The brain cells of people with Alzheimer's Disease don't utilize glucose well. Glucose is the brain's primary fuel, enabling brain cells (neurons) to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter necessary for coherent thought.
Without enough acetylcholine, we experience mental confusion and memory loss. Without adequate glucose, neurons essentially starve to death.
Dr. Mary Newport and her husband Steve faced Steve's early decline into Alzheimer's at age 58. Aricept and Exelon didn't help. Steve became unable to think clearly, was unsteady and feeble. He couldn't remember what day, or even what month it was.
Dr. Newport discovered that non-hydrogenated coconut oil feeds neurons starved of glucose with another fuel called ketones, produced when fat breaks down. Coconut oil has been considered unhealthy but it's time to revisit this belief.
Non-hydrogenated coconut oil is 60% MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). The liver breaks them down into ketones and the ketones, an alternative fuel source to glucose, feed the brain.
Dr. Newport had Steve put on Ketasyn, a drug that helped some Alzheimer's sufferers. Ketasyn's main ingredient? MCTs. Dr. Newport bought some 100% virgin coconut oil, and began adding it to his food throughout the day.
Four hours after his first ingestion of the oil, Steve was tested a second time for a clinical trial and scored four points higher on his test than he did the first time.
After five days of oil supplementation, he was more himself again, and his thought processes were improving. Within months, Steve's tremors were gone, and he was again involved with life around him. While it doesn't appear that all the damage Steve's brain suffered can be reversed with coconut oil, it's made a significant difference in his quality of life.
Dr. Richard Veech, of the National Institutes of Health, supports the idea that ketones may help treat Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Dr. Theodore VanItallie saw improvement in five Parkinson's patients from a ketogenic diet. Each patient experienced less stiffness and tremors, and were better able to walk.