Dr. Leslie Norins, CEO of MCI911.com, asserts that coconut oil is overlooked as a therapy for seniors dealing with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). He referred to a column by health writer Jane Brody in “Science Times,” a weekly section of the New York Times. In it, Brody discounts coconut oil as a treatment saying it contains fatty acids that some cardiac experts feel are bad for the heart. Brody reported that a nutrition and cardiovascular disease specialist at Harvard’s School of Public Health told her that he “. . . could find nothing in the scientific literature to support advertising claims that coconut oil has some beneficial effects.”
Not so, says Norins. He expressed his complaint in his article Coconut Oil’s Benefits to Alzheimer’s Ignored in N.Y. Times Attack. He wrote:
“Ms. Brody and these heart experts should come out of their silos,” says Dr. Norins. The heart is not the only important organ in the body; the brain is critical too.” Yet the word “brain” does not appear once in the Brody column or the Sacks editorial.” Why is this omission important? Dr. Norins says a growing number of reports in reputable scientific journals suggest that coconut oil, and particularly certain medium-chain triglycerides it contains, seems to aid cognition in many patients with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease.
“Further, researchers have reported, “that long-term consumption of moderate amounts of saturated fats, in the form of MCT, does not have adverse effects on [cardiovascular disease] risk factors.” In fact, they found it was about the same as olive oil.
Dr. Norins added, “If you are already 70 or 80 years old, and you don’t have heart disease, I doubt you are too worried about developing it from some coconut oil. But almost everyone I’ve met in those age groups is worried about mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. They are grateful for any tip that might alleviate these disasters.”
Also, Norins says, “We are making available a helpful sampling of references on the potential of coconut oil, especially its MCT (C-6 and C-8), to aid MCI and Alzheimer’s disease.” See below for those references.
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- Caminiti SP, Ballarini T, Sala A, et al. FDG-PET and CSF biomarker accuracy in prediction of conversion to different dementias in a large multicentre MCI cohort. Neuroimage Clin.2018;18:167-177. DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2018.01.019.
- de la Monte SM, Wands JR. Alzheimer’s disease is type 3 diabetes – evidence reviewed. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2008;2(6):1101-1113. DOI: 10.1177/193229680800200619.
- Xu W, Caracciolo B, Wang H-X, et al. Accelerated progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia in people with diabetes. Diabetes.2010;59(11):2928-2935. DOI: 10.2337/db10-0539.
- Feinman RD, Pogozelski WK, Astrup A, et al. Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: critical review and evidence base. Nutrition.2015;31(1):1-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.06.011.
- Owen OE, Morgan AP, Kemp HG, et al. Brain metabolism during fasting.J Clin Invest. 1967;46(10):1589-1595. DOI: 10.1172/JCI105650.
- Cunnane SC, Courschesne-Loyer A, Vandenberghe C, et al. Can ketones help rescue brain fuel supply in later life? Implications for cognitive health during aging and the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Front Mol Neurosci.2016;9:53. DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2016.00053.
- Cunnane SC, Menard CR, Likhodil SS, et al. Carbon recycling into de novo lipogenesis is a major pathway in neonatal metabolism of linoleate and α-linolenate. Prostaglandins Leuko Essent Fatty Acids. 1999;60(5-6):387-392. DOI: 10.1016/s0952-3278(99)80018-0.
- USDA Food Database. USDA website. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov.
- Bergen SS, Hashim SA, TB Van Itallie TB. Hyperketonemia induced in man by medium-chain triglyceride. Diabetes.1966;15(10):723-725. DOI: 10.2337/diab.15.10.723.
- Castellano C-A, Nugent S, Paquet N, et al. Lower brain 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake but normal 11C-acetoacetate metabolism in mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia. J Alzheimers Dis.2015;43(4):1343-1353. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-141074.
- Fortier M, Cunnane SC, et al. A ketogenic drink improves brain energy and some measures of cognition in MCI. Alzheimers Dement.2019;15(5):625-634. DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.12.017.
- Neth BJ, Mintz A, Whitlow C, et al. Modified ketogenic diet is associated with improved cerebrospinal fluid biomarker profile, cerebral perfusion, and cerebral ketone body uptake in older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease: a pilot study. Neurobiol Aging.2020;86:54-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.09.015.
- Newport MT, ed. The Complete Book of Ketones: A Practical Guide for Ketogenic Diets and Ketone Supplements.Nashville, TN: Turner Publishing Company; 2019.
- Nonaka Y, et al. Lauric acid stimulates ketone body production in the KT-5 astrolyte cell line. J Oleo Sci.2016;65(8):693-699. DOI: 10.5650/jos.ess16069.
- Chatterjee P, Fernando M, Fernando B, et al. Potential of coconut oil and medium chain triglycerides in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Mech Ageing Dev.2020;186:111209. DOI: 10.1016/j.mad.2020.111209.
- Mattson MP, Moehl K, Ghena N, et al. Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity and brain health. Nat Rev Neurosci.2018;19:81-94. DOI: 10.1038/nrn.2017.156.