Indonesia Requires Roadmap for Palm Oil-Based Nutraceutical Products Development
Researchers both in Indonesia and in other countries have proven that palm oil is a healthy vegetable oil through studies that are published in articles and scientific journals. The rich content of various phytonutrients such as beta carotene, tocopherol, tocotrienol, and squalane, and other characteristics such as essential fatty acid content, relatively balanced saturated and unsaturated fatty acid content, and does not contain trans fatty acids are the advantages of palm oil, so that the predicate of healthy vegetable oil is suitable. Even with these advantages, the consumption of palm oil which is rich in antioxidants can prevent degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular/atherosclerosis, and diabetes.
If we linked with Covid-19, the phytonutrient content and fatty acids in palm oil also act as an immunomodulator that boost immune system and prevents viral infections as has been proven by a study by PPKS researchers. Prof. Sri Rahardjo also explained that the high palmitic acid content in Virgin Red Palm Oil has functions to maintain and protect lung health. Palmitic acid is the main component, which is about 60% of the phospholipid compounds that line the inner walls of the alveoli cavity of the lungs. These phospholipids function as surfactants which can help facilitate the exchange of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) from the alveoli cavity to the blood vessels or vice versa.
The various advantages of palm oil make it has potential become nutraceutical product. The term nutraceutical itself comes from “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”, or it can be defined as a substance (obtained from or part of food) that has physiological benefits or provides protection against chronic diseases, delays the aging process, and increases life expectancy. This role is due to the fact that most nutraceutical compounds have activity as an antioxidant.
As we know, palm oil is the most traded and consumed vegetable oil in the world. This is confirmed by the USDA (2021) states that around 40 percent of vegetable oil consumed in the world is palm oil. And most of the use of palm oil is currently used for food products. This fact can be proven from more than 50 percent of packaged food products sold in supermarkets containing palm oil.
This shows that the role of palm oil as a food source can fulfilling the nutritional needs and also provides physiological benefits to the body. In other words, it’s role as a nutraceutical product is more being proven. If the discussion is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a global development platform, then the development of palm oil for nutraceutical products will also contribute to the achievement of SDG-2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG-3 (Good Health and Well-Being).
The description above shows the urgency of developing a palm oil-based nutraceutical industry, especially the market potential for this product amid the Covid-19 pandemic is growing. It is estimated that the potential economic value of the development of the palm oil’s phytonutrients compound extraction industry reaches USD 4.7 billion-USD 7.8 billion for Beta carotene and USD 2.7 billion-USD 4.5 billion for Tocopherol. This is driven by higher consumer awareness of health and prefers to consume natural products. Therefore, Indonesian need roadmap for development of palm oil-based nutraceutical products. The roadmap contains guidelines for the development of the domestic nutraceutical industry as well as including mitigation actions to address challenges such as food safety and sustainability issues.
Previously, BPDPKS in collaboration with researchers had created “Indonesian Palm Oil Research Roadmap for 2016-2030”, which included research of the development of palm oil-based nutritional products. The roadmap for the development of the palm oil-based nutraceutical product can continue this existing research roadmap in the nutraceutical.
Apart from the need for a roadmap, Indonesia as largest producer country of palm oil that has huge potential as a nutraceutical product must also have a positioning paper or scientific consensus. As stated by Prof. Purwayitno Hariyadi in a webinar initiated by the Majalah Sawit Indonesia also emphasized that there is a need for a scientific consensus on the status of palm oil as a food material and health product related to food safety, nutrition, and sustainability. This consensus involve some experts in food science, nutrition, medical, toxicology, sustainability, and agricultural.
The aim of the scientific consensus is to provide scientific evidence-based references related to palm oil in fulfilling food and nutritional needs as well as achieving the SDGs.It’s also hoped that it become a public education program as well as to counter black campaigns that use health issues to attack oil palm, and also be able to reduce the Palm Oil Free labeling on products that are found both in the domestic market and the international market.
Share this article
You may also like these articles