This week I return to my focus on cancer prevention (along with prevention against other diseases like diabetes) – a series inspired by editing HazMat Management magazine for more than 21 years, and my awareness of toxins that enter our bodies through environmental exposure, the foods we eat, and the dangerous products we unwittingly use for personal care or home cleaning.
My focus this week is going to be on coconut oil, the newly discovered benefits of which (including fighting Alzheimer’s disease) will (pun intended) “blow your mind.”
First a quick update on a couple of health related fronts. This series follows my progress in personally being the guinea pig in an ordinary person’s conversion to healthy living. Each week I’m making at least one significant change in my diet and personal environment. The big one this week is coconut oil, but I first wanted to mention almond milk and candles.
After learning a few weeks ago that soy milk and most other soy products are not the healthy substitute for dairy that I had assumed, I switched over to almond milk. I have to say that I really don’t notice the difference much, and really enjoy almond milk on my granola cereal. I will presently be switching away from granola cereal toward having a bright green shake for breakfast, but I’ll get into detail on that in a later post. Almond milk is great, but be careful to choose the better variety in the refrigerated section of your grocery story over the kind sold in large polycoat drink boxes. Better still, choose the kind sold in the health food section of your grocery store, or even a health food store. (Note: when I purchase an industrial blender in the next few weeks I will begin making my own almond milk, and will write about that at that time.)
The other item I wanted to quickly mention is candles. Avoid buying candles, especially the inexpensive kind sold in places like Winners and Home Sense, or any store where you don’t know who made them and how. The reason? Many candles are made with inexpensive wicks form China (and elsewhere) that are loaded with lead. Burning candles indoors is one of our greatest exposures to lead in the environment. Instead, buy only beeswax candles, preferably from local suppliers and craftspeople. These are generally safe. The best substitute for regular candles is the kind I bought in quantity a few weeks ago at the Home Depot: battery-operated candles (you know, the thick round kind) that are programmed to clicker just like a real candle. The ones I bought have a mild vanilla scent and are indistinguishable from regular candles, and there’s no burning involved. I even bought two that work as wall sconces. Over time you’ll save a lot of money with these, and be able to safely create a charming mood in your home.
Now, on to coconut oil.
Below I provide a link to a CBN News segment entitled “Coconut Oil Touted as Alzheimer’s Remedy.” This is one of the most interesting health-related news items I’ve come across in some time.
In this segment, Dr. Mary Newport describes her husband Steve’s positive treatment for Alzheimer’s disease using coconut oil.
Newport describes Alzheimer’s as being a kind of “diabetes of the brain” in which insulin problems prevent brain cells from accepting glucose, their primary fuel. However, an alternative brain fuel exists in the form of “ketones”; ketones are metabolized in the liver after you eat medium-chain triglycerides, which happen to be found in pure coconut oil.
Newport added coconut oil to her husband Steve’s diet, and discovered he made stunning improvements in just two weeks, managing (for instance) to complete a “clock” test (a common Alzheimer’s patient exercise that involves drawing a clock face) that he was unable to do before.. Two to three months later he was able to read and function almost like normal.
The experience inspired Newport to write a book: “Alzheimer’s Disease: What if there was a cure?”
The CBN segment goes on to describe a ketone ester that’s much more intense than coconut oil that’s been developed by Dr. Kieran Clarke of Oxford University, who complains that she needs millions of dollars in funding to mass produce the material, which is not considered profitable. (It’s difficult to imagine she won’t get more money after the viral circulation of the CBN news segment, given the number of people hoping for a cure to Alzheimer’s.)
The show producers warn consumers that it’s important to buy the “non-hydrogenated” version of coconut oil, since the hydrogenated variety is the same as dangerous trans fat. (I bought a 454 g jar of pure organic coconut oil at a health food store for $21 and i’m sure you could get more for less by shopping around or ordering online.)
Years ago coconut oil was mistakenly criticized for raising cholesterol, but it turns out that was before it was understood there are two kinds of cholesterol. Coconut oil doesn’t raise the “bad” LDL cholesterol but rather the “good” HDL cholesterol. Until now, this mistaken assumption has not been corrected in the general media.
CBN News describes how coconut oil can help reduce symptoms and possibly cure effects not only of Alzheimer’s disease but also Parkinson’s disease, ALS, epilepsy, dementia, schizophrenia and autism. It’s a natural antibiotic and can be used on the skin as a superior replacement for most skin creams.
Here are the most useful links related to this story, and you can also scroll down for a bit more information.
