Did you know that the oil of the coconut palm—also known as coconut oil—which has been maligned in past decades, has finally gained its rightful reputation as a miracle superfood? Amazing research done on the health benefits of this edible oil, which is mostly used for cooking and food preparation, has shown that it is an outstanding solution to anti-aging, disease prevention, weight loss, and health restoration. It helps you boost your heart health, shed unwanted pounds, balance your blood sugar, and fight infections, to name a few benefits.
But perhaps the most astounding research-backed discovery is that coconut oil reverses memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and various forms of dementia.
An estimated 5.5 million Americans have been living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2017–and the incidence is growing rapidly. Approximately 5.3 million of Alzheimer’s sufferers are 65 and older, and approximately 200,000 individuals have younger-onset Alzheimer’s (under age 65). About 10% of people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s, and the disease strikes 25% of those age 85 and older. Furthermore, people who have diabetes are 50 to 75 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease—and every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.
Considering these dire statistics, it’s comforting to know that a solution to this dreaded disease may be as close as your kitchen pantry.
Alzheimer’s has long been regarded as a lifestyle disease caused by the prevalence of low-fat and high-carb diets that have been consumed by the general population for decades. There are very few treatments for the disease, and those that are available have very limited effectiveness.
The human brain, acting as “command central” over the entire body, has recently been discovered to be capable of producing its own supply of insulin which converts blood glucose into the energy it needs to survive and function. The body’s main source of energy is glucose. However, the brain is also capable of using ketones for energy. Ketones are produced when the body converts fat into energy. And medium chain triglycerides (MCT), such as those found in coconut oil, are a primary source of ketones.
In a study published in the Journal, Neurobiology of Aging, it was discovered that a diet rich in coconut oil was able to promote the production of brain-boosting ketones. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “the mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat. This allows the ketone energy to hit your bloodstream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates entering your bloodstream.”
In fact, it has been shown that the brains of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and diabetes actually seem to prefer ketones. According to Dr. Mary Newport, it may be possible to circumvent the starvation and neuronal atrophy that occurs in brain cells as the ultimate result of insulin resistance. She stated that brain cells fed with ketone bodies could potentially stay alive and continue to function.
One important way to ensure that ketones are available to your brain, according to Dr. Newport, is by consuming MCT-rich fat. Coconut oil, in particular, is made up of about two-thirds MCTs. Dr. Newport calculates that just slightly more than two tablespoons of coconut oil contain 20 grams of MCT, which is the therapeutic amount indicated as “either a preventive measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.” She believes that ketone therapy (your daily dose of coconut oil) may prove an effective treatment for many diseases, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, MS, and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) in addition to diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Newport emphasizes that coconut oil doesn’t just help prevent diabetes and Alzheimer’s, but actually reverses some of the damage done to the neuronal cells and nerves of the brain! She explains the mechanism of action in her provocative article titled, “What If There Was a Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and No One Knew?” In the article, she chronicles some of the struggles of her husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008, at age 51. Dr. Newport took him to be evaluated as a candidate for a new drug trial being conducted on behalf of Eli Lily. In order to qualify for the study, potential participants were given standardized tests to determine the severity of the disease, and were required to score at least 16 (out of 30) on the mini Mental State Exam, a test of global cognitive function. Steve scored only 14, which was below the threshold for participation in the study.
Having done independent research on the potential of coconut oil, on the way home from the clinical trial center, Dr. Newport stopped and purchased a jar of coconut oil. She stirred a few tablespoons into Steve’s breakfast and dinner, and the next day, when he was retested, he scored 18, a full 4 points above the previous day when he had not yet consumed the coconut oil. In a very short period of time, Steve began to see remarkable improvements in his physical and cognitive functions after adding coconut to his daily diet.
Dr. Newport describes some of these changes as follows: “Before the coconut oil, he could not tie his shoes. His weird slow gait improved. He walked normally and he was able to start running again. He was able to start reading again, his conversation improved dramatically and then over several months we saw improvements in his memory. In fact, Steve experienced rather dramatic improvements from the very first day!
Another study published in the journal, Alzheimer’s and Dementia in 2014, revealed results similar to Steve’s. A 63 year-old man with advanced dementia disease began consuming coconut oil. After just two months, his score on the mini Mental State Exam shot up from an extremely low 12 out of 30, to an impressive 20 out of 30.
An increasing number of researchers have begun to take coconut oil seriously, and more studies are being conducted on coconut oil’s effectiveness in slowing the progress of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. For instance, the University of South Florida’s Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute recently began a study involving 65 participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease specifically to compare and measure the effects of coconut oil against a placebo. Canadian researchers have also become interested in exploring the potential of coconut oil.
At the University of Sherbrooke, researcher Dr. Stephen Cunnane, whose speciality is brain metabolism, is investigating possible ways that coconut oil may help damaged or diseased brain cells. PET scan technology has already confirmed that ketones are an alternative brain fuel. Dr. Cunnane says that this confirmation suggests that when the brain is forced into starvation mode by Alzheimer’s, “if you can provide an alternative fuel there may be an alternative to resuscitate parts of the brain.”
Another study, conducted at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, also reports encouraging results. The aim of the in vitro study, according to the researchers, was to “investigate the effects of coconut oil supplementation directly on cortical neurons treated with amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide in vitro.” They found that the neurons co-treated with coconut oil and Aβ had an increased survival rate. As Sayer Ji, founder of the online health reference site GreenMedInfo, notes, the results of this study provide important scientific support to the “accumulating body of anecdotal reports that coconut oil may alleviate and/or regress cognitive deficits associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.”
Even more exciting is another study that appears to confirm that the impact of coconut oil can be immediate, which coincides with Steve Newport’s experience. Published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, this 2004 study involved 20 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. On different days, participants received either an emulsification of MCTs or a placebo, likely as a way to rule out the possibility that positive test scores on a given day could be attributed to variations in a participant’s cognitive function from one day to the next. And the results were very impressive! On the day when the MCTs were administered, participants not only experienced a noticeable improvement in their cognitive function, but that improvement was almost immediate!
If consuming 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day can help you prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s or dementia in yourself or your loved ones, wouldn’t it be worth a try? This may be something to consider, especially since coconut oil also delivers countless benefits that support overall health, such as supporting efficient metabolism (for fat-burning and weight loss), normalization of blood sugar, heart health, and disease prevention.d