The most important fats in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). They improve the cognitive functions in elder people who suffer from memory loss as serious as Alzheimer’s. These fats are effective not after months or days but after small dosage of 40ml.
The journal Neurobiology of Aging published revolutionary study in 2004 which found that administration of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are mainly found in coconut oil, instantly improve cognitive function in elder people who suffer from memory disorders.
The study was conveyed on 20 participants who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment and who were treated with emulsified MCTs or placebo. The researchers followed the significant increase in blood plasma levels of ketone body beta- hydroxybutyrate (beta-OHB) 90 minutes after the treatment and based on apolipoprotein E genotype of participants, beta-OHB levels either continued to rise or stayed between constant among 90 and 120 minute blood draws in the treatment condition. Amazingly, the tests on cognitive functions showed that this short MCT treatment accelerated improved performance on the Alzheimer’s disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-cog) in 4 participants. Furthermore “higher ketone values were associated with greater improvement in paragraph recall with MCT treatment relative to placebo across all subjects (P=0.02).”[i]
The details of the treatment used in the research were described as follows:
“The study was conducted with a double-blind placebo controlled design with two study visits. During each visit, subjects received one of two isocaloric conditions (690 calories) in a randomized order: emulsified MCTs, or emulsified long chain triglycerides as a placebo. NeoBee 895 (Stepan, Inc.) was used for MCTs. To increase palatability, heavy whipping cream was used as a source of long chain triglycerides and as a source of long chain mono- and di-glycerides for emulsification. MCTs (40ml) were blended with 152ml heavy whipping cream to create the emulsified test sample. Heavy whipping cream alone (232ml) was blended to create the placebo.
Subjects fasted from 8:00 p.m. on the night prior to the study visit. They arrived in the morning and blood was drawn to determine plasma β-OHB levels and APOE genotyping (first visit only). Subjects then consumed the test beverage and rested quietly for 90min, after which blood was drawn and a 30-min cognitive testing session ensued. After testing, a final blood draw was taken.”
The question now is: How could one dosage of MCTc (40 ml or 2.7 tablespoons) result in instant improvement in cognitive functions I people who suffer from cognitive disorders as serious as Alzheimer’s disease? The answer is in the configuration of MCTs themselves and the specific needs of the brain. We are all acquainted with the fact that the primary fuel for the brain is glucose and when the resistance and suboptimal metabolism (hypometabolism) develop in the brain, the brain function and structure are damaged. Ketone bodies are able to supply the brain with alternative fuel source instead of glucose which can help in renewing the metabolic processes in the brain. This results in immediate improvement of cognitive functions.
MCTs differ from all the fats we consume. For example, because of their smaller size they don’t form micelles and do not deposit in the adipose tissue. On the other hand more than 97% of the dietary fats we consume are made from long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) that have 14 and 18 long chain of carbons,[ii] but MCTs have quite shorter chain lengths of 5 to 12 carbons which is why they are more easily used and absorbed. They are oxidized by the liver and if consumed in larger quantities they increase the ketone bodies.
Coconut oil is rich source of these triglycerides and it contains about 2/3rds MCTs by volume. In addition instead of praising the coconut oil and its fats as new nutritional magic, try to start using coconut oil instead of the unhealthy fats. For example, replace the bad, inflammatory ‘vegetable oil’ (grape seed, canola, soy oil) which you use to cook eggs or to bake, with sublimely saturated, rancidity-resistant coconut oil.
Or you can prepare delicious curry with coconut milk. Coconut milk contains 25% fats and 66% of that fat is MCT, so you will get a healthy dosage. Try consuming even smaller amounts of healthy and therapeutic food to avoid using “food as medicine” which means to start eating healthy after getting ill. Think: consume beneficial food so that medicine never becomes necessary.