Axona / Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) / Coconut Oil


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Axona / Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) / Coconut Oil

Postby swarfmaker » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:48 am

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

And,

"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
Last edited by swarfmaker on Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby josephblanc » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:58 pm

Help!

"The Philippines has one of the lowest incidences of cardiovascular disease in the world. "

I have not been able to verify this. In fact, the only readily data that I could find indicates that the USA and the Philippines have just about the same incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Before changing my diet, I would like to know the reasons that coconut oil commends itself.

The one and only time I ate (and drank) a fresh coconut was on a trip to Hawaii more than ten years ago; it was quite wonderful although I'm not prepared to say it fortified my health. Before buying expensive and stale coconut oil where I am (Philadelphia, PA), I would like to know on what evidence the claim for the particular virtues of coconut oil is based.

Thanks,
Joe Blanc
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Postby swarfmaker » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:31 am

The "research" that has been done so far has been for people with Alzheimer's disease, so it may have no effect on someone with PSP.

But, I'll bet no one with PSP has tried it yet.

Since you can get ~32 oz of processed coconut oil at Walmart for about $5.60, I think that trying 2 tablespoons a day for a few weeks might be worth the potential financial loss. Healthfood stores and Walmart also sell "extra virgin coconut oil", that is processed differently, and looks and smells a lot better. But it costs 4 times as much. You can also find other products with refined MCT oil, such as TwinLab's "MCT Fuel", and Now Food's "MCT Oil". (Low-carb dieters and body builders created the market for this stuff.)

Here are a couple of posts from the Alz.org forum by Dr. Newport on January 7, 2009:

My husband Steve is the "subject" of the case study about coconut oil and Alzheimer's disease and I am very pleased to report that after more than seven months, he has retained all of his improvements and continues to improve, albeit more gradually now. The latest improvements are his memory for events and conversations of the previous day(s)with accuracy.
Regarding the coconut oil/ MCT oil, I have put together a website www.coconutketones.com, with some information that will address some of the questions in your comments and you can also email me at ketones08@aol.com - I have a multitude of articles regarding ketone research that I can attach. There is a case study on the website that goes into more detail written a couple of months after the original article.
In addition to the ketone production, MCT oil has the effect of increasing circulation to the brain (by 39% with 20 ml or 4 teaspoons of MCT oil) and also, in the form of coconut oil with the lauric acid (12 carbon chain - half of the coconut oil) has been shown to dissolve the lipid capsule of the herpes simplex virus, thereby killing the virus.
I am very interested in hearing from people who have tried coconut oil and what their experience has been with their loved ones. The more detail the better. If it is possible to videotape the person before and periodically after starting coconut oil or MCT oil, especially if there is a tremor or unusual gait or speech problem, it would also be very helpful. I am passing along these reports to Dr. Richard Veech, if permission is given,to help/encourage him with his quest of funding his ketone research.
If you are aware of anyone with Parkinson's, ALS (Lou Gehrig's,)Huntington's chorea, multiple sclerosis, Ducheyne muscular dystrophy, Niemann Pick disease type C, please pass on this information, as they have a similar defect with decreased glucose uptake into other areas of the brain and could potentially benefit.

Dr. Mary Newport


I also meant to mention that the problem with glucose uptake appears to occur as early as age 30 in some people with Alzheimer's as demonstrated by decreased glucose uptake on PET. This process may begin decades before there are noticeable symptoms. There are billions of neurons and the symptoms will become more apparent as these slowly die off. Scientist used to believe that after childhood you could no longer make new neurons, however, in recent years they have shown that to be false and even in late adulthood it may be possible to "sprout" new neurons under the right circumstances. There is a substance called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) that is believed to be involved with this and it increase with vigorous exercise and learning.

Dr. Mary Newport
http://alzheimers.infopop.cc/eve/forums ... 1701087833
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Postby josephblanc » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:40 am

I would still like to be able to verify the statement: "The Philippines has one of the lowest incidences of cardiovascular disease in the world. " Where in the world does that come from?

I wrote earlier I have nothing against good coconut oil. If you like it and can afford it, by all means please.

Courage,
Joe Blanc
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Postby eplowman » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:26 pm

All,

You can read about the dramatic improvement of AD patient Steve Newport's symptoms in the Oct. 29 issue of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/aging/article879333.ece

His wife, Mary Newport, pediatrician and neo-natal specialist, is promoting the use of ketones via MCT oils widely to many audiences.

