The eight-month randomized, placebo-controlled trial involved 28 volunteers with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness), and was performed at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Science Malaysia.
“This is the first ever study to report such benefits for tocotrienols,” Dr Sharon Ling, regional sales manager for Carotech, told NutraIngredients.com. Dr Ling will present the findings at next week’s Vitafoods International Conference in Geneva.
The study findings have yet to be submitted for publication in a peer-review journal due to some of the finer points of patent law, said Dr Ling. NutraIngredients.com has not seen the full data.
Male pattern baldness
According to the American Medical Association, about 95 per cent of all cases of hair loss are due to male pattern baldness, a condition that affects about 40 million American men.
The balding is reported to start by the age of 30 in 25 per cent of men, and in two-thirds by the age of 60. According to the AMA, there is a 4 in 7 chance of inheriting the baldness gene.
According to data provided by Dr Ling, the Malaysian researchers conducted a double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial on volunteers with androgenetic alopecia using Carotech’s Tocomin SupraBio, a patented tocotrienol complex reported to increase oral absorption of tocotrienols by 300 per cent.
The eight-month study included 28 volunteers aged between 18 and 59 with a hair loss problem for approximately two to five years. During the course of the study, instructions were given to not alter their hairstyle, hair care products (shampoo, conditioners, etc) or dye their hair.
Volunteers were randomly assigned to the palm tocotrienol complex (total tocotrienol intake of 100 mg) or the placebo (soft gelatin capsule containing 600 mg soy bean oil).
Hair coverage, measured by counting the number of hairs in a pre-selected 2x2 cm area, was significantly increased by an average of 41.8 per cent in the tocotrienol group, with eight volunteers experiencing greater than 50 per cent hair growth. In the placebo group, however, no statistically significant differences in the number of hairs were detected before or after the study period, and only one volunteer showed more than 20 per cent increase in hair count.
The vitamin E family
There are eight forms of vitamin E: Four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). Alpha-tocopherol is the main source found in supplements and in the European diet, while gamma-tocopherol is the most common form in the American diet.
Tocotrienols (TCT) are only minor components in plants, although several sources with relatively high levels include palm oil, cereal grains and rice bran.
While most research on vitamin E has focused on alpha-Toc, studies into tocotrienols account for less than one per cent of all research into vitamin E.