KUALA LUMPUR: Research by medical experts have revealed that palm tocotrienols act on three different mechanisms in the hallmarks of cancer – tumour suppressors, immune modulation and inflammation.
Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) research officer, Dr Fu Ju Yen said the hypothesis on the study conducted showed enhanced absorption of tocotrienols by eight-fold when delivered via nanocarriers.
“It was postulated that between a third and half of cancers are preventable on the basis of present knowledge in risk factors,” she said during the Palm International Nutra-Cosmeceutical Conference 2021 today.
The event was held in conjunction with the four-day Malaysian Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar 2021 (POTS Digital 2021) which ended today.
Fu said the worldwide cancer burden was projected to increase by two-fold over the next 20 years with nutrition in lifestyle and influences in obesity known as important risk factors for various malignancies.
“Long-term exposure to oxidative stress leads to chronic inflammation, underlining the trigger factor for chronic diseases.
“However, tocotrienols are fat-soluble antioxidants with potent anti-inflammatory properties and being part of the vitamin E family that could be sourced from vegetable oils, most abundantly in palm oil.
“Nanotechnology has revolutionised the delivery method of nutrients to target sites due to their small size and the possibility to engineer their properties.
“In studies using tumour-targeted nanoparticles, tocotrienols induced significant tumour suppression in several tumour models including triple-negative breast cancer, epithelial cancer and melanoma,” she said.
Another speaker, Nutrition Foundation of Italy research director, Dr Franca Marangoni said due to its physical and chemical properties, easy availability and neutral taste, palm oil has been increasingly employed by the food industry in the last decades.
“However, its high content of saturated fatty acids and effect on plasma LDL levels that are considered to increase the cardiometabolic risk, has led to an intense debate on the possible effects of palm oil as a component of some industrially produced food, on human health.”
She said the evaluation of the available literature showed that no evidence existed on specific health effects of palm oil consumption, compared to other saturated rich dietary fats, within a balanced diet in which saturated fatty acids represent less than 10 per cent of total energy as recommended by food-based guidelines.
“Within these limits, no negative effect of palm oil consumption on human health (and specifically on CVD or cancer risk) can be foreseen,” she said.
Meanwhile, US-based Phenolaeis nutritional biochemist, Dr Shawn Talbott said palm fruit bioactive complex (PFBc) supplementation resulted in meaningful ‘physical’ heart benefits and also improved ‘mental’ brain benefits.
He added that targeted supplementation with PFBc supported the multi-faceted psychophysiological ‘heart-brain axis’ with simultaneous and coordinated improvements in both physical and mental performance.