Can Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer's Disease?

Almost every day I see a new article or blog post, or an email proclaiming the varied and often remarkable benefits of coconut oil. Quite often I see a headline like Discover How Coconut Oil Can Rescue The Brain From Alzheimer’s or an advertisement selling a Coconut Oil Cure for Alzheimer’s. Those are real headlines — I didn’t make them up. I always approach claims like this with healthy skepticism; I have seen too many “miracle cures” turn to snake oil. But coconut oil seems to be getting more traction than most such proclamations. Might there be something to this one? We are learning more and more about the health benefits of certain foods. According to recent research coconut oil can improve brain health; but can coconut oil cure Alzheimer’s disease?

I’m not the only one impressed by the tenacity of these claims. The Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute at the University of South Florida is also interested. Scientists there are investigating the effect coconut oil has on the brain, and if it may indeed provide some clues to curing dementia. The study was inspired in large part by the work of Dr. Mary Newport.

The question, “Can Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s Disease?” first occurred to Dr. Newport when her husband, Steve, showed marked improvement after she began to include coconut oil in his diet. Steve had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 51, and began presenting with some of the textbook symptoms; short term memory problems; a slow, unsteady gait;  trouble with numbers, though he was an accountant. At one time or another he took all the usual drugs prescribed for his condition, but the progression continued.

Mary noticed that his symptoms would be less severe on some days and began to wonder if diet might have something to do with that.

Can coconut oil cure Alzheimer's - There is evidence for lower incidence of dementia in cultures that include coconut products in their diet.

There is evidence for lower incidence of dementia in cultures that include coconut products extensively in their diet. India and the Philippines are examples.

But coconut oil seems an unlikely place to look for a cure. It is a fat, after all, and aren’t fats bad for our health? Well, yes. And no. Depends on the fat. And coconut oil has an especially bad reputation. In the middle of the last century, studies reported that coconut oil clogged the arteries of animal subjects. The conclusion was that fat in the diet leads to heart disease. The studies, however, did not use coconut oil; rather, they used hydrogenated coconut oil, which is a very different thing. The hydrogenation process changes the structure of the fat molecule, leaving behind something that bears little resemblance to the original. It is this hydrogenation process that creates the notorious trans-fats. And it is these trans-fats that have turned out to be the artery-cloggers. Any oil that is hydrogenated becomes bad eats.

From these bogus studies and misinterpreted findings concerning dietary fat have come our preoccupation with low-fat diets.  Real coconut oil (and many other oils) are actually good for you. In fact, fat is a necessary component of a healthy diet. People in the Philippines depend on coconuts, and most include some form of coconut in their diet every day. Many use only coconut oil in their cooking. Yet the Philippines has one of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease anywhere.

Unfortunately, many processed foods still contain hydrogenated oils (also known as shortening or margarine on the ingredients label). These unhealthy fats increase the shelf life of food products, so the food industry is very averse to getting them out of our food,  even though we have known of their dangers for decades.

But, Can Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s Disease?

Back to Mary. As she watched Steve’s condition steadily decline she researched the state of medical research as it relates to dementia. She found reference to a new drug that was showing some promise in improving the memory of people who have Alzheimer’s disease. In her study¹ she writes:

I learned that the promising “ingredient” in Ketasyn is simply MCT oil, and that a dose of 20 grams (about 20 ml or 4 teaspoons) was used to produce these results. The MCT oil that these researchers used was obtained from Stepan Company and consists of primarily 6 and 8 carbon chains, however they state that MCT of any combination of medium chains (6 to 12 carbon chains are medium chain) would also be effective. Just once in this application, the author mentions that MCT oil is derived from coconut or palm oil (this is incorrect, the author should have stated palm kernel oil.)

Shortly after Mary was told that Steve’s condition was now likely severe – no longer just moderate. That’s when she started adding coconut oil to his diet. The next morning she stirred the oil into his oatmeal. Just 4 1/2 hours later he was taking a scheduled screening. The result of the screening was that he showed a marked improvement in memory functioning over the previous test!

