Perhaps the most impressive and notable benefit of coconut oil is its possible protective effect on neurons in the brain. Early research suggests coconut oil may have a protective effect on neurons in the brain. This most directly relates to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and some types of epilepsy.
Preliminary research suggests that brain cells treated with coconut oil were somewhat protected from the build-up of the toxic effects of amyloid proteins, which prevent the brain from absorbing glucose (sugar). Alzheimer’s patients appear to have a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.
Research suggests ketone bodies may offset amyloid proteins, allowing the brain access to an alternative energy source. When the body metabolizes coconut oil, it breaks down the medium-chain triglycerides, the same elements that make coconut oil easily digested, to create ketone bodies.
Ketone bodies provide an alternative energy source for the brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose (sugar) as a result of Alzheimer’s. Glucose is the brain’s chief energy source. Imaging studies show reduced glucose use in brain regions impacted by Alzheimer’s. The ketones help to provide energy for the brain’s malfunctioning cells and reduce the symptoms of Alzeheimer’s.
A study in 2006 highlighted the importance of consuming medium chain triglycerides as they lead to an immediate improvement in brain function in patience with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.
Science suggests that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzeheimer’s patients and relieving some symptoms.
For more information on the benefits of coconut oil or to read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here.