The CBN program on coconut oil can be viewed here:
You can read an interesting article about “160 uses for coconut oil” here:
I feel compelled to reproduce the following quote from the CBN website in which a professor of nutrition offers some important information on the science of how glucose and ketones fuel brain cells. It turns out a person (and especially a diabetic) wouldn’t want to ramp up their consumption of coconut oil while eating a high carbohydrate diet. Here’s the quote:
“As a professor of nutrition who teaches metabolism I’d like to suggest a few things. 1) It’s interesting and promising to see cases in which the production of ketone bodies appears to reduce some symptoms of Alzheimer’s, however it is unlikely that this is a due to a direct effect of lack of insulin to help get glucose into brain cells. Glucose gets into brain cells using a glucose transporter — but unlike many other cell types, the glucose transporter in brain cells is not dependent upon insulin, as it is in muscle and adipose tissue. This does not mean that ketone bodies are not important, it just means that’s not the mechanism. The truth is that we really don’t know why the brain cells are not taking up and using glucose for energy in a normal way — it could be the person is not making sufficient transporters for glucose, or not converting glucose to energy once glucose is in the cell. Whatever the reason for the lack of ability to use glucose, ketone bodies can overcome this problem as the brain can use them without glucose transporters, and metabolize them by a different pathway than glucose (which uses glycolysis as the first part of metabolism) whereas fatty acids use beta oxidation as the first part of metabolism. 2) Although coconut oil, which contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which are absorbed differently than long chain triglycerides (LCT) — the fatty acids from MCT go directly through the portal vein to the liver whereas the MCT are absorbed and made into triglycerides in the intestinal cells and travel in the lymph in chylomicrons — the liver (which is the organ that makes ketones) — will not make a lot of ketones if glucose levels are high. Thus, for this to work, one would also have to be on a low carbohydrate diet. On a low carbohydrate diet stored triglycerides in fat break down, go to the liver and form LOTS of ketone bodies — much more than could be achieved with a few tablespoons of coconut oil. Blood glucose levels are low, and ketone bodies are high, and the brain uses ketone bodies. 3) What is NOT desirable is to stay on a high carbohydrate diet and attempt to form ketone bodies at the same time. That is what can happen during diabetes when blood glucose is high, and glucose can’t get out of the blood into muscle cells or fat cells (ineffective insulin), the cells get the signal that they are starving because they don’t have glucose and they start breaking down triglycerides for energy and one has high glucose and high ketones at the same time. This is not a normal physiological condition and can lead to undesirable consequences. Bottom line is: diabetics with ineffective insulin should not attempt to induce ketosis and otherwise “normal” individuals should not attempt to induce ketosis by taking significant amounts of MCT without accompanying the MCT with a ketogenic, low carbohydrate diet. Sorry for being so long winded but I really felt a professional obligation to write.”
Lastly, here’s a detailed summary of the CBN program that goes into greater detail than I have above, from the CBN News website. (Please forward all this information to anyone you know who has Alzheimer’s disease or is especially at risk for it.):
Sources of information used in the creation of this edition of A Closer Look include the book Alzheimer’s disease: What If There Was a Cure? The Story of Ketones by Mary T. Newport, MD (Copyright © 2011; Published by Basic Health Publications, October 7, 2011), Dr. Mary Newport’s blog: Coconut Oil and Ketones, and the CBN News story “Coconut Oil” by medical reporter Lorie Johnson that first aired on January 5, 2012.
About the Author
Since 1983, Mary T. Newport, M.D., has provided care to newborns. She is currently the founding director of the newborn intensive care unit at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida. However, since 2000, she has been the primary caregiver to her beloved husband, Steve, who first showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease while in his early 50s. Dr. Newport researched ways to keep him functional for as long as possible. She discovered research showing that medium-chain fatty acids, which act as an alternative fuel in the insulin-deficient Alzheimer’s brain, can sometimes reverse symptoms or at least stabilize the disease. Steve responded amazingly well to the daily doses of coconut oil and MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil Dr. Newport served him with every meal—a regimen he continues to follow to this day in order to maintain his considerable improvements. Using her husband’s experience as the case study, in July 2008, Dr. Newport wrote an article, “What If There Was a Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and No One Knew?” which was circulated around the world and became the subject of a lecture she presented at the 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece. You can learn more about Dr. Newport and her reasons for becoming an ardent advocate for ketone ester research on her blog: Coconut Oil and Ketones.
Note: Before beginning any new health regimen, it is important to consult your family physician or health care professional first. The information given in this issue of A Closer Look is for your consideration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before starting or stopping any exercise routine or nutritional supplementation, please consult your family physician or health care professional about any contraindications that would make doing so inadvisable.
The opinions presented here or on The 700 Club do not necessarily represent the views of CBN.
E290 Copyright 2012 by The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., 977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463.
