A preclinical trial using annatto tocotrienol in osteoporotic rats demonstrated that vitamin E tocotrienols are as effective as standard anti-osteoporosis therapy in men. (Nutrients. 2014; (6) 4974-4983. DOI: 10.3390/nu6114974)
Able to completely prevent erosion of the bone surface and decreased bone formation associated with testosterone deficiency, annatto tocotrienol was as effective as testosterone enanthate, one of the standard therapies used to treat osteoporosis in men.
“This [study] serves as a basis for the application of annatto tocotrienol in hypogonadal men as an antiosteoporotic agent," concluded the researchers, led by pharmacologist Ima-Nirwana Soelaiman of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Testosterone deficiency is the most common cause of osteoporosis in men, and elicits an imbalance in bone remodeling manifested by decreased bone-forming cells or osteoblasts, as well as increased levels of osteoclasts that are responsible for erosion of the bone surface.
In the study, researchers tested the effects of annatto tocotrienol in comparison to testosterone enanthate on osteoblast and osteoclast surfaces in a testosterone-deficient rat model. Results showed that both compounds were equally effective in preventing an imbalance in bone remodeling associated with testosterone deficiency. Possible mechanisms may include tocotrienol’s strong antioxidant capabilities, down-regulation of the mevalonate pathway, and suppression of proinflammatory cytokines known to promote osteoclastogenesis.
In previous studies, annatto tocotrienol was shown to improve bone structural and dynamic indices at the femur of castrated male rats. The supplement was also effective in increasing bone formation and preventing bone resorption in a postmenopausal rat model for osteoporosis. Interestingly, in an earlier study, the research group found that alpha-tocopherol attenuates the antiosteoporotic effects of tocotrienol by decreasing tocotrienol bioavailability, making tocopherol-free annatto tocotrienol an attractive candidate for further studies, particularly in a clinical setting. Alpha-tocopherol in large doses may also promote osteoclast fusion and differentiation, causing adverse effects on bone health.
“The effect of tocotrienol in bone health is an emergent science champion by professor Soelaiman, who has taken on to study this critical path ‘less traveled’," said Barrie Tan, president of American River Nutrition Inc. “Two clinical studies are currently underway."