And he continued to improve. Many of the abilities he had lost returned. Even his memory was better. In Dr Newport’s own words:

At the time of this writing it has been 60 days since he started taking coconut oil (May 21, 2008.) He walks into the kitchen every morning alert and happy, talkative, making jokes. His gait is still a little weird. His tremor is no longer very noticeable. He is able to concentrate on things that he wants to do around the house and in the yard and stay on task, whereas before coconut oil he was easily distractible and rarely accomplished anything unless I supervised him directly…

She knew she was on to something. And Steve continued to improve. As it turns out, coconut oil is brain food. The brain’s primary source of food is glucose (sugar). If sugar is not available, it can use ketones as fuel. Now, Alzheimer’s disease can make it difficult for certain areas of the brain to process glucose. Coconut oil makes ketones available to our brains. So it stands to reason that coconut oil can feed the brain when disease makes its preferred food difficult to obtain.

 

- - - Can Coconut Oil Prevent Alzheimer's? - - -

 

Unfortunately, after seeing such remarkable improvement, Steve’s condition worsened in 2013, partly due to depression following the death of his father. Alzheimer’s disease eventually beat his efforts, and the efforts of his wife, Mary. Steve died on January 2, 2015,  but his life with coconut oil was almost assuredly better than it would have been without. In his case coconut oil did not cure the disease, but Steve was approaching the later stages of Alzheimer’s when he began to use the oil. How much more could it help if introduced into the diet earlier in the progression of the disease? Or before the disease has taken hold?

Steve and Mary’s story has most certainly given us a new avenue to research, and it could very well be the thing that eventually leads us to a cure. For once and for all. It may be that the answer to the question, “can coconut oil cure Alzheimer’s?” will turn out to be an emphatic “YES!”

So here’s your challenge. Try it. And please let us know what you discover. Get a tub of 100% Organic Coconut Oil. (Be sure it’s not hydrogenated. Organic coconut oil is very available now- I get mine at Costco.) Use it in your cooking. Put it in your oatmeal. Use it in Smoothies. Rub it on your face (I do — it’s a great natural skin conditioner, especially with a little Frankincense oil). If you are caring for someone with dementia especially, make sure they get it every day. Dr. Mary Newport recommends that you begin with about 2 tablespoons per day. (Download Dr. Mary Newport’s Coconut Oil Dietary Guidelines) The only reported side effect of coconut oil is indigestion in some cases. Very minor when compared to the possible effects of any drug on the market. And a very minor inconvenience if your loved one gets anything near the benefits that Steve Newport experienced. Indigestion can result with a new type of food, and the inconvenience may likely go away with continued use. Weigh that against the possible benefits.

“Can coconut oil cure Alzheimer’s?” is a big question, and many more questions arise when considering it, like:

  1. good fats vs. bad fats (the important thing to remember here is that organic, non-hydrogenated, unprocessed coconut oil is one of the good fats, and all hydrogenated oils, margarines, and “shortenings” are bad fats)
  2. coconut oil and other health issues (there is evidence that coconut oil in the diet can lower risk of cardiovascular disease and help to avoid obesity), and other diseases like arthritis and diabetes that coconut oil might help. Hopefully we will be looking at some of these in the future. In the meantime, try it. And let us know what you discover.

 

A couple of more lifestyle issues to consider; possibilities I want to explore in depth in the near future…

Statins are one of the most prescribed drugs in all of human history. Statins are designed to lower serum cholesterol (cholesterol in the blood). Aside from netting huge profits for the pharmaceutical industry, statins are so often prescribed because of the belief that serum cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. As we saw earlier, the belief that there is a connection between cardiovascular disease and serum cholesterol levels is based on old, poorly designed studies. I have seen some evidence that a slightly elevated cholesterol level after a certain age might even protect against heart attack.

And there is a growing concern that statins may be in part to blame for the meteoric rise we are witnessing in rates of Alzheimer’s disease² ³. The brain is, after all, made essentially of cholesterol; though it weighs only 3 pounds, the brain contains about 25% of all cholesterol in the body. It makes sense that cholesterol would be necessary for its functioning, and science is beginning to prove that out.

And one that at first seems contradictory America’s low-fat diet fetish might in part be responsible for our obesity epidemic.


