Coconut oil, by contrast, is highly saturated, and in its natural unrefined form has a shelf life of more than 2 years. Unlike unsaturated oils, it is not prone to oxidation.
Also, the study from the European Journal of Internal Medicine referenced above notes that Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) all have an association with mitochondrial dysfunction. A study published in 2010 used coconut oil to show that a diet enriched in the saturated fatty acids of coconut oil offered strong advantages for the protection against oxidative stress in heart mitochondria.3
Much research is also being uncovered now on the advantages of high HDL cholesterol levels, besides the study we mentioned above in direct relation to Alzheimer’s. A study appearing in the American Journal of Cardiology in February 2011 showed that the higher men’s HDL cholesterol levels, the longer they lived and the more likely it was that they would reach the age of 85.4 A diet with adequate amounts of saturated fat is essential to keeping HDL high cholesterol levels. Those with deficiencies and suffering from neurological disorders need to consider a diet that is high in saturated fat, in stark contrast to the mainstream dietary advice for low-fat diets that might be causing many of these late-in-life diseases.
Another major advantage the saturated fat of coconut oil provides is its ability to provide the brain with an alternate source of energy in ketones. Ketones are high energy fuels that nourish the brain. Our body can produce ketones from stored fat while fasting or in starvation, but they can also be produced by converting medium chain fatty acids in certain foods. Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of these medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). A study done in 2004 took MCTs from coconut oil and put them into a drink that was given to Alzheimer’s patients while a control group took a placebo.5 They observed significant increases in levels of the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (beta-OHB) 90 minutes after treatment when cognitive tests were administered. Higher ketone values were associated with greater improvement in paragraph recall with MCT treatment relative to placebo across all subjects.
As coconut oil’s use becomes more accepted and widespread, and as people begin to realize the dangers of the low-fat dietary belief, we are starting to see more testimonies in relation to diseases like Alzheimer’s. One of the most widely published reports is from Dr. Mary Newport as reported by the St. Petersburg Times on October 29, 20086. Dr. Newport’s husband had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and was watching her husband quickly deteriorate. After using drugs that slowed down the effects of Alzheimer’s, she looked into clinical drug trials and found one based on MCTs that not only slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s, but offered improvement. Not being able to get her husband into one of these trials, she began to give him Virgin Coconut Oil, and saw incredible improvement in his condition.
The coconut oil he’d ingested seemed to “lift the fog.” He began taking coconut oil every day, and by the fifth day, there was a tremendous improvement. “He would face the day bubbly, more like his old self,” his wife said. More than five months later, his tremors subsided, the visual disturbances that prevented him from reading disappeared, and he became more social and interested in those around him.7
You can read Dr. Newport’s entire case study here. You can also watch an interview with her done by CBN earlier this month:
Read my commentary on this story regarding coconut oil and Alzhiemer’s from CBN here. While this is a great story showing how ketones and coconut oil can help with Alzheimer’s disease, it does not even address the whole issue of cholesterol uptake to the brain as I wrote about above. Dr. Newport admits that her husband Steve was taking statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) until she took him off of them in 2009, after studying the cholesterol issue. She stops short, however, in recommending that others suffering from Alzheimer’s do the same. Until the media and the general public wake up to the facts regarding all the serious side effects from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, simply adding coconut oil to one’s diet might only have a minimal effect.
Carol Flett came across Dr. Newport’s research while praying for a solution to her husband’s worsening dementia. In her blog post Can God Use Facebook to Answer Prayers? she reports:
Within three or four hours after giving Bruce the first couple of tablespoons (of coconut oil) he was speaking in clear sentences again. He did have one relapse, shortly after starting, but it lasted only a day. After that he sprang right back and has been doing well ever since, taking care of many things himself that he hadn’t been able to do for a long time. The doctor came to see Bruce yesterday. He was amazed. He ordered another cognitive test, but he could see for himself that Bruce was much better. I told him about the answer to prayer. He believes in God. He didn’t scoff. He just said, “Keep doing what your doing because it’s is working.” I believe God can use whatever method he chooses. If He chooses to use part of his creation such as coconut oil, I won’t complain, and if He gives direction to His praying child through Facebook, that is His prerogative as well.8
She has since posted a video of Bruce thanking people for praying for him, and explaining how his condition changed dramatically after taking coconut oil. He reports how he was diagnosed with dementia and could no longer care for himself, and that the doctors recommended that he be put in a nursing home. Watch and listen to him now:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tpPUsh74YM Ian Blair tells us in this video how “Coconut oil gave me my brain back” after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMw3d3ohx_s
Dietary Advice for Alzheimer’s Sufferers
Coconut oil does offer hope as nature’s most abundant source of MCTs, and it is an easily convertible fuel source for ketones. In addition, it is one of nature’s richest sources of saturated fat which is needed to produce HDL cholesterol to feed the brain. People suffering from Alzheimer’s should immediately start avoiding polyunsaturated forms of oil such as soy and corn oils, especially if they are hydrogenated and in the form of trans fatty acids. These are prone to oxidation and potentially mitochondrial dysfunction. Other healthy fats would include butter from the milk of cows that are grass-fed, and Omega 3 fatty acids from high quality fish oil, cod liver oil, or krill oil.
Refined carbohydrates in the form of refined wheat products and refined sugars should be strictly avoided! High protein foods such as eggs from pastured chickens (preferably fed a soy-free chicken feed), pastured poultry, and grass-fed meats are all desirable proteins for brain health. I started checking into Coconut oil because I saw on the news that Alzheimers patients were dramatically improving after taking this oil. I bought some for my father who had recently been diagnosed and he now thinks the Alzheimers has gone away! I’m using it too and I feel so good, physically and MENTALLY better! Roxie (Coconut Diet Forums) Read More> http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/coc...-is-spreading/