Rising demand for Malaysian palm oil due to health and sustainability

Natural, non-GMO, sustainably produced and balanced fat composition : These are all words increasingly used to describe Malaysian sustainable palm oil. According to a Credit Suisse financial analysis, this versatile oil is expected to become much more prevalent in the coming years. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council had long advocated this stance and agrees with this projection. We estimate demand for Malaysian palm oil to increase by 2030 in line with the Credit Suisse projections. The worldwide interest in healthy, natural fats and the global recognition of Malaysia’s sustainable palm oil industry are part of the reasons for this potential increase in its usage.

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Battling pancreatic, lung cancer with palm oil

The word “ordinary” never had a place in his vocabulary. He was brilliant, passionate and inspiring. And his death shocked the world. In October 2011, Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Though it is only the twelfth most common cancer in the world, pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of them all. According to the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research in the United States, 94 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients will die within five years of diagnosis and only 7 per cent will survive more than five years.

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Advantage Palm Oil, as US Bans Trans Fats

A decision made thousands of kilometres from Malaysia – in the offices of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – could have profound consequences for the future of the palm oil industry.

us-ban-trans-fatThe FDA has decided to ban partially hydrogenated vegetable oils by 2018, due to their worrying levels of trans fats content. Trans fats have been widely regarded by scientists as a major negative factor for health and well-being.

Palm oil does not contain trans fats. Its beneficial and adaptable composition means that it does not require partial hydrogenation. It can serve the same purpose in food manufacture, but without health negatives. It is therefore a natural and healthy replacement for liquid oils.

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Pleiotropic effects of tocotrienols and quercetin on cellular senescence: introducing the perspective of senolytic effects of phytochemicals.

Malavolta M, Pierpaoli E, Giacconi R, Costarelli L, Piacenza F, Basso A, Cardelli M, Provinciali M.

Curr Drug Targets. 2015 Sep 6


The possibility to target cellular senescence with natural bioactive substances open interesting therapeutic perspective in cancer and aging. Engaging senescence response is suggested as a key component for therapeutic intervention in the eradication of cancer. At the same time, delaying senescence or even promote death of accumulating apoptosis-resistant senescent cells is proposed as a strategy to prevent age related diseases. Although these two desired outcome present an intrinsic dichotomy, there are examples of promising natural compounds that appear to satisfy all the requirements to develop senescence-targeted health promoting nutraceuticals. Tocotrienols (T3s) and quercetin (QUE), albeit belonging to different phytochemical classes, display similar and promising effects “in vitro” when tested in normal and cancer cells. Both compounds have been shown to induce senescence and promote apoptosis in a multitude of cancer lines. Conversely, they display senescence delaying activity in primary cells and rejuvenating effects in senescent cells. More recently, QUE has been shown to display senolytic effects in some primary senescent cells, likely as a consequence of its inhibitory effects on specific anti-apoptotic genes (i.e. PI3K and other kinases). Senolytic activity has not been tested for T3s but part of metabolic and apoptotic pathways affected by these compounds in cancer cells overlap with those of QUE. This suggests that the rejuvenating effects of T3s and QUE on pre-senescent and senescent primary cells might be the net results of a senolytic activity on senescent cells and a selective survival of a sub-population of non-senescent cells in the culture. The meaning of this hypothesis in the context of adjuvant therapy of cancer and preventive anti-aging strategies with QUE or T3s is discussed.

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Anticancer Effects of γ-Tocotrienol Are Associated with a Suppression in Aerobic Glycolysis.

Parajuli P, Tiwari RV, Sylvester PW.

