Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease

Back in July 2008, Dr. Mary Newport wrote a case study, “What if there was a Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and no one Knew?” However, last month it was brought to our attention again when did an interview with Dr. Newport (see video below). In her case study, she writes about ketone bodies which serve as fuel for your brain that your body makes when you ingest coconut oil. This may prove to be highly beneficial in fighting Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Several people sent me e-mail about this interview and since then I’ve been researching various Web sites as well as checking out local retail outlets for coconut oil. Health food stores and specialty supermarkets carry coconut oil in capsule form, although you may be able to find some health food stores carrying the actual oil (I was pleased to find it in a health food store in my area). However, with experts recommending between two and three tablespoons of coconut oil daily for prevention of AD and up to five tablespoons for AD and with each capsule having only about 500 to 1000 mg of oil (each tablespoon is equal to about 15 grams), you would need at least 15 capsules to get one tablespoon. Taking 45 to 75 capsules a day would be quite costly and ill advised.

One of the top producers of coconut oil is the Philippines so I visited a local Filipino market in southern California that was recommended by a Filipino acquaintance who uses coconut oil. It is recommended that you start slowly, and thus far I’ve used about a teaspoon in my morning oatmeal. (I’m trying to get used to greasy oatmeal). I’ve also tried substituting the olive oil in my salad with the coconut oil (the taste did not agree with me). Finally, I substituted one tablespoon of coconut oil for butter and syrup on my pancakes and that was by far the tastiest option. But since I don’t eat pancakes every day, I continued to experiment and now I find that adding coconut oil to a small amount of coffee or tea works well.

Bruce Fife, ND, author of Stop Alzheimer’s Now!: How to Prevent & Reverse Dementia, Parkinson’s, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis & Other Neurodegenerative Disorders cautions that proper diet is also a necessary component. Simply adding coconut oil to the diet will produce disappointing results. He says that the fundamental problem associated with Alzheimer’s disease is the inability of the brain to effectively utilize glucose, or blood sugar, to produce energy. The brain then needs another source of energy and this comes in the form of ketone bodies produced in the liver. Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) like coconut oil are converted into ketones in the body.

There are different methods of producing coconut oil. According to Tropical Traditions, a producer of coconut oil, “Virgin Coconut Oil can only be achieved by using fresh coconut meat or what is called non-copra. Chemicals and high heating are not used in further refining, since the natural, pure coconut oil is very stable with a shelf life of several years. There are currently two main processes of manufacturing Virgin Coconut Oil:

1. Quick drying of fresh coconut meat which is then used to press out the oil. Using this method, the coconut meat is quick dried, and the oil is then pressed out via mechanical means. This is the most common type of “Virgin” or “Extra Virgin” (see below) coconut oil sold in the market today that you will find in stores. It is mass-produced.

2. Wet-milling. With this method the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without drying first. “Coconut milk” is expressed first by pressing. The oil is then further separated from the water. Methods which can be used to separate the oil from the water include boiling, fermentation, refrigeration, enzymes and mechanical centrifuge.

Currently there is no known medication to prevent or stop Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil offers hope for this disease affecting 5.4 million Americans. Should you decide to try it, let me know how you’re ingesting it.

In three days, it will be 15 years since my father passed away. September also marks one year since I started this blog. It has opened my eyes (and my brain) to so many things. I’ve written about a variety of subjects, a number of them focused on research. Most recently, I got involved in a study at George Mason University (GMU). As a part of this study, I consented for them to do an MRI of my brain which they did last week. The anticipation of it all was more nerve-wracking than the procedure itself. The MRI machine at GMU is just for brain research and is smaller than the typical machine that is used for diagnosing other diseases and problems in hospitals and imaging centers.

Also last week, I went to a near-by assisted living facility where a nurse practitioner from Georgetown University Medical Center spoke on Research in Alzheimer’s Disease: Hope for the Future. Her talk will be the topic of another blog post, but one of the main difficulties that research studies are facing is the lack of participants. There are many research studies going on across the country. In a previous post on research, I mentioned a government Web site where you can look at some clinical studies recruiting for volunteers. Even the study that I’m in at George Mason University is looking for more subjects. Send me an e-mail for more information —

So if you’ve ever wondered if Alzheimer’s disease research needs volunteers, the answer is a resounding yes! It will not cost you anything except your time. You will be contributing toward understanding the staggering fact that every 70 seconds, a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and with our aging population, the numbers will continue to rise. We must do all that we can to stop this and help find a cure!

Alzheimer’s Disease — Caregiver Resources

I have a booklet, In It Together, written  by Danielle Ripich, Ph.D. It was published by a pharmaceutical company in 2005. Dr. Ripich is the dean of the College of Health Professions of The Medical University of South Carolina. Her FOCUSED program to train caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease received a major award from the American Society on Aging.

I don’t know where you can get a copy of this booklet, but it contained a list of caregiver resources that I wanted to share with you. Some you’re definitely aware of, but others may be new to you.

