April 24, 2013

Coconut Oil for Alzheimer's: One Man's Success Story

Note: Yesterday I promised to begin a two-part report on the most popular dietary supplements. I forgot I had theater tickets for tonight and work to do on my upcoming travel arrangements. Fortunately, I had this related post ready to go.

I’ve castigated the hucksters who perpetrate the use of coconut oil as a cure – not supported by proper scientific testing -- for Alzheimer’s. Invariably, those promoters have financial interests in coconut oil products, and it irks me no end that they create false hopes for millions of sufferers and caregivers around the world in order to pad their own bankbooks.

Imagine my surprise when I found a story in the April 21 edition of the UK’s Mirror about a 68-year-old man in England whose family swears his advanced Alzheimer’s has been effectively reversed by liberal daily doses of coconut oil. As far as I can tell, this family, the newspaper, and the article’s author have no connection to product sales.

In 2007, the man’s son found a video on YouTube “posted by a doctor in Florida who was treating her husband’s Alzheimer’s with coconut oil.” Though that doctor isn’t mentioned by name, it sure sounds like Dr. Mary Newport.

The man’s family began feeding him coconut oil. Said his daughter, “Within a month his mood completely changed. He became calmer and relaxed. He started shaving, then bathing on his own. Then one day he gave me a hug and said my name. It was the most emotional moment.”

Yes, this amazing turnabout is only one case, and does not turn the coconut-oil-for-Alzheimer’s claim into science. Still – especially because I’ve been a vocal critic of the product’s vigorous promotion by people with a stake in its sales – I feel compelled to share this man’s experience on my blog. I’ve told my own fairly unique experience with 5-HTP, so I’ll share the story of this man’s apparently successful encounter with coconut oil.

Bottom line: For any dietary supