My mom is 79 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 5 years ago. She's on namenda and aricept. I started her on coconut oil about 3 months ago. For her, the result was immediate. Two hours after her very first serving she began responding to "mom" again. (Prior she had begun to only respond to her first name, not recognizing herself as "mom" or "grandma"). She also began using my name again, something that had become very hit or miss for a while. Over the past 3 months we have seen remarkable improvements. She is much more alert and engaged and her sense of humor is back full force. Her gait is steadier, she is able to ask for the bathroom appropriately probably 60% of the time, as opposed to her previous complete incontinence. Her language skills are very slowly improving. She uses eating utensils appropriately again- a skill she had pretty much lost.
I believe my mom's response has been more dramatic than average, but my understanding is that most people respond to at least some degree.
I give her a little more than 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil 3 times a day. I mush it up with some frozen orange juice concentrate into a kind of sherbet, spread it on sandwiches, melt it into oatmeal, etc. Once I saw the improvement I started also adding unsweetened coconut flakes to everything I could think of, and she drinks coconut milk smoothies every day.
I came across the information about coconut oil from Dr. Mary Newport. I strongly suggest you do a little research and speak to your own doctor. It has been amazing for my mom.
Last edited by moderator2; 03-04-2012 at 10:10 AM.
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A few comments... Aricept is recommended for early and mid stages while Namenda is recommended for the later stages. Yet they say to using them together is most effective (which makes no real sense) but nothing in the research indicates that they improve or stop the progression of the disease. At best they may slow the progress minimally in some patients. I am not a fan of these medications because of the extensive side effects with little benefits.
Axona did go into clinical trials for "safety". It was proven safe. We now know coconut is safe to eat This is your first phases of any clinical trials. Later phases prove effectiveness of the medication. These later clinical trials were not successful and no effectiveness was indicated. Axona is not a medication for this reason. It is labeled a medical food. The difference between a medication and a medical food is simple. A medication has to have proven to have a beneficial effectiveness and a medical food just has to be proven safe. So the clinical trials did not prove the benefits of Coconut Oil/MCT Oil. It only said it was safe to take.
The snake oil salesman for profit comment had to do with the book profits and speaking fees that are gained in touting this "cure".... and the "buy me here" buttons where you can purchase for a product for a higher price than at your local grocery store! Yes it is a locally available product but the book and speaking profits are substantial.
Alzheimer's disease begins deep in the brain in the Hippocampus and then spreads outwards and back in the brain. The areas that will absorb the ketones is near the surface of the brain and not the areas most affected by the disease early on. The blood brain barrier is a major problem in finding treatments for this disease.
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Hi Don the body digests fat and spreads it throughout the body. Coconut oil is a fat and some of it probably ends up in the brain where it is supposed to go. The Brain does usually have some fatty substances in it that are in the nerve coatings. I have no financial interests in coconut oil but I would prefer it over medicines. As far as the brain barrier goes if it were that much of a barrier as they once claimed then chances are there would be no drug addicts, alcoholics, or smokers of any kind because the substances would not reach the pleasure centers of the brain. Nor would the drug ectsacy be able to make spongiform holes in the brain. I suppose some substances might be filtered out but certainly not all. The blood supply must go through the brain and whatever the liver did not detoxify may end up there to damage it. Peace SJB
Last edited by sjb; 03-04-2012 at 04:58 PM.
SO FAR, IT'S WORKING: I'm the caregiver for my 93 year old mother who has advanced Alzheimer's. After seeing a report on "The 700 Club," I began giving her "pure" coconut oil about four weeks ago. I give her 3, sometimes 4, tablespoons each day spread out over 24 hours. Given her experience with Aricept and Namenda, which seemed to do nothing, the improvement I saw with coconut oil has been amazing. Don't get me wrong, she still has advanced Alzheimer's but, speaking relatively, her improvement has been both significant and consistent.
Several days ago, I also started giving her potassium. From the first dose, the potassium seemed to enhance the effect of the coconut oil. I give her approximately 500 mg. to 800 mg. of potassium a day, either in one dose or two. (Generally speaking, potassium is a chemical found in the intracellular fluid that is required in order for neurotransmitters to activate or inhibit post-synaptic neurons.)
Due to the short time period, I recognize it may be premature for me to post this comment. However, because the improvement I have seen in my mother has been so startling (again speaking relatively), I felt that posting this was warranted.
I have no idea whether the coconut oil and potassium will continue to work. Given the nature of Alzheimer's, I just take it one day at a time. As the saying goes, "only time will tell."
For those who may want to warn me about hyperkalemia, I know about it. Since my mother's kidneys are normal, there should be no problem with the dose I give her but, in any event, I watch carefully for any symptoms of hyperkalemia.
For those who may want to warn me about the high saturated fat content in coconut oil, I know about that too. But, unlike the saturated fat that causes damage, the saturated fat in coconut oil is composed of medium chained fatty acids which, unlike long chained fatty acids, readily dissolve in the blood.
For those who say I should not try coconut oil and potassium on my mother without scientific studies showing its effectiveness, I say that by the time medical science comes up with a remedy, my mother will be dead. Additionally, we're not talking about giving her prescription medication, we're talking about natural substances that I did research before making my decision.
