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Coconut Oil: Holistic Alzheimer’s Treatment?

Coconut Oil: Holistic Alzheimer’s Treatment?

In 2008, Dr. Mary Newport’s husband was turned down for a clinical trial because his Alzheimer’s had advanced too far for the study. Desperate, she searched for anything that may help her husband. Through her research she found a promising lead, a drug whose main ingredient was medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which are also found in coconut oil. The drug wasn’t on the market, but coconut oil was. Dr. Newport began mixing it into her husband’s food and soon his condition improved significantly.

Since then, Dr. Newport has advocated for the use of coconut oil in the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s. She has written a book, Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?, based on her experience with her husband and his improvement since starting him on the coconut oil. She stresses to only use unrefined or virgin coconut oil, because that is when the MCTs are in their purest form. The MCTs supposedly help because of the ketones they help the body produce. Some doctors now think that Alzheimer’s is caused by the brain not being able to use glucose as fuel any longer. The ketones that are created as a result of consuming coconut oil act as a different fuel for the brain which theoretically causes improvement in condition.

Dr. Newport’s idea about coconut oil treating Alzheimer’s has come back into the spotlight through the release of a video by CBN discussing her research and book. Though Dr. Newport, and many others, firmly believes coconut oil is a simple solution to a challenging disease, there is no official research validating that claim.

Alzheimer’s Association’s main complaint against the use of coconut oil as a treatment is the lack of clinical testing or proven effects. In an article for Snopes.com, Dr. Dominic Carone listed criteria he used when doing a case study on how to evaluate suspicious medical claims. If a claim passes the criteria, it can be seen as legitimate. The coconut oil claim failed the first two, searching and evaluating the quality of peer-reviewed medical literature, because none exists at this time. Coconut oil did better with the other three criteria, but it was determined that there is simply not enough scientific evidence that coconut oil helps those with Alzheimer’s.

Coconut oil may very well help those with Alzheimer’s. None of the looking into the claim has completely ruled it out as a treatment option. The main issue with the claim is the lack of research done on the topic. That will soon be resolved. The Gainesville Sun reported that this month, the Byrd Institute at the University of Southern Florida is conducting a trial investigating coconut oil and its effects on patients with Alzheimer’s. Until the results of that study are known, many, such as Dr. Newport, may find coconut oil helps relieve symptoms of the disease but should remember there is little to no scientific proof behind the claim.

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image via bigstockphoto.com

Read more: Alzheimer's, Food, Health, , ,

By Elizabeth Simmons for DietsInReview.com

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9:03AM PST on Feb 12, 2014

Looooove coconut! I also use the oil on my skin and hair... And for cooking

10:53AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

Most hopeful - thank you!

1:46PM PDT on Aug 27, 2013

I really enjoy coconut oil. If it help my mind to stay healthy all the better. Let's get some reasearch done so others can see if they want to take the same route.

11:54PM PDT on May 13, 2013

Thanks for sharing, what they need to do is see the prevalence of Alzheimers in South Indian people - their diet is rich in coconut oil!

6:35PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

Coconut oil is good for spreading on bread and certainly for cooking and baking.

Marge hasn't featured in my kitchen for years and I find butter is either too hard or too soft. The best is, coconut oil is healthy !! There are enough warnings about dairy products to make me stick to only yoghurt.

As a kid we used to used it as a sun-tan oil before the more protective creams were available.

9:35AM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

coconut oil is good

3:09AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

I certainly hope it's true!

8:23AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

Interesting! It can't hurt to try it if you have Alzheimers.

9:38PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Interesting, we are what we eat, thanks for sharing!

1:45PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Thanks for sharing

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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