Is coconut oil the answer to the Alzheimer’s question?
A study is looking into the possibility of preventing, controlling cognitive impairment
October 15, 2013 — Deron Hamel
Coconut oil is the latest natural remedy researchers are giving serious consideration to in effort to prevent and control Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
While there’s yet to be published clinical evidence attributing coconut oil to preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease, a five-year U.S. study examining the substance’s effects on 65 people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment is expected to be released next year.
There is also anecdotal evidence supporting coconut oil’s positive effect on people with cognitive impairment, including the husband of Dr. Mary Newport, the researcher leading the study.
Newport, a doctor who heads a neonatology ward in Tampa, Florida, began including four teaspoons of coconut oil into her husband’s diet each day.
Then she began noticing improvements in her husband’s condition.
“Before the coconut oil, he could not tie his shoes,” Newport said in an interview with CTV News, adding her husband also had gait issues.
“That improved. He walked normally and he was able to start running again. He was able to start reading again, his conversation improved dramatically and then over several months we saw improvements in his memory.”
Newport says before she started giving her husband coconut oil he was not responding to his medications.
Some experts believe the key to using coconut oil as a treatment for cognitive impairment might be molecules called ketones. Ketones are produced when fat is turned into energy.
An estimated 500,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. Cognitive impairment also affects the majority of long-term care home residents.
While the Alzheimer Society of Canada underscores that there is yet to be conclusive evidence pointing to the impact of coconut oil on people with cognitive impairment, studies like this are important to finding a cure.
“(T)he interest in coconut oil reinforces the value we place on research,” the society’s website says. “It’s our best hope of finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and improving the quality of life and care for those affected.”
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