Thank you Dr. Wilson for the very informative article.
Coconut oil has received some wonderful praise lately because it is helping some people with brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, multiple sclerosis or MS, Huntington’s disease, brittle type 1 diabetes and perhaps others, as well. This article discusses how this works.
1. Medium chain triglycerides or MCTs. People with brain diseases may not utilize glucose well. This can cause their brain cells to starve to death. This is a type of diabetes of the brain, which may or may not correlate with diabetes in the rest of the body. It seems to be caused by low insulin levels in the brain. Insulin is produced in the brain itself, normally.
Coconut oil can provide these people with an alternative “fuel” that can prevent cell death and restore some brain functioning. It does this in an interesting way. Instead of burning glucose, eating coconut oil allows the brain to survive on ketone bodies instead of glucose.
Ketone bodies. Most fats must be slowly digested by being mixed with bile, which then breaks them down into smaller fatty acids. Medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil, however, are absorbed through the intestinal wall and go directly to the liver. There they are converted to ketone bodies or ketoacids, and released into the blood stream in this form. The brain, which normally burns sugar, can also apparently burn ketone bodies directly for fuel without the need for insulin, which may be in short supply in people with brain diseases.
If a person is on a nutritional balancing program, they should not have the problem of low insulin in the brain, so they should not need an alternative fuel for the brain. This is a research area, however, and I will advise in this article if there are any changes in this hypothesis.
2. Lauric acid. This chemical found in coconut oil has anti-viral and other anti-infection properties. It is possible that some people with brain diseases have subtle but active viral illnesses. The lauric acid in coconut oil may reduce their viral load, and this enables them to function better.
3. Saturated fat. Coconut oil contains saturated fat. Fast oxidizers, in particular, need fats and do best on saturated fats, at times. It is possible that eating up to 4 tablespoons daily of coconut oil provides them with fats they need to help balance their body chemistry.
In addition, the high fat content may help the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
4. Other benefits for the thyroid gland, blood sugar, and weight control. The same medium chain triglycerides may assist with these body functions.
If you are suffering from any of the brain diseases listed earlier in this article and wish to try some coconut oil (about 2-4 tablespoons daily, starting with a little less and increasing over a week or two), that is fine. However, if it does not help, do not continue it. Instead, I suggest a complete nutritional balancing program.