Malaysian Palm Nutrition Week – Day 2

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Another terrific day of phytonutrient science here in Malaysia!

Today, we heard some more about tocotrienols, but also delved into the science and health benefits of carotenoids and flavonoids. I will place some of the interesting highlights below from each of the speakers.

My own presentation was about using phytonutrients to restore biochemical balance in athletes to help them improve mental and physical performance (vigor). Athletes, like all of us, are subjected to different types of psychological and physical stressors – whether from oxidation, inflammation, or plain old chronic stress – which can lead to problems with energy, stiffness, weight gain, and a variety of health problems that can lead to significant disease states if left unchecked.

My presentation can be viewed online HERE – and the slides are HERE (Talbott Athletes PINC2013)

Here are some highlights from the other speakers today:

Dr. Kangarani Selvaduray – Malaysian Palm Oil Board – Anti-Cancer and Immunomodulatory Effects of Tocotrienols

-tocotrienol rich fraction of red plan oil contains 70% tocotrienols & 30% tocopherols which can reduce the growth of tumors and the spread of various types of cancer cells

Dr. Michiaki Murakoshi – Lion Corporation  – Palm Fruit Carotenoids Protect Skin from Oxidation and Carcinogenesis

-benefits in skin protection of carotenoids extend to whole body in preventing cancer in multiple tissues (lung, liver, breast, intestine, bladder, pancreas, prostate)

-benefits seem to be superior for mixed carotenoids compared to “plain” beta-carotene, which makes sense based on the “matrix” benefit where smaller amounts of several antioxidants have been shown in previous studies to have superior protective benefits compared to larger doses of single antioxidants.

Dr. Sebastiano Banni – University of Cagliari (Italy) – Influence of Fatty Acids on Endocannabinoid System (bioactive lipids derived from membrane arachidonic acid)

-involved in hunger and motivation to eat (signals in the brain)

-dietary fatty acids, such as omega-3s (EPA/DHA) and omega-9s (oleic acid), can modulate the endocannabinoid system (by reducing omega-6s and arachidonic acid) and thus may also modulate appetite and reduce abdominal obesity (and also reduce fat accumulation in the heart and liver)

Dr. Mahinda Abeywardena, CSIRO, Australia – Palm Phenolics as a Bioactive Ingredient in Promoting Cardiovascular Health

-several sources of polyphenols (red wine, grape juice, green tea, acai, etc) reduce vascular inflammation, improve vascular remodeling, reduce oxidation/inflammation, stimulate nitric oxide production leading to blood vessel dilation and lowered blood pressure.

More scientific presentations tomorrow (Day 3) and then off to the jungle to search for unique bioactives for controlling oxidation, balancing inflammation, and reducing stress!

Thanks for reading,



Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D.

Nutritional Biochemist and Author


NEW BOOK: The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

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Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic  (

The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) –

The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) –

Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) –

Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) –

The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012) –

The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens) –

A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press) –

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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