For those who say, the effects I have seen may be only temporary or transient, you may be right. I don't know.
I am not posting the brand of coconut oil I buy because I don't want anyone to think this post is simply a deceptive sales gimmick. I have no interest or connection with the coconut oil industry or those who sell it nor, frankly, do I have any medical background. I simply saw a report on coconut oil and Alzheimer's, then did some research into it, and decided to try it. The results---so far, so good.
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Mike, no one here would condemn you for trying it .. as former or current AD caregivers we too tired everything, and I do mean everything! I am glad your Mom shows some improvement, and I also applaud your attitude of 'wait and see' and 'one day at a time'. Good luck! My prayer as always is that someday something will be found that cures and restores the mind back to normal, until then it is not wrong to try other cures, remembering that the first rule is 'do no harm' which you are following.
Thank you for your response. Your words show an understanding of both Alzheimer's disease and the plight of caregivers. Though Alzheimer's effects millions of people and their families, I have found that a majority of people neither understand it nor what caregivers go through in trying to care for their loved ones. Having served as the caregiver of my mother for over ten years now, I share in your prayer that a remedy will be found to this horrific disease. In the interim, I also hope that a greater understanding of this disease and the effect it has on caregivers is acquired by the millions of people who have not experienced it.
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I totally agree that the plight of the care giver needs awareness as well as an awareness of this disease by not just those that are dealing with it but the general population. Having been the care giver for my Dad and now my Mom for over a decade I do understand.
I would like to ask what improvements you have seen with your Mom?
Before giving you the changes, I need to note that my mother suffers from both Alzheimerís and a deterioration of her cochlear (auditory) nerves. The latter causes her brain to hear words completely different than those that are spoken. Therefore, we had to communicate in writing with a white erasable board. That means of communication, however, had also stopped working. Though the changes we have seen may seem small to one who has not experienced advanced Alzheimerís, they are quite significant to us who have seen nothing but the steady progression of this disease for over ten years now. The changes include:
1. Before: She could only understand about 10% of the words we spoke to her. Now: She can understand about 80% of the words and simple sentences we speak to her though, at times, it may require repeating 2 or 3 times.
2. Before: She had stopped reading. Now: She can read magazines but still doesnít understand or remember what she reads.
3. Before: She could not remember or follow simple instructions whether verbal or written. Now: She can follow simple instructions which we give to her verbally. On a couple of occasions I asked her to repeat the instructions I gave her and she was able to do so.
4. Before: She could not dress herself. Now: She can dress herself when she is given simple dressing instructions.
5. Before: She babbled continuously for hours. Now: Her babbling is sporadic and there were several days during which she didnít babble at all. A combination of the coconut oil and potassium seems to control her compulsion to babble more than the coconut oil alone. Interestingly, before the coconut oil, she could not tell us, when asked, why she kept talking incessantly. But, after the coconut oil and potassium, I asked her this question again during one of her sporadic babbling sessions. Unlike previously, this time she said: "I can't stop."
6. Before: She couldnít respond to most simple questions asked. Now: She can provide logical answers to most of the simple questions we ask.
7. Before: She would frequently remain awake all night and roam the house. Now: Her roaming is rare and, when it has occurred, another dose of coconut oil has resolved it in about an hour.
8. Before: Her ability to write had ceased. Now: She can write her own name and my name in a penmanship that is very close to normal. We havenít tested her beyond that point.
9. Before: She could not recall the names of lots of common items such as a fork or spoon. For this, we use a pack of index cards with pictures on them. When we tried them previously, she could name very few of the items (10% if that) and got frustrated with them. Now: She can recall the names of many common items but not all of them. She recalls the names of about 70% of the items on the index cards.
10. Before: She could not form new memories. Yesterday: Weíve taught her the names of some simple items she had forgotten, like strawberry and lemon. When we tested her today, she recalled the names of those items.
11. Before: She could not recall the different locations in the house. Yesterday: She surprised us by heading toward the basement. When asked where she was going, she said to the bathroom. When followed, she went straight to the bathroom in the basement which she had not recalled existed for a very long time. She also knows exactly where her bedroom is which she could not recall previously. Most importantly, with an exception here and there, she recognizes that she is home which was not the case prior to the coconut oil and potassium.
12. Before: She had difficulty swallowing and, therefore, eating. Now: Her swallowing ability has substantially improved and she eats almost normally.
13. Before: She couldnít identify dangerous items in the house and, at one point, completely took apart a very sharp pocket knife. Now: She tells us to be careful when using a knife and to shut off the gas on the stove. Today, she told a visitor who was about to leave our house to be careful going down the front stairs. She was inside the house in a location from which she could not see the stairs. Previously, she could not even remember that the front stairs existed.
14. Before: Her analytical abilities had disappeared. Now: She can analyze very simplistic problems and find a solution.
15. Before: She suffered from frequent hallucinations seeing and talking to people that were not there. Now: The hallucinations are rare.
16. Before: She thought the people on television were in the house and, even when we tried to explain it was a show or movie, she didnít understand. Now: When we tell her itís a show or movie, she seems to understand.