The Alzheimer’s Association
A national network of chapters dedicated to advancing research and providing education and support for patients and families.
TDD: 1.312.335.8882

Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR)
A service of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) that stives to be a current, comprehensive, unbiased source of information about Alzheimer’s disease.
TDD: 1.301.495.3311

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
A nonprofit organization dedicated to optimal care and support through local member organizations.
1.866.AFA.8484 (1.866.232.8484)

The Alzheimer’s Store
A one-stop source for products for people with Alzheimer’s disease and those caring for them.

Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED)
A nonprofit association that helps caregivers determine whether the person with Alzheimer’s disease should be allowed to drive.

Caregivers World, Inc.
Products to help improve the quality of life for both the caregiver and the care recipient.

Children of Aging Parents
A nonprofit, charitable organization that strives to assist caregivers of the elderly or chronically ill with information, referrals, and support.

Eldercare Locator
A national, toll-free, directory assistance public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging to help people locate services for the aging in every community throughout the United States.

Family Caregiver Alliance
A community-based nonprofit organization that addresses the needs of caregivers through national, state, and local programs providing education, services, research, and advocacy.

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
A nonprofit association providing information and resources to attorneys specializing in legal services to the elderly and disabled. They also provide an elder attorney locator.

National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers
A nonprofit, professional organization working to ensure high-quality eldercare.

National Institute on Aging (National Institutes of Health)
Alzheimer’s Disease Information
Age-Related Publications

Safe Return
A joint program of the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Center for Missing Persons; a person who has dementia is fitted with a bracelet showing his/her name, the registered caregiver’s name, and the toll-free number for Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return.

United States Social Security Administration
Government agency responsible for retirement payments, Medicare, and disability benefits, as well as other benefits. Information also available in Spanish.
( 7 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday)
TTY number: 1.800.325.0778
(7 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday)

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Freddi Donner

Guest blogger and caregiver, Freddi Donner, shares a poignant remembrance about her mother.

My mom died around noon on December 31st, 1999. She hated New Year’s and I think she decided just to skip the hyped up transition to 2000. Her journey through Alzheimer’s was more difficult for me and my sisters than for her. Of course, she was VERY angry when we told her about her diagnosis and thought my sister and I were so cruel for telling her. As her journey progressed, I began to study the disease. Knowing the “7 stages”, or that there were stages at all, helped me understand what was happening.

We moved her to assisted living for her safety. It was not long after that date she had to be moved to the locked floor. This is when she became childlike. “I have just come back from New Orleans!”, she shares one day. “Mom, why didn’t you let me know? I would have gone with you!” She shared the events of her trip that had an uncanny agenda of a trip she took in her 20’s.

Mom taught me through her journey that imagination is more fun than reality, so let’s just play there. My roles changed as the visits continued (her mom, her sister, an aid, her daughter) but the stories got more entertaining. “I got married last week” was my favorite! She had actually “taken” to one of the male aids who worked the midnight shift. I guess they spent a LOT of time together, because that is who she “married”.  I honestly believe that my mom had more fun in the midst of the Alzheimer’s disease than she had in real life. She loved life and got to relive all her favorite memories and recreate the life she really wanted. God bless her.

Freddi Donner
Unlock your possibilities
for better health and more wealth
Co-Chair, Health and Wellness Committee
Dulles Regional Chamber


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The Alzheimer’s Association issued this today and I received it in an e-mail. If you did not receive it, I am reproducing it here. It is indeed breaking news: Major Advocacy Victory for People with Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced today they have added early-onset/younger onset Alzheimer’s to the list of conditions under its Compassionate Allowance Initiative, giving those with the disease expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Alzheimer’s Association, a longtime advocate for those with early-onset Alzheimer’s, has played an integral role in this movement to reduce the length of disability decision process.

Sign our Thank You Card to SSA.

This is a victory for individuals with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and is a direct result of the hard work done by Alzheimer’s Association advocates. Since 2003, the Alzheimer’s Association has been working on behalf of individuals with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease to improve the Social Security disability process. Learn more about our advocacy work.

Many people with early-onset Alzheimer’s or other dementias have faced challenges when applying for Social Security benefits. Individuals are often initially denied but usually win benefits on appeal, a process which can take several years.

Last summer SSA hosted a hearing in Chicago to examine access to social security disability benefits for people with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias through its Compassionate Allowances Initiative.

Over 70 advocates with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers attended the hearing to hear testimony from people living with Alzheimer’s as well as medical experts. I was honored to be able to testify as well. Since that hearing, over 600 advocates from across the country submitted written testimony and personal stories of their experiences and challenges

Alzheimer’s Association advocates helped SSA understand the impact of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease on individuals and their families and helped influence their decision to add early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to their list of Compassionate Allowances. Without advocates just like YOU, this wouldn’t have been possible.

Please join us in thanking the SSA for their decision.

Thank you for using your VOICE.


Harry Johns
President and CEO

PS: Many of you know others who have been affected by this disease. Please forward this message onto them so they can join us in thanking SSA and learn more.

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