Malaysia is now the largest producer and
exporter of palm oil in the world. Palm oil provides about 10% of the
Malaysian gross domestic product. It is commonly used as cooking oil or
an ingredient in margarines and shortenings. Many of us know that palm
oil, like other vegetable oils, is cholesterol-free. However, not many
of us know that the health benefits of palm oil extend beyond being just
Did you know that palm oil and palm oil products are naturally occurring
sources of the antioxidant Vitamin E? The Vitamin E family is made up of
cholesterols and tocotrienols. Whilst most of the vitamin E available in
your local pharmacies are the more common tocopherols, in recent years,
palm tocotrienols have generated much interest. Tocotrienol, the best
kept secret of palm oil, is now recognized by medicine as possessing
major health benefits.
The Benefits of Tocotrienols:
The effectiveness of tocotrienols as antioxidants have been tested
against tocopherols. Research have shown that tocotrienols are 60 times
more potent as an antioxidant compared to tocopherols. Tocotrienols are
protective against cardiovascular diseases. They can reduce the risk of
stroke, lower blood cholesterol level, and even clear fat deposits on
the walls of arteries. The strongest evidence for tocotrienols on heart
diseases comes from a 5-year clinical study conducted on humans with
clogged arteries at the famous Kenneth Jordan Heart Center at New Jersey
USA. A supplementation of four capsules of tocotrienol daily (50 mg
tocotrienol per capsule), was able to clear up the fatty deposits on the
heart patients arteries. A similar study in the University of North
Carolina showed supplementation with tocotrienol could prevent fats and
cholesterol build-up on the arterial linings. The clogging of arteries
is one of the main causes of heart attacks.
Palm tocotrienols are also able to kill cancer cells especially breast
cancer cells. The findings are so convincing that currently, there is a
five-year human trial of 240 women in Stage one breast cancer to monitor
how effectively palm tocotrienol inhibits their tumors.
The benefits of palm tocotrienols do not end here. Tocotrienols may be
helpful in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other
neurodegenerative diseases by preventing brain cells damage. In August
2002, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the
National Institute of Health (NIH) in USA awarded in excess of a million
dollars to investigate the mechanism in which tocotrienol exerts its
neuroprotective action. Professor Chandan Sen, the Director of the
Laboratory of Molecular Medicine at The Ohio State University Medical
Center, leads the research.
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