Red Palm Fruit Oil Update

via Bryce Wylde


About Malaysian Palm Fruit Oil and Wildlife Conservation

Since the “13 Miracles for 2013, Red Palm Fruit Oil” segment aired on the Dr. OZ Show, some wildlife conservation groups as well as independents have voiced strong concerns over palm oil production’s effect on wildlife habitats. I am not ignorant to your concerns. I do not ignore you. I do not ‘shill’, ‘sell’, nor benefit from the sales of this oil. But, I do want to share some of the facts with you so that you may choose for yourself whether to include the health benefits of organic virgin/crude red palm fruit oil in your diet.
UPDATE 1: Look out for a follow up to these issues on an all new Dr. Oz show where I bring you to Malaysia and answer to the concerns around sustainability and the environmental impact of Palm Oil production as well as revisit the science of one of their ingredients (tocotrienols) and its many health benefits. Air date TBA – July 2014.
First a little background
Let’s acknowledge that the world has many compelling issues including hunger and poverty. Palm oil feeds more than three billion people in 150 countries, ensuring global food security and curbing nutrition deficiency. The plantation industry drives economic growth, creating jobs for the poorest people, including native populations; triggers downstream activities; and brings in revenue for national development and stability. These impacts are nowhere more important than in Malaysia, which boast continuous economic growth, stability and a harmonious living, to which its oil palm industry contributes significantly.
Malaysian palm oil is also an extremely sustainable crop. That is the result of a highly regulated industry. Currently, the industry is adhered to more than 15 laws and regulations including the Land Acquisition Act 1960, Environmental Quality Act 1974, Environmental Quality (Clean Air Regulations) 1978, Pesticides Act 1974 (Pesticides Registration Rules), Occupational Safety and Health Act (1977), and Protection of Wildlife Act 1972. The industry is also complying with Hazard & Critical Control Points (HACCP) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements. Being sensitive and proactive on current environmental concerns, the industry is actively pursuing ISO 14000 standard series discussions and formulations notably on climate change, life cycle analysis (LCA), eco-labeling & Design for the Environment (DfE), environmental communications, and environmental management system (EMS). In addition, producers have voluntarily subjected their entire operations to internationally recognized certification schemes such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Germany’s International Carbon Certification Scheme (ISCC). Notably, Malaysia through its government agency, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board has finalized the standards for Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil or MSPO. These further assure consumers sustainable palm oil supplies at all levels and underscores the serious nature and commitment of the Malaysian palm oil industry to its entire supply chain.
The industry, and its research and development arm, are continuously working to improve the industry’s environmental performance. Various approaches and technologies aimed to reduce the impact of the industry on the environment have been adopted to successful practices in oil palm plantations, palm oil mills and refineries. The industry envisions achieving the highest standards of sustainability of palm oil.
Devoting substantial resources to forest and wildlife management
More than 56 percent of Malaysia is still maintained under forest and green cover, including large tracts of permanent pristine rainforests. That percentage is dictated by Malaysia’s bold commitment at the United Nations Rio Earth Summit 1992 and remains unchanged for more than a decade. In fact, the majority of the nation’s orangutans now make their homes within such protected areas.
While some accuse the Malaysian palm oil industry of destroying natural habitats, there is substantial evidence that the Malaysian palm industry is intensely devoted to making a positive impact on conservation, and co-existing with nature in a sustainable manner.

  • In 2006, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council launched the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF), funded by generous industry and government grants. Using this avenue, numerous studies have been commissioned and appropriate conservation follow-ups are being implemented. In response, the MPOWCF has carried out a number of projects including:
    • Partnered with the Sabah Wildlife Department to establish a Wildlife Rescue unit, to safeguard wildlife and deter poaching. It also educates the local populations to live harmoniously and adhere to strict local laws aimed at deterring poaching and killing of wildlife.
    • Partially funded activities at the Bukit Merah Orangutan Island, a program that encourages orangutan awareness among school children and provides orangutan infant care.
    • In 2008 conducted an orangutan survey, in conjunction with the Borneo Conservation Trust, The Sabah Wildlife Department and the NGO, HUTAN to assess the population and recommend solutions to safeguard and sustain the orangutan population. As a result the orang utan population in Malaysia has been declared a fully protected species and its long term survival is better guaranteed
    • Funded and co-organized with Sabah Wildlife Department the 2009 and 2012 Orangutan Conservation Colloquium to discuss the current status of orangutan within oil palm landscapes, models for orangutan conservation, and focus on endangered species in Borneo, Malaysia. These colloquiums were well attended and supported by a number of international NGOs assisting wildlife conservation.
    • Established the Wildlife Rescue Centre, in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department and ShangriLa Rasa Ria Resort, to rescue, care for and translocate any wildlife whose existence may be compromised due to human/wildlife conflicts.
    • An ongoing major undertaking is the establishment of the Borneo Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary, a mammoth undertaking through MPOWCF that aims to look into the welfare of the Pygmy Elephant, a species unique to Sabah, Malaysia.
  • A 2010 report in Global Oils & Fats Business magazine is eye-opening. Author Datuk Leslie Davidson writes, “At the Rio Conference 16 years ago, Malaysia undertook to preserve 50% of its land area as permanent forest. Unlike many of the signatories it has more than succeeded. Currently the figure is 56%. Much of the oil palm planting in Peninsular Malaysia over the last 50 years has been done on land previously growing rubber, cocoa and coconuts.” This is previously logged-over land that has been converted to production forestry and agriculture.
  • In 2010, the MPOWCF and the ShangriLa Rasa Ria Resort launched the Sabaha Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU). The WRU is tasked with rescuing and/or translocating distressed wildlife found within the Sabah landscapes. The WRU was born out of an urgent need to address pertinent wildlife conservation issues that Sabah is facing today. Realizing the magnitude and the constraints (in both manpower and funding) to manage the wildlife and protected areas in the state, SWD has created the Wildlife Rescue Unit to provide support to the department for its efforts to conserve wildlife.
  • In 2011, the Malua Partnership Wildlife Conservation Agreement (MPWCA) was established to create a conservation partnership between the public sector and the oil palm plantations, based on a common vision of nurturing a symbiotic relationship with nature. The MPWCA is founded on key research outcomes from a study funded by the MPOWCF.
  • The Malaysian Palm Oil Council has funded wildlife conservation field research and activities especially by the Sabah Wildlife Department, benefitting such species as the Bornean orangutan, the proboscis monkey, the Bornean elephant, the Bornean banteng, the Malayan sun bear and the Sunda clouded leopard.

