Narrator: This is Science Today. The Vitamin E supplements on the market today may not be as effective as we thought. University of California, Berkeley researcher Stephan Christen says that’s because vitamin E, which is made up of several compounds called tocopherols (TOE-COFF-EROLLS), is only available in its most potent form called alpha tocopherol.
Christen: The only problem is that when you take very high doses of alpha-tochopherol, you start depleting all the other forms of vitamin E from your body.
Narrator: And one of those forms is gamma tocopherol, which Christen found, actually traps disease causing oxidants alpha-tocopheral leaves behind.
Christen: So the alpha-tocopherol neutralizes the oxidant but if there are secondary species formed, then at least some of them will be trapped by gamma-tocopherol. So we basically expanded the whole concept of anti-oxidant mechanism to a little bit more complex reaction than what has been thought of.
Narrator: For Science Today, I’m Larissa Branin.