Ketone bodies, substances found in the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in coconut oil, appear to be the preferred source of brain fuel for diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease patients.
A study by Dr. Richard Veech, senior scientist at the National Institutes of Health, found that ketones can help protect brain cells from both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Ketone Bodies Provide an Alternative Brain Fuel
Coconut oil is one of the few plant-based sources of saturated fats. It contains about 66 percent MCTs.
Your body produces ketone bodies when it converts fat into energy, Dr. Joseph Mercola explains. Here’s how it works: You usually produce bile from your liver in order to break down fat. MCTs skip the bile and go directly to your liver, where it is converted to ketone bodies and fuels your brain.
Glucose is one of your brain’s main fuels for energy. One of the things discovered in the fairly new research on the brain’s glucose uptake is that the brain produces its own insulin to convert glucose in your bloodstream.
Diabetes is the result of your body’s inability to produce insulin for blood sugar regulation. Your brain begins to “starve” when your insulin production decreases due to a low supply of glucose-converted energy.
Diabetics increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 65 percent, though the exact mechanisms are yet to be determined, Dr. Mercola points out. The brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease experience atrophy, which impairs mental function and eventually causes loss of memory, movement, personality, and speech.
Your brain can begin to atrophy from starvation if it becomes insulin-resistant and loses its ability to convert glucose into energy.
Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil and Positive Developments for an Alzheimer’s Patient
After studying Dr. Veech’s research and other studies on ketone bodies, Dr. Mary Newport started giving her husband Steve — an Alzheimer’s patient — extra-virgin coconut oil.
After just five months of taking coconut oil, Dr. Newport shares that her husband’s tremors have subsided, the visual disturbances that prevented him from reading have disappeared, and he has become more social and interested in those around him.
There is no known cure or treatment to reverse the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. But based on Dr. Newport’s case study, coconut oil appears to help.
According to Dr. Newport’s calculations, about two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 milliliters or seven level teaspoons) provides you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCTs, which is indicated as either a preventive measure against, or treatment of degenerative neurological diseases.
People tolerate coconut oil differently, so you may have to start slowly and gradually move toward therapeutic levels.” You can start with one teaspoon — taken with food in the morning to avoid upsetting your stomach,” Dr. Mercola recommends. Gradually add more coconut oil every few days until you are able to tolerate four tablespoons.