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Coconut oil: How it controls Alzheimer’s disease and viruses

When I talk about coconut extracts like oil and its health benefits, I do my usual antic to capture the interest of my audience. With an engaging segue, I would tell a short anecdote about an elderly moneylender who never forgot the names, and addresses of people who owed him money and how much they owe him, because he was a regular user of coconut oil. And every time I shared the story, I could see the amusing looks on the faces of, perhaps, the moneylenders and borrowers in my crowd.

Anyway, the short story could only be a prank. But the message is not. Coconut oil and the medium- chain triglycerides (MCTs) it contains are effective cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia. And using coconut oil regularly has a protective effect on brain health.

In our radio program “Dito sa Bayan ni Juan” last Saturday, together with former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who is now aged 97, and Al Tatel, we had for our guest the owner of Tropicana Foods,  Chu Seng. Tropicana is one of the country’s leading producers of coconut-based products, like the virgin coconut oil. 

Enrile, as an authority of Constitutional law, still has a sharp mind on the Philippine constitution, even as he shared his thoughts on the constitutionality of the Quo Warranto Petition filed by the solicitor general against the franchise of ABS-CBN at the Supreme Court. The former Senate president admits to regularly taking virgin coconut oil until today.

Chu Seng explained that MCTs are a top source of healthy fats. They are easily digested and sent directly to the liver and burned as energy, even as they positively affect the body’s metabolism. 

Chu Seng’s explanation is backed by former Florida-based neurologist Dr. Mary Newport’s discovery, when her research and interest in Alzheimer’s began after her husband was diagnosed with the disease. 

In her book, Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was A Cure?, she explains that she and her husband were attempting to qualify him for a clinical study using Axona, a medical food, that would perhaps be useful in treating Alzheimer’s. As she studied the patent application for Axona, she realized that it primarily consisted of MCT oil. In her own research, she discovered that a large source of MCTs was coconut oil. 

She immediately began giving her husband coconut oil, even prior to the study. Within two weeks, Steve exhibited cognitive improvement. Prior to taking coconut oil, he failed a simple “clock test,” drawing incomprehensible circles and numbers. Two weeks after beginning the coconut oil regimen, Steve was able to draw a more logical and accurate clock. (From Remedy Grove online) 

Meanwhile, amid the global threat of the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which in some parts of China has already reached pandemic levels, the lauric acid and caprylic acid contents of coconut oil, both well-known for fighting off yeast overgrowth (Candida), along with bacterial infections, are converted by the body to monolaurin, an antiviral agent that fights off a variety of pathogens and viruses. 

This anecdotal report is backed by a study by Dr. Conrado S. Dayrit, saying that coconut oil does have an antiviral effect and can beneficially reduce the viral load of HIV patients. The positive antiviral action was seen not only with the monoglyceride of lauric acid, but with coconut oil itself. This indicates that coconut oil is metabolized to monoglyceride forms of C8, C10, C12 to which it must owe its antipathogenic activity. 

Indeed, the coconut, which is considered the Philippines’s tree of life, has much to offer for our health. The health benefits of coconut oil may have been distorted many years back after a demolition PR campaign was launched by its market adversaries. But as the saying goes, you can never hide the truth, especially if it matters most to health and money. 

And most importantly, amid the global threat of the deadly COVID-19, where in some countries its spread has already reached pandemic levels, it would be wise to consider coconut extracts as a good preventive food supplement for those still free of the deadly COVID-19, or even a cure for those who may have already been infected. This is definitely good for Filipinos because coconut trees are endemic in the Philippines. 

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