Gamma Tocopherol Provides Protection from Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease

Are You Getting Enough of This Must-have Nutrient?

Recent studies indicate that gamma tocopherol is extremely important to human health and that it possesses unique features that distinguish it from other members of the tocopherol family.1

Gamma tocopherol is very good at controlling chronic inflammation related diseases including arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.2

Gamma tocopherol is found in many plant seeds and in products derived from them, including some vegetable oils such as canola and olive. Also nuts such as walnuts and pecans are rich sources of gamma tocopherol. Below is a quick list of what science is now proving in regards to gamma tocopherol.

Gamma tocopherol and cancer:

  • Gamma tocopherol was found effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth.3
  • Gamma tocopherol was found to be associated with the prevention of prostate cancer.4
  • Gamma tocopherol induces cell death (apoptosis) in both prostate and lung cancer cells.5
  • Gamma tocopherol was shown to induce cell death and inhibit growth in numerous colon cancer cell lines with different types of genetic mutations, without damage to normal colon cells.6
  • A very large study of almost 300,000 men showed that high gamma tocopherol intake significantly reduced the risk of prostate cancer.7

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Gamma tocopherol and cardiovascular disease:

  • Gamma tocopherol supplements have been shown to beneficially affect several cardiovascular risk factors in humans by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and decreasing platelet aggregation.8
  • Gamma tocopherol naturally increases sodium excretion in the urine which helps to maintain normal blood pressure.9
  • Gamma tocopherol significantly promotes nitric oxide production in platelets, increases the important antioxidant Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), and inhibits platelet aggregation.10

Gamma tocopherol and inflammation:

  • Gamma tocopherol inhibits inflammation. 11
  • Gamma tocopherol was found to inhibit tissue damage caused by inflammation and inflammation-mediated discomfort.12
  • Gamma tocopherol strongly inhibits inflammation, tissue damage, and vascular disease development in damaged arteries.13

Gamma tocopherol and the brain:

  • Gamma tocopherol has been shown to prevent dopamine loss and brain cell damage in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease.14
  • A large study in almost 4,000 adults showed a significant protective effect of gamma tocopherol intake on the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.15

Clearly, gamma tocopherol plays an important role in human health and disease prevention. The problem though, is that you may not be getting enough gamma tocopherol in your diet, particularly if you do not consume seeds, nuts, or products derived from them..

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So what should you do?

First and foremost, check your multivitamin label. High quality multivitamin products will list gamma tocopherol on their label. Sometimes, you may see mixed tocopherols listed on a supplement label. However, while gamma tocopherol is typically included in a mixed tocopherol formula, you really would prefer to find gamma tocopherol listed on its own as the amount in a mixed formula may be insignificant.

Based on the large body of scientific evidence that’s been published over the past several decades to support gamma tocopherol’s disease preventing properties, you should take the steps needed to ensure you are consuming this vital nutrient. You can do this bye either increasing your seed and nut intake, or by checking your multivitamin to ensure it includes gamma tocopherol and not just mixed tocopherols


  1. Qing Jiang, Stephan Christen, Mark K Shigenaga and Bruce N Ames. Gamma Tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in the US diet, deserves more attention, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 74, No. 6, 714-722, December 2001.
  2. Williamson KS, Gabbita SP, Mou S, West M, Pye QN, Markesbery WR, Cooney RV, Grammas P, Reimann-Philipp U, Floyd RA, Hensley K. The nitration product 5-nitro-gamma-tocopherol is increased in the Alzheimer brain. Nitric Oxide 2002 Mar;6(2):221-7.
  3. Gysin R, Azzi A, Visarius T. Gamma-tocopherol inhibits human cancer cell cycle progression and cell proliferation by down-regulation of cyclins. FASEB J. 2002 Dec;16(14):1952-4.
  4. Huang HY, Alberg AJ, Norkus EP, et al. Prospective study of antioxidant micronutrients in the blood and the risk of developing prostate cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Feb 15;157(4):335-44.
  5. Jiang Q, Wong J, Ames BN. Gamma-tocopherol induces apoptosis in androgen-responsive LNCaP prostate cancer cells via caspase-dependent and independent mechanisms. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1031:399-400.
  6. Campbell SE, Stone WL, Lee S, et al. Comparative effects of RRR-alpha- and RRR-gamma-tocopherol on proliferation and apoptosis in human colon cancer cell lines. BMC Cancer. 2006 Jan 17;6:13.
  7. Wright ME, Weinstein SJ, Lawson KA, et al. Supplemental and dietary vitamin E intakes and risk of prostate cancer in a large prospective study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Jun;16(6):1128-35.
  8. Singh I, Turner AH, Sinclair AJ, et al. Effects of gamma-tocopherol supplementation on thrombotic risk factors. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16(3):422-8.
  9. Uto H, Kiyose C, Saito H, Ueda T, et al. Gamma-tocopherol enhances sodium excretion as a natriuretic hormone precursor. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2004 Aug;50(4):277-82.
  10. Liu M, Wallmon A, Olsson-Mortlock C, et al. Mixed tocopherols inhibit platelet aggregation in humans: potential mechanisms. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Mar;77(3):700-6.
  11. Reiter E, Jiang Q, Christen S. Anti-inflammatory properties of alpha- and gamma-tocopherol. Mol Aspects Med. 2007 Oct-Dec;28(5-6):668-91.
  12. Jiang Q, Ames BN. Gamma-tocopherol, but not alpha-tocopherol, decreases proinflammatory eicosanoids and inflammation damage in rats. FASEB J. 2003 May;17(8):816-22.
  13. Takahashi K, Komaru T, Takeda S, et al. gamma-tocopherol, but not alpha-tocopherol, potently inhibits neointimal formation induced by vascular injury in insulin resistant rats. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2006 Sep;41(3):544-54.
  14. Itoh N, Masuo Y, Yoshida Y, et al. gamma-Tocopherol attenuates MPTP-induced dopamine loss more efficiently than alpha-tocopherol in mouse brain. Neurosci Lett. 2006 Jul 31;403(1-2):136-40.
  15. Morris MC, Evans DA, Tangney CC, et al. Relation of the tocopherol forms to incident Alzheimer disease and to cognitive change. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):508-14.