Annatto - The Source


Vitamin E is a group of 8 forms of fat-soluble compounds. Eight forms have 4 Tocopherols (Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta), 4 Tocotrienols (Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta). These 8 forms make up the compound of vitamin E in varied proportions in different sources.

In this, Tocotrienols are considered the potent form in the Vitamin E family. Vitamin E is one of the best antioxidants that show amazing healing and body regulating abilities. Tocotrienols are considered a missed gem because only in recent decades tocotrienols come under the spotlight of research, and it is shown to possess incredible health benefits. It is the best form of Vitamin E, especially the Delta Tocotrienols and Gamma Tocotrienols.

Source Alpha-Tocotrienols Beta-Tocotrienols Gamma-Tocotrienols Delta-Tocotrienols Tocopherol
Annatto No No Yes Yes No
Palm Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rice Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wheat germ Yes No No No Yes
Coconut Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Cocoa Yes No No No Yes

Sources and Its Comparison:

Tocotrienols provide better results than other forms of the vitamin E family because of their structure. The structure of tocotrienols makes them easily absorbed by the human body, easily float across the membranes, and capture free radicals leading to increased protection against oxidation. This structural difference provides the positive edge for tocotrienols against Tocopherols.

There are various sources of tocotrienols. They naturally occur in some vegetable oils like Rice bran oil, Palm Oil, Wheat Germ, Saw Palmetto, Annatto, Barley, Oats, safflower oil, coconut oil etc. Other sources include Nuts, Grains and oil derived from them. Flaxseed, Hazelnut, Grapeseed, Pumpkinseed, Walnut, Maize, Poppy, cocoa etc.,

The extract may vary from one source to another in its composition. Tocotrienols composition has a different proportion of its forms (Alpha tocotrienols, Beta tocotrienols, Gamma Tocotrienols and Delta Tocotrienols) and in many sources have some proportion of Tocopherols with it.

Available literature also has shown evidence of Alpha-Tocopherol interfering with the health benefits of Tocotrienols, as the former inhibits the absorption of later by the body. Hence it has been concluded that effective tocotrienols should contain less than 15% of Tocopherols and more than 60% of desmethyl Tocotrienols (Gamma and Delta Tocotrienols).

Within the forms of Tocotrienols, Delta Tocotrienols and Gamma tocotrienols are found to be the best combo for maximum health benefits. Third come alpha, and beta comes to the rear position inside the tocotrienol family.

Fortunately, the combination which gives the maximum health benefits is found in annatto beans. It has only Tocotrienols with no Tocopherol and 90% Delta Tocotrienol and 10% Gamma Tocotrienol hence making the best source of potent Tocotrienols.

Tocotrienols though are 60-70 fold more potent than tocopherols. Red palm contains 75% of tocotrienols, but it also has 25% percent of tocopherols, which is 10% more than the minimum desired level. This makes the annatto plant the only source of non-tocopherol tocotrienol.