Clinical research in 2005 on Parkinson's patients found improvements among them with ketones. The use of the oils MAY be helpful to those suffering from ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), Huntington's Disease, multiple sclerosis, and others, we are told.

Robin, Joe, others -- have you heard and seen any reports of clinical trials or other research re. ketones and PSP? I haven't taken time to look.

Several words of caution: Steve Newport had an early onset form of AD -- comparitively rare. Those with advanced cases of AD and other neuro-degeneartive diseases might not show the same dramatic improvement of symptoms as he did -- because, as Dr. Newport and the Times article point out: "Nothing can repair the brain damage he has sustained as a consequence of Alzheimer's disease, and there is no cure." And so far, sadly, nothing can stop further progress of the disease. Since Steve Newport's "diet" of non-hydrogenated coconut oil started so recently, we won't know long-term results in his unusual case. I assume some double-blind, peer-reviewed scientific clinical trials of a larger number of patients in time will give us a clearer picture.

In the Times article, also be sure to note the word of caution issued by Richard Veech, chief of the lab of metabolic control at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (who has written about ketones and says Dr. Newport's findings are "promising.").

He says it is important to consult a physician before trying coconut oil at home -- ingesting too much of one type of fat can be dangerous and can also cause diarrhea and vomiting.

ed p.
|My wife of 56 years was Rose b. 1930, dx 1999, symptoms from 1997; d. 06/21/08; PSP-rs autopsy confirmed.
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Postby josephblanc » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:17 pm

Ed and all:

I have not been able to find any mention of the use of any ketone [the term refers to a wide class of chemicals] in any clinical trials for PSP.

On the other hand [see below, from NIH] ketones are products of many neurological disorders. I would be very wary of the suggested use of ANY ketone for PSP. Ketones have a wonderfully attractive smell; when I was a freshman chemist, we were instructed "Smell, but NEVER drink!"

So, we should wait until there are verified clinical trials that the use of some particular ketone [NOT any old ketone] has shown benefits for some neurological disorder before anyone gets their hopes up.

Courage,
Joe Blanc
+++
Oxidation
Increasing evidence indicates that oxidative stress plays a crucial role in some of the most important neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), PD, ALS and Huntington's disease (HD) [106].
The most widely used marker for oxidation damage to proteins is carbonylation – the conversion of amino acid hydroxyl side chains to the ketone or aldehyde derivative.
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Postby swarfmaker » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:55 pm

Dr. Newport posted the following messages on the Alz.org forum yesterday evening:

Regarding the coconut oil case study of my husband, Steve, I thought you all might like to know that, after considerable experimentation with mixtures of MCT and coconut oil, we have settled on a regimen of 20 ml (4 teaspoons) of MCT oil plus 15 ml (3 teaspoons) of coconut oil each three times a day with meals to try to keep his levels of ketones high and constant. His ketone levels with MCT were higher and peaked at 90 minutes but were gone by 3 hours; with coconut oil, the levels were lower but peaked at 3 hours and therefore lasted longer. He received 20 ml of MCT oil and the equivalent of 35 ml of coconut oil at breakfast and at dinner so that we would have two sets of values for each dose. It is quite possible that the same quantity of ketones were produced,(a mathmetician could work it out...the area under the curve,) just followed a different pattern of availability. Regarding lauric acid, my biochemist researcher friends tell me that it hasn't been completely studied regarding how much is converted to ketones, etc. The ketone levels were not run by a local hospital lab, but rather a national lab. Steve is only one guy, of course, and he was his own control. He is APOE4 and it supposedly shouldn't have worked for him, but alas, it did. Regarding Aricept and Axona, the people in the Accera studies who were taking Alzheimer's meds overall had more improvement than those who were not taking these meds. I suspect if the neurons are able to function better because they have an energy source (ketones), that the neurotransmitters will work better also; the current Alzheimer's meds make the neurotransmitters more available.

There is a "medical food" Axona that will be marketed soon, however, your patients may not need to wait for Axona to become available to help your persons with AD, APOE4 or not. It is simply MCT oil which can be purchased now (body builder's use it) or you can use coconut oil which MCT is derived from. The neurons in AD have a problem with glucose uptake/insulin resistance and slowly die.Please read the case study on the website www.coconutketones.com which will explain how the ketones that result from eating medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) can provide an alternative to glucose for the Alzheimer's neurons. I am a neonatologist - we used MCT oil for preemies about 20-25 years ago; my husband has early onset AD and I found this while looking for clinical studies.

