Does Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s?

Does Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s?
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Though there have been more than a thousand papers published on coconut oil in medical journals, there is little evidence it helps with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Those that tend to profit from coconut oil claim it has miraculous powers—curing everything from cancer to jock itch. Perhaps the boldest claim may be as a potential cure for Alzheimer’s, based on a series of anecdotes, and one study. “Study of the ketogenic agent AC-1202.” You can certainly make money selling 20-pound buckets of coconut oil, but even more, selling some kind of patented supplement, which is what this is—a concentrated form of the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil, purported to be the active ingredient.

At first, it looked like it was working. But, by the end of the study, any effect it had had disappeared—though there was one genetic subgroup where it appeared to be working better. But, when that group was properly randomized, even that effect disappeared. So, the only such study ever done on concentrated coconut oil components found little effect.

And, no studies have ever been done whatsoever on Alzheimer’s and coconut oil itself. As the Alzheimer’s Association put it, “there is no scientific evidence that coconut oil helps with Alzheimer’s.” And hey, you know, “The coconut oil promise has been around for more than three years. If the administration of coconut oil was, indeed, beneficial, it would presumably be shouted from every mountaintop.” And, not just the mountains that sell coconut oil.

And that’s all we know so far. Why don’t we know more? There have been over a thousand articles published on coconut oil in the medical literature. The problem is, they’re studies like this. Did you know “Coconut Oil Enhances Tomato Carotenoid Tissue Accumulation Compared to Safflower Oil in the Mongolian Gerbil?” It includes nuggets like this: “The testes of the coconut oil-fed animals…weighed significantly less than those of the safflower oil-fed animals.” Who says coconut oil isn’t effective? How else are you going to shrink the testicles of Mongolian gerbils?

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Chiot’s Run and kattebelletje via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Those that tend to profit from coconut oil claim it has miraculous powers—curing everything from cancer to jock itch. Perhaps the boldest claim may be as a potential cure for Alzheimer’s, based on a series of anecdotes, and one study. “Study of the ketogenic agent AC-1202.” You can certainly make money selling 20-pound buckets of coconut oil, but even more, selling some kind of patented supplement, which is what this is—a concentrated form of the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil, purported to be the active ingredient.

At first, it looked like it was working. But, by the end of the study, any effect it had had disappeared—though there was one genetic subgroup where it appeared to be working better. But, when that group was properly randomized, even that effect disappeared. So, the only such study ever done on concentrated coconut oil components found little effect.

And, no studies have ever been done whatsoever on Alzheimer’s and coconut oil itself. As the Alzheimer’s Association put it, “there is no scientific evidence that coconut oil helps with Alzheimer’s.” And hey, you know, “The coconut oil promise has been around for more than three years. If the administration of coconut oil was, indeed, beneficial, it would presumably be shouted from every mountaintop.” And, not just the mountains that sell coconut oil.

And that’s all we know so far. Why don’t we know more? There have been over a thousand articles published on coconut oil in the medical literature. The problem is, they’re studies like this. Did you know “Coconut Oil Enhances Tomato Carotenoid Tissue Accumulation Compared to Safflower Oil in the Mongolian Gerbil?” It includes nuggets like this: “The testes of the coconut oil-fed animals…weighed significantly less than those of the safflower oil-fed animals.” Who says coconut oil isn’t effective? How else are you going to shrink the testicles of Mongolian gerbils?

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Chiot’s Run and kattebelletje via flickr

Doctor's Note

The “shouted from every mountain top” argument is not entirely convincing. For example, we’ve known for decades that our #1 killer is preventable and reversible (see Resuscitating MedicareOur Number One Killer Can Be Stopped, and China Study on Sudden Cardiac Death). Yet the medical community continues to rely more on drugs and surgery. Why? Well, they likely weren’t taught clinical nutrition in medical school (see Medical School Nutrition Education), or after medical school (see California Medical Association Tries to Kill Nutrition Bill). And, the medical establishment has shown a disturbing inertia, even when presented with convincing evidence (see The Tomato Effect). The difference is that coconut oil doesn’t have the data to back it up. What’s the potential downside of giving coconut oil a try? Find out in my next video: Does Coconut Oil Clog Arteries?

For more context, be sure to check out my associated blog post:  Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?

Update: In summer 2017, I released two new coconut oil videos: Coconut Oil & the Boost in HDL “Good” Cholesterol and What About Coconuts, Coconut Milk & Coconut Oil MCTs? 

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