Biol Pharm Bull. 2015;38(9):1352-60


Aerobic glycolysis is an established hallmark of cancer. Neoplastic cells display increased glucose consumption and a corresponding increase in lactate production compared to the normal cells. Aerobic glycolysis is regulated by the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/ mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, as well as by oncogenic transcription factors such as c-Myc and hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α). γ-Tocotrienol is a natural isoform within the vitamin E family of compounds that displays potent antiproliferative and apoptotic activity against a wide range of cancer cell types at treatment doses that have little or no effect on normal cell viability. Studies were conducted to determine the effects of γ-tocotrienol on aerobic glycolysis in mouse +SA and human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Treatment with γ-tocotrienol resulted in a dose-responsive inhibition of both +SA and MCF-7 mammary tumor cell growth, and induced a relatively large reduction in glucose utilization, intracellular ATP production and extracellular lactate excretion. These effects were also associated with a large decrease in enzyme expression levels involved in regulating aerobic glycolysis, including hexokinase-II, phosphofructokinase, pyruvate kinase M2, and lactate dehydrogenase A. γ-Tocotrienoltreatment was also associated with a corresponding reduction in the levels of phosphorylated (active) Akt, phosphorylated (active) mTOR, and c-Myc, but not HIF-1α or glucose transporter 1 (GLUT-1). In summary, these findings demonstrate that the antiproliferative effects of γ-tocotrienol are mediated, at least in the part, by the concurrent inhibition of Akt/mTOR signaling, c-Myc expression and aerobic glycolysis.

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Gamma and delta tocotrienols are isomers of Vitamin E with established potency in pre-clinical anti-cancer research. This single-dose, randomized, crossover study aimed to compare the safety and bioavailability of a new formulation of Gamma Delta Tocotrienol (GDT) in comparison with the existing Tocotrienol-rich Fraction (TRF) in terms of gamma and delta isomers in healthy volunteers. Subjects were given either two 300 mg GDT (450 mg γ-T3 and 150 mg δ-T3) capsules or four 200 mg TRF (451.2 mg γ-T3 &102.72 mg δ-T3) capsules and blood samples were taken at several time points over 24 hours. Plasma tocotrienol concentrations were determined using HPLC method. The 90% CI for gamma and delta tocotrienols for the ratio of log-transformation of GDT/TRF for Cmax and AUC0-∞ (values were anti-logged and expressed as a percentage) were beyond the bioequivalence limits (106.21-195.46, 154.11-195.93 and 52.35-99.66, 74.82-89.44 respectively). The Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test for Tmax did not show any significant difference between GDT and TRF for both isomers (p > 0.05). No adverse events were reported during the entire period of study. GDT was found not bioequivalent to TRF, in terms of AUC and Cmax. Gamma tocotrienol in GDT showed superior bioavailability whilst deltatocotrienol showed less bioavailability compared to TRF.

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Gamma tocotrienol targets tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 in mammospheres resulting in cell death through RAS/ERK pathway.

Gu W, Prasadam I, Yu M, Zhang F, Ling P, Xiao Y, Yu C

BMC Cancer. 2015 Aug 28;15(1)



There is increasing evidence supporting the concept of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are responsible for the initiation, growth and metastasis of tumors. CSCs are thus considered the target for future cancer therapies. To achieve this goal, identifying potential therapeutic targets for CSCs is essential.


We used a natural product of vitamin E, gamma tocotrienol (gamma-T3), to treat mammospheres and spheres from colon and cervical cancers. Western blotting and real-time RT-PCR were employed to identify the gene and protein targets of gamma-T3 in mammospheres.


We found that mammosphere growth was inhibited in a dose dependent manner, with total inhibition at high doses. Gamma-T3 also inhibited sphere growth in two other human epithelial cancers, colon and cervix. Our results suggested that both Src homology 2 domain-containing phosphatase 1 (SHP1) and 2 (SHP2) were affected by gamma-T3 which was accompanied by a decrease in K- and H-Ras gene expression and phosphorylated ERK protein levels in a dose dependent way. In contrast, expression of self-renewal genes TGF-beta and LIF, as well as ESR signal pathways were not affected by the treatment. These results suggest that gamma-T3 specifically targets SHP2 and the RAS/ERK signaling pathway.


SHP1 and SHP2 are potential therapeutic targets for breast CSCs and gamma-T3 is a promising natural drug for future breast cancer therapy.

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Dietary Tocotrienol/γ-Cyclodextrin Complex Increases Mitochondrial Membrane Potential and ATP Concentrations in the Brains of Aged Mice.

Schloesser A, Esatbeyoglu T, Piegholdt S, Dose J, Ikuta N, Okamoto H, Ishida Y, Terao K, Matsugo S, Rimbach G.

