Can Coconut Oil Help with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

Coconut Oil Help Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s

Some people have asserted that using coconut oil could help treat or even reverse Alzheimer’s disease. These claims are due to a theory that brain cells in people with Alzheimer’s are incapable of metabolizing glucose properly for energy production and therefore ‘starve’. Advocates believe that in such a case, coconut oil can act as a substitute energy source for the brain. These claims, however, are not currently supported by enough experimental data.

A clinical trial was conducted in the U.S. to evaluate the efficacy of coconut oil in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. It was, however, terminated in 2017 due to low enrollment. As a result, the researchers did not fully understand if coconut oil was effective for people with dementia.

The Theory Behind Coconut Oil

Researchers believe brain cells in dementia patients’ brains have issues converting glucose into energy, giving rise to the theory that coconut oil could correct this.

The hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar and glucose, has been connected to Alzheimer’s-related alterations in the brain. According to brain scans of elderly patients with Alzheimer’s, some parts of the brain start to have difficulty metabolizing glucose as the illness worsens. This problem is comparable to the one experienced by people with diabetes who can no longer produce or utilize the insulin required to transport glucose into their cells. However, it is still unclear precisely what part insulin plays in the condition.

Ketones, a class of compounds, are central to this theory. The damage brought on by Alzheimer’s interferes with the brain’s ability to use glucose, the primary energy source. When glucose is scarce (e.g., during fasting, strenuous exercise, and in newborns), the brain naturally draws some energy from ketone bodies. Ketones, produced by the degradation of coconut oil and similar substances, may offer the brain cells a different energy source and help reduce the damage due to Alzheimer’s.

Researchers are uncertain whether the difficulty that brain cells experience in producing energy is a cause of the illness or a result of other processes connected to it.

Ketogenic Diet and Cholesterol Levels

Unless a person eats a diet that is extremely low in carbohydrates, the body rarely produces many ketones by itself. The “keto” diet severely restricts carbohydrates while substituting them with high-fat diet intakes, forcing the body to rely on fat as its chief energy source.

Coconut oil allows the consumption of a slightly higher amount of carbohydrates while preventing the body from using them as its primary energy source. The only reason this works is that the body has to metabolize fats due to a metabolic shift.

Since the body prefers to use glucose for metabolism over fats, a ketogenic diet must be severely restrictive. It implies that including coconut oil in your diet will not give your brain cells a different energy source. Some studies have also linked the keto diet with high ‘bad’ cholesterol in some people, increasing the risk of stroke, heart disease, and dementia.

Coconut oil also has a high saturated fat content and can raise cholesterol levels. Therefore, the World Health Organization advises against consuming large amounts of oil.

Can Coconut Oil Be Genuinely Effective Against Alzheimer’s?

Unfortunately, there is no credible scientific evidence to back up the above claim. Since rigorous, extensive research studies on the effectiveness of coconut oil in treating Alzheimer’s disease are lacking, we do not know if it works or not. Due to the absence of large-scale studies, we cannot say whether coconut oil genuinely helps people with Alzheimer’s.

Should You Give Coconut Oil A Try?

It is crucial to remember that anecdotal evidence of coconut oil’s advantages for people with Alzheimer’s has not yet been thoroughly investigated or verified by researchers. As a result, not many medical professionals suggest coconut oil as a potential treatment for patients with cognitive impairment.

The absence of medical support does not mean that caregivers should dismiss coconut oil out of hand. However, just as the benefits of coconut oil are not proven, researchers have not ruled out any risks or side effects from using it in foods or as an adjunctive treatment for Alzheimer’s.

Proponents of the theory typically recommend consuming about three to five tablespoons of coconut oil per day to prevent the worsening of Alzheimer’s symptoms. However, it is crucial to start slowly at first. Consuming coconut oil for the first time may cause some people to experience extreme fullness and diarrhea. You can add a few tablespoons to some yogurt, oatmeal, or even a smoothie. Another well-liked alternative is to use coconut oil instead of butter or vegetable oil when sautéing meats or vegetables, particularly in stir-fries and curry dishes.