Dr. Mary Newport
********************

Other AD patients have tried it and reported encouraging results. Here's an example from today:

"Hi all, I have not written much recently. Been too busy I guess. But I want to report how much better Russ is after being on Coconut oil for a month. I give him approximately 1 1/2 tablespoon per day combined in cooking, (cooked oatmeal for breakfast, when ever I fry something) and one or two pieces of Swarfmaker's Fudge recipe which is great. (see Medications/Treatments for Alzheimer's line for recipe) I will up the dose. Russ is talking in complete sentences in conversation. Recently while on a walk with attendant in the beautiful park where his Adult Daycare is located while observing results of a recent ice storm he said "We must have had a terrible wind storm." Also I have discontinued Resperidal prescribed for agitation and not cooperating with caregivers with personal care because he is no longer agitated, he is happy and cooperative and so much easier to live with. I can't thank everyone so much for all the wonderful information.- Russ's Ellen"

*******

Has anyone here tried this?
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Postby josephblanc » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:34 pm

All:

Sorry to be a party-pooper yet again. To repeat my position, I eat coconuts very happily and so did my late wife Nutey: I have absolutely nothing against eating coconuts or drinking coconut oil [natural or dehydrogenated].

But! Is there any clinical evidence [anecdotes don't count!] that coconut oil helps delay or mitigate Alzheimer's? In the absence of such data. let us all eat coconuts happily, but without the expectation that our forthcoming dementias will be postponed by eating coconuts or drinking coconut juice.

Courage,
Joe Blanc
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Postby Moderator » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:38 pm

Swarfmaker,

Let's try to keep our "research" posts focused primarily on PSP/CBD.

Let's also exercise caution lest scientifically unsupported speculation about possible benefits for PSP sufferers (based on studies of AD or other diseases) causes some readers to leap to false conclusions.

Moderator (Edited 02/14/09)
Last edited by Moderator on Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby swarfmaker » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:22 pm

Axona is a prescription "medical food" containing medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), derived from coconut oil. There is considerable research behind it.

The only speculation, which I feel is quite warranted, is, would it also help someone with PSP or CBD?

You can read more about this prescription product at their web site:
http://www.about-axona.com/prescribinginformation.pdf
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Postby josephblanc » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:03 am

All:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articl ... id=2604900

For those interested, above is a[i] clinical report[/i]. Seek and ye shall find.

Joe Blanc
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Postby swarfmaker » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:08 am

The "medical food" Axona I mentioned above should be available now. It was scheduled to be on the market March 2.

While searching for more information about this, I ran across a discussion about using coconut oil and MCT oils on the Lewy Body Dementia Association discussion forum. Here's the link:

http://www.lbda.org/forum/viewtopic.php ... sc&start=0

I was surprised to read the reports of good results about using coconut oil or MCT oil from people on the Lewy body dementia discussion forum.

If "brain starvation" due to a problem with glucose metabolism, also referred to as a "type 3 diabetes" is a common problem in several of these neurodegenerative diseases, then maybe that is why this is helping these folks.

For anyone interested, here are a couple of recipies for making a "coconut oil fudge" that have been posted to the Alz.org forum:

I found this recipe for a "no-bake" chocolate "fudge" that might be an interesting way to work coconut oil into someone's diet. I think it would be particularly useful for someone who is underweight and needs the calories.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Made-in-Mi ... etail.aspx

Made-in-Minutes No-Cook Fudge
INGREDIENTS
1 cup virgin coconut oil, room temperature
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey

DIRECTIONS
1. Lightly grease 8x8 inch baking dish. [Haven't needed to do this.]
2. Pour the coconut oil into a bowl, and sift in the cocoa, stirring to blend evenly. Stir in the honey, and mix until smooth. Spread mixture into prepared dish, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Cut into 1 inch squares. [I suggest using a square pan, freeze until totally solid so the slab can be popped out onto wax paper. Let it warm up to room temp (but less than 77°F or it WILL melt!), then cutting into 16 equal squares, yielding 1 Tbsp CO per square. Re-freeze the squares until needed.]

Another recipe is to melt 1 cup of CO in a double boiler (I use a 2-cup measuring cup in a pan of water), then melt in enough chocolate chips to raise the level to 2 cups total. Then follow the other directions above.

