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Coconut Oil For Alzheimer | Dementia

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Coconut Oil For Alzheimer | Dementia

Alzheimer's disease overview:

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain and is characterized by the gradual loss of cognitive and neurological abilities.

The disease is progressive. Over time, it slowly destroys memory, thinking and social skills, and limits the patient’s ability to conduct a basic conversation. Eventually, patients lose the ability to conduct the simplest daily tasks.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, some of these complications can affect other physical functions of the body, such as swallowing, balance, and bladder control. Additional serious health problems such as dehydration, malnutrition, and inhaling food or liquid into the lungs can occur, resulting in death. Someone with Alzheimer’s can get pneumonia or other various infections easily. They can also fall more easily and have body fractures more frequently.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among adults and accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases.

In most people, AD symptoms occur in the mid-60s, but this disease is not considered a normal part of aging. In some rare cases, the symptoms can affect people between the ages of 30 and 60. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

A person with Alzheimer’s can lead a normal life for four to eight years after being diagnosed. In the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, severe loss of brain function can lead to various complications for patients. However, depending on other factors, patients can live normal lives can for up to twenty years.

What causes Alzheimer’s disease: the coconut perspective

Glucose is the primary source of energy and nutrition for the brain. It helps it preserve its main functions such as thinking, memory, and learning.

Accordingly, the brain should always have a sufficient supply of glucose because the neurons need a lot of energy to function. The brain uses up about “20% of our daily energy requirements” although it consists of only 2% of the body’s weight.

Within this process, insulin plays a very important role as it helps transport the glucose from the bloodstream into the muscles, brain, organs, and other tissues. As such, it helps regulate the various cognitive functions, particularly memory.

One of the possible causes of Alzheimer is that the brain becomes unable to properly absorb glucose from the bloodstream to use it for nutrition. As a result, brain cells start starving and end up dying, causing the brain’s functions to deteriorate. 

This is due to insulin resistance which occurs when a cell’s ability to respond to insulin decreases. This defect in insulin signaling may contribute to neurodegenerative disorders and may damage the cognitive system and lead to dementia.

The study, “Evidence for brain glucose dysregulation in Alzheimer’s disease," demonstrated that abnormalities in brain glucose homeostasis are intrinsic to Alzheimer’s disease development. These abnormalities can begin several years before the onset of clinical symptoms

Why coconut oil helps for Alzheimer:

Coconut oil can help treat Alzheimer’s because it is made up of medium-chain fatty acids that are quickly digested by the body to produce ketones. The brain can use these ketones as an alternative source of energy and nutrition to preserve its functions when glucose is not available, or if the brain cannot metabolize glucose effectively.

Thus, coconut oil helps relieve Alzheimer’s symptoms and can even treat Alzheimer’s disease because it provides the body with an excellent supply of ketones that can use in the absence of glucose.

One of these ketones is called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Studies show that BHB is a more efficient energy source than glucose because it can provide the brain with “more energy per unit of oxygen used.”

Coconut oil can also help treat Alzheimer’s because it is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants help maintain brain health and help improve people’s Alzheimer’s symptoms.

How coconut oil works for Alzheimer:

Coconut oil helps treat or prevent Alzheimer’s because it is an excellent source of ketones. Ketones are molecules that the body produces by burning fat for energy.  Both the body and the brain depend on glucose for energy. If glucose is not available, the body and the brain turn to ketones for their energy needs. 

Ketones are produced when coconut oil is digested in the body because a large proportion of coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). MCFAs are between 6 to 12 carbons long and are different from all other fats people typically consume. Usually, people consume foods that consist of long-chain fatty acids. 

Due to their unique composition, the body metabolizes the MCFAs in coconut oil more rapidly than other fatty acids, which take longer to be digested. In contrast, the MCFAS in coconut oil bypass the digestive process and are directly sent to the liver to be used as energy. Ketones also cross the brain-blood barrier quickly and don’t need insulin to transport them to brain cells that need them.

Coconut can also help treat Alzheimer’s because it contains antioxidants. The antioxidants in coconut oil can help treat Alzheimer’s by neutralizing or stabilizing reactive oxygen molecules that damage DNA, proteins, and lipids known as free radicals. The antioxidants in coconut oil prevent free radicals from damaging brain cells, preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Coconut for Alzheimer: composition

Below is the nutritional value of 100 g of fresh, raw coconut. 

Energy

354 Kcal

Macronutrients

Nutrient Value

Carbohydrates

(Of which is fiber)

15.23 g

9g

Protein

3.3 g

Fat

33.49g

Vitamins

Folate

26 µg

Niacin

0.540 mg

Pantothenic acid

0.300 mg

Pyridoxine

0.054 mg

Riboflavin

0.020 mg

Thiamin

0.066 mg

Vitamin C

3.3 mg

Vitamin E

0.24 mg

Vitamin K

0.2 µg

Electrolytes

Calcium

14 mg

Copper

0.435 mg

Iron

2.43 mg

Magnesium

32 mg

Manganese

1.500 mg

Phosphorus

113 mg

Selenium

10.1 µg

Zinc

1. 10 mg

Phyto-nutrients        

Phytosterols

47 mg

How to take coconut oil for Alzheimer’s disease: form and dose

Studies show that 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut per day can positively affect people with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers performing a study to test the cognitive performance of Alzheimer patients administered approximately 2.7 tablespoons of coconut oil per day and observed an improvement in the patients’ cognitive abilities.

