A Most Powerful Natural Anticancer Substance
Recent studies proclaim the cancer-fighting benefits of beta-carotene, lycopene, and other nutrients that are found in carrots and tomatoes. But red palm oil—the natural, unrefined product extracted from the fruit pulp of oil palm fruit trees—actually contains more of these healthful antioxidants, plus a potent anticancer substance that isn’t found in either carrots or tomatoes.
Red palm oil is a powerhouse of antioxidants, which are known to help the body protect itself from cancer. This nutritious oil also contains all four types of tocotrienols, which have proven anticancer properties that outweigh the benefits of other antioxidants.
Tocotrienols vs Tamoxifen
One research paper reported, “Tocotrienol was a more effective inhibitor of [certain cancer] cells than tamoxifen” (a synthetic antiestrogen drug widely used on breast cancer patients).
Bruce Fife, ND, author of The Palm Oil Miracle, is optimistic about the potential of this natural substance. “’Initial research has been so impressive that cancer researchers have called tocotrienols the most powerful natural anticancer substances known to science.’ (Yano, 2005). That’s quite a bold statement, but illustrates the potential tocotrienols have in cancer prevention and treatment.”
Tocotrienols and Cancer Cell Suicide
Most of the studies on tocotrienols have focused on breast cancer—how they may prevent cancer from taking hold and actively block the growth of tumor cells.
Tocotrienols initiate apoptosis, a normal process that is programmed into each cell that causes old or diseased cells to die. In cancer cells, this natural process is blocked, allowing such cells to grow and multiply unchecked. Tocotrienols restore the renewing process of apoptosis, essentially causing the cancer cells to commit suicide.
The anticancer properties of tocotrienols have also been studied for their ability to combat stomach, pancreas, liver, lung, colon, prostate and skin cancers, with very promising results. Consuming red palm oil can reduce the risk of skin cancer in several ways.
Palm Oil and Skin Cancer
Some researchers believe that unstable polyunsaturated fats in the diet increase the chance of oxidation by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which is thought to be a major cause of skin cancer. Replacing unstable polyunsaturated oils with stable saturated fats like palm oil decreases that risk considerably. And the antioxidants (like beta-carotene) present in red palm oil migrate to the skin and other body tissues, where they battle free radicals and help prevent skin cancer.
Human skin oils act as a transport system for vitamin E, lubricating the skin and providing another layer of protection against harmful UV radiation. Ingestion of red palm oil, rich in vitamin E, helps with this process. Fife adds, “Studies show that applying palm oil topically can help to protect the skin from damaging oxidation that accelerates aging and promotes cancer.” However, keep in mind that red palm oil may stain skin and clothing. To avoid staining, white palm oil can also be used topically. Even though many of the carotenes and some other antioxidants are removed, white palm oil (from the fruit or the kernel) retains most of its tocotrienols and is a healing agent for the skin.
Synergy of Substances
Although we don’t really understand all the mechanisms involved, tocotrienols appear to work synergistically with the other antioxidant substances found in red palm oil.
To take advantage of its protective qualities, Fife recommends replacing “some or all of the fat you normally use with palm oil.” Since it can be used in baking, frying, sautéing, cooking, and as a spread, it is not difficult to consume several servings per day by substituting virgin organic red palm oil for other dietary fats. The simple act of adding this nutritional anticancer powerhouse to a healthful diet certainly contributes to a life of optimum health.
For more information, see “Red Palm Oil: A Daily Dose of Vitamins From Cooking Oil” by Bruce Fife, ND,in the Fall 2007 Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing. Become a member today to receive access to this journal along with many other health and nutrition resources.