You may have never have heard of tocotrienols before, but the fact is that they can have great benefits for your hair. Together with tocopherols, these chemical compounds make up vitamin E and contribute with many health benefits, like fighting free radicals. They can help mitigate signs of aging, clogged arteries, diabetes and high cholesterol. We will explain in closer detail what these chemicals do, and how they can benefit your hair growth.
What are Tocotrienols?
So vitamin E is not just one single thing. It is composed of eight different compounds – four types of tocotrienols and four types of tocopherols. That is the alpha, beta, gamma and delta versions of the compounds. Normally, you get all of these if you eat a varied diet. A Mediterranean diet is especially rich in the vitamin E compounds.
The main object of these tocotrienols and tocopherols is to fight free radicals in the body. They have great antioxidant properties that specifically targets and fights free radicals, which are normal byproducts of the body’s metabolism. But too many of the radicals will age your skin, affect your hair health, killing cells and damaging DNA. They play a big role in cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. It is also believed that they are greatly responsible for aging in general.
Several studies have proven the beneficial effect of tocotrienols and tocopherols on hair growth. One study from 2010, for example, compared the results of people suffering from hair loss who took a supplement of tocotrienols with a control group which received a placebo supplement. After eight months, researchers saw a 34.5% increase in hair growth in the group who received tocotrienols. For the control group, the number was only 0.1%.
There has not been enough scientific research on the topic of tocotrienols to know for sure how it works, and whether there are any side effects. But in the case of hair loss, observations show that it clearly is beneficial. However, for some people, vitamin E that is applied topically can cause a skin allergy.
It is also believed that tocotrienols might lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes need to control their blood levels on a regular basis if taking tocotrienols – and also consult a doctor before starting to take them. This also goes for people who have just had, or are about to have, surgery.
What Can I Eat to Get Tocotrienols?
So in order to get all the tocotrienols and tocopherols, you have to eat a varied diet.
You can eat:
- Dark, leafy greens, like spinach
- Olives and olive oil
- Wheat germ oil
- Sunflower oil
- Whole grains
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanuts and peanut butter
Supplements or not?
There is generally a low risk to be deficient in vitamin E if you eat a varied diet. But if you live a busy lifestyle, which unfortunately is the case for most of us, it is easy to skip a balanced meal and instead go for what is fast and accessible. Make home made food as much as you can and make sure that the food you eat is fresh. Vegetables have far less nutritional value today than in the past. Mass production leads to the use of pesticides that can dilute the nutrients.
You can take a vitamin E supplement, but make sure to not take too much. There is speculation that excessive amounts of tocotrienols and tocopherols can actually cause a serious kind of stroke. It has also been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer. An overdose can also cause nausea, diarrhea, cramps, fatigue, weakness, headache, blurred vision, bleeding or rashes. The current recommended daily intake of vitamin E for a healthy individual over the age of 14 is 15 milligrams (or 22.5 IU), and the maximum daily dose would be 1,000 milligrams daily (1,500 IU).
The better option if you are looking for the hair health benefits offered by tocotrienols is to take a specific hair supplement that contains this vital vitamin compound, as well as other ingredients that will work to achieve a stronger, healthier hair.