Mary Newport, M.D. is an expert on the benefits of coconut oil. She postulates that ketone bodies, produced by the body during the digestion of coconut oil, offer substantial benefits in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. If her theory is correct, this natural oil may be key in addressing this terrible disease.
Dr. Newport’s interest in the subject is rooted in her personal experience. Newport’s husband, Steve, suffered from progressive dementia for five years during his fifties. Eventually, an MRI showed he had Alzheimer’s disease. She says of that period:
Many days, often for several days in a row, he was in a fog; couldn’t find a spoon or remember how to get water out of the refrigerator… One day I would ask if a certain call came that I was expecting and he would say “No.” Two days later he would remember the message from so-and-so from a couple of days earlier and what they said.
Although Steve had no short-term memory, she believed information was filed somewhere in his brain. She had an intuitive feeling diet could make a difference. He took the medication that was prescribed to slow his cognitive deterioration, but he continued to lose weight, forgot how to cook or use a calculator or do simple arithmetic. He became depressed. He did still enjoy working in the yard or the garage, and he stayed in good physical shape.
Dr. Newport was intrigued by studies she found regarding the potential use of medium chain triglycerides or ketone bodies to not only treat but possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease. They are also considered a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, drug resistant epilepsy and diabetes. Newport explains:
Ketone bodies may help the brain recover after a loss of oxygen in newborns through adults, may help the heart recover after an acute attack, and may shrink cancerous tumors. Children with drug resistant epilepsy sometimes respond to an extremely low carbohydrate ketogenic diet.
Dr. Newport began giving a daily dose of coconut oil to Steve. After only sixty days on this program, she noticed he was alert and happy, talkative and joking, and the tremor he’d developed began to recede. He seemed more able to concentrate on a single task with less tendency to be distracted. For several years, her husband was a different person. He still sometimes had difficulty finding words, but he recognized relatives on a family vacation, participated in discussions, and his facial expressions were animated.
Ultimately, the disease overtook Steve’s progress, and he died in 2016 this year. Dr. Newport continues to support research into coconut oil as a potential treatment. She writes:
It has been nearly 8 years since Steve improved with coconut oil. He improved very significantly and steadily the first year and remained stable for 2 more years…I cannot help but think that ketones played an important role in all of this. Although he lost his battle against Alzheimer’s on January 2, 2016, at age 65, there is now at least hope for others who are at risk or in earlier stages of this horrible disease, and their families, might actually win their fight. We will continue to bring more awareness and research to this and future projects to find a cure.