It has been estimated that around 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050 this number is expected to increase to 16 million people.
Treatments are rarely effective and they are only few, so prevention as well as early diagnosis, are extremely important.
The first sense that is affected by dementia is the ability to smell since it is connected to the first cranial nerve. So, scientists have discovered that the ability to smell peanut butter through the left nostril was impaired in patients who had Alzheimer’s disease.
The study done by the University of Florida (McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste) tested the smelling ability of 24 Alzheimer’s patients with mild cognitive disorder. During the test, patients were supposed to close their mouth and eyes and hold one of their nostrils closed, while breathing normally through the other. Clinicians used ruler to measure the distance between the peanut butter and the patient’s open nostril to determine the distance at which the patient could detect the odor. After a delay of 90 seconds, the process was repeated with the other nostril.
The results showed that those patients who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in its early stage, through other clinical examinations, couldn’t detect the smell on their left nostril until it was 10 cm closer to the nose, but they could detect it on their right one.
Interestingly, this wasn’t the case in those patients who had other types of dementia. Namely, they had no differences in odor detection between both nostrils and they could detect odors on their left nostril rather than on the right one.
Benefits of Coconut Oil in the treatment of Alzheimer’s
According to some previous researches, our bodies produce ketones while ingesting coconut oil, which helps in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Coconut oil has numerous other benefits as well:
• It improves the good cholesterol
• Improves the use of insulin in the body
• Acts as a natural antibiotic and antioxidant
• Boosts the thyroid function
• Improves the skin, hair and the overall health
A study which enrolled 65 patients with mild-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, evaluated the effects of coconut oil in the treatment and prevention of this disease versus placebo therapy.
Dr. Newport, who is the author of this study, said that no clinical data has showed the effects of coconut oil on the treatment of dementia, but she noticed significant improvement in her husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Namely, he consumed 4 teaspoons of coconut oil on a daily basis and soon he was able to tie his shoes and to walk normally. He also started to run again and his slow gait also improved. They also noticed improvements in his ability to read, to speak and after several months he had improvement in his memory as well. Newport also added that before her husband started to consume coconut oil, the medications he took had no effects at all.
Coconut oil – ideal food for the brain
Our bodies need carbohydrates and fat in order to produce energy. When the body converts fat into energy it produces ketones. MCT – medium-chain-triglycerides are the primary source of ketones and they are found in coconut oil.
MCT are fats which are not processed by the human body like the long-chain triglycerides and they go directly to the liver without being mixed with the bile. So, when you consume coconut oil, it naturally converts into ketones. Then, the liver releases them into the bloodstream and they are rapidly transported to the brain. It has been shown that ketones renew and restore neurons and improve the function of the brain.
According to Dr. Newport, 20g of MCT which is equal to 35ml / 7 teaspoons of coconut oil per day has therapeutic effects. This is a preventative measure against the neurological degenerative diseases.
Fasting stimulates the production of ketones
The ketone production can be increased in two ways: either by intermittent fasting or by restricting carbohydrates. It is recommendable to replace the lost carbohydrates with high quality fat, such as the coconut oil for example. Intermittent fasting on the other hand will promote fat burning. Your body needs about 8 hours to metabolize the glycogen stores. Afterwards, it turns to burning the stored fat, which eventually leads to ketone production.
The fasting length should be at least 16 hours. This means that you should eat between 11am and 7pm. It is recommendable to avoid eating for three hours before bedtime. Then, gradually increase the time before eating your breakfast to the point when you will have your first meal at lunch.
Tips on how to maintain your brain function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Taking into consideration that Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented, you should make certain modifications in your lifestyle and nutrition.
• Avoid gluten. It has been shown that gluten affects the blood-brain barrier, promotes inflammation and autoimmunity.
• Avoid refined fructose and sugar.
• Stimulate the production of the gut flora
• Increase the intake of animal-based omega-3 fatty acids and other healthful fats. You can also increase the consumption of organic butter, organic virgin olive oil, free-range eggs, coconut oil, avocado, nuts (macadamia and pecans) and wild Alaskan salmon.
• Improve the levels of magnesium. High levels of magnesium in the body prevent the development of dementia.
• Reduce the intake of carbohydrates.
• Optimize vitamin D levels. According to the researchers, optimal levels of vitamin D increase the amount of the important chemicals in your brain which protect the brain cells from damage.
• Eat foods rich in folate
• Eliminate and avoid mercury and aluminum
• Exercise on a regular basis. It has been shown that regular physical activity slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
• Eat blueberries
• Avoid flu vaccinations
• Avoid statin drugs and anticholinergics
• Challenge your mind with mental stimulation
Other nutritional recommendations:
• Ginko biloba
• Alpha lipoic acid
• Vitamin B12