New study indicates that vitamin E may have anti-obesity effects

Nataliya Vaitkevich/Pexels

A new study explored the effects that tocotrienols (T3s), a subtype of vitamin E, had on the body weight and cognition of mice fed a high-fat diet, as well as the underlying mechanisms of these interactions.

The study, published in the journal, Molecules, was led by Koji Fukui, PhD, professor at the Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) in Japan. Fukui and his team of researchers aimed to better understand how, and if, T3s suppresses weight gain in mice. To do so, researchers conducted several experiments on mice treated with a high-fat diet (HFD), HFD and T3D, and a controlled diet without T3s.

After 13 weeks, the mice who were fed a HFD and given no T3D gained a significant amount of weight compared to the control group. Mice given an HFD along with T3D however, had a significantly lower body weight than the mice given an HFD. Upon observation, researchers discovered that T3s protected the liver against damage from the HFD and decreased build up of white adipose tissue surrounding the kidneys. In addition, mice given T3D showed reduced levels of low-density lipoprotein, which is considered “bad cholesterol” while maintaining their levels of high-density lipoprotein, or “good cholesterol.”

“Overall, our results suggest that a higher intake of tocotrienols from daily foods may be effective to prevent obesity,” said Fukui in a statement.

Researchers also studied the effect of T3s  on preventing brain oxidation, which could reduce cognitive and behavioral changes due to an HFD. Overall, scientists found no significant cognitive changes in mice treated with an HFD plus T3s and mice with a controlled diet plus an HFD. Although the control group that was treated with T3s showed some differences in behavior compared to the HFD group, when researchers checked the levels of biomarkers that represent brain oxidation, they found no notable changes between groups. 

This study provided more information into how T3s affects the body, however, Fukui suggested there is still a lot more research to be done on the subject.

“We hope our research stimulates further studies on anti-obesity substances such as tocotrienols and similar compounds,” Fukui said. “Our ultimate goal is to lower the amount of people suffering from obesity-related illnesses.”