Coconut oil is something that I recently started using for a variety of different reasons. I like to rub a little bit on my face and through my hair after each shower for its natural moisturizing properties. Others like using it for dental health by oil pulling. And you can also use it cook with too!
Now, Dr. Mary Newport has developed a theory around the digestion of coconut oil and its effects on the brain. Her theory revolved around ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are produced by our bodies whenever we digest coconut oil, and she thinks that they could be an alternative fuel for our brains. Specifically, Newport thinks that it can benefit those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Newport actually has first-hand experience with Alzheimer’s disease. Steve, her husband, began experiencing cognitive problems related to progressive dementia in his mid-50s. An MRI scan would eventually lead to Steve’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Mary talks a bit about how it affected her husband:
“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… One day I would ask if a certain call came that I was expecting and he would say ‘No.’ Two days later he would remember the message from so-and-so from a couple of days earlier and what they said.”
Oddly enough, it seemed as though Steve still retained information in his brain even when he had zero short-term memory. Mary got a strange feeling that his diet had something to do with it.
Mary’s investigation into ketone bodies, or medium chain triglycerides, found that they were listed as a potential treatment for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes.
Which got her thinking:
“In Alzheimer’s disease, the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance, and slowly die off… if these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function.”
So, Dr. Newport decided that her husband should try a daily regimen of coconut oil, just to see if it would have any effect. And it absolutely did. Two months after adding coconut oil to his diet, Steve was more aware and happy. He was making conversation, making jokes, and his tremors were less intense.
After a year of two tablespoons of coconut oil twice every day, Mary says that Steve is a changed man. She says that, while he struggles occasionally with words, he recognizes family members, actively participates in conversation and has more lively facial expressions.
“For now, we are very pleased with where he is at and should coconut oil stop or slow down the progress of his disease, it will be worth every drop that he takes.”