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Can Coconut Oil Replace Caprylidene for Alzheimer's Disease?
Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:20 AM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: JAAPA) - The rationale for using coconut oil for persons with Alzheimer's is related to altered glucose metabolism that has been observed on positron emission tomography (PET) scans in patients with AD. Recognition of this hypometabolism has led to investigational therapies aimed at improving cellular metabolism with the use of ketones as an alternate fuel source.

Coconut oil is composed predominantly of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). The theory is that metabolism of coconut oil will produce ketone bodies that may be used by neurons for fuel, thus improving cognitive function. However, no evidence exists that coconut oil is effective for improving functionality in AD patients. Additionally, there is not much evidence that ingesting coconut oil will result in ketogenesis, a process that usually occurs in the absence of utilizable glucose.


The popularity of coconut oil stems from a small trial of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in patients with AD. In this trial of 152 patients, MCTs were found to significantly improve cognitive scores after 45 and 90 days of treatment. This led to the marketing of caprylidene (Axona), a prescription-only "medical food".

Because Axona is expensive and available only by prescription, some patients have turned to coconut oil as a cheaper and more accessible alternative. However, coconut oil contains a different composition of MCTs than Axona.


The effect of coconut oil on overall health (including Alzheimer's disease) and serum cholesterol is highly debated. The Alzheimer's Association states, "A few people have reported that coconut oil helped ... but there's never been any clinical testing of coconut oil for Alzheimer's, and there's no scientific evidence that it helps." However, many patients still opt to try coconut oil. Patients are advised to use non-hydrogenated coconut oil, and monitor serum cholesterol regularly.


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