Alzheimer’s disease is a disease in which your brain is starving and the brain cells start to die. It is characterized by deterioration of the functions of brain cells and their skill to perform. The point of origin of the trouble is unknown. Eventually the person starts to present with symptoms like memory loss. Memory doesn't always have to work perfectly. We are mortals and it is natural for us to grow older day by day. So, as we grow older, it may take longer to retrieve all the things. The elderly often call it as the "senior moment."
It's quite normal to forget things once in a while. We've all experienced it, like, where we kept our keys especially in the early morning hours when we prepare to go to work. But forgetting how to wear a t- shirt or find your way home may be signs of a more serious problem.
All the organs including brain rely upon glucose for their energy. This glucose is obtained from the carbohydrates in our diet. If the person is on low carbohydrate diet or starving then the body depends upon the fat for this energy. This energy comes in the form of small molecules called ketones. (During starvation, these ketone bodies start to appear in the urine thus confirming the diagnosis.)
So, besides “glucose”, our body may get its fuel from another element called “ketones” which is ready to provide the same “energy” but in a different way. Now, this is where “coconut oil” comes into picture.
Mother’s milk is rich in medium chain triglycerides followed by coconut oil. Medium chain triglycerides are different from other triglycerides because of their way of metabolism. They don’t undergo metabolism involving bile salts and acids but get directly metabolized in the liver to produce ketones. These ketones serve as a source of energy to the brain, as glucose does, without causing any harm. So ketones appear to be the preferred source of brain food in patients affected by diabetes or any neurodegenerative condition.
Coconut oil for Alzheimer’s
Coconut oil is a nature’s wonder that can be converted into ketones very easily by the body. It is found to aid in memory improvement as well as to fight neurological degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s (ALS), diabetes, etc. Our brain contains only 2% of the body’s mass and 25% of the total cholesterol. Brain actually needs a healthy fat rich diet rather than a high carb diet. And that’s the reason why coconut oil is known to work as a medicine for the patients with Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, etc.
Dr. Mary Newport, Medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Spring Hill, regional Hospital in Florida and also an author of the book: Alzheimer’s disease- What if there was a cure?: The Story of Ketones, whose husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 51 started him on 4 teaspoons of coconut oil every day. Being a doctor she says none of the existing medicines seemed to be working on him. Eventually, she began to see improvements in her husband.
After administration of coconut oil in Mr. Newport’s diet, his slow gait turned into a normal walk, he could run again, he started reading again, his conversation improved and there was tremendous improvement in his memory over the period of several months. Though, in this case, Alzheimer’s may win but this case has given medicine a new clue to the cure of Alzheimer’s disease, says Dr. Mary Newport.
Coconut oil consumption may delay the onset of the disease and may also slow down the progress of the disease thus providing your brain cells an improved life span.
According to one study conducted by the Division of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, Canada, coconut oil is known to attenuate the effects of amyloid beta cortical neurons in the brain. Amyloid beta cortical neurons are certain kind of deposits found in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They are believed to be contributors of the disease. The study was done to assess the effect of coconut oil supplementation directly on cortical neurons treated with amyloid beta peptide. Some cultures were treated with amyloid beta only whereas some were co-treated with coconut oil and amyloid beta. It was found that the neuron survival was rescued in the latter case showing that coconut oil has an attenuating effect on the beta amyloid deposits thus increasing neuronal survival.
Coconut oil, along with its ketogenic effects due to the presence of MCT and caprylic acid, also has anti-convulsion properties, proving to be neuroprotective too. Caprylic acid present in the coconut oil is now used in a FDA approved medical food called the Axona, with caprylidene as the content, which is produced after processing of coconut oil. Despite of the presence of this medical food, public prefers coconut oil over Axona as the choice of treatment due to its affordability and easy availability.
Another study by the US researchers in 2004 involved 20 subjects with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment who were provided with a drink containing MCTs taken from coconut oil or placebo (control) on separate days. It was observed that there was remarkable increase in the levels of ketone body (beta OHB) in the test group, 90 minutes after the treatment when cognitive tests were performed. High ketone values suggest increased improvement in memory. There was no change in the control group.
Chris Kilham, the Medicine Hunter states that changes were observed in the beta amyloid plaque cells, in a test tube study so conducted, when they were exposed to ketones derived from coconut oil.
Based on Dr. Mary Newport’s reports, researchers at University of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s institute are recently doing a research to investigate the effects of coconut oil on a small group of Alzheimer’s patients. Results are yet to come to confirm coconut oil as a treatment option for patients with AD.
Coconut oil is a product derived from nature and natural products are usually harmless but everything should be consumed in a limited quantity as well as in a therapeutic range. Therapeutic range for MCT consumption is 20 grams that makes up to 2-4 tablespoons of coconut oil which is enough to treat the cause.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
- Allergic conditions must be kept in mind before administration.
- It is better to add coconut oil in your diet rather than consuming it alone in order to prevent upsetting of your stomach.
- Pregnant ladies and lactating women are advised to stick to lower doses or ask their doctors in case of doubts.