Dr. Mary Newport has a theory that ketone bodies, which the body makes when digesting coconut oil, may be an alternative fuel for the brain. She believes that coconut oil may offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. If her theory is accurate, it could be one of the greatest natural health discoveries in years.
She had her own history with this condition, as her husband, Steve, suffered from progressive dementia for 5 years in his mid-50s, and then had an MRI which confirmed the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
In her case study, she told his story:
“Many days, often for several days in a row, he was in a fog; couldn’t find a spoon or remember how to get water out of the refrigerator… One day I would ask if a certain call came that I was expecting and he would say ‘No.’ Two days later he would remember the message from so-and-so from a couple of days earlier and what they said.”
She noticed that although her husband doesn’t have short-term memory, the information existed somewhere in his brain.
Her intuition was telling her that it was somehow connected to his diet. Her husband started taking medications in order to slow down the disease, but he lost weight, became depressed, and forgot how to use a calculator, how to cook, and other simple tasks.
Although he forgot how to do many everyday actions, he was spending the entire day working in his garage or in the yard, and his physical condition remained good.
A few studies about the potential use of medium chain triglycerides or ketone bodies to not only treat but prevent Alzheimer’s disease caught Dr. Newport’s eye. Medium chain triglycerides are also regarded as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, drug resistant epilepsy, and diabetes. Dr. Newport explains, “Ketone bodies may help the brain recover after a loss of oxygen in newborns through adults, may help the heart recover after an acute attack, and may shrink cancerous tumors. Children with drug resistant epilepsy sometimes respond to an extremely low carbohydrate ketogenic diet.”
The body’s cells may be able to use ketone bodies as an alternative fuel when glucose is unavailable. Ketone bodies do not normally circulate in the body unless it has been starving for a few days, or if one is on a very low-carb diet, such as Atkins. Dr. Newport explains, “In Alzheimer’s disease, the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance, and slowly die off… if these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function.”
She started giving a dose coconut oil to her husband on a daily basis. He received 3 tablespoons of the oil twice daily, to ensure that here is a constant circulation of ketone bodies in the system. After a 2-month treatment, he became happier and alert, made jokes and became more communicative. Also, his tremor became less noticeable, and he was no longer distracted while working.
After a year of the natural treatment, Dr. Newport says her husband is a different person. She notes that he still has difficulty finding some words, but he recognized relatives on a family trip, participated actively in conversations, and his facial expressions were more animated.
She adds, “For now, we are very pleased with where he is at and should coconut oil stop or slow down the progress of his disease, it will be worth every drop that he takes.”