Unexpected Coconut Oil Uses: Can Coconut Oil Treat Dementia?

Dementia can be very scary. Increasing episodes of forgetfulness can leave someone feeling helpless and confused.  If not addressed, symptoms can gradually worsen. Fortunately, for those looking for a natural dementia treatment, there is hope! Some people have success using high doses of coconut oil, or a derivative of coconut oil called medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil to slow or even reverse dementia. Of the many coconut oil uses, this could be the most exciting.

Medical Doctor Helps Her Husband Regain Some Cognitive Function

Mary Newport, MD, a neonatalist, was furiously researching solutions for dementia treatment to help her 58-year-old husband when she stumbled across studies of MCT oil to combat the progression of Alzheimer’s. The body digests MCT oil differently than other fats. Instead of storing MCT as fat, the liver converts it directly to ketone bodies, which are then available for use as energy. Because the brains of people with memory loss, MCI, and Alzheimer’s are unable to utilize glucose properly, MCT oil provides an immediate source of energy for function.

Dr. Newport began her husband on a course of 20 grams a day of MCT oil, and he quickly began recovering his memory and cognitive function. Before the use of MCT oil, he was not able to draw a clock, a common test for Alzheimer’s. After taking the oil for two weeks, his clock-drawing skills improved considerably, and even more so 37 days after taking the oil.

Because glucose metabolism is impaired in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, MCT oil delivers quickly energy in the way of ketones, making it a novel dementia treatment. Newport went on to publish the book Alzheimer’s Disease: What if There Was a Cure?. Another book that discusses the use of a ketogenic diet, coconut oil, and MCT oil for memory loss, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological diseases is Stop Alzheimer’s Now! By Bruce Fife, N.D., a long-time coconut oil educator.

Following are Newport’s guidelines for introducing MCT oil and coconut oil as a dementia treatment:

  • Start with 1 teaspoon per meal of MCT oil or coconut oil. If you take too much at once in the beginning, you are likely to experience stomach cramping, indigestion, and diarrhea.
  • Increase your dose slowly over a week or longer. If diarrhea develops, drop back to the previous level.
  • For most people, the goal is to increase to 4–6 tablespoons a day, depending on the size of the person, spread over 2–4 meals.
  • Mixing MCT oil and coconut oil provides a higher and more steady level of ketones. One formula is to mix 16 ounces of MCT oil with 12 ounces of coconut oil in a quart jar. Start with 1 teaspoon a day of this mix and increase slowly. This mixture will stay liquid at room temperature.

What Has Been Your Experience with Coconut Oil for Dementia Treatment?

Dr. Newport certainly has a compelling success story in helping her husband. But she is only one person. What about you? Have you tried it for yourself or a love one and found it to be effective? If so, what did you find to be the key factors to making it work as intended? If it didn’t work well for you, tell us that too. Share your experience with our readers in the Comments section below.

Read more about natural treatments for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in these blog posts:

[1] Coconut Oil Dietary Guidelines and Suggestions

[2] Hildreth KL, Van Pelt RE, Schwartz RS. Obesity, insulin resistance, and Alzheimer’s  disease. Obesity. 2012 Feb. 7.

[3] Bartl J, Monoranu CM, Wagner, AK et al. Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes: Two disease, one common link? World J Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Feb. 14.

[4] Watson GS, Craft S. Insulin resistance, inflammation, and cognition in Alzheimer’s disease: lessons for multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Sci. 2006 Jun 15;245(1-2):21-33.

[5] Cheng G, Huang C, Deng H, Wang H. Diabetes as a risk factor for dementia and mild cognitive impairment: a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Intern Med J. 2012 Feb. 28.

[6] de la Monte SM, Wands JR. Alzheimer’s disease is type 3 diabetes-evidence reviewed. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2008 Nov;2(6):1101-13.

[7] Henderson ST. Ketone bodies as a therapeutic for Alzheimer’s Disease. Neurotherapeutics 2008;5:470-480.

[8] Van der Auwera I, Wera S, Van Leuven F, Henderson ST. A ketogenic diet reduces amyloid beta 40 and 42 in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Nutr Metab (London) 2005;2:28.