17. Before: She could not focus on watching TV. Now: She can focus on watching TV for extended periods of time though the rapidity of TV speech is too fast to accommodate her hearing impairment.
18. Before: She was bewildered and fearful of the people she saw on TV. Now: She's inquisitive and asks what they are doing or saying or why they are doing something.
As I said in my original post, we don't know whether these improvements will continue but we have no doubt that they are real and constitute a significant change. We're just taking it day by day. So far, each day has brought a slight improvement over the previous one. Should the coconut oil and potassium stop working, which given the nature of Alzheimer's is a distinct possibility, I'll post it.
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This is an update on my post of March 25th. The effectiveness of the coconut oil appears to have plateaued or peaked. We haven't seen any additional improvements within about the last two weeks. I wish I could state definitively that coconut oil works or doesn't work but I can't. The results so far are mixed. Of the 18 improvements I listed in my March 25th post, eleven have remained essentially constant while 7 have either deteriorated to their prior state or the frequency of their sporadic regressions has increased. Notwithstanding these mixed results, we continue to give my mother coconut oil because we have concluded that, though not a panacea, it is helpful in maintaining the improvement we have seen with many of her symptoms. If things change for the better or worse, I'll post again.
Hi I have been thinking about the coconut oil in the meantime. A family member has been studying arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. This usually involves inflammation in the case of one or a coating of a fatty/cholesterol plaque in the other. If one really thinks about it coconut oil is hard at room temperature. If a person goes out in the cold and the limbs chill I wonder if any fat that can harden contributes to the rise in heart attacks in winter. If butter is put in the refrigerator it hardens. Of course this would include the animal fats. The coating of the inside of blood vessels would only see that the blood would not be able to reach brain cells.
They say cilantro helps to detoxify from heavy metals. In some cases of the past aluminum was pointed at as a problem for these patients. Aluminum is found in many snacks, some salts, and in certain antacid products. I think I would also feed my family member this and bring them out for as many brisk walks as possible since this improves circulation, has helped to decrease fatty plaque build up and may actually improve blood flow in the brain.
I watched a health program a few weeks ago and people who ate a plant based diet without animal foods after a fatty deposit in the heart decreased these terrible plaques after 3 years. Of course if there was an emergency the plant food diet is a bit late and sugery would be needed for the heart patient but it could help prevent a rebuild up of plague in the arteries of any place in the body such as the brain.
I found some information some time ago they said rats brain damage was reversed by feeding them cranberries, blueberries, concord grape juice and strawberry.
Other foods are mentioned by other people as also being useful for the brain but that was the one someone said actually reversed damage and I found it surprising. Peace, SJB
This will probably be my last post on this subject because, since my last post, there have been no perceivable changes one way or the other. Though the improvements that resulted from the coconut oil continue, the degree of those improvements remain the same and no further improvements have appeared.
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Would appeciate you giving us an update if you have time Mike. Just hiope all is well for you all.
My husband has been on the oil for just a short time and without doing anything else has lost 4 lbs. from his tummy so we are very happy.
I have mild cognitive impairment. I had two head injuries due to sports and a car accident in my teens. I am now 46 years old and have been told by my neurologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, that it is probable early dementia.
I've been given Aricept, Namenda, and a handful of antidepressants to manage my disease. I take none of them. The side effects are awful, and some of them made my memory worse. I am not depressed, in fact quite the opposite. The MCI has made me very mellow and content. I am aware that both Aricept and Namenda will not stop the progression of my probable disease.
The only thing that has ever helped was coconut oil. I have issues with communication, so after years of being talkative and bubbly my communication had ground to a halt due to an inability to "find" words. The first day I took it, I decided not to expect too much. I had read both glowing reports and negative posts about how it was not scientifically proven, and just a way to get my money.
That morning, I took 1000 mg organic coconut oil. I purchased it at Whole Foods. I jumped on my bike and rode, soon forgetting I had taken it. An hour in to my ride. I stopped. I realized I had something to tell my husband. As I rode home, words and thoughts were in my head.
I ran into my home, into the kitchen where he stood, and for the next ten minutes, talked non stop about a book on economics I had read three months prior. He asked me about it after I finished reading it and all I could muster was it was okay and very informative.
When I finally finished my long winded explanation of the book, he smiled and said.. " You are feeling much better arent ya?" At that point, I realized that I had spoken without hesitation, words flowed freely-- and I remembered the details of the book.
In the next several months my ability to manage bills and math returned. I was able to read books straight thru, and remember them.
Finally, my doc suggested a new med. I stopped the coconut oil, and tried it without success.
Within a month, I was back to my former self. Not able to do math, driving poorly, not reading, and stilted conversations.
When I suggested to my doc that I take it again, he told me it's not scientifically proven and gave me another antidepressant. It went unfilled.
For me, personally it works. You can call it snake oil sold by money grubbers, you can say it's not scientifically proven, but I guess I could say the same about Aricept and Namenda.-- ( at least for me)
All I can say is try it. If it works great, if not you've lost your money and your time. I have lost a lot more than that.