Tocotrienol Regulates Gastric Growth Factors Better than Omeprazole in Animal Study

Dec 22, 2017

Omeprazole is a medication commonly used to manage stomach acid and treat gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcers. But results from a new animal new study1 published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology showed that a full-spectrum palm tocotrienol complex exerts a protective effect on gastric tissues similar to that of the omeprazole drug, but through action on important growth factors.

As ulcers heal, growth factors like epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-α), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) initiate cellular migration and proliferation in a manner that both prevents and repairs stress-induced gastric ulcers. In fact, researchers have observed that when rats exposed to stress develop gastric mucosal ulcers, changes in the expression of these growth factors at the ulcer sites occurs.

The current study used a murine model to investigate the relative effects of the aforementioned palm-based tocotrienol complex—ExcelVite’s (Chemor, Malaysia) EVNol—and omeprazole on these gastric mucosal growth factors. Specifically, twenty-eight male rats were randomly assigned to four groups of seven. Two control groups received a vitamin-free palm oil placebo, and two treatment groups were given either omeprazole (20 mg/kg) or the tocotrienol complex (60 mg/kg) orally for 28 days.

Following the 28-day period, rats from one control and both treated groups were exposed to water-immersion restraint stress (WIRS) for one 3.5-hour period. As expected, the rats exhibited the presence of considerable ulcers in the form of gastric erosion. Researchers measured these gastric lesions and harvested tissues with which to asses mRNA expression for EGF, TGF-α, bFGF, and VEGF. The results demonstrated a decrease in expression for VEGF, bFGF, and TGF-α in the stress-exposed control group. However, the tocotrienol group displayed upregulated expression for these growth factors at a level sufficient to bring their expression to that of the no-stress control. And though both the omeprazole and tocotrienol treatments exerted similar ulcer-reducing ability, only treatment with tocotrienol increased expression for the relevant growth factors noted above.

In a company statement, Diyanah Roslan, nutritionist, ExcelVite, expressed enthusiasm for the study results. “It further supports the gastro-protective effect of EVNol full spectrum palm tocotrienol complex for gut health. By considering the previous works and positive results, I definitely look forward to a human clinical trial—to confirm the gastro-protective properties of tocotrienol.”

  1. Nur Azlina MF et al., “Comparison between tocotrienol and omeprazole on gastric growth factors in stress-exposed rats.” World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 23, no. 32 (2017): 5887-5894