KUALA LUMPUR: Vitamin E from red palm oil can reduce damage to the nerves, eyes and kidneys in people with diabetes, an endocrinologist has told FMT.
Dr Khalid Abdul Kadir of Monash University said he had found that nerve damage was reduced in diabetics who were given 400 mg per day of Vitamin E tocotrienols derived from palm oil.
“Damage to the eyes and kidneys were either slowed or prevented,” he said.
Khalid said he had done work on the effects of red palm fruit on rats that had been made diabetic through overfeeding and it showed that the fruit could combat the effects of metabolic stress.
Non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension can cause metabolic stress and increases in oxidation products in the body.
The human body reacts to the stress by producing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, but this could in the long run lead to heart disease or high blood pressure. The hormones can also cause a person to break out in pimples and experience several other ailments.
Khalid also said his research indicated that pre-diabetics and those with a family history of diabetes had low levels of Vitamin E in their bodies and a tendency to experience an increase in insulin resistance.
He said this showed that in theory, at least, a diet supplemented with red palm oil could help slow down progression to diabetes and prevent eye, nerve and kidney damage in people who are already diabetic.
A normal person needs between 60mg and 100mg of Vitamin E daily.
“But if you have metabolic stress,” Khalid said, “you’ll need more of it.”
The vitamin also exists in the form of tocopherols, but tocotrienols are 30 to 40 times more potent.
“Red palm fruit is unique in that its tocotrienol content is between 70% and 80%,” Khalid said.
He said that oil from the fruit was also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin A, which help prevent eye damage and the stunting of growth in children.