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Coconut: Costa Rican Brain Builder?
alzheimers cure
Coconut: Costa Rican Brain Builder?

Close to half of all Americans over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. At this time there is no cure for this type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behaviours, but drug and non-drug treatments may help with both cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Researchers are constantly looking for new treatments to alter the course of the disease and improve the quality of life for people with dementia.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning that it worsens at time marches on, with first signs typically showing in those affected around the age of 65, although those as young as 40 can exhibit the early signs (known as early-onset). There have been many clinical investigations done in efforts to detect early signs, and some have proven quite interesting. In one study, researchers at the University of Florida looked at how the sense of smell relates to cognitive ability. Why? Well, the ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first senses to be affected by cognitive decline. The ability to smell peanut butter through the left nostril was found to be significantly impaired in those displaying signs of Alzheimer’s.

Coconut Oil to the Rescue?

Other investigations have suggested that ketone bodies, an alternative fuel for your brain that your brain creates when digesting coconut oil, might offer profound healing benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease (Dr. Newport’s theory).

There are two types of fuel your body can convert into energy: carbs/sugar, or fat. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. And a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides MCT found in coconut oil. Coconut oil contains about 66% MCT.

Normally, a fat taken into your body must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder before it can be broken down in your digestive system. MCT’s when consumed, head directly to your liver, which naturally converts the oil into ketones, bypassing the bile entirely. Your liver then immediately releases the ketones into your bloodstream where they are transported to your brain to be readily used as fuel. While your brain is quite happy running on glucose, there’s evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may actually help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Interestingly, the mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat. This allows the ketone energy to hit your bloodstream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates entering your bloodstream. So in effect, coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel.”

– source: Dr. Mercola,

Further Tips for Maintaining Healthy Brain Function and Avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease:

1. Avoid sugar and refined fructose
2. Avoid gluten. (primarily wheat)
3. Optimize your gut flora (via fermented foods or probiotics)
4. Increase consumption of healthy fats (organic virgin olive oil, nuts like macadamia and pecan, avocado, black olives, coconut oil)
5. Increase your magnesium levels (magnesium threonate)
6. Optimize your vitamin D levels
7. Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body
8. Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate.
9. Avoid aluminum
10. Exercise regularly
11. Avoid flu vaccinations
12. Eat blueberries
13. Challenge your mind daily
14. Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs

So what have we got to lose? Why not begin by replacing the oils you have at home in your cupboards now, and start using coconut oil in place of butter, cooking oil, and as a salad topper? You can buy un-refined brands if you are a fan of the sweet taste of this fabulous food, or you can look for the refined version (scent and flavour neutral). Here in Costa Rica, coconuts are plentiful, and we use their oil, flesh, and nectar in various recipes in our open air kitchen! Why not come taste the health?

Dr. Mercola. Articles
John Robbins Healthy at 100
Dr Newport Alzheimer’s disease. What if there is a cure?