What if there was a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and no one knew? This question is the title of a truly amazing case study demonstrating that the medium chain fats found in coconut oil can positively affect brains cells to both prevent and treat the damage caused by Alzheimer’s Disease.
Why isn’t this common knowledge in a world where an estimated 26.6 million people have Alzheimer’s—a number predicted to quadruple by 2050?
The scientific articles presenting such evidence are not found in journals that the average physician would read, much less us, the lay public. Luckily for us, however, Dr. Mary Newport, researcher and author of the Alzheimer’s case study, is not your average physician. The Alzheimer’s patient she is most concerned about is her husband, Steve.
“Many days, often for several days in a row, he was in a fog; couldn’t find a spoon or remember how to get water out of the refrigerator,” says Dr. Newport of her husband, a former accountant.
Drugs slowed the decline somewhat, but many devastating changes surfaced. Newport says she felt helpless as she watched his decline—a decline so significant that he did not qualify for the many drug trials she researched. While researching, however, Dr. Newport came across a very interesting completed pilot study that showed remarkable results for the treatment of Alzheimer’s even after the first dose. She obtained the patent application for this treatment and learned that the promising ingredient was medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Dr. Newport’s sharp eye and relentless hunting through the 75-page long document found the author’s one-time mention that MCT oil is derived from coconut oil.
After two months of treatment with coconut oil, Dr. Newport says, “Steve walks into the kitchen every morning alert and happy, talkative and making jokes.”
His tremor is no longer very noticeable, he is able to concentrate on things that he wants to do and stay on task, whereas before coconut oil he was easily distracted and rarely accomplished anything unless directly supervised.
Between two and four months after Steve started taking the coconut oil his visual disturbances resolved, his gait normalized and he was able to run again; conversation skills improved and he was able to recognize family members that he couldn’t a year earlier.
Between four and 10 months after treatment began, conversation skills continued to improve, reading comprehension and short term memory improved, and Steve is able to be involved in meaningful work such as home chores and volunteering outside of the home. Steve’s depression also lifted and he says, “I have my life back.”
How is this type of healing possible with just coconut oil? The little known research mentioned earlier is about ketones as medicine and was done by Dr. Richard L. Veech of the National Institutes of Health, and others. MCT oil is digested differently than other fats. Instead of storing MCTs as fat, the liver converts them directly to ketone bodies.
“Brain cells, specifically neurons, are very limited, more limited than other cells, in what kinds of fuel they can use to function and to stay alive. Normally, they require glucose (sugar), but they can also use ketone bodies,” Dr. Newport explains.
We know from earlier research that in Alzheimer’s Disease neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose. “If these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function,” Dr. Newport suggests. In short, coconut oil gives the brain what it needs to be healthy.
Additional research is pointing to the importance of MCTs. An animal study published in the journal Brain Research (August 2008) concluded that adding MCTs to the diet increase cellular activity in the parietal lobe, a part of the brain that is severely impact by Alzheimer’s Disease. A University of Toronto study (Neurochemical Research, September 2009) found that adding MCTs to the diet of dogs with age-related cognitive decline also increased the levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in the parietal lobe.
“Steve is a very different person than he was a year ago,” Dr. Newport says. “I plan to tell everyone I can and get this information to persons in positions to investigate this with the hope that Dr. Veech and other MCT oil and ketone body researchers get the funding they need.”