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Kolasa: Coconut oil research ongoing

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Q My mom is suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Several friends have suggested I give her coconut oil. They have shared a video clip from the Web that shows almost miraculous improvement. Do you think this is real? Can it really work? — AD, Greenville

A I found the book “The Alzheimer’s Action Plan” by Dr. Murali Doraiswamy and colleagues at Duke University to be helpful and based on good science. It does not include the topic of coconut oil, so Eden Rouse, a third-year Brody medical student, searched the literature for information about coconut oil and Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. Here is what Eden found.

Primary care physicians around our country are preaching prevention to their patients. The incidence of obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes is rising rapidly in America, and many doctors are doing what they can to slow the waves of new disease diagnoses. Some reports hint that coconut oil may hold the key to prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating illness characterized by a slow decline in brain function, usually among the elderly.

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coconut oil and lipids and weight

There are at least recent trials indicating that coconut oil, not only does not cause weight gain but can assist in decrease in abdominal weight. There is also some indication that only does coconut oil not raise LDL but is either lipid neutral or can decrease LDL based on current research. Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601. doi: 10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6. Epub 2009 May 13. Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.Assunção ML, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2009;18(3):351-8. A good response to oil with medium- and long-chain fatty acids in body fat and blood lipid profiles of male hypertriglyceridemic subjects.Liu Y, Wang J, Zhang R, Zhang Y, Xu Q, Zhang J, Zhang Y, Zheng Z, Yu X, Jing H, Nosaka N, Kasai M, Aoyama T, Wu J, Xue C. More research needs to be done with these preliminary results before we, as RD's, continue to tell people to avoid coconut oil. MMeeks, RD

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