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How consumption of coconut oil can help prevent Alzheimer's disease

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCNO) is obtained from fresh, matured kernel of the coconut

Sheryl Salis 

Alzheimer
Representative image

Alzheimer's disease in adults is known to be the most common cause of dementia. It is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, and eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest of daily tasks.

Older adults with a history of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes are at an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Age related changes in the brain affect neurons by causing shrinking of certain parts of the brain, inflammation, production of unstable molecules called free radicals, causing Alzheimer's disease.

A healthy lifestyle — a nutritious diet and regular physical activity — that helps in preventing lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, along with social engagement can help people prevent Alzheimer's.

There is extensive research being conducted by British Journal of Nutrition and Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in the area of use of in weight management, heart disease, Alzheimer's and antimicrobial activity, among others. contains 92 per cent saturated fats, out of which almost 48 per cent comes from lauric acid and 7 per cent from capric acid, which are medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). is known to be one of the richest sources of MCTs.

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(VCNO) is obtained from fresh, matured kernel of the coconut by mechanical or natural means, cold pressed & non-refined. has a good taste and smell, since it is derived from fresh coconuts and is subjected to very low, if not totally nil, heat and sunlight. The process of extraction of VCNO preserves all the natural goodness of this oil, including a high content of vitamin-E and minerals.

Studies by National Journal of Physiology Pharmacy and Pharmacology and International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology have shown a positive association between consumption and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Several studies have shown positive improvements in cognition, cognitive performance, orientation and semantic memory in individuals after intervention with virgin coconut oil.

Medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) that are present in coconut oil are easily absorbed and metabolised by the liver and can be converted to ketones. Ketones are alternate fuel to glucose and the main ones include beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate.

The brain's main fuel is glucose and the problem for the aging brain is its deteriorating ability to use glucose available in the blood. Unlike other organs, brain uses ketones as back-up for glucose. Medium chain fatty acids travel through the entrance of the venous system into the liver and are more readily available for oxidation to ketones to provide a rapid source of energy. This provides an alternate fuel to compromised neurons.

Several studies conducted in humans and animals have shown that when 20gms of VCNO/MCT oil was given daily, significant improvement was seen in cognitive performance and memory in people with age-related neuronal disorders.

Therefore, it is recommended to include Virgin Coconut Oil in prescribed amounts to your daily diet to help prevent Alzheimer's.

First Published: Sat, April 13 2019. 22:20 IST