Scientists Have Found a New Dangerous Property of Palm Oil

Scientists hope that understanding the nature of the new type of cellular communication will allow them to create a way to block it quickly.

Exposure to high concentrations of one of the fatty acids that make up palm oil contributes to the rapid spread of cancer cells. This conclusion was reached by scientists from Spain and the United States. The results of their research are published in the journal Nature.

Biologists from the Institute of Science and Technology in Barcelona, together with colleagues from other institutes and universities in Spain and the United States, conducted an experiment in which they exposed human cancer cells to high concentrations of palm oil fatty acids and then implanted them in mice. The results showed that one of these fatty acids, palmitic acid, promoted the development of oral and skin cancer metastases in mice, although it did not affect the appearance of the tumor itself.

Cancer cells exposed to palmitic acid for a short time remained highly metastatic even after palmitic acid was removed from the diet.

Scientists hope that understanding the nature of this cellular communication will allow them to create a way to block it.

“We don’t focus on what type of diet is or isn’t appropriate for patients with metastatic cancer. Instead, we are focusing on new potential targets that we could suppress, which would have a real therapeutic benefit for the patient regardless of their diet,” says team leader Professor Salvador Asnar-Benita.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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