Consider Discussing Alternative Treatments with a Doctor

It is crucial to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved coconut oil as a treatment for any condition. The FDA also advises against consuming excessive amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil. It is advisable to first talk to the loved one’s doctor about using coconut oil as an alternative or complementary therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, especially if they have a history of heart problems. While a doctor might not be able to suggest the oil as a treatment, you should always inform them of any significant treatment and dietary plan changes.



Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Can It Cause Dementia?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results from a sudden, external, violent blow to the head that damages the brain, disrupting normal brain functioning. TBI is a broad term that refers to a wide range of brain injuries. It can affect an individual’s cognitive abilities, including memory, thinking, and learning.

Experts classify TBI as mild, moderate, or severe based on whether the injury induces unconsciousness, the duration of unconsciousness, and the severity of symptoms. Since most brain injuries are non-fatal, they display mild symptoms. However, even minor traumatic brain injuries can have catastrophic and long-term consequences.

According to statistics, most of the TBI cases (about 40%) are due to falls followed by unintentional blunt trauma (15%) and motor vehicle accidents (14%).

What are the types of TBI?

There are two types of traumatic brain injuries.

  • Closed brain injury occurs due to non-penetrating injury with no skull breakage. Rapid forward or backward movement or indirect violent jolts to the brain within the skull can cause this type of TBI due to the tearing and bruising of brain tissues and blood vessels. Falls, car accidents, and sports head injuries are the leading causes of closed brain injury.
  • Penetrating brain injury (also known as open head injury) results when there is a break in the skull, for instance, when a bullet pierces the skull and brain.

How can TBI impact cognitive health?

Traumatic brain injury, which occurs as a result of a blow to the head and affects normal brain function, endangers cognitive health in two ways:

  • The direct effects of TBI might include unconsciousness, disorientation, inability to recollect traumatic events, trouble learning and retaining new information, difficulty speaking, lack of coordination, and visual or hearing problems. These can be long-lasting or even permanent.
  • Some forms of TBI may raise the likelihood of acquiring Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia years later.

Is there any connection between Traumatic Brain Injury and Dementia?

Over the last three decades, research has connected moderate and severe traumatic brain injury to an increased risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia years later. According to a study, the higher the severity of the head injury, the higher the Alzheimer’s risk. Seniors with a history of moderate brain injury had a 2.3 times greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s than seniors with no TBI history. Furthermore, those with a history of severe brain injury had an even higher (about 4.5 times) risk. Some other studies (but not all) have also suggested a similar connection between moderate and severe TBI and increased risk.

Increased Risk of TES/CTE

There is no proof that a single moderate TBI raises the risk of dementia. However, the emerging evidence does demonstrate that the chance of developing traumatic encephalopathy syndrome (TES) or specific brain alterations linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) may increase with repeated mild traumatic brain injuries, such as those that can occur in sports like American football, hockey, boxing, and soccer.

Symptoms of TES/CTE include memory loss, disorientation, impaired judgment, anger, depression, anxiety, suicidality, parkinsonism, and progressive dementia. These symptoms may manifest years or even decades later after the last brain injury.

Previous studies have demonstrated that boxers are more likely to experience particular brain alterations linked to CTE and may also experience impairments in cognition. The likelihood of the specific CTE-associated brain changes in boxers appears to correspond with the number of rounds boxed rather than the number of knockouts. It implies that even repeated mild traumatic brain injuries that do not render a person unconscious may increase the risk of dementia. CTE-associated brain changes CTE can occur after a small number of severe TBIs, a large number of mild or very TBIs, or some other pattern of head trauma.

TBI is a risk factor for dementia

Researchers in Sweden have also reported that TBI is a risk factor for dementia, revealing that the likelihood of receiving a dementia diagnosis was highest in the first year following the injury. During this time, dementia diagnoses were four to six times more likely to occur in TBI patients than in the general population. The study also concluded that there might be a risk of dementia even 30 years after a concussion or other TBI.

