According a recent book, coconut oil reduces the symptoms of Alzheimer's. Is this to good to be true? We think it is, but let's look at the science that attempts to explain how coconut oil might improve the symptoms of Alzheimer's.
It has been proposed that ketones may help treat various neurological diseases. Ketones are the byproducts of the breakdown of fat in the body. Small amounts are normal, but in cases of severe fasts, uncontrolled diabetes or a very low carbohydrate diet abnormal amounts of ketones accumulate in the blood. This is a very serious medical condition and requires urgent and vigorous treatment.
So what does this have to with Alzheimer's disease? Dr. Mary Newport, a pediatrician, wrote a book about improving Alzheimer's symptoms with coconut oil and another medium chain triglyceride MCT. The book is based on her research to improve the condition of her husband whose health was rapidly declining. Her theory, based upon her library research, was that coconut oil would raise the level of ketones in his body. Ketones in turn were a possible way to reverse or improve his neurological condition.
Dr. Newport began feeding her husband coconut oil and MCT. She reported that this improved his memory, improved his depression and reduced his walking problems. A followup MRI showed that his brain had stopped shrinking. Was it the coconut oil?
We love personal reports like this and we are impressed by the improvement in her husband's condition. Better yet the treatment did not require drugs that were either expensive or having the possibility of serious side effects. Unfortunately it will take a number of controlled studies to prove whether there is some substance in the treatment.
Of course you can try it on a family member or on yourself if you are so inclined. Otherwise we recommend that you follow the advice of the Harry Nilsson song. "Put The Lime in The Coconut" drink it all up, and call the doctor in the morning.