Red Palm Oil...The Upcoming "Healthy" Oil for Your Pet

      Many people are aware of corn oil, salmon oil, and flax seed oil.  However, red palm fruit oil is just starting to gain popularity among the human and animal markets.  Red palm fruit oil originates from the flesh of the fruit of the palm tree, Elaeis guineensis. This oil is not hydrogenated or processed and contains no trans fats. It has a dark orange to red color.  Watch price shopping with red palm oil, as less expensive brands may contain kernel oil which negates many of the positive effects of red palm fruit oil.  Another consideration is the location from which it is harvested.  Some controversy surrounds Malaysian sources as they may be compromising the natural ranges of orangutans.  Organic Brazilian farmed red palm fruit oil has been the standard at our practice.  We use Sunshine Factor labeled under AviX/HealX (Zoological Education Network, West Palm Beach, FL, USA, www.exoticdvm.com) 

     Red palm fruit oil is considered to be one of the richest natural sources of carotenoids. The benefits of carotenoids in people include their antioxidant and anticancer effects. These antioxidants scavenge free radicals. The accumulation of free radicals in human medicine has been associated with heart disease, cellular aging, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Carotenoids are needed for the growth and repair of body tissues, the formation of bones and teeth, the resistance of the body to infection, the development of healthy eye tissues, and for proper cellular function and differentiation. Red palm fruit oil contains beta carotene, alpha carotene, lycopene and phytoene. Beta carotene can be converted to vitamin A as required by the body. Alpha carotene can also be converted to vitamin A and has been found in human medicine to be superior in the inhibition of some forms of cancer in cell-culture studies. 

     Red palm fruit oil is also rich in multiple forms of vitamin E. Many people think there is only one type of vitamin E, but there are actually eight forms of vitamin E. These include four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). Most diets only contain alpha tocopherol; however, the tocotrienols are considered to be far superior in their antioxidant effects. The general properties of the tocopherols and tocotrienols in human medicine include the following: inhibit the enzyme that controls the rate of cholesterol synthesis, decrease LDL and triglycerides,  raise HDL, increase immune function, have anticancerogenic properties, lower risk of cataract formation, modulate the formation of prostaglandins controlling a component of the inflammatory cascade. 

 In human studies the general properties of red palm fruit oil include the following: decreased incidence of arteriosclerosis, lowered blood cholesterol, decreased occurrence of blood clots by increasing vasodilatation, lowered incidence of strokes and heart attacks and improved immune function. Red palm fruit oil has also been reported as a “chemopreventative drug,” because it has been shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and improve the effectiveness of tamoxifen therapy.

     Looking at the human information, red palm fruit oil may benefit our pets in many ways.  Our practice has used it extensively in birds, dogs, cats, reptiles, and other small mammals.  Our observations included:

1)Improvement in coats/plumage

2)Improvement in skin quality

3)Increased and more consistent energy levels particularly in senior patients

4)Decreased usage of arthritis medications

5)Lowered blood cholesterol levels

6)Improved weight gain and health in pediatric patients

7)Helped the effectiveness of antihistamines for allergy patients

   Red Palm Fruit oil’s many beneficial effects make it an oil to keep your eye on!

 

 by Thomas Bankstahl DVM