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015;2015


Brain aging is accompanied by a decrease in mitochondrial function. In vitro studies suggest that tocotrienols, including γ- and δ-tocotrienol (T3), may exhibit neuroprotective properties. However, little is known about the effect of dietary T3 on mitochondrial function in vivo. In this study, we monitored the effect of a dietary T3/γ-cyclodextrin complex (T3CD) on mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP levels in the brain of 21-month-old mice. Mice were fed either a control diet or a diet enriched with T3CD providing 100 mg T3 per kg diet for 6 months. Dietary T3CD significantly increased mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP levels compared to those of controls. The increase in MMP and ATP due to dietary T3CD was accompanied by an increase in the protein levels of the mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM). Furthermore, dietary T3CD slightly increased the mRNA levels of superoxide dismutase, γ-glutamyl cysteinyl synthetase, and heme oxygenase 1 in the brain. Overall, the present data suggest that T3CD increases TFAM, mitochondrial membrane potential, and ATP synthesis in the brains of aged mice.

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PEGylated γ-tocotrienol isomer of vitamin E: Synthesis, characterization, in vitro cytotoxicity, and oral bioavailability.

Abu-Fayyad A, Behery F, Sallam A, Alqahtani S, Ebrahim H, El Sayed KA, Kaddoumi A, Sylvester PW, Carroll JL, Cardelli JA, Nazzal S.

Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2015 Jul 30


Vitamin E refers to a family of eight isomers divided into two subgroups, tocopherols and the therapeutically active tocotrienols (T3). The PEGylated α-tocopherol isomer of vitamin E (vitamin E TPGS) has been extensively investigated for its solubilizing capacity as a nonionic surfactant in various drug delivery systems. Limited information, however, is available about the PEG conjugates of the tocotrienol isomers of vitamin E. In this study two PEGylated γ-T3 variants with mPEG molecular weights of 350 (γ-T3PGS 350) and 1000 (γ-T3PGS 1000) were synthesized by a two-step reaction procedure and characterized by 1H NMR, HPLC, and mass spectroscopy. The physical properties of their self-assemblies in water were characterized by zeta, CMC, and size analysis. Similar physical properties were found between the PEGylated T3 and vitamin E TPGS. PEGylated T3 were also found to retain the in vitro cytotoxic activity of the free T3 against the MCF-7 and the triple-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. PEGylated γ-T3 also increased the oral bioavailability of γ-T3 by threefolds when compared to the bioavailability of γ-T3 formulated into a self-emulsified drug delivery system. No significant differences in biological activity were found between the PEG 350 and 100 conjugates. Results from this study suggest that PEGylation of γ-T3 represents a viable platform for the oral and parenteral delivery of γ-T3 for potential use in the prevention of breast cancer.

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Differentiation and apoptosis induction by lovastatin and γ-tocotrienol in HL-60 cells via Ras/ERK/NF-κB and Ras/Akt/NF-κB signaling dependent down-regulation of glyoxalase 1 and HMG-CoA reductase.

Chen CC, Liu TY, Huang SP, Ho CT, Huang TC.

Cell Signal. 2015 Nov;27(11):2182-90


Glyoxalase 1 (GLO1) and HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR) are highly expressed in most tumor cells and little in normal cells. In this study, treatment of HL-60 cells with lovastatin induced characteristic apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. We demonstrated that lovastatin treatment inhibited Ras and Raf protein translocation to cell membrane and eliminated the phosphorylation of the downstream effectors Akt and ERK, and the subsequent NF-κB translocation into nucleus. Specific inhibitors and γ-tocotrienol confirmed the Ras/Raf/ERK/NF-κB/GLO1 and Ras/Akt/NF-κB/GLO1 pathways. Data revealed that lovastatin induced HL-60 cell death was attenuated by mevalonate treatment. We demonstrated also that γ-tocotrienol showed its apoptotic effect on the HL-60 cell through the same pathway. γ-Tocotrienol enhanced the apoptotic effect of lovastatin through the down-regulation of GLO1 and HMGCR resulting in an increase of methylglyoxal and a decrease of cholesterol and led to the apoptosis of HL-60 cells. Data also revealed that both lovastatin and gamma-tocotrienol induced significant HL-60 cell differentiation. These results suggest that both lovastatin and gamma-tocotrienol could induce differentiation and followed by apoptosis.

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