How COVID-19 revitalized interest in familiar letter vitamins

Back-to-basics As, Bs, and Cs (and Ds, and Ks, and Es) are basking in vitamins’ newfound glow.

Jia Zhang Lee, executive director, Davos Life Science (Singapore), notes that his company has seen a steady increase in demand for vitamin E tocotrienols in particular. “Research studies have shown that tocotrienols have positive health benefits in the management of hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes,” Lee notes. “These chronic conditions predispose individuals to the more severe form of COVID-19, and therefore there’s been growing interest in tocotrienol supplementation to help promote the prevention of these chronic diseases.”

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Singapore palm oil giant dispels “myths” and pushes health credentials

Singaporean palm oil company, Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), which is among the world’s largest palm oil-based agribusinesses, has stepped up efforts to “dispel misperceptions” while raising awareness about the health benefits of palm oil. These moves come amid the increase in consumer concerns about food safety and nutrition amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Depending on the degree of refining – Wassell highlights that palm oil is a natural source of beta-carotene and tocotrienols (vitamin E).

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The Health Benefits of Tocotrienol

Tocotrienols are chemicals in the vitamin E family. Unlike other forms of vitamin E, tocotrienols are less commonly found in nature. Most of the food we eat contains tocopherols instead of tocotrienols, but several types of vegetable oils, like palm oil, contain high amounts of tocotrienols. Most vitamin E supplements contain tocopherols and not tocotrienols. Studies also suggest that tocotrienol is a more potent form of vitamin E than tocopherol. Research also tells us that tocotrienol has many health benefits.

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MPOB develops three palm-based technologies for commercialisation

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has developed three advanced palm-based technologies for commercialisation.

In a statement on Friday, it said the first is the process and formulation of palm vitamin E/ tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) chewable tablet. The second is palm oil-based polyol for floor coverings for indoor and outdoor and sports flooring markets while the third is a moisturising hand sanitiser with Vitamin E. MPOB said the three are among the technologies approved by the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities for commercialisation.

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Patient-derived Nerve Cells May Help Advance Pompe Research

As a proof-of-concept, the team evaluated the effects of treating the cells with a lab-made GAA — obtained after infusions of Lumyzime (alglucosidase alfa), an enzyme replacement therapy — delta-tocopherol, and hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin (HPβCD). Delta-tocopherol and HPβCD are two structurally distinct small molecules previously shown to lessen disease features in cellular and animal models of lysosomal storage diseases.

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Palm oil may help fight cancer

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.

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Vitamin E from palm oil useful in boosting immune response based on studies on liver cells

A team of researchers from Malaysia and Libya recently investigated the effect of tocotrienols extracted from palm oil on mice liver cells. The team investigated the expression levels of genes influenced by a transcription factor Nrf2, and the translocation of the same factor into the cellular nucleus. Nrf2 is known to upregulate phase II drug metabolism in reaction to metabolic processes. The genes activate cellular defense mechanisms. “Our study is the first in vivo study on the effect of tocotrienols on Nrf2on genetic material in the nucleus.,” says Azman Abdullah (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), corresponding author of the study.

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