Research suggests that a daily dose of raw, unrefined coconut oil may alleviate, or regress neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or Parkinsons Diseases. Snopes, an internet “truth” seeking website, points out that the claims about coconut oil and AD are anecdotal and that there is “very little significant scientific evidence to back up those claims,” I would argue that that is due to the fact there have not been a lot of scientific clinical trials. The research behind the use of coconut (MCT) is very solid, very promising and warrants a deeper look. In cognitive testing, AD patients that were given coconut oil treatment exhibited increased score/performance on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-cog) across the whole subject group in comparison to the placebo group.(1)
Another study, published in 2010 demonstrates that low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of cognitive problems. Lead scientist, David J. Llewellyn, PhD, of the University of Exeter, England, raises the possibility that vitamin D supplements may have therapeutic potential for the prevention of dementia.(3) As we all know, the best source of Vitamin D is exposure to natural sunlight. People that live in northern climates and/or have limited time outdoors should consider a vitamin D3 supplement.
There are many other natural supplements and foods that have strong anecdotal evidence supoorting their use in treatment for AD patients. The scientific community has taken notice of gingko biloba, vitamin E, and saffron to name a few. As a former, and if I may say “recovering” research scientist, I am saddened by the misguided condemnation of the term “anecdotal.” Anecdotal evidence is empirical data and is the foundation of research science. All research starts as anecdotal; until formal clinical trials are funded and executed, evidence remains anecdotal. It is unfortunate that the driving force behind the funding of scientific and medical research is the ability to make money from the substance/method being tested. Since coconut oil, spices and the sun are accessible to all, very few companies have an interest in funding research proving their efficacy.
I was not able to find any studies on the use these substances as preventative treatments. That said, with the knowledge that Alzheimer’s Disease is in my gene pool, adding coconut oil, turmeric, and vitamin D supplementation to my diet is a no-brainer…I don’t need double blind, controlled scientific studies to think that it is a good idea. What do you think?