Research Article| Volume 254, P205-214, November 2016

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Short term effects of palm-tocotrienol and palm-carotenes on vascular function and cardiovascular disease risk: A randomised controlled trial


      • Daily supplementation with palm-tocotrienols increased plasma tocotrienol levels.
      • Daily supplementation with palm-carotenes increased plasma carotene levels.
      • Palm-tocotrienols had no effects, superior or detrimental, on vascular function.
      • Palm-carotenes had no effects, superior or detrimental, on vascular function.


      Background and aims

      In vitro, ex vivo and animal studies suggest palm-based tocotrienols and carotenes enhance vascular function, but limited data in humans exists. The aim was to examine the effects of palm-tocotrienols (TRF- 80) and palm-carotene (CC-60) supplementation on vascular function and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in adults at increased risk of impaired vascular function.


      Ninety men and women (18–70 yr, 20–45 kg/m2) with type 2 diabetes, impaired fasting glucose and/or elevated waist circumference were randomised to consume either TRF-80 (420 mg/day tocotrienol + 132 mg/day tocopherol), CC-60 (21 mg/day carotenes) or placebo (palm olein) supplements for 8 weeks. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), other physiological and circulatory markers of vascular function, lipid profiles, glucose, insulin and inflammatory markers were assessed pre- and post-supplementation. Pairwise comparisons were performed using mixed effects longitudinal models (n = 87, n = 3 withdrew before study commencement).


      Plasma α- and β-carotene and α-, δ- and γ-tocotrienol concentrations increased in CC-60 and TRF-80 groups, respectively, compared to placebo (mean ± SE difference in total plasma carotene change between CC-60 and placebo: 1.5 ± 0.13 μg/ml, p < 0.0001; total plasma tocotrienol change between TRF-80 and placebo: 0.36 ± 0.05 μg/ml, p < 0.0001). Neither FMD (treatment x time effect for CC-60 vs. placebo, p = 0.71; TRF-80 vs. placebo, p = 0.80) nor any other vascular function and CVD outcomes were affected by treatments.


      CC-60 and TRF-80 supplementation increased bioavailability of palm-based carotenes and tocotrienols but had no effects, superior or detrimental, on vascular function or CVD risk factors.



      AI (augmentation index), BMI (body mass index), CTAB (citrate, theophylline, adenosine and dipyridamole), CV (coefficient of variance), CVD (cardiovascular disease), EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), eGFR (estimated global filtration rate), FID (flow-independent dilation), FMD (flow-mediated dilation), HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin), HDL-C (high density lipoprotein cholesterol), HOMA2-IR (homeostasis assessment model 2 Insulin resistance), hsCRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein), HMG-C0A (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A), ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1), IFG (impaired fasting glucose), IMVS (Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science), IL-6 (interleukin-6), IR (insulin resistance), LDL-C (low density lipoprotein cholesterol), NOAEL (no-observed-adverse-effect level), NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), PAI-1 (plasminogen activator inhibitor 1), PWV (pulse wave velocity), SDT (suggested dietary target), T (tocopherol), T3 (tocotrienol), T2DM (type 2 diabetes mellitus), TC (total cholesterol), TG (triglycerides), TNFα (tumor necrosis factor alpha), tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), TRF (tocotrienol-rich fraction), VCAM-1 (vascular cell adhesion molecule-1), WC (waist circumference)
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