My husband Steve, now 61-years-old, has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. In May 2008, while he was screening for clinical trials, I came across information about a potential treatment in development: AC-1202, now called Axona.
As I learned about the potential treatment, I learned that consuming medium chain triglycerides (derived from coconut oil) resulted in improved cognition in about half of the persons with Alzheimer’s or Mild Cognitive Impairment in their studies.
So, I gave my husband Steve some coconut oil. He had a dramatic response with a remarkable improvement in clock drawing and in his memory testing. Two months later, Steve continued to improve and other people confirmed that it was not my imagination.
Steve ‘s dramatic improvement began on the very day he started taking coconut oil. This was consistent with results of the first Axona study in which nearly half of the people had improved memory scores after taking just one dose of Axona.
Since we had changed nothing else in the months prior to or immediately after starting coconut oil, it ‘s reasonable that it was the cause for his improvement.
The way Steve explains the change he experienced, it was like the light bulb came back on the day he started taking coconut oil.
Why is Coconut Oil Beneficial to Alzheimer ‘s Patients?
One important feature of Alzheimer’s disease is that the brain gradually develops insulin deficiency and resistance. As a result, glucose (which is the usual fuel for brain cells) cannot enter the neurons, so the neurons malfunction before eventually dying.
But there may be a way to help alleviate that problem.
Medium chain fatty acids are converted in the liver to ketones. Those ketones can serve as an alternative to glucose, which means they may potentially help cells stay alive and function better.
Beyond Alzheimer ‘s
Increased ketones can also benefit people suffering from other diseases, such as Parkinson ‘s, ALS (Lou Gehrig ‘s), multiple sclerosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, autism, Down ‘s syndrome, and Huntington ‘s chorea. Ketones can also serve as an alternative fuel for other cells in the body that are insulin resistant or cannot transport glucose, and could potentially lessen the effects of Diabetes I or II on the brain and other organs.
So What ‘s the Problem?
Medium chain triglycerides are made in the human mammary gland. But other than that, humans do not make medium chain fatty acids–so we must acquire them from foods.
Unfortunately, most Americans consume oils that don ‘t contain any medium chain fatty acids. But the good news is that medium chain triglycerides make up 70% of the saturated fats in coconut oil.
If you are at risk due to family history, consider making this dietary change as well for prevention. If your loved one is in assisted living, the doctor may be willing to prescribe coconut oil and/or MCT oil to be given at each meal, increasing gradually. Another alternative would be for the doctor to prescribe Axona.
Alzheimer’s care counselors at Safe at Home Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care, including live-in care. We are an elder care agency providing Home Care in Aurora.