Is there more that can be done? Most certainly. And the Malaysian palm oil industry is in the thick of funding research and conservation programs that are making these and other environmental improvements a reality. They have invited international conservation programs in Malaysia and offered matching funding to any such party.
After reviewing the facts, it seems clear to me that organic crude (or virgin) red palm fruit oil offers numerous health benefits and purchasing it also indirectly contributes to research and efforts that are leading to an even more effective wildlife-friendly industry in Malaysia.
UPDATE 2: Very recently this belief has been fortified by the publication of a well designed human clinical study carried out by Malaysian scientists and published in the American Heart Journal “STROKE”, that describes an ability of palm vitamin E tocotrienols, also present in red palm oil, to beneficially attenuate the progression of Brain White Matter Lesions.
UPDATE 3: I traveled half way around the globe to personally visit with Malaysian Palm oil industry leaders and growers and do my own investigation into exactly what might be happening with the forest, wildlife (including the orangutans), and other ethically relevant affairs. I had a very eye opening experience. Take a look.

Lastly, it should be known that all I ever ‘sell’ in the media (read: promote) is information related to optimum health. I am not paid by a company or manufacturer to say or do anything (ie to work as a spokesperson), nor do I benefit from the sales of products or raw materials on any level. I have full autonomy on these investigatory deep dive documentaries and maintain strict and full editorial integrity
For all of those interested in the science – the other very important issue – please review the actual video. I was NOT discussing ‘palm kernel oil’, but rather “organic virgen red palm fruit oil”. There is excellent science behind what I said. There is a sustainable and responsible industry behind the product I mentioned (a further note: I mentioned this once on the Dr Oz show – I am not promoting it anywhere else).
American Heart Association Journal Stroke: Clinical Investigation of the Protective Effects of Palm Vitamin E Tocotrienols on Brain White Matter.
Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:166 Tocotrienols for normalization of hepatic echogenic response in nonalcoholic fatty liver: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Ohio State University. The free radical theory of aging.
Paiva SA, Russell RM. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids as antioxidants. J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Oct;18(5):426-33.
European Food Safety Authority. Opinion on mixed tocopherols, tocotrienol tocopherol and tocotrienols as sources for vitamin E added as a nutritional substance in food supplements.
Oguntibeju OO, Esterhuyse AJ, Truter EJ. Red palm oil: nutritional, physiological and therapeutic roles in improving human wellbeing and quality of life. British Journal of Biomedical Science. 2009;66(4):216-222.
Yano, Y., et al. Induction of cytotoxicity in human lung adenocarcinoma cells by 6-0-carboxypropyl-alpha-tocotrienol, a redox-silent derivative of alpha-tocotrienol. Int J Cancer 2005;115:839-846.
Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine. Red Palm Oil: A Daily Dose of Vitamins from a Cooking Oil.
Mangialasche F, Kivipelto M, Mecocci P, Rizzuto D, Palmer K, Winblad B, Fratiglioni L. High plasma levels of vitamin E forms and reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk in advanced age. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20(4):1029-37.
H.-A. Park, N. Kubicki, S. Gnyawali, Y. C. Chan, S. Roy, S. Khanna, C. K. Sen. Natural Vitamin E -Tocotrienol Protects Against Ischemic Stroke by Induction of Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein 1. Stroke, 2011; DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.608547
Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine. Red Palm Oil: A Daily Dose of Vitamins from a Cooking Oil.
Tomeo, A.C., et al. Antioxidant effects of tocotrienols in patients with hyperlipidemia and carotid stenosis. Lipids 1995;30:1179-1183.
Qureshi, A.A., et al. Response of Hypercholesterolemic subjects to administration of tocotrienols. Lipids 1995;30:1171-1177.
Tan, D.T.S., et al. Effect of a palm-oil-vitamin E concentrate on the serum and lipoprotein lipids in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53Suppl:1027S-1030S.
NIH MedLine Plus. Vitamin E.
Agaba A. Ganafa, et al. Effect of palm oil on oxidative stress-induced hypertension in sprague-dawley rats. Am J Hypertens (2002) 15, 725–731.
Esterhuyse, A.J., et al. Dietary red palm oil supplementation protects against the consequences of global ischemia in the isolated perfused rat heart. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2005;14:340-347.
Sron, B. Palm oil’s track record. Global Oil and Fats 2005;2:24-25.
NYU Langone Medical Center. Medium-Chain Trigylcerides.

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