Virgin Coconut Oil: Can it help dementia?
Written by Aaron A. Lim. Entrepreneur. Business Owner.
Virgin coconut oil: Can it help dementia? Does virgin coconut oil help with dementia? While its reputation as a viable health supplement has grown over the years, the oil’s effects on age-induced diseases like Alzheimer’s or other memory loss conditions is still largely unknown. Some have claimed that the substance trends toward better cognitive health, while others have more cautious conclusions. One thing is clear however: the uncertainty around its effectiveness has less to do with virgin coconut oil’s properties, and more to do with a general lack of understanding about what actually causes dementia.
What’s the connection?
Dementia is a catch-all phrase that describes various memory-loss diseases, from major illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to conventional memory loss brought about by aging. Most forms of dementia are thought to be caused by the deterioration of brain cells – either from old age, or a lack of proper nutrition. Major afflictions, such as Alzheimer’s, happen with little to no warning and is only detectable after actual neural activity starts to dip. Other more ordinary age-induced conditions, such as memory loss, happen when brain cells become less efficient in metabolising energy from glucose, resulting in impaired function.
Some experts think that virgin coconut oil contains nutrients that could re-energise these dying cells. They draw their conclusions based on one fact: the abundance of fatty acids, like lauric acid or caprylic acid, within coconut oil. When these acids are ingested and broken down by the body, they form ketone – an alternative energy source. It is generally believed that ketones are the body’s natural ‘back-up’ fuel, hence the perfect alternative to an aging brain suffering from a lack of glucose.
So, does it help or not?
Medical trials have verified that ketones are indeed a valid substitute for glucose – however its long-term effects when it comes to neurological diseases is still unknown. The reasons for this are simple: medical studies into the effects on coconut oil versus various dementia-linked conditions are a relatively new – but growing – field in recent years. And the results of all concluded studies are divided. While some patients reported an improvement to their ability to remember, others have shown little change at all.
In much of these studies, success seemed to be linked to the fact that patients involved were afflicted with mild to moderate levels of dementia. This perhaps communicates the value that virgin coconut oil brings to potential memory loss sufferers: early prevention. Taken at an early stage, and taken consistently, virgin coconut oil could perhaps give patients a better fighting chance, or outright prevent any dementia-linked diseases from ever happening.
Including virgin coconut oil into your diet
Those seeking to include virgin coconut oil into their diets should do so with a clear understanding that this is only a preventive measure. Studies haven’t shown it to cure dementia – only alleviate its observable effects. Prevention, however, isn’t just better than cure, it’s better than nothing. And the sooner potential patients begin their intake of virgin coconut oil, the greater the length of runways they will get, before the worst of their condition begins to manifest itself.
And it’s relatively effortless to include virgin coconut oil into your daily diet. It’s best taken as a supplement, one or two tablespoons a day, which would allow the body to fully tap into its store of fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins. Otherwise, virgin coconut oil can also be used to dress salads, or for cooking – although high temperatures may eliminate much of the goodness that’s present in the oil.
All in all, virgin coconut oil acts as a ‘neutral’ health supplement, which doesn’t just aid general health, but also confers some measure of benefit to the future health of your brain. Taken in moderation, it could potentially improve the quality in your golden years, ensuring that you’ll be able to remember past memories, even as you make new ones.