Has anyone exerimented with Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)? Coconut Oil is about 60% MCTs.
Here are some related articles. They are mostly concerned with Alzheimer's disease.
In my daily scan of ScienceDaily headlines, I saw these articles:
"Impaired Energy Metabolism Linked With Initiation Of Plaques In Alzheimer's Brain"
ScienceDaily (Jan. 3, 2009)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 215536.htm
"Brain Starvation As We Age Appears To Trigger Alzheimer's: Improving Blood Flow To Brain Is Preventive Strategy"
ScienceDaily (Dec. 28, 2008) "A slow, chronic starvation of the brain as we age appears to be one of the major triggers of a biochemical process that causes some forms of Alzheimer's disease..."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 215704.htm
"Blood Sugar Linked To Normal Cognitive Aging"
ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2008) — "Maintaining blood sugar levels, even in the absence of disease, may be an important strategy for preserving cognitive health, suggests a study published by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC)."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 072238.htm
Here is an article by Dr. Mary Newport about MCT/coconut oil:
In 2001, Dr. Richard L. Veech of the (National Institutes of Health) NIH, and others, published an article entitled, “Ketone bodies, potential therapeutic uses.”1 In 2003, George F. Cahill, Jr. and Richard Veech authored, “Ketoacids? Good Medicine?”2 and in 2004, Richard Veech published a review of the therapeutic implications of ketone bodies.3 These articles are not found in journals that the average physician would read, much less the lay public. Unless you are researching the topic, it is unlikely that you would ever randomly come across this information.
My husband Steve, age 58, has had progressive dementia for at least five years.
Until very recently, I didn’t see anything regarding the potential use of medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil), or ketone bodies (also called ketoacids,) the end product of their metabolism, which may not only treat, but prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Further, this is a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), drug resistant epilepsy, brittle type I diabetes, and diabetes type II, where there is insulin resistance. 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. MCT oil appears to be useful as an aid in weight loss and body builders use it already to improve their lean body mass (MCT oil can be easily purchased on the internet.) Athletes and soldiers could use MCT oil as a source of fuel when the body runs out of carbohydrates, which occurs rather quickly when food is not readily available.
MCT oil is digested differently by the body than other fats. Instead of storing all MCTs as fat, the liver converts them directly to ketone bodies, which are then available for use as energy. Oral and intravenous administration of MCT oil produces hyperketonemia, 10 or circulating ketone bodies which are then available to the brain for energy, in the absence of glucose19 and even in the presence of glucose. 22 In addition, hyperketonemia results in a substantial (39%) increase in cerebral blood flow, 18 and appears to reduce cognitive dysfunction associated with systemic hypoglycemia in normal humans. 19
I came across another drug, Ketasyn, or AC-1202, that was also recruiting healthy older people to test the tolerability of three different formulations. Investigating further, I learned that this treatment brought about significant improvement over a 90 day period in about half of the subjects who had a certain genetic profile (APOE2 or APOE3.)
I learned that the promising “ingredient” in Ketasyn is simply MCT oil, and that a dose of 20 grams (about 20 ml or 4 teaspoons) was used to produce these results. The MCT oil that these researchers used was obtained from Stepan Company and consists of primarily 6 and 8 carbon chains, however they state that MCT of any combination of medium chains (6 to 12 carbon chains are medium chain) would also be effective. Just once in this application, the author mentions that MCT oil is derived from coconut or palm oil.
I didn’t know at that point that I could easily purchase MCT oil online, so I researched coconut oil and found out that coconut oil is about 60% medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), contains no cholesterol and also contains omega-6 fatty acids and some other short and long chain fatty acids of up to 18 carbon chains. 11
The largest producer of coconut oil is the Philippines, where coconut and its oil are food staples, and it is also produced in India, Thailand and other parts of southeast Asia, the Caribbean islands and even in south Florida. The Philippines has one of the lowest incidences of cardiovascular disease in the world.