We are not recommending that you stop taking statins or any other medication prescribed by your medical professional. We are suggesting that you be an enlightened consumer; research the potential problems, side effects, and dangers of any drug that you are taking. And talk to your doctor from an informed perspective. See our legal disclaimer here.

More Research for “Can Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s Disease?”

  1. Dr. Mary Newport (2008); What If There Was a Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and No One Knew?
  2. Dr. Stephanie Seneff (2012); The Clue to Why Low Fat Diet and Statins may Cause Alzheimer’s.
  3. West R, Beeri MS, Schmeidler J, Hannigan CM, Angelo G, Grossman HT, Rosendorff C, Silverman JM (2008). Better memory functioning associated with higher total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in very elderly subjects without the apolipoprotein e4 allele. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;16(9):781-5. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181812790.
  4. U.S. study looks into the benefits of coconut oil on patients with Alzheimer’s
  5. Bentham Science Publishers. (2016, February 10). Lipid-based diets effectively combat Alzheimer’s disease in mouse model: Researchers have devised several lipid-based diets aimed at slowing down progression and relieving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2016

 

36 replies
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Hi Lynda I suppose a certain amount of the beneficial effect of coconut oil might be absorbed, but likely not a lot. I suggest incorporating a certain amount into the diet. To test how it will work in your situation, 2 to 4 tablespoons per day has been recommended. If you see no improvement you might try increasing the amount. You may be one of the people for whom coconut oil is not effective. If you are going to, you should see results in a few weeks.

      Reply
  1. karen
    karen says:

    i have been using coconut for a few years in my cooking and love it as i have a tendency to overheat the cooking and supposedly that does not alter the oil as overheating does alter olive oil. But i would like to add something i discovered. In March the ocean here begins to get batches of jelly fish– i found that applying coconut oil before swimming seems to repulse the jelly fish and so far i have not been stung while my husband was stung a few times as he couldn’t be bother to apply the oil.

    Reply
  2. Jacquie
    Jacquie says:

    My husband began showing signs of Alzheimers about 1 ½ years ago. Big personality changes: impulsive, forgetful, irritable , difficulty concentrating, paranoid.
    Took him to doctors and the long and short of it is there was little that could be done medically for him.
    Providentially, coconut oil and the new research on Vielight came to my attention. He now uses the light 5 or 6 nights a week and takes 3 tbls of coconut oil a day. Generally, with oatmeal.
    Did it cure him? No, but he is vastly different. I know and am aware that he isn’t himself. But he is able to write and give talks and live a fairly normal life. He must get regular sleep to cleanse the brain. This I discovered is vitally important.
    I have an observation that those with this disease have more health issues. At least it is a possibility that what ever causes Alzheimers also brings about physical debilitation. My husband has had both colon cancer and a heart attack in the last few years. He was pretty robust until the mental decline.

    Reply
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Thank you for this contribution, Jacquie. I enjoy hearing good news sometimes, as I talk to so many people who are struggling. I know that not everyone benefits from coconut oil or other nutritional changes, but for those that do it can make a big difference in their lives. That is perhaps the best we can do now, but it can be a big thing.

      Reply
  3. Lynne Albechara
    Lynne Albechara says:

    I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s on December 12, 2016. I tried the conventional medicine used to treat the disease. However, just a short time on the medication I had a stroke. Something I had been told could happen while taking the medication!
    I recovered quite well from the set back, and started looking for a more organic alternative. That is how I stumbled upon Extra Virgin, pure & unrefined, cold pressed organic coconut oil! I am now, just shy of a year after diagnosis, and no one knows I have the disease except my immediate family!! I’m sold on it!

    Reply
    • Carolyn Renga
      Carolyn Renga says:

      My father was diagnosed with dimentia 1and 1/2 yrs. Ago. He’s 89, but sharp. He’s a retired criminal defense lawyer. He’s always been a sharp dresser, smart, motivated, strong, active, etc.. He’s Italian. One day he stopped getting dressed, combed his forward, forgot stuff, lazy, not himself. Started giving him 2 tbsp day coconut oil. It’s been 1week. Now he gets up, dresses sharp, combes his hair back neatly, wants to go places, back to his old self! It’s a miracle! I started taking it today. I have thyroid problem, weight problem, arthritis, etc. Took my first tblsp in my coffee tonight! Carolyn Renga

      Reply
      • John Schmid
        John Schmid says:

        Thank you for your contribution, Carolyn. Anecdotal evidence is only anecdotal, but the more we compile, the more compelling it is. We should begin to see results from some more rigorous scientific investigation, and hopefully soon.

