Could coconut oil help mitigate the effects of Alzheimer’s disease? Some research has indicated that it very well could be a natural way to boost cognition, and possibly even reverse the effects of this dreaded disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is currently the most common form of dementia across the globe, and there is no currently recognized cure for the condition. As the world’s population continues to grow older, the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s will likely continue to grow, too. People with Alzheimer’s disease are no longer able to use glucose as well as they once did. In return, brain size decreases over time. One of the primary suspects in cognitive decline is the process of decreased brain metabolism.
Current estimates suggest that more than five million Americans alone are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and about one in three senior citizens will die with some form of dementia. It is expected that nearly 14 million people will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2050 — barring some kind of medical breakthrough.
While the mainstream medical community may be thinking that they need to come up with some newfangled medication to stop Alzheimer’s disease, it seems quite possible that the way to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s disease can be found at your grocery store. A recent study has shown that coconut oil could offer an array of benefits to people suffering from this heart-wrenching condition.
Coconut oil may reverse Alzheimer’s disease
To conduct their research, the Spanish scientists gathered participants and split them into two groups: an intervention group that received the coconut oil, and a control group. Cognitive function evaluations were conducted prior to the study’s onset and again at its conclusion. The intervention group received 40 mL of extra virgin coconut oil every day. At the conclusion, the team found that people who took the coconut oil demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in their cognitive function.
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The researchers noted that the participants who were female, who did not have Type 2 diabetes or were diagnosed with more severe cognitive decline, seemed to exhibit the highest level of improvement, which suggests that the total benefits of coconut oil may be at least somewhat dependent on other factors.
A a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of coconut oil’s potential role in Alzheimer’s treatment has also been conducted by the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer Institute. The study began in 2013 and concluded in December 2016.
Understanding the brain benefits of coconut oil
One of the defining features of Alzheimer’s disease is reduced glucose metabolism in the brain. Glucose is the brain’s primary source of fuel, but there is an alternative: ketones. When your body breaks down stored fat into usable energy, your body (and your brain) are running on ketones. This “back-up” process has sparked researchers’ interest; many wonder if supplementing with extra ketones may help to relieve, or even reverse, the affects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Medium-length fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are essential to the production of ketones. Coconut oil is a whopping 65 percent MCT. Consequently, if supplementing with MCT helps boost cognitive function, it stands to reason that coconut oil would be a suitable natural source. (Related: Improve cognitive performance and attention with good fats and nutrition.)
Interestingly enough, Samuel T. Henderson of Accera, Inc. appears to have already patented the use of MCT for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Henderson also wrote an article about the use of MCT in Alzheimer’s disease that was published in 2008 by the journal Neurotherapeutics. In that article, he noted that ketones were able to “increase mitochondrial efficiency and supplement the brain’s normal reliance on glucose.”
So, it would seem that the potential for coconut oil to help mediate the effects of Alzheimer’s disease are very much real. Hopefully, the government won’t try to make that a Schedule I substance, too.