Two recent studies confirm that mixed tocopherol vitamin E products may be superior to the more common alpha-tocopherol products — especially in the area of cardiovascular health. Mixed tocopherols are vitamin E supplements that contain alpha-, beta- delta- and gamma-tocopherols in a ratio more similar to how vitamin E is found in nature.
At the Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Uppsala in Sweden, researchers compared the effects of alpha-tocopherol to mixed tocopherols for reducing arterial plaque, a risk factor in heart disease. In this study, 46 adults were either given alpha-tocopherol, mixed tocopherols or a placebo for eight weeks. While the alpha-tocopherol and placebo groups did not show signs of improvement, the mixed tocopherol group showed significant improvements. The researchers concluded that mixed tocopherols were more potent than alpha-tocopherol alone in preventing arterial plaque.
In a second study at the University of Arkansas, researchers compared the protective properties of mixed tocopherols and alpha-tocopherols on heart tissue exposed to reduced oxygen (hypoxia) in a laboratory setting. They found that both forms of vitamin E reduced cell injury; however, they reported that the “mixed tocopherol preparation was much superior to alpha-tocopherol” in terms of cell protection from the adverse effect of low oxygen supply — a factor in many types of heart disease.
Sources: Am J Clin Nutr 2003 Mar;77(3):700-6; Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Feb 22;291(2):349-53