IOPRI’s Research Proves That Palm Oil as Immunodulator Which Can Prevent The Covid-19 Virus
The Covid-19 pandemic has yet to show signs of ending soon. The latest World Health Organization (WHO) data shows Indonesia is the 21st country with the highest number of positive cases of Covid-19 in the world and the highest among countries in the Southeast Asia region. The Covid-19 Distribution Map in Indonesia also showed a new record of increasing the number of Covid-19 casses with average casses over 6 thousand per day since the end of November 2020.
On the other hand, this condition has also more motivated Indonesian researchers to seek solutions through comprehensive research to formulate vaccines, drugs, or treatment methods to treat or prevent transmission of Covid-19. One of the research institutes that are quite concerned about this is Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute/IOPRI (Pusat Penelitian Kelapa Sawit/PPKS)
In the Bincang Pakar program initiated by PPKS, one of the researchers from the Results and Quality Processing Research Group, Dr. Frisda Rimbun Panjaitan, S.T., M.T., explained that currently, IOPRI is conducting research related to the development of a new palm oil-based products/materials to increase the immune system as the body’s defense against viruses and bacteria, including the Covid-19 virus.
A person will be exposed to viruses including Covid-19, because of weak immune system. If the virus enters the body, the immune system will form a defense so that it can immediately fight the virus. So it is very important to have a good immune system and body endurance in a pandemic. This can be achieved, one of which is by consuming nutritious food.
Palm oil, as a food source, is found in various processed food products (such as cooking oil, margarine, chocolate, biscuits, etc.) which contain various micronutrients that are useful for boosting the body’s immune system.
Literature studies show that fatty acids in palm oil and palm kernel oil such as Oleic acid, Palmitic acid, Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT), and Linoleic acid, which are proven can increase the immunoglobulin proteins (IgM and IgG) to fight viruses and bacteria. Immunoglobulin itself is part of human blood plasma that functions as antibodies for the body’s defense against germs or disease. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) content in the blood as the body’s first defense against viral infections, while Immunoglobulin G (IgG) are responsible for destroy the virus.
Naturally, the characteristics of palm kernel oil contain fatty acid compositions such as Octanoic acid, Cis-9 Oleic acid, and Linoleic acid, where these fatty acids have the ability to modulate and enhance the body’s immune system. In addition, palm kernel oil also contains high levels of phytonutrients, namely Alpha tocotrienol and Squalene, which have a function to accelerate the performance of Palmitic acid, Lauric acid, and Linoleic acid to attack viruses that enter the body.
Through this research, IOPRI has conducts a test of the results of literature studies that have been published globally regarding the ability of palm kernel oil to modulate and enhance the body’s immune system. This study also compared with the ability of coconut oil as a immunodulator. This laboratorium research by conducting experiments on albino mice that were injected with the SBRC 2% antigen and carbon equivalent into the body which suppressed the body’s immunity.
Based on the hematological tests conducted by the research team on the object of research, the results showed that palm kernel oil was effective in increasing the number of Eosinophils, Basophils, And Monocytes which are the first defense protein groups of the human body if viruses or bacteria enter in the body.
In addition, palm kernel oil is also effective when compared to coconut oil in increasing the number of Lymphocytes, where this protein plays a role in the formation of the humoral immune system (antibody produced by plasma B cells and serves to kill viruses and bacteria). This shows that palm kernel oil is able to modulate and activate the body’s defenses to produce immunity, meaning that if the virus enters the body it will just “pass” without incubating.
The IOPRI’s test results also proved that the use of palm kernel oil was proven to be effective in increasing the humoral IgM and IgG immune response, along with the increase in lymphocyte value. Even when compared to coconut oil, the ability of palm kernel oil to increase the immune response is better.
In addition, the ability of palm kernel oil as a modulator of body endurance is also seen from its ability to effectively neutralize toxins. Even when compared to commercial immunity-enhancing supplement products that are widely sold in the market, palm oil and palm kernel oil perform better in increasing immunity and preventing the Covid-19 virus.
This research reaffirms that palm oil is a healthy vegetable oil and is useful for our health. Apart from being rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidants as well as a balanced fatty acid composition, palm oil (CPO and CPKO) also contains essential fatty acids that can modulate or increase the body’s immune system against bacteria and viruses (immunodulator). However, to get the various benefits contained in palm oil, it is necessary to consume it properly and correctly. For example, by frying using palm oil at a temperature that is not too hot but for a long time to prevent the polymerization of the phytonutrients contained therein.
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