        Reply
  4. Nancy Liggett
    Nancy Liggett says:

    I have read that you would have to take about 50 coconut oil capsules to equal 3-4 Tablespoons of coconut oil. Is this true?

    Reply
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Hi Nancy – I can’t answer that as capsules can vary in size. There should be an indication on the bottle of capsules how much each contains, or equivalences. On the other hand, 3-4 T of coconut oil is not that hard to get into your diet if you get a little creative with food preparation.

      Reply
  5. Christine Williams
    Christine Williams says:

    Im going to try this with my dad tomorrow..he also has Alzheimer’s..i will let everyone know in 2 weeks.Im so excited to try this so is my dad.

    Reply
  6. Modhumita
    Modhumita says:

    Hi John
    A great information for Alzheimer’s. Thanks a lot. I would like to know that can coconut play same role in curing Alzheimer’s ? If so, then why oil, it’s better to eat fresh coconut , is it ?
    My mother is 91years, she has been suffering from Alzheimer’s since 2011, including many other old age complications. She thinks that she is a teenage girl. She cannot recognize her children or grandchildren but sometimes she tells the names of her dears and also searches them. We know that there is no hope to get her cure but it’s a great pain for us.
    With regards
    Modhumita

    Reply
  7. Joe Billy
    Joe Billy says:

    My wife is a Alzheimer patient and in her 56yrs, she contact the illness in April 2016 and already a year now, after seen some advertisement on coconut oil helping in this type illness, just on Saturday 15 July 2017 I started giving her pure coconut oil with her food twice a day, morning and afternoon. so it’s only third day now, so I’ll see how it goes. We living in Port Moresby , Papua New Guinea.

    Reply
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Hi Joe Billy, and welcome to this discussion. We are all sorry to hear about your wife, and our thoughts and prayers are with you. There is no definitive answer yet about the benefit one might gain from the use of coconut oil, but many people with Alzheimer’s are reporting some fascinating results from just a tablespoon or two each day. Understand that everyone is different. I hope your wife responds positively, but she might not see the changes others have. I hope that your wife does well, and keep on taking good care of her.

      John

      Reply
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Hi Joe Billy, and welcome to this discussion. We are all sorry to hear about your wife, and our thoughts and prayers are with you. There is no definitive answer yet about the benefit one might gain from the use of coconut oil, but many people with Alzheimer’s are reporting some fascinating results from just a tablespoon or two each day. Understand that everyone is different. I hope your wife responds positively, but she might not see the changes others have. I hope that your wife does well, and keep on taking good care of her.

      John

      Reply
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Hi Joan – I don’t know where you live. In the US good quality coconut oil is available in most grocery stores and food outlets. There are quite a few brands sold on Amazon, and at a variety of prices.I get mine (usually) at Costco. Just be sure to purchase a good quality Organic virgin product.

      Reply
  8. Charlie
    Charlie says:

    Hi ,My name is Charlie from Trinidad, West Indies. I am east indian through indentureship a long time ago. I clearly remember when we were small we used coconut oil for every thing, that is what we called it virgin coconut oil today which we made our selves. Every one used it because it was the only oil available, then came soya bean oil and we were made to believe this was better for us. I think most of the population is reverting back to coconut oil. My sister who died at the age of 70 never had one grey hair because she used coconut oil in her hair every day. I use coconut oil for every thing now, because I make my own. The best hair tonic: just soak head with coconut oil then shower. Amazing. Coconut oil is a miracle food but one does not nitice a miracle when it’s an everyday routine. Charlie

    Reply
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Thank you for you question, Donna – Gel pills should be fine. I just worry that it would require a lot of capsules to get an adequate dose

      Reply
  9. Suzan Vasica
    Suzan Vasica says:

    If I use coconut oil, say 2 tablespoons, in all my cooking will that help also? Or is it better to take the coconut oil orally? Mum has advanced alzhiemers so if this can help even a little, that would be awesome

    Reply
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Hi Susan – if you are cooking with it you are taking it orally, right. There is no guarantee that coconut oil will help you mom, but I have seen some pretty compelling evidence that some people do benefit. So keep it up. Get it into her diet however possible. Watch, as coconut oil can be a little hard to digest for some people. But that is the only potential problem I am aware of.

