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Tocopherols

The tocotrienols have the same methyl structure at the ring and the same Greek letter-methyl-notation, but differ from the analogous tocopherols by the presence of three double bonds in the hydrophobic side chain. The unsaturation of the tails gives tocotrienols only a single stereoisomeric carbon (and thus two possible isomers per structural formula, one of which occurs naturally), whereas tocopherols have three centers. Each form has a different biological activity. In overall, the unusual l-isomers of tocotrienols absence almost all vitamin action, and half of the possible 8 isomers of the tocopherols (those with 2S chirality at the ring-tail junction) also lack vitamin activity.

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