[9] A ketogenic diet delays weight loss and does not impair working memory or motor function in the R6/2 1J mouse model of Huntington’s disease. Physiol Behav. 2011 Jul 6;103(5):501-7. Epub 2011 Apr 9.

[10] Kim DY, Hao J, Liu R, Turner G, Shi F-D, et al. (2012) Inflammation-Mediated Memory Dysfunction and Effects of a Ketogenic Diet in a Murine Model of Multiple Sclerosis. PLoS ONE 7(5): e35476. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035476.

[11] Dietary ketosis enhances memory in mild cognitive impairment. Neurobiology of Aging. Volume 33, Issue 2 , Pages 425.e19-425.e27, February 2012.

[12] L.C. Costantini, L.J. Barr, J.L. Vogel and S.T. Henderson, “Hypometabolism as a Therapeutic target in Alzheimer’s disease” BMC Neurosci (2008) Vol. 9, Suppl. 2, S16. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-9-S2-S16.

[13] M.A. Reger, S. T. Henderson, C. Hale, B. Cholerton, L.D. Baker, G.S. Watson, K. Hyde, D. Chapman and S. Craft, “Effects of Beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults,” Neurobiology of Aging (2004) Vol. 25, No. 3, March, pp. 311-314.

[14] What is there was a cure for Alzheimer’s and no one knew? A case study by Dr. Mary Newport. July 22, 2008.

This blog was originally published in 2012 and has been updated.

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  • Loss of cognitive skills after ingestion of coconut oil. Can’t do basic arithmetic ‘in my head’. Can’t recall names or phrases. (The phrase: “force of habit” for instance.) Requires the profound focus on a subject in an attempt to recall, to the extent of near-total exclusion of all background concerns; miss street turn-offs, failure to remain aware of stop signs, other traffic concerns. Use and navigation of frequently used computer programs, their display functions and manipulation of the graphical user interface. Requires focused thought to navigate common functions that are otherwise second-nature and usually performed without thought. These ‘failures’ are not evident prior to ingestion (1 Tbs), yet become bothersome within an hour after ingestion and subside after 4 or 5 hours.

  • You may be allergic to or sensitive to coconut oil, which is the case for some people. In that case it may be causing an inflammatory response in your brain and should be avoided. You may also want to investigate and address general gut issues, such as leaky gut and inflammation.

  • do you get the same effect from an organic coconut oil gel tab? I found them in 1000mg strength. I am not sure that my Mom would be able to take the liquid oil by spoonful.

  • Coconut oil can be used as food just like olive oil. It can then be safe instead of taking it as capsules etc.

  • I love using coconut oil for a lot of reasons but unfortunately it made no difference at all for my mother with respect to her Alzheimer’s Disease. Because, at the time anyway, there were no guidelines relating amount to efficacy, it is entirely possible that I simply wasn’t giving her the dosage that would have helped. Or perhaps it was too late in the progress of the illness. In any case, one data point is not enough to form any conclusions.

  • For those people whose relative are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and maybe reading this, I find it hard that people are still ignorant of herbal medicine when it comes to treating Alzheimer’s Disease.
    I have been through many phases over the last couple of years since my father’s diagnosis, he was 53 years old and had Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and his diagnosis changed my life in many ways, I spend most of the time in denial and I keep thinking the tests were wrong. But deep down I knew they were correct. Though sharing his story is very difficult. He was always very successful in being able to accomplish anything he set his mind on doing. Alzheimer’s is a bitch of a disease. It began by robbing his recent memory, but it didn’t stop there. It continues to steal, taking the most recent memories until it has pilfered all but the oldest memories, he experienced a decline in his ability to think, remember and make decisions. I feel a need to express my thoughts and feelings about how it affected his day to day living and how its deteriorated since despite the help of some wonderful medics and medicine.
    I remind myself how lucky to come across Charanjit rychtova’s herbal medicine which is able to control this disease without any side effect, I felt a moment of relief hoping that he is free from this ailment, and nothing compares to the healing power of nature. Now I believe almost every health problem can be addressed in one natural way or another. The only thing I wanted was for him to feel better. I’m proud to say my Dad is Alzheimer’s free. You can also contact him for advice and more info. charantova@gmail.com

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