Having a history of TBI may accelerate dementia

According to a study published in 2016, a history of TBI may cause cognitive impairment to appear two or more years earlier than it would otherwise. These findings were commensurate with other studies that found TBI to be a substantial risk factor for cognitive decline in older adults and associated with the beginning of moderate cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease at a younger age.

Similar brain changes in Alzheimer’s and mild TBI

A recent study revealed similarities in the brain changes in people with Alzheimer’s disease and mild TBI. The brains of Alzheimer’s and TBI individuals exhibited a reduced cortical thickness in comparison with healthy individuals. Experts frequently associate cortical thinning with a decline in memory, verbal fluency, the ability to integrate new knowledge, and the capacity to make judgments.

The link between TBI and APOE ε4 gene

The APOE ε4 gene is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies have indicated that in individuals with an APOE ε4 variant of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, TBI may be more likely to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. However, more research is required to fully understand the association between APOE ε4 and dementia risk in people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury.

More research is needed to understand the connection between TBI and dementia

More research is required to fully comprehend the connection between TBI and dementia and why people who have experienced moderate, severe, or repeated mild traumatic brain injuries are more likely to experience alterations in their memory, thinking, and reasoning later in life.

What are the symptoms of TBI?

Whether the injury is mild, moderate, or severe will determine how severe the symptoms are. Among all forms of TBI, cognitive changes are the most prevalent, disabling, and persistent effects of the injury. It also frequently impacts the ability to learn and remember new information, pay attention, organize thoughts, develop efficient strategies for completing tasks and activities and make sound judgments. Years after the damage and the person seems to have recovered from its initial consequences, more severe cognitive abnormalities (which are a hallmark of dementia) may arise.

Mild TBI or concussion may or may not cause unconsciousness. Its symptoms may include headache, dizziness, confusion, disorientation, blurry vision, nausea and vomiting, problem finding words, sensitivity to light or sound, trouble speaking clearly, and changes in energy, emotions, or sleep patterns. Unconsciousness may last for 30 minutes or less, and a person may be unable to remember the circumstances leading up to the injury or those that happened within 24 hours.

In moderate TBI, unconsciousness lasts more than 30 minutes but less than 24 hours, while in severe TBI, it lasts more than 24 hours. Their symptoms are similar to mild TBI but are graver and longer-lasting.

How to prevent traumatic brain injury?

Falls are the most common cause of TBI. The following measures can help prevent falls:

  • Utilize a walker or other aid to compensate for muscle weakness, poor balance, or mobility issues.
  • Get your vision examined regularly and use contact lenses or glasses for correcting changes.
  • Prevent domestic dangers like clutter, loose rugs, and poor lighting.

You can also take other precautions to prevent traumatic brain injury, such as wearing a helmet or other protective gear to protect your head while biking or playing contact sports,
maintaining your vehicle to keep it in good condition, following road and traffic rules, and fastening your seat belt.


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3. McCrory, P., Zazryn, T. and Cameron, P., 2007. The evidence for chronic traumatic encephalopathy in boxing. Sports medicine, 37(6), pp.467-476.

4. Nordström, A. and Nordström, P., 2018. Traumatic brain injury and the risk of dementia diagnosis: A nationwide cohort study. PLoS medicine, 15(1), p.e1002496.

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6. Rostowsky, K.A. and Irimia, A., 2021. Acute cognitive impairment after traumatic brain injury predicts the occurrence of brain atrophy patterns similar to those observed in Alzheimer’s disease. GeroScience, 43(4), pp.2015-2039.

What you should know about Alzheimer’s and Type 3 diabetes?

Alzheimer’s And Type 3 Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a health condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin (a hormone responsible for blood sugar regulation in the body) or cannot effectively use it, resulting in abnormally high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Generally, three types of diabetes are known:

  1. Type 1 diabetes (T1DM) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its insulin-producing beta cells in the endocrine part of the pancreas, causing them to lose the ability to make insulin. Consequently, the blood sugar level becomes too high.
  2. Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a chronic condition in which the body cells become resistant to insulin and do not use it well or the pancreas cannot produce it adequately to keep up with the demand.
  3. Gestational diabetes (GDM) occurs during pregnancy, and blood sugar levels are abnormally high during this period.