A CLOSER LOOK
Fight Alzheimer’s Disease With Coconut Oil
Five million people have Alzheimer’s disease and that number is expected to increase exponentially as baby boomers enter their golden years. If you have a loved one with this dreaded disease you should know that, in some people, coconut oil slows the progression of Alzheimer’s and may also prevent it. One of those people is Steve Newport. His Alzheimer’s has slowed considerably. Some of his symptoms even reversed, thanks to the unlikely treatment prescribed by his wife, Dr. Mary Newport, a physician who runs a neonatology ward at a Tampa, Florida, hospital.
Dr. Mary Newport became determined to help her husband after the severity of his disease was revealed upon taking an Alzheimer’s test in which the person being tested is asked to draw the face of a clock. “He drew circles and several numbers just in a very random pattern, didn’t really look anything like a clock,” she said. “And the doctor pulled me over to the side and said, ‘You know, he’s actually on the verge of severe Alzheimer’s at this point, he’s beyond moderate.’ So that was very, very devastating news.”
WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
Dr. Newport began learning everything she could about her husband’s disease. “It appears to be a type of diabetes of the brain and it’s a process that starts happening at least 10 or 20 years before you start having symptoms and it’s very similar to type 1 or type 2 diabetes in that you develop a problem with insulin.” In this case, insulin problems prevent brain cells from accepting glucose, their primary fuel. Without it, they eventually die. But there is an alternative fuel: ketones, which cells easily accept. Ketones are metabolized in the liver after you eat medium-chain triglycerides, like those found in coconut oil.
So Dr. Newport added coconut oil to the diet of her husband, Steve. Just two weeks later, he took the clock test again and demonstrated stunning improvement. Newport said, “I thought at the time, was it just good luck? Was it a lot of prayer? Was it the coconut oil? And I thought, well, we’re going to keep the coconut oil going,” she said.
Three weeks later Steve took the clock test a third time and continued to perform better on it. And it wasn’t just intellectually, he also improved emotionally and physically. “He was not able to run; he was able to run again,” she recalled. “He could not read for about a year and a half, but after two or three months, he was able to read. Instead of being very sluggish, not talking very much in the morning, he would come out in the morning with energy, talkative and joking, and he could find his water and his utensils.” Steve’s success is documented in a book called Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure? The Story of Ketones by Mary T. Newport, MD (Copyright © 2011; Published by Basic Health Publications, October 7, 2011).
ANOTHER KETONE SOURCE?
And while coconut oil is encouraging in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, there’s something even more powerful available—but at a price. A team of biochemists led by Professor Kieran Clarke at England’s Oxford University have developed a ketone ester that packs a punch ten times greater than coconut oil. “It reaches quite considerably higher levels,” said Clarke, “and you can get whatever levels you want depending on how much you drink.” The problem is, they need millions of dollars to mass-produce it. “It’s very expensive. And so we can’t make very much of it ourselves,” said Clarke. “And what we would like is funding so we could actually scale up and make it. But of course there’s no real profit in manufacturing stuff like that, and so people really don’t want to fund that sort of thing.”
So until a high-potency ketone ester is available to the general public, coconut oil is still a good ketone source. Just make sure it’s pure, in other words, non-hydrogenated. Avoid any hydrogenated oil, including hydrogenated coconut oil, because hydrogenated oils are the same thing as dangerous trans fats. Look on the list of ingredients for the word “hydrogenated.”
INCREASE YOUR GOOD CHOLESTEROL WITH COCONUT OIL
Some people are afraid to eat coconut oil because they think it’s bad for your heart. But it’s actually very healthy. Dr. Beverly Teter, lipid biochemist, is a researcher at the University of Maryland who specializes in the area of dietary fat. She says years ago coconut oil was criticized for raising cholesterol. But scientists have since learned there are two kinds of cholesterol: LDL, the bad kind, and HDL, which is very good for you, and is the kind coconut oil raises. “So they put out the message that it increased serum cholesterol,” explained Dr. Teter, “but the truth of the matter is, it was helping the profile of the serum cholesterol. That never has been corrected in the public press, and I think that’s the reason people have misconceptions about it.”
BEYOND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Not only does coconut oil improve cholesterol levels, but Dr. Teter says the way it helps the brains of some Alzheimer’s patients can be extended to people with Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), epilepsy, dementia, and even schizophrenia and autism.
COCONUT OIL—A NATURAL ANTIBIOTIC
Coconut oil is a natural antibiotic but without the negative side effects. Dr. Teter says because of that, it can also help defend against viruses like HIV and herpes viruses. “The coconut oil tends to keep the bacteria down so that if you’re assaulted with a virus your immune system can concentrate on the virus. It doesn’t have to concentrate on 27 other bacteria that day,” she explained.
