- Alternative & Natural Medicine
What if Coconut Oil Could Stop the Progression of Alzheimer’s?
What if consuming just 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day could halt or slightly reverse the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's? In the last 5 years or so, there have been some interesting findings in the field of Alzheimer's. Although there is still a lot of mystery about the disease, it seems the brains in these patients slowly lose the ability to use glucose as the primary energy source. This affects every function of the brain, such as instructing the body to walk, talk, read etc. Some scientists describe this glucose phenomenon as almost a form of diabetes of the brain. As the glucose fails to energize the brain, it slowly starts the shrink tissue, atrophy of the brain, and is even evident on MRI. These scientist feel this inability to use glucose may actually start 10 to 20 years before signs of Alzheimer’s begin.
Recent research has shown that keytones can be a substitute for glucose in some patients, and allow the brain to function properly, by crossing into the cells where glucose has failed to enter. Keytones are not normally circulating in the blood stream. They are produced in the liver, most efficiently when medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are consumed, like when you are eating a low carbohydrate diet such as the Atkin’s diet. This is where the coconut oil comes into play.
Dr. Mary T. Newport from Tampa Florida has done a lot of research in this area, and has written a book on the topic. She has a vested interest in the outcome because her husband developed early onset Alzheimer’s in his 50’s. As she started treating her husband with the coconut oil, his deficits started to reverse slightly, almost taking him back 2 or 3 years in the progression of his disease. He was able to read again, became more talkative, could appreciate jokes, and even run.
About a year ago I met a couple who had firsthand experience with this theory. The husband had advanced Alzheimer’s, and had progressed to the point of not being able to feed himself or even walk. He would only say one or two word sentences, completely out of context. He had been on the gold standard medication Aricept, but became too advanced to benefit anymore.
The doctors told her there was nothing more to be done. He had to be admitted to hospital because his wife could no longer care for him at home as he went from walking with no cane or walker and doing the stairs, to being quite rigid, almost in the fetal position in bed.
With nothing to lose, she decided to try giving her husband 2 tablespoons of coconut oil daily to see if there could be any improvement. He was barely eating, but still enjoyed afternoon tea, so she would dissolve it in his drink. He would sip away at it. After about a week of daily doses, he was becoming less rigid and could be assisted to a chair. He started speaking more, was more alert, and less agitated. Gradually he continued to improve.
He seemed to recognize his wife when she would visit, and actually began walking with a walker. He could speak full sentences, not always making sense though. His appetite improved, and as he was eating a normal diet, coconut oil could be spread on toast, or used anywhere butter or oil would be used. He came to a plateau at this new level, and still wasn’t good enough to return home, but experienced a much better quality of life. His wife wondered what he would have been like if he started taking the oil 10 years earlier, when he was starting to misplace his keys!
Back in the early 90’s coconut oil was given a bad rap. It is solid at room temperature, and was found to raise cholesterol levels. It is 92% saturated fat which could scare people off, but this is primarily consisting of MCT. Research now shows, that although it raises total cholesterol, it is the HDL (good cholesterol) number that goes up, actually leaving you with a better ratio, which is desirable for heart health.
There are endless other health benefits of coconut oil, from helping eczema or dry skin, to moisturizing hair, even to aid weight loss. Unless you are instructed to be on a low fat diet, researchers have been unable to find any side effects of taking coconut oil.
It comes in a jar like peanut butter does, and is solid at room temperature. Use it as you would butter or oil in any cooking or baking. It also dissolves easily into hot liquids, as it has a melting point of 76 F. Make sure you select only “pure organic coconut oil”. It can be found in health food stores, and now even in many grocery stores. Experiment with different brands as some have a coconut smell and mild taste, while others have no flavor. This could be an easy addition to anyone’s diet, and may have the ability to halt or slightly reverse Alzheimer’s disease.