According to Dr. Mary Newport, a neonatologist who used coconut oil to treat her husband’s Alzheimer’s, patients can start taking one teaspoon of coconut oil with each meal. Patients or caregivers can increase the amount of coconut oil gradually, keeping potential side effects in mind.

Dr. Newport advises patients to “try to get as much as 3 tablespoons per meal and two tablespoons at bedtime.”

Coconut oil is mostly considered safe when taken orally. However, it is a type of fat that may increase cholesterol levels, so people should consume it in moderation.

When coconut oil is used medicinally for a short time: people can take up to 10 ml of oil, two to three times per day, for 12 weeks.

Keep in mind the following conversions when taking coconut oil:

- 1 tablespoon = 15 milliliter = 3 teaspoons

- 1/3 tablespoon = 5 milliliters = 1 teaspoon

The various types of coconut oil are:

  1. Refined coconut: Coconut oil is extracted after the coconut is baked. The oil is bleached, and all its impurities are removed. Refined coconut oil sometimes contains partially hydrogenated fats that may cause heart problems. 
  2. Unrefined coconut oil: Unrefined coconut oil or virgin coconut oil is extracted directly from fresh coconuts. People consider it to be a healthier choice because of its many benefits. 

Note: if you want to eat coconut oil or use it when cooking, try to always use unrefined, virgin coconut oil. 

Coconut benefits:

Coconut is considered a miracle product because of its nutritional and chemical composition. It is believed to have several health benefits and can help cure several diseases and medical conditions. It also has great nutritional value and can be used for beauty and cosmetic purposes. Some of its benefits include: 

1.  Treating medical conditions:

Apart from improving or preventing Alzheimer’s symptoms, coconut oil can help: 

 

-  Reduce irritation and inflammation: Coconut oil may help people cope with heat rashes, inflammation, skin irritations, and an upset stomach. Coconut oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties because of its unique fatty acid composition, which helps treat inflammation. It also contains a lot of antioxidants which help reduce skin irritations and heat rashes.

 

- Arthritis: Coconut oil treats arthritis because it has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce joint inflammation. It also contains antioxidants called polyphenols that reduce inflammation. Some scientists believe that arthritis is caused by microbes that attack the joints. Coconut oil may be able to help treat this because it has antimicrobial potential.

 

- Reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels: Coconut fiber can also help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It can also help regulate bowel movements and strengthen the immune system due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as its fiber content. 

 

- Boost metabolism: Coconut can be consumed as food to provide additional energy and boost metabolism. It also contains many vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin C that play important roles in the body and maintain overall health.

 

-  Prevent dehydration: Coconut water is also a great way to prevent or treat dehydration due to its natural composition of electrolytes.

 

Coconut products may also be beneficial for other conditions including breast cancer, clogged arteries, diarrhea, head lice, newborn weight gain, obesity, psoriasis, diabetes, fatigue, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and thyroid conditions. However, more scientific research and evidence is still needed to determine the effect of coconut consumption on these diseases. 

2. Cosmetics and beauty:

Coconut products, such as coconut oil and milk, possess various properties that can help heal and improve skin and hair quality. People heavily rely on these products in the cosmetic and beauty industry: 

 

- Skincare: Coconut products are used to moisturize, nourish, and cleanse the skin. They can be used as sunscreen and can also treat some skin disorders. The coconut contains antioxidants that reduce wrinkles and skin irritation.

 

- Haircare: Coconut products have been used for hair treatments for hundreds of years. They are used in hair masks and added to homemade hair products because coconut strengthens the hair and promotes hair growth. It can also get rid of dandruff. 

3. Nutritional value:

Coconut milk can be used as an alternative for dairy milk products for people with lactose intolerance because of its enjoyable taste and great nutritional value. However, since it is much higher in fat and calories, people should consume a smaller serving size than what is usually recommended for regular milk.

100 grams of coconut milk contains 230 calories. It consists of 24% fat and contains 21 grams of saturated fat, 5.5 grams of carbohydrates (of which 2.2 grams is fiber), and 2.3 grams of protein. It is also an important source of manganese, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.

Coconut products in all of their forms can be used for cooking. Due to their nutritional value and flavor, many coconut products can also be consumed as is or added to several dishes and baked goods. 

4. Physical therapy and relaxation:

 

- Massage oil: Coconut oil can be used for messages to calm the mind. A coconut oil massage can help people get a good night of sleep. They can opt for a full body massage or apply the oil to their scalp, ear, and nostrils.

 

- Aromatherapy: Coconut oil or butter can be used for aromatherapy and to massage the hair and skin. Coconut oil or coconut butter can be used separately, or they can be mixed, creating an aromatic butter with a unique coconut aroma.

Coconut oil for Alzheimer’s disease: precautions

The following groups of people should use coconut oil with caution:

- Individuals with high cholesterol levels: individuals with high cholesterol levels should be careful of how much coconut oil they consume. There are concerns that coconut oil may increase the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). However, most current evidence shows it has almost no effect on LDL cholesterol levels and only increases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

- People who have coconut allergies: some people are allergic to coconut oil. If you believe you are allergic to coconut, check with a healthcare professional to arrange a test and avoid all coconut products and foods to prevent an allergic reaction.

For safety purposes, all coconut products should be consumed in moderate amounts. The effects of excessive coconut oil consumption are not well studied and should be avoided.

Coconut oil for Alzheimer's disease: side effects

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