Vitamin E is a nutrient essential for health. It has benefits as an antioxidant, an anti-aging agent, for skin health and fertility, is able to prevent atherosclerosis, is anti-cancer and can boost immune functions (Walton et al., 1980; Hirai et al., 1982; Sylvester et al., 1986; Cross, 1987; Sundram et al., 1989; Komiyama et al., 1989; Goh et al., 1985, 1994; Guthrie et al., 1993, 1995, 1997; Elson and Qureshi, 1995; Nasaretnam, 2008; Ng et al., 2009; Sen et al., 2010; Anggarwal et al., 2010; Nasaretnam and Meganathan, 2010; Gopalan et al., 2014). Vitamin E cannot be produced by the human body and therefore can only be obtained from food sources. Palm oil is richest in vitamin E compared to other vegetable oils (Table).
Table : The comparison of vitamin E content (Tocopherols and Tocotrienols) in palm oil to other vegetable oils
|Type of vegetable oil
||Vitamin E content (ppm)
Source: Slover, (1971); Gunstone (1986); Palm Oil Human Nutrition (1989)
Vitamin E content in palm oil reaches the amount of 1,172 ppm, higher than the vitamin E content in soybean oil (958 ppm), sunflower seed oil (546 ppm), corn oil (782 ppm) and the rest. As well, vitamin E in palm oil contains 20 percent tocopherols and 80 percent tocotrienols (Man danHaryati, 1997), both of which function as antioxidants.The pharmaceutical industry also uses palm oil as a vitamin E source. The effort to harvest vitamin E from palm oil has long been developed by the pharmaceutical industry through an extraction process and later produced as vitamin E capsules. Hence, oil palm plantations can be dubbed “biological factories” of vitamin E. Oil palm plantations are not only the most efficient producers of vegetable oil in the world, they are also the most efficient sources of vitamin E. In the future, besides being the world’s largest producer of palm oil, Indonesia has the potential to become the largest exporter of vitamin E.
The description above clearly states that vitamin E in palm oil is much higher compared to other vegetable oils.