POTS Digital: Virtual PINC 2021 Summary (Session 1)

“Sustaining Healthy Lifestyles from Fats and Bioactives”

Summary of Session 1

Palm tocotrienols: Science streamed towards disease prevention.

During the recent Virtual Palm International Nutra-Cosmeceutical Conference (PINC 2021), speakers highlighted recent developments in palm tocotrienols research and the current clinical trials undertaken using palm tocotrienols for disease management.

Vitamin E is fat soluble and in nature, it exists in 8 different chemical forms. They are 4 tocopherol isomers (alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols) and 4 tocotrienols isomers (alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols). Unlike tocopherols that occur naturally in most common vegetable oils, tocotrienols on the other hand, are found only in selected oils such as palm oil.  

Palm tocotrienols is gaining recognition after twenty years of concerted research undertaken at reputable research institutions worldwide. With the availability of new scientific data, more facts are now known about vitamin E tocotrienol isomers. Among the clinical trials undertaken are in the area of stroke research. According to Prof. Dr. Chandan Sen, palm tocotrienols can provide protection against stroke and reduce injuries in stroke patients. This is just one of the special attributes of tocotrienols which is not expressed by tocopherols. This attribute makes tocotrienols a more important isomer of vitamin E compared to tocopherols. Results from his study on the effect of tocotrienols supplementation in patients who have suffered from mini-stroke has proven the neuroprotection ability of tocotrienols. He also explained that tocotrienols may help to reduce the incidence of aspirin resistant. Aspirin is prescribed to stroke patients to prevent a second stroke. However, according to the study, aspirin resistance is associated with increased severity and stroke damage in acute stroke patients. [1] 

Gaseous, heavy metals, particulate matter, persistent organic compounds, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, semi-volatile organic compounds, and volatile organic compounds are among examples of air pollutants. According to Dr. Yap Wei Ney, the increase in population in urban areas will cause the increase of air pollutants and therefore give rise to skin related diseases. Effects of air pollutants on skin include skin aging, inflammatory skin diseases, and skin microflora. Tocotrienols is an excellent antioxidant agent as it is a shorter molecule compared to tocopherols, which enables a faster movement, targeting larger surface area. As an antioxidant, it is stronger than Tocopherols. Data from her recent studies have shown that tocotrienols has stronger antioxidant activities than tocopherols. As an antioxidant, it reduces free radical generation. Tocotrienols also exhibit potential anti-inflammatory activities and protect skin barrier function. Based on another study, palm-based tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF) powder can be used in the food and beverage industry as it is proven to be organoleptically acceptable. [2]

More than two decades of studies focused on the anti-tumour effect of palm-tocotrienols, supported by fundamental mechanistic elucidation. In the hallmarks of cancer, palm-tocotrienols acted on three different mechanisms, i.e. tumour suppressors, immune modulation, and inflammation. Nanotechnology has revolutionized the delivery method of nutrients to target sites due to their small size and the possibility to engineer their properties. According to Dr. Fu Ju Yen, in studies using tumour-targeted nanoparticles, tocotrienols induced significant tumour suppression in several tumour models including triple negative breast cancer, epithelial cancer and melanoma. Further study on the proof of hypothesis showed enhanced absorption of tocotrienols by eight-fold when delivered via nanocarriers. She also postulated that between a third and a half of cancers are preventable on the basis of present knowledge in risk factors. [3]


1. Chandan K. Sen. Palm Tocotrienols in Health and Wellness. Paper presented at the Virtual Palm International Nutra-Cosmeceutical Conference (PINC 2021), 6-8 January 2021, Kuala Lumpur. download_pdf

Yap Wei Ney. Skin Protective Effects of Tocotrienol-Rich Fraction Against Urban Air Pollutants. Paper presented at the Virtual Palm International Nutra-Cosmeceutical Conference (PINC 2021), 6-8 January 2021, Kuala Lumpur.


Fu Ju-Yen. Role of Tocotrienols in the Management of Cancer: Application of Nanotechnology. Paper presented at the Virtual Palm International Nutra-Cosmeceutical Conference (PINC 2021), 6-8 January 2021, Kuala Lumpur

Share this post: