Discover the Proven Brain Benefits of Coconut Oil
There’s no doubt that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is terrifying. In the United States, it is second only to cancer as the most feared health condition.1 However, the brain benefits of coconut oil offer hope!
The Basic Facts about Alzheimer’s Disease
According to the National Institute on Aging, “Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.”2
AD is the most common form of dementia. Most cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 60, but for some it can begin as early as the 30s. This is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.3
- Approximately 46.8 million adults worldwide have dementia.
- This number is expected to exceed 131 million by the year 2050.
- In the United States, 5.5 million adults have Alzheimer’s.4
- Roughly 60% of all AD patients are female.
- One-third of all people over the age of 85 have AD.5
- Women have a 1-in-6 risk of getting the disease in their lifetime.
- Men have a 1-in-11 risk of getting the disease in their lifetime.
The earliest symptoms can be easy to dismiss…confusion and mild forgetfulness. The progression of AD is different for every case. While some may gradually worsen, others can experience a much faster deterioration. Over time, brain function becomes impaired to the point that it cannot be ignored and becomes obvious to the people around you.
Top 10 Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Difficulty organizing thoughts
- Repetitive statements and questions
- Forgetting recent conversations or events
- Consistently losing track of belongings
- Inability to recall familiar names and places
- Loss of time and days
- Deterioration of reading, writing, and speaking skills
- Lack of concentration
- Basic tasks are unfamiliar or confusing
- Changes to moods and behavior that can include anxiety, distrust, and depression6
Losing the memories of who you are and the people who have been part of your life can make those with AD feel trapped in a prison of their own mind.
Recent memories are the first to go and as the disease progresses, more years are swallowed up in the abyss. Childhood memories and learned information are the last to be robbed from the mind of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, leaving them helpless and confused.
It is agonizing for the AD patient and for those friends and family who are slowly erased from the mind of the person they love.
However, there are ways to slow – and possibly even prevent – the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The secret lies in the healing brain benefits of coconut oil and the nature of ketones.
According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, it is the flawed U.S. nutritional food pyramid (11 servings of grain daily), the over-consumption of wheat, and the removal of fat in American diets that are the root cause of the Alzheimer’s pandemic.
Here are Dr. Perlmutter’s “fundamental keys” to lowering your AD risk.....
- Reduce your carbohydrate consumption and increase “good” fats (such as fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils).
- Regular exercise daily (15-20 minutes) – even low impact.
- Increase omega-3 DHA consumption. Research clearly links higher DHA levels with reduced risk, not only for Alzheimer’s disease, but for other forms of dementia as well.7
Recent studies have uncovered that both fat and cholesterol are severely deficient in the Alzheimer patient’s brain. Both fat and cholesterol are crucial brain nutrients. The brain represents only 2% of the body’s total mass but utilizes 25% of the total cholesterol, 20% of your body’s oxygen, and up to 50% of your body’s glucose.8 Cholesterol and fat are essential to transmit nerve signals and fight off infections.
Researchers at MIT concluded, “An excess of dietary carbohydrates, particularly fructose, alongside a relative deficiency in dietary fats and cholesterol, may lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Over time, a cascade response leads to impaired glutamate signaling, increased oxidative damage, mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction, increased risk to microbial infection, and, ultimately, apoptosis [brain cell death].”9
One effect of Alzheimer’s is the brain’s inability to process the primary fuel of blood sugar or glucose to produce energy. As a result, the brain is deprived of the energy it requires to repair brain cells and stimulate the growth of new cells. Glucose is the primary source of energy and if your brain can’t process it, an alternative fuel is needed or the cells begin to atrophy. This is what leads to brain cell death.
Ketones are a special type of high-energy fuel created by the liver when the body burns through its’ fat stores. When glucose levels drop, the body steps in and increases ketone production as an alternative to glucose. The problem is that ketone production only increases when carbohydrate intake is very low.
If you switch to consuming primarily proteins and fats, then your body can produce all the nutrients needed from ketones. This type of diet is known as a ketogenic diet (such as South Beach or other similar eating plans). However, total daily carbohydrate intake must remain at or below 2% for it to work. That means over 90% of your calories need to come from fat.
Studies from The John M. Freeman Pediatric Epilepsy Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland published in 2006 on the neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet have rocked the medical community. Researchers raised the possibility that the ketogenic diet could be disease transforming for those suffering from Alzheimer’s.10
Ketogenic diets have been effectively used to treat epilepsy for over 90 years. Using it to treat other diseases isn’t a long reach. On the other hand, keeping carbohydrate consumption below the recommended 2% can be a massive struggle (to say the least).
The Brain Benefits of Coconut Oil and Non-Restrictive Ketones!
The saturated fat in coconut oil is composed of 65% medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). What makes MCTs so special is that when they are ingested, they are rapidly absorbed and converted into ketones regardless of blood glucose levels or the amount carbohydrates present in the diet.
Simply stated, coconut oil provides ketone bodies for fuel that the brain can use quickly no matter what the rest of your diet looks like!
A trailblazing study published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging found that the administration of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), the primary fat in coconut oil, almost instantly improved cognitive performance in older adults suffering from memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s. The improvement didn’t happen after weeks or months of treatment, but after a single 40 ml dose (about 3 US tablespoons).11
Almost 20 subjects with diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of mild cognitive impairment were given either emulsified MCTs or a placebo. The researchers noted a significant increase in blood plasma levels of the ketone body beta-Hydroxybutyric acid (beta-OHB) after only 90 minutes of treatment
Studies in neurobiological science advise that ketone bodies such as beta-OHB are indeed an effective and more efficient energy alternative for the brain when blood glucose is low. This energy is needed for nerve cell survival and for synaptic activity, which is the basis of learning and memory.
MCTS are more rapidly absorbed by the body and more quickly burned as fuel instead of being stored as fat. Coconut oil ketone bodies are a very simple alternative to glucose that the body can use for fuel. The liver metabolizes ketone bodies immediately and your brain can immediately use it for fuel.
In patent applications for MCT oil (a derivative of coconut oil) over 47% of participants tested showed remarkable improvement in their cognitive (memory) scores after just one dose!
To get the maximum benefit of the healing powers of coconut oil, use virgin coconut oil rather than MCT oil. MCT oil is missing the important immune boosting component of monolaurin (lauric acid) found in natural virgin coconut oil.
There are many uses and benefits to adding this nutritious oil to your diet but the brain benefits of coconut oil are one of the most incredible. There have been well over 10,000 studies done on this whole food and there are excellent reasons why.
Add a couple of tablespoons to your morning smoothie, use it in your homemade salad dressing, mix it with herbs for a dipping sauce to eat with crusty bread. The possibilities and positive aspects of coconut oil are endless…and it’s a well-tolerated food for everyone who isn’t allergic to coconuts.
You’re going to love adding this delicious, nutritious oil to your eating plan…and your brain is going to love it even more!
1 The Harvard Crimson: Study: Alzheimer’s Disease Second Most Feared Health Condition
2 National Institute on Aging: What Is Alzheimer's Disease?
3 Mayo Clinic: Early-onset Alzheimer's: When symptoms begin before age 65
4 Alzheimer’s Disease International: Dementia Statistics
5 National Institute on Aging: What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?
6 Medical News Today: What's to know about Alzheimer's disease?
7 David Perlmutter, MD: Avoiding Alzheimer’s
8 Mastering Diabetes: What are Ketones: Your Brain's Best Friend or Worst Enemy?
9 NCBI: Nutrition and Alzheimer's disease: the detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet.
10 Journal of Pediatrics: The Ketogenic Diet: One Decade Later
11 NCBI: Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults.