Meet Dr. Barrie Tan
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Dr. Barrie Tan is hailed as a trailblazer and the world’s foremost expert on vitamin E. A scientist first and foremost, Dr. Tan earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry/Biochemistry from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and spent several years as a professor at UMass. Dr. Tan has committed himself to the research and development of phytonutrients that reduce and slow chronic disorders.
Dr. Tan is credited with discovering a form of vitamin E called tocotrienol from three major sources – Palm, Rice and Annatto. Editor of two prestigious books on tocotrienol and founder of the International Tocotrienol Conference, Dr. Tan was dubbed the “Tocotrienol King” by Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist, due to his “research background, keen knowledge, and active involvement in studying tocotrienols.”
Dr. Tan has held roles of Chief Scientific Officer and Scientific Board Member for multinational organizations. His career includes periods working in association with the US Armed Forces and the Prince of Thailand.
Dr. Tan has successfully launched multiple businesses in the nutrition industry and owns a vast array of patents and intellectual property, keeping him at the forefront of scientific innovation.
He is an internationally celebrated and sought-after speaker, having presented at several respected conferences in the field including; IFT, ADA, ASN, IHS, A4M, NPA, ICIM, AOCS, IAOMT, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Renowned for his engaging warmth and gracious humor, Dr. Tan has also been featured in array of popular media including the Ben Greenfield and JJ Virgin podcasts.
Dr. Tan is currently the President of American River Nutrition, a natural health R&D company he started with his wife, Elizabeth, in 1998. Described as a scientific pioneer, his mission is simple, improve the everyday health of people’s lives through the rigorous application of DeltaGold® – the first-ever tocopherol-free tocotrienol product extracted from annatto, and the most potent form of Vitamin E in existence today.
BARRIE'S OWN STORY
The Joy and Wonder of Discovery
I was born and raised in Malaysia. After high school, I traversed the world with an insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge and education. I earned my Bachelor of Science and a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Otago, New Zealand. I moved to the United States for my postdoctoral work in Auburn, Alabama. Later, I became a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, first in chemistry, then in food science and nutrition. My research included vitamin E, cholesterol and fats, prediabetes, diabetes, cancer and free radicals, along with lipid-soluble materials such as carotenoids, CoQ10, and omega-3s.
Fast forward to 1983, and while visiting palm oil plantations in my homeland of Malaysia, I noticed brightly colored pigments. I couldn’t stop staring and wondering what might be the precise chemical components inside the oil. With dogged determination and extensive research, I answered this question: What was the color? Vitamin E, but not exactly. It was the strongest concentration of the tocotrienol form of vitamin E ever found at that point in time – and, it was right in my own backyard!
When a prince of Thailand calls
Several years later, I received an unexpected phone call from a counselor to one of the princes of Thailand. He wished to set up a meeting to discuss a research-and-development proposal. The prince wanted to sponsor research dedicated to discovering new plant-based nutraceuticals. It was through this research that I discovered that rice, too, was a source of tocotrienols.
While, remarkably, I had discovered the two known major sources of tocotrienol, ultimately these sources were not good enough (they contained too much tocopherol) for the medical breakthroughs needed.
Back to the drawing board
While remarkably, I had discovered the two known major sources of tocotrienol, ultimately these sources were not good enough (they contained too much tocopherol) for the medical breakthroughs needed. In the early 1990’s, I set upon another quest and went to South America in search of a giant marigold flower that could potentially help many people with age-related eye health.
As fate would have it…
I found this giant flower, and this is when the most magnificent discovery occurred. Just thirty feet away, I noticed an annatto plant. I couldn’t help but be drawn to its beauty. When I opened the fruit pod, I found that it contained only seeds (no flesh) and it instantly stained my hands red. It was immediately obvious why this plant had been nicknamed the lipstick plant!
I was transfixed – how could the seeds of this plant keep their bright red color without any flesh to protect them? Intuitively, I suspected that there must be a very powerful antioxidant at play and immediately started my research on the plant.
When the results emerged, I was shocked to learn that I had discovered a natural form of vitamin E that contained 100% tocotrienols!
This was one of my happiest and most unexpected moments as a scientist.