HAVE OTHERS EXPERIENCED IMPROVEMENTS?
Since the St. Petersburg Times published Dr. Newport’s article “What If There Was a Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and No One Knew?” on October 29, 2008, she has received many reports from caregivers about their loved ones, and has also read on various forums and online message boards about people who have had dramatic improvements like Steve. They include such improvements as: better social interaction, better recognition of loved ones, improved conversation, resumption of activities, better appetite, better sleep, having more energy and being more talkative. Many others experience more subtle improvement or very gradual improvement that turns into very significant improvement over several months. Others feel they see no change, but their loved one has at least stabilized and not worsened. Several people have e- mailed Dr. Newport telling her that until they stopped taking the coconut oil, they did not realize how much the oil was helping them. Dr. Newport recommends that caretakers keep a journal, so that they can decide months down the road if there has been improvement.
She has also heard from some people with diseases other than Alzheimer’s who believe they have seen some improvements, including other forms of dementia (FTD, CBD), Parkinson’s, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s), Huntington’s, MS, bipolar disease, even glaucoma and macular degeneration (which affect neurons).
Dr. Newport has received many thank-you letters from people whose loved ones with Alzheimer’s were helped after they followed Steve’s diet. Dr. Newport explained the overall eating plan she and her husband follow in addition to adding coconut and MCT oils to their daily diet: “We adhere to a ‘whole food’ diet, and avoid processed foods, and reduce carbohydrate intake overall. We eat fish several times a week; poultry, occasional beef, fresh, or fresh frozen, fruits and vegetables; whole grain bread, rice or pasta (relatively small amounts); eggs, whole dairy, goat milk/cheese, coconut oil and coconut milk. For lunch meats we eat ‘all natural’ brands that have no artificial color or preservatives. We buy organic, cage-free, or free-range whenever possible. We do have the occasional treat but overall we stick with this program.” Dr. Newport adds, “Using coconut oil capsules is not an efficient way to give the oil since the capsules are relatively expensive and contain only 1 gram of oil per capsule, whereas the oil is 14 grams per tablespoon.”
STEVE’S OTHER SUPPLEMENTS
In addition to taking coconut/MCT oil, Steve also takes a combination of fish oil and cod liver oil (rich in vitamins A and D). It’s been shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease as a group are deficient in DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) and DHA is a large component of the brain and crucial to its normal functioning. Dr. Newport referred to a study that showed that people with Alzheimer’s may be deficient in an enzyme in the liver that converts the shorter vegetable form of omega-3 fatty acids found in soybean and flax oils to the DHA and EPA forms of omega-3 fatty acids needed by the brain and other organs. Therefore she believes that it is important to include a marine source of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. She recommends an algae form marketed to pregnant women, available in pharmacies, to those who have a problem taking fish oil. Coconut oil contains some omega-6, but no omega-3 fatty acids.
INCORPORATING COCONUT OIL INTO YOUR DIET
According to Dr. Newport, coconut oil can be substituted for any solid or liquid oil, lard, butter or margarine in baking or cooking on the stove, and can be mixed directly into foods already prepared. Some people take it straight with a spoon, but for most people it may be hard to swallow this way and more pleasant to take with food. When cooking on the stove, coconut oil smokes if heated to greater than 350 degrees F. or medium heat. You can avoid this problem by adding a little olive or peanut oil. Coconut oil can be used at any temperature in the oven when mixed in foods.
Coconut milk is a combination of the oil and the water from the coconut and most of the calories are from the oil. Look for brands with 10 to 13 grams of fat in 2 ounces. Look in the grocery store’s Asian section. Some brands are less expensive but are diluted with water. Coconut cream is mostly coconut milk and sometimes has added sugar. Flaked or grated coconut can be purchased unsweetened or sweetened and is a very good source of coconut oil and fiber and has about 15 grams oil and 3 grams fiber in ¼ cup. Frozen or canned coconut meat usually has a lot of added sugar and not much oil per serving. A fresh coconut can be cut up into pieces and eaten raw. A 2” x 2” piece has about 160 calories with 15 grams of oil and 4 grams of fiber. MCT Oil (medium-chain triglycerides) are part of the coconut oil and can also be purchased in some health food stores or online. This may be useful for people who are on the go and do not have much time to cook. Also, MCT oil is used as energy and not stored as fat, so it may be useful for someone who wants to lose weight, if substituted for some of the other fats in the diet. Coconut water does not usually contain coconut oil, but has other health benefits. The electrolyte composition is similar to human plasma and is useful to prevent or treat dehydration.
The above nutrition and research information along with support information for caretakers, recipes, and so much more are available at Dr. Newport’s website <a href="http://www.coconutketones.com“>www.coconutketones.com