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Treating alzheimers with coconut oil…

I have been writing articles on topics related to our health for a number of years and now in Channel I will be keeping you up to date with ways in which we might improve our health by becoming more aware of the many options that are available to us.
John Appleton – Ph: 09-489-9362.

As I see it – By John Appleton.

“Tick of a timebomb that waits to claim the identity and dignity of a generation” This is the heading of a feature article in a British Newspaper. The article talks about how the incidence of Alzheimer’s and Dementia is expected to increase to become a major epidemic and it’s not just in the U.K. In New Zealand there should be as much concern because the costs could exceed our ability to pay.

While there is an international scramble to develop drugs that may limit the impact of this insidious condition for the benefit of the individual and the health system, the news is not good. It seems however that if there is a breakthrough it may come in the form of a simple nutritional intervention. There’s a video clip that’s currently going ‘viral’ on the internet which outlines the story of an American Doctor who achieved significant success treating her husband with Coconut Oil. Dr Newport has written a case study ‘What if there was a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease And No One Knew and this can be downloaded from the Internet. There are also several ‘YouTube’ clips where Dr Newport is interviewed.
The first question that might come to mind for many people is how can a simple saturated fat possibly be effective as a treatment for a serious neurological condition? The theory is based on the fact that an early feature of Alzheimer’s disease is region specific declines in brain glucose metabolism. Unlike other tissues in the body the brain does not efficiently metabolise fats and thus it relies almost exclusively on glucose for energy. Therefore inhibition of glucose metabolism can have a profound effect on the brain. Alzheimer’s could be a type of diabetes of the brain where insulin problems prevent brain cells from accepting glucose.
This is where the Coconut Oil comes in. Scientists have discovered that there is another substance that could fuel the brain; a substance known as ketones or ketone bodies. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. The good news is that the Medium Chain Triglycerides (fats) found in Coconut Oil is an excellent source of Ketone bodies. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) are not processed in the same manner as Long Chain Trigylcerides (e.g Fish Oil) which must be mixed with bile in order that they may be broken down. MCT’s however go directly to the liver (not requiring bile) which naturally converts the fats into ketones. These are then released immediately into the bloodstream where they are transported to the brain to be used as fuel. I have read that ketones appear to be the preferred source of brain food in patients affected by diabetes or Alzheimer’s.
Six months ago a good friend in the U.S. told me that he was planning to try Coconut Oil with his mother who has Alzheimer’s and hadn’t spoken for two years. Last week he forwarded a copy of a message from his Mother’s care centre – “Good news I can’t believe what is happening!!! Your Mom has not spoken in almost two years Rhoda is saying sentences- there is a big change in her”
While to many this is totally new and surprising, Ketones have been used successfully to help with Epilepsy. There is a diet known as the Ketogenic diet which was pioneered by Dietician Millicent Kelly at Johns Hopkins Hospital some 40 years ago. In 1997 Meryl Streep starred in a Television Movie “First do no Harm” about a boy whose severe epilepsy, unresponsive to medications with terrible side effects, is controlled by the Ketogenic diet. Aspects of the story mirror the movie’s director Jim Abrahams’ own experience with his son Charlie. Anyone interested can watch a brief video of Meryl Streep introducing the Ketogenic diet (type Meryl Streep Ketogenic Diet into Google). Meryl describes her friend’s son Charlie and his life with epilespy. Charlie had suffered thousands of seizures, had been given a vast array of drugs had been hospitalised eight times had MRI’s and CAT scans a surgical procedure and been under the care of 5 Neurologists. When Charlie was put on the Ketogenic diet at the Johns Hopkins Hospital he became seizure free – it’s a remarkable story.
Why isn’t the story about ketones front page news? It should be but the title of NZ Herald Journalist Paul Little’s recent article “Health Industry depends on people being ill” rings a bell for me.

by John Appleton