Thinking, what have we got to lose, we stopped at a health food store on the way home and picked up a quart of 100% “virgin” coconut oil. I calculated that in order to provide 20 gm of MCT, he would need to take 35 grams or just over two tablespoons (about 35 ml or 7 level teaspoons) of coconut oil. The following morning, around 9 A.M., I made oatmeal for breakfast and stirred two tablespoons, plus more for “good luck,” into his portion. I had some as well, since I cannot expect him to eat something that I won’t eat.
On the way to the 1:00 P.M. screening, I tried to prepare Steve by asking him the season, the month, the day of the week, reminding him that we were going to Tampa, in Hillsborough county. He couldn’t remember the word “spring,” came up with April instead of May for the month every time I asked him and he couldn’t remember it was Wednesday. During the hour long drive, we went through these facts at least 10 times, but he still couldn’t remember. Shortly after we arrived he was whisked away for the test, about 4 ½ hours after consuming the coconut oil. When he returned, he was very unhappy about his performance. Laura, the research coordinator, returned shortly thereafter and began to take his vital signs and blood pressure, and, suspecting that we were continuing with the screening process, I asked her if she could share his score with us. She said, “Didn’t he tell you? He scored an 18!”
According to the Ketasyn studies, Steve should not have improved, but rather he should have stayed about the same.
At the time of this writing it has been 46 days since he started taking coconut oil (May 21, 2008.) He walks into the kitchen every morning alert and happy, talkative, making jokes. His gait is still a little weird. His tremor is no longer very noticeable. He is able to concentrate on things that he wants to do around the house and in the yard and stay on task, whereas before coconut oil he was easily distractible and rarely accomplished anything unless I supervised him directly, a source of some contention between us!
Until Ketasyn is available, and until Dr. Veech’s beta-hydroxybutyrate is tested and available for use, this simple dietary change could make a difference for people who believe they are at risk and for those who already have one of these diseases. To duplicate the dose of MCT taken in the Ketasyn study, about 7 level teaspoons should be taken at one time, once a day, which should circulate ketone bodies for about 24 hours.
I do not know if it is necessary to take this much at one time or if the dosage could be spread out over the course of the day. Studies obviously need to be done to determine this. We actually give this amount to Steve at least twice a day to make sure that there are no periods without ketone bodies circulating. The amounts we are taking would not be excessive in areas of the world where coconut is a staple.
If you are using any type of hydrogenated vegetable oil or any oil with transfat, do not use any more and get rid of it! Extra virgin olive oil, butter and other natural, non-hydrogenated oils are okay to use along with the coconut oil. It is possible to use coconut oil in place of all other oils, however, since it contains no omega-3 fatty acids, it is very important to eat salmon twice a week or get enough omega-3 fatty acid from other rich sources such as fish oil capsules, flax meal, flax oil (not for cooking) or walnuts.
It is inconceivable that a potential dietary prevention and cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases, has been out there for so many years, and yet has gone unnoticed. It is very likely that these diseases are becoming more prevalent due our current diet. The American diet has changed drastically from what it was before the 1950’s, when our parents and grandparents used lard and coconut oil to cook. Cardiovascular disease was rare at the beginning of the 20th century, and has skyrocketed, along with other devastating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes type II, obesity, since mass produced hydrogenated vegetable oils containing trans fats were introduced into our diets and replaced these other natural fats. Sadly, the incidences of cardiovascular and other serious diseases are becoming more and more common among people in other areas of the world who have changed over from their indigenous foods to the “western” diet.
I plan to tell everyone I can and get this information to persons in positions to investigate this and perhaps get funding for Dr. Veech. Feel free to make copies and pass this write-up on.
If you have a loved one or a patient with Alzheimer’s or one of these other degenerative neurologic diseases, consider trying coconut oil. Dr. Veech suggests that, if possible, a videotape of the person before starting and at various points after starting the coconut oil would be very useful to document change. He suggests including segments of the persons face, speech and gait (walking.) He also advises to have ketone bodies measured.
What have you got to lose?
Dr. Mary Newport 10030 Orchard Way, Spring Hill, FL 34608