Coconut Oil as a Treatment or Cure for Alzheimer's!
- Published on Friday, 03 February 2012 20:04
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
Currently there is considerable interest in coconut oil as a possible treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s. Recently Pat Robertson’s CBN program discussed coconut oil as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association has already looked into this matter and has published a discussion of the subject. It appears that the company marketing coconut oil under the brand name of Axona and Coconut Oil began the FDA clinical studies to seek approval for their similar Ketasyn product but then opted out of the studies at phase III which would have determined the effectiveness of the product as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.
There is an old saying that if something or idea: "Sounds Too Good to be True, then it Probably is not True!" This old saying appears to be applicable to the idea that Coconut Oil is a prevention, treatment or cure of Alzheimer's.
Here is the Alzheimer’s Association’s discussion of Coconut Oil as a treatment for Alzheimer’s as well as the history of Ketasyn and Axona’s terminated FDA clinical studies. They have concluded that: “there’s never been any clinical testing of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s, and there’s no scientific evidence that it helps. “
“Caprylic acid (clinically tested as Ketasyn [AC-1202], marketed as a “medical food” called Axona®) and coconut oil"
"Caprylic acid is the active ingredient of Axona, which is marketed as a “medical food.” Caprylic acid is a medium-chain triglyceride (fat) produced by processing coconut oil or palm kernel oil. The body breaks down caprylic acid into substances called “ketone bodies.” The theory behind Axona is that the ketone bodies derived from caprylic acid may provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose (sugar) as a result of Alzheimer’s. Glucose is the brain’s chief energy source. Imaging studies show reduced glucose use in brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s.
Axona’s development was preceded by development of the chemically similar Ketasyn (AC-1202). Ketasyn was tested in a Phase II clinical study enrolling 152 volunteers with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Most participants were also taking FDA-approved Alzheimer's drugs. The manufacturer of Axona reports that study participants who took Ketasyn performed better on tests of memory and overall function than those who received a placebo (a look-alike, inactive treatment).
The chief goal ofPhase II clinical studies is to provide information about the safety and best dose of an experimental treatment. Phase II trials are generally too small to confirm that a treatment works. To demonstrate effectiveness under the prescription drug approval framework, the FDA requires drug developers to follow Phase II studies with larger Phase III trials enrolling several hundred to thousands of volunteers.
The manufacturer of Ketasyn decided not to conduct Phase III studies to confirm its effectiveness. The company chose instead to use Ketasyn as the basis of Axona and promote Axona as a “medical food.” Medical foods do not require Phase III studies or any other clinical testing. The Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council has expressed concern that there is not enough evidence to assess the potential benefit of medical foods for Alzheimer’s disease.
Some people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers have turned to coconut oil as a less expensive, over-the-counter source of caprylic acid. A few people have reported that coconut oil helped the person with Alzheimer’s, but there’s never been any clinical testing of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s, and there’s no scientific evidence that it helps. “
Erik Davis who is described as a Technology Professional from Toronto, Canada is one of several authors who conduct a Blog called: “Skeptic North – Perpetuators of the Big Lie” posted this subject question on 1 February 2012: “Can Coconut Oil Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease”
From this question he goes on to describe and analyze what he calls 5 warning signs that he says must be considered in answering this question. He concludes his review with: “So my skeptical bells are ringing, but…” He then continues:
“What about the evidence? I’d answer that, if only I could find any. I did a Pubmed search on the researcher in Act 2 of the story, and she’s published only one study on the effects of esters on the brain…of rats, not humans.
Then I searched for research connecting coconut oil and Alzheimer’s, and got zero results.”…”So I checked NCCAM for any articles related to coconut oil and found one reference, which found no association between cognitive decline and saturated fats.”
Finally, I checked the skeptical search engine to see if any science bloggers had taken a look at the evidence. Orac at Respectful Insolence refers to making similar attempts to find any evidence on this topic, equally unsuccessfully. In another article, Steve Novella has the same experience over at his Neurologica blog. At least it’s not just me.
So what do we take away from all this? That coconut oil is simply the latest health fad to feature that lethal combination of overblown claims and extremely thin science. That there’s no magic food, despite the marketing hype to the contrary.”
Here is the policy statement of the "Skeptic North" group: "Skeptic North aims to provide a central hub for scientific skepticism in Canada. Founded in 2009 by a diverse group of skeptics, science advocates, and critical thinkers, the site takes a respectful, evidence-based look at a variety of topics relevant to Canadians, including health, culture, media, politics, science, and history." Here is a link to their blog:
*Emphasis added - bold and underscored
Late in 2010, the NIH appointed a jury of 15 Medical Specialits to review all claims of methods to prevent, cure or delay Alzheimer's!
The Minneapolis Star – Tribune for August 29th, 2010 ran a story from the New York Times by Gina Kolata with the headline: “Avoiding Alzheimer’s Proves Sadly Elusive.”. The sub headline was more to the point: “An exhaustive study of medical research finds no evidence that pills, a healthy diet or anything else can ward off the disease.”
The headlines were based on a sort of science court hearing conducted by the National Institutes of Health. They appointed a jury of 15 medical scientists who had no vested interest in Alzheimer’s research to hear the evidence and reach a judgment based on the evidence presented. For a day and a half they listened to the evidence presented by the researchers. This jury also heard from scientists from Duke University who had been commissioned to look at the body of evidence consisting of hundreds of research papers.
“The studies included research on nearly everything proposed to prevent the disease: a. exercise, b. mental stimulation, c. healthy diet, d. social engagement, e. nutritional supplements, f. anti-inflammatory drugs g. or those that lower cholesterol or blood pressure, even h. the idea that people who marry or i. stay trim might be saved from dementia. And they included research on j. traits that might hasten Alzheimer’s onset, like not having much of an education or being a loner”.
“But the jury’s verdict was depressing and distressing. So far, nothing has been found to prevent or delay this devastating disease, which ceaselessly kills brain cells, eventually leaving people mute, incontinent, unable to feed themselves, unaware of who the are or who their family and friends are.”
“NO evidence of even moderate scientific quality exists to support the association of any modifiable factor (such as (1.) nutritional supplements, (2.) herbal preparations, (3.) dietary factors, (4.) prescription or non prescription drugs, (5.) social or economic factors, (6.) medical conditions, (7.) toxins, or environmental exposures) with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Latest Update - September 2015
Myth: Coconut Oil is a Cure-All
Fact: Coconut oil is the latest miracle food. If you believe popular wellness websites, it’s good for just about everything – from making your teeth whiter, skin more luminous and hair shinier to boosting your brain and bone health and treatment for yeast infections. (Huh?!) However, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which recently sent a stern warning to a marketer of coconut oil over the brand’s misleading and unsubstantiated health and nutrition claims, coconut oil isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
According to registered dietitian Sonya Angelone, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Coconut oil’s health benefits are often credited to the medium-chain triglycerides it provides.” However, coconut oil actually contains very little – about 10 to 15 percent of all of its fat is the beneficial short-chain MCTs that contain no more than 10 carbon molecules, Angelone adds. While the major saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid (a 12-carbon molecule), there is insufficient published scientific evidence to suggest lauric acid provides any meaningful health benefits.
Coconut oil is more than 90 percent saturated fat. Butter, a distant second, is about 65 percent saturated fat. And like all fats, it’s also high in calories, weighing in at 120 calories per tablespoon. Using coconut oil when cooking Thai dishes and others recipes that call for the tropical oil won’t harm your health, but adding coconut oil to your diet probably won’t improve it, either.