      Best to your Mum,

      John

      Reply
  10. Smita
    Smita says:

    Hi,
    I don’t know if this is of any help. My family is originally from the state – Kerala, India. We make almost every item with coconut base – oil or fresh/roasted coconut (for generations). All fresh ingredients with no fertilizer or pesticide ever. My grandma on dad’s side passed away 10 years ago of Alzheimer’s. She had hardly traveled anywhere outside that state. From what I have heard, the percentage of dementia patients are higher in this state in spite of coconut and other good food habits like – brown rice, sea food (predominantly – sardines, mackerel, shrimp, etc). So I won’t put too much stock in this claim. The percentage of dementia in the northern parts of India are much lower. You may want to check why.

    Thanks,
    Smita

    Reply
  11. Faezeh
    Faezeh says:

    Hello there ?recently I began to learn more and more about coconut oil,my father in law is struggling with dementia,he lost his bearings and many of social manners as well as things refer to the memory, I have a question, can coconut oil help us in this level?

    Reply
  12. Doan Hong Le
    Doan Hong Le says:

    Thanks a lot for your information. I start to cure my father’s Alzheimer by coconut oil today. I will let you know about it. He’s 83 now and Alzheimer started 3 years ago.
    It’s not easy to find extra virgin coconut oil in Vietnam. And no product mentions about no- hydrogeneted. Is “unrefind” enough?
    Many thanks,
    Le.

    Reply
  13. Lori
    Lori says:

    Other than oatmeal and smoothies, are there any simple recipes to get my mom to give my dad coconut oil? She has her own health issues and taking care of my dad can be really tough on her.

    Reply
    • John Schmid
      John Schmid says:

      Hi Lori,

      We have shared several recipes here (https://best-alzheimers-products.com/recipes-for-alzheimers.html). We look for good ones that contain coconut oil, turmeric, olive oil, and some of the other foods and spices that are suspected of protecting the brain. Coconut oil is good oil for frying – I fry my eggs in coconut oil and sprinkle them with turmeric powder. Almost anywhere you would use any oil in cooking, whether you are frying, baking, or whatever, you can substitute coconut oil. I can eat coconut oil from a spoon; many of us enjoy the taste. If your dad would do that it would make things very easy. Recommend to your mom that she start slow, but try to work up to a . Coconut oil can cause indigestion if one is not used to it in his or her diet. Then work up to 3 – 4 teaspoons per day.

      Be sure to buy virgin, unrefined coconut oil.

      We are always looking for good recipes. Does anyone have some favorites that incorporate coconut oil or some of the other ingredients we are suggesting? Share them here and I will get them published on the blog.

      Kind regards,

      John

      Reply
      • Kay Rawson
        Kay Rawson says:

        Date energy balls, made with dates, almond butter, coconut oil, raw cocoa powder and crushed almonds. Delicious

        Reply
    • Linda L Stradley
      Linda L Stradley says:

      On toast, instead of butter; melted (in a small pan on top of the stove, NOT microvaved—the radiation is detrimental to ALL food products) and pored over dry popped popcorn, coconut oil capsules, even. I get the capsules from Creative Bioscience, and the coconut oil is cold-pressed and unrefined. I even chew them; they taste creamy to me.

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] This is a fun do-together recipe. Mixing the spices into the ground meat—by hand—and rolling out the meatballs provides wonderful sensory feedback for a person with dementia. Almost all of the spices in this dish are thought to provide protection to the brain. I recommend frying in coconut oil. […]

  2. […] Can Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s Disease? ON FEBRUARY 27, 2016 […]

  3. […] February 27, 2016 1 Can Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s Disease? January 29, 2016 1 […]

  4. […] February 27, 2016 0 Can Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s Disease? January 29, 2016 0 […]

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