Medical opinions may vary, but perhaps the best way to choose tocopherol oil is to buy one labeled “mixed tocopherols.” This ensures that the vitamin E contained in the tocopherol oil supplement is a naturally occurring form that is most easily absorbed by the body. This form contains d-alpha-tocopherol rather than the synthetically produced d-alpha-tocopherol. While synthetic tocopherol oil is less expensive, research suggests it may not be as easily absorbed and well utilized by the body as natural mixed tocopherols.
In food sources, vitamin E is present in nut and seed oils, some vegetables, and wheat germ. Many medical professionals agree that most people are not meeting their vitamin E requirements in the food that they eat and may need to supplement. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E daily value levels have been established at 30 IU (international units).
Vitamin E occurs in two forms of a fat-soluble compound, tocopherols and tocotrienols. Each of these occurs in alpha, beta, gamma, and delta form, meaning there are eight forms of vitamin E. The body is most abundant in alpha-tocopherol and absorbs it best.
Although there are other types of vitamin E in the body, alpha-tocopherol has been the most studied and is the form found in many supplements. Some research may suggest that gamma-tocopherol has an important function in the body and could be a useful ingredient in tocopherol oil supplements. Many medical professionals recommend supplementing with a tocopherol oil that contains more than just alpha-tocopherol oil and are labeled “mixed tocopherols.” Some supplements contain not only the tocopherols, but the tocotrienols as well. Unfortunately, these are the most expensive vitamin E tocopherol oil supplements.
Many doctors believe that the synthetic form of vitamin E is inferior and cannot be utilized very well by the body. By some estimates, it may be necessary to take in 50 percent more of the synthetic form of vitamin E to equal the bioavailability in the natural form. It’s possible that synthetic vitamin E could be responsible for some research studies that discounted the value of vitamin E supplementation in preventing disease. Synthetic tocopherol oil vitamin E is the most common form of vitamin E in supplements and mutlivitamins because it is the least expensive to produce.
Another concern for some people is the soybean oil contained in tocopherol oil. Most soybean crops are grown using genetically modified seed. If this is a concern, it’s best to purchase tocopherol oil that is certified organic. By law, certified organic products may not contain any genetically modified ingredients and are the only foolproof method of determining whether a product contains genetically modified ingredients.