Some researchers have proposed the term “type 3 diabetes” for describing Alzheimer’s disease. According to them, a type of insulin resistance and insulin-growth factor dysfunction that occurs specifically in the brain cause amyloid plaques, inflammation, and oxidative stress in the brain triggering the disease. Some scientists also use this term when people with type 2 diabetes are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“Type 3 Diabetes” is not universally acknowledged by the medical community as a clinical diagnosis. Its classification is highly controversial, and the American Diabetes Association and other major health organizations do not consider it a type of diabetes.

This condition is not to be confused with type 3c diabetes mellitus (also known as T3cDM and pancreatogenic diabetes). Type 3c may result due to pancreatitis and is entirely different from Alzheimer’s.

Causes of type 3 diabetes

In a review published in 2008, the authors conclude that “type 3 diabetes” precisely describes Alzheimer’s disease as a form of diabetes that impacts the brain. According to them, Alzheimer’s is a neuroendocrine disorder characterized by decreased insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling. It can also cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Besides, the authors note that while obesity and type 2 diabetes may contribute to the development of dementia, they are not sufficient causes in and of themselves.

A more recent study, however, reveals that an insulin-degrading enzyme may cause type 2 diabetes to progress to type 3 diabetes by shifting metabolic pathways. This mechanism may result in oxidative stress and beta-amyloid buildup in the brain, both of which are symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Another study stated that people with type 2 diabetes might be about 60% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia, suggesting type 2 to be one of the risk factors.

Potential risk factors for type 3 diabetes, as mentioned in a recent study, include:

  • Family history
  • Genetics
  • Birth weight
  • Ethnicity and race
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Stress
  • A diet high in calories, sugars, and fats and low in fiber

Inheritance of the APOE-ε4 gene is one of the most substantial risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Research has also suggested a stronger association between diabetes and Alzheimer’s-associated amyloid pathology among the carriers of the APOE-ε4 gene, implying that this gene can increase an individual’s risk of the condition.

Symptoms of type 3 diabetes

Since “type 3 diabetes” is not officially classified as diabetes, medical practitioners do not use it as a diagnostic term. Its symptoms are similar to dementia which include:

  • Memory loss that impacts daily lives
  • Trouble carrying out familiar tasks
  • Frequently misplacing things
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Confusion about time or location
  • Poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities

Diagnosis and treatment

No specific test can diagnose type 3 diabetes. However, doctors can diagnose Alzheimer’s via brain imaging, neurophysiological tests, and neurological examination.

There is no specific treatment for type 3 diabetes, but distinct treatment options are available for people with pre-type 2 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Currently, Alzheimer’s has no treatment, and the available medication can temporarily treat its symptoms or slow its progression. In case a person has both Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes, treating the latter is essential to help slow dementia progression.


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2. Mittal, K., Mani, R.J. and Katare, D.P., 2016. Type 3 diabetes: cross talk between differentially regulated proteins of type 2 diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientific reports, 6(1), pp.1-8.

3. Chatterjee, Saion, Sanne AE Peters, Mark Woodward, Silvia Mejia Arango, G. David Batty, Nigel Beckett, Alexa Beiser et al. “Type 2 diabetes as a risk factor for dementia in women compared with men: a pooled analysis of 2.3 million people comprising more than 100,000 cases of dementia.” Diabetes care 39, no. 2 (2016): 300-307.

4. Nguyen, T.T., Ta, Q.T.H., Nguyen, T.K.O., Nguyen, T.T.D. and Van Giau, V., 2020. Type 3 diabetes and its role implications in Alzheimer’s disease. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(9), p.3165.

5. Zhao, N., Liu, C.C., Van Ingelgom, A.J., Martens, Y.A., Linares, C., Knight, J.A., Painter, M.M., Sullivan, P.M. and Bu, G., 2017. Apolipoprotein E4 impairs neuronal insulin signaling by trapping insulin receptor in the endosomes. Neuron, 96(1), pp.115-129.