In a stroke, blood flow to the brain declines, triggering toxic inflammation that can kill brain cells. After a stroke, when blood supply returns to the brain, free radicals can cause more oxidative damage to brain cells.
In one lab study, researchers recreated a toxic stroke environment in the brain cells of mice, then added tocotrienol, a form of vitamin E. Toxicity decreased 60 percent, and brain cells with tocotrienol were four times more likely to survive as those without. Researchers said people who regularly take tocotrienol would have levels sufficient to protect cells after a stroke, and that this little-studied form of vitamin E “targets specific pathways to protect against neural cell death and rescues the brain after stroke injury.”
In another lab study, researchers introduced selenium and melatonin into rats 30 minutes before reducing blood flow to the brain, then restored blood flow and immediately treated with another dose of selenium and melatonin, and continued dosing for three more days. Compared to those not dosed, the selenium and melatonin group had more and better spontaneous motor activity in the areas of the brain that control movement, speech, and vision. Selenium-melatonin reduced free radical activity and oxidative damage from lack of blood flow and from returning blood flow.