There are also other products and sources for MCT oil, such as TwinLab's "MCT Fuel", which is actually marketed to body builders as an energy boost!

There has been lots of discussion and debate on the Alz.org forum about the side effects of using this stuff long term. In particular, coconut oil is mostly lauric acid, a saturated fat. The kind available in stores such as Walmart or health food stores is not "hydrogenated". Perhaps that makes a difference. Some things to be aware of and consider. Of course, any drug or supplement will probably have side effects. Have you ever noticed the long list of nasty sounding side effects they list at the end of those prescription drug commercials on TV?
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Postby josephblanc » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:37 am

I apologize for being stubborn, but I would still like some clinical evidence that coconut oil (in any form) brings benefits for patients suffering from any neurological disorder. Where can I find it?

Courage,
Joe Blanc
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Postby swarfmaker » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:50 am

For those interested, here is an excerpt of an article that recently appeared in the St. Petersburg Times (Florida). While this article is concerned with glucose hypometabolism in Alzheimer's disease, many other neurodegenerative diseases share this problem (e.g. CBD, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis). Even though the oils discussed here are found in many foods, they are being used for their medicinal qualities. Just like any other medicine, there can be undesireable side effects. Long-term use should be supervised by a physician.

Spring Hill couple's Alzheimer's fight tries boost in brain superfuel
By Stephen Nohlgren, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Monday, August 3, 2009

They are brain boosters from caveman days that allow humans to survive on nothing but water.

They nurture newborns right out of the womb.

Now ketones — a kind of superfuel for brain cells— are drawing interest as possible treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

In March, a Colorado company began touting Axona, the first FDA-approved "medical food'' for people with Alzheimer's. The key ingredient is a saturated fat that the liver converts into ketones.

Meanwhile, a federal scientist is examining whether ketones might help soldiers think and fight better. He hopes to expand his work to people with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

Then there is Spring Hill resident Steve Newport. His wife retrieved him from an Alzheimer's funk 14 months ago by loading him up with saturated fats found in coconut oil.

He says he feels "alive again."

This does not mean the promised land is around the corner.

Coconut and other ketone-producing oils can cause diarrhea and cramping. Cardiologists say they will clog arteries.

Still, the science behind ketone bodies is intriguing and caregiver bulletin boards are sprinkled with hopeful anecdotes.

An 83-year-old woman in Connecticut is dressing herself again.

A 62-year-old man in California is cracking off-color puns.

And in Spring Hill, Steve Newport mows the lawn without disassembling the John Deere.

• • •

The human body gets most of its energy from sugar, which comes from carbohydrates. But take away carbs, and the liver will start producing ketones — small fragments of carbon that can serve as a substitute fuel.

Humans can survive about two months on nothing but water because the liver madly pumps out ketones.

"Ketones are evolution's survival mechanism for starvation,'' says Theodore VanItallie, professor emeritus of medicine at Columbia University.

A few years ago, VanItallie and colleagues treated five patients with Parkinson's disease with an extreme low-carb, low-protein diet that approximated starvation for 28 days.

Tremors decreased by 43 percent.

One early hallmark of Alzheimer's is that nerve cells stop processing sugar and die. Maybe ketones can plug that fuel gap and keep those brain cells alive.

In March, a company in Broomfield, Colo., called Accera Inc. started marketing Axona.

It produces ketones without starving the patient.

The key ingredient is a saturated fat called caprylic acid. The liver converts a portion of it into ketones, regardless of what else a person eats.

The Food and Drug Administration has not determined that Axona works, only that it is safe to eat and targets an identified nutritional deficiency.

Company literature says daily Axona servings improved cognition scores in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

"It's conceptually very interesting. It seems to have a reasonable scientific basis,'' says Neil Buckholtz, head of dementias for the National Institute on Aging. "My major concern is that their clinical trials have never been published in peer-reviewed literature.''

Accera chief executive officer Steve Orndorff says clinical trial data will be published in a few weeks.

Axona costs about $72 a month and requires a prescription. It works in conjunction with traditional medicines for Alzheimer'.

"This offers physicians for the first time in 15 years a new therapy that works through a different mechanism,'' Orndorff says. "If we can show that Axona, coconut oil and other molecules work, we are going to open up a whole new area of research.'' ...
[Read the rest of the article here at the link below.]
http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/res ... 024137.ece
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