, the closest we can do a study like that would be calcification arterial sclerosis, but we don’t have a study such as that. So in animal study, yes, there are at least four to six different study showing that kind reversal of arterial sclerosis.
Dr. Weitz: I’m pretty much out of time, but I’d like to see if we could just real quickly say something about bone health and then wrap it up.
Dr. Tan: Okay. Bone health, we have a study with tocotrienol with bone health. It reduces the loss of bone in postmenopausal women with osteopenia, and we publish that also. They were taking 300 and 600 milligrams. So if it’s osteopenic, 300 milligram would be satisfactory. 600 milligram would be more on osteoporosis. Maybe another time when you get to interview me, after I extract the tocotrienol, we also found another compound that is endogenous in the body called GG. [Inaudible 00:55:45] Gigi and like that. If I were to go move away from my chair, that is the molecule of GG here, in the background is a long, long molecule of coQ10. This is endogenous molecule, our body makes it. If you take this, it will help our body, is required in our body to make a coQ10. It also help in a body to make MK-4, menaquinone four that will make stronger bone and also help in the body to make muscle, skeletal muscle protein. Hopefully, you’ll interview me in another half year, a year from now. Would love to talk to you. That is very exciting. It’s an endogenous compound, it’s meant to be in our body to do that, and now we have a supplement. By the way-
Dr. Weitz: I’m sorry, Dr. Tan, I know we talked about wanting to talk about GG of part of this discussion. Unfortunately, I’ve got to get my first patient of the day.
Dr. Tan: Okay, no problem.
Dr. Weitz: But I would love to do another interview with you and talk about GG.
Dr. Tan: Yeah, come to my website and download the book, is “The Truth About Vitamin E”, is barrytan.com/book, and then you can download the book. And then hopefully we will connect again at another time, and then blessing to you all, good health, and have a wonderful-
Dr. Weitz: Are you going to the Designs for Health seminar in Orlando?
Dr. Tan: Yes, I will be. Will you be going?
Dr. Weitz: I’m going, so I’ll look.
Dr. Tan: Oh.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, so look for me there. I’ll say hello to you.
Dr. Tan: Oh, Dr. Weitz, I will look for you.
Dr. Weitz: Grab a cup of coffee or something.
Dr. Tan: Yeah, will do. Thank you.
Dr. Weitz: Thank you, Dr. Tan. Okay. Bye.
Dr. Tan: All right. Bye-bye.
Dr. Weitz: Thank you for making it all the way through this episode of the Rational Wellness Podcast. And if you enjoyed this podcast, please go to Apple Podcast and give us a five star ratings and review. That way, more people will be able to find this Rational Wellness podcast when they’re searching for health podcasts. And I wanted to let everybody know that I do now have a few openings for new nutritional consultations for patients at my Santa Monica White Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition Clinic. So if you’re interested, please call my office (310) 395-3111, and sign up for one of the few remaining slots for a comprehensive nutritional consultation with Dr. Ben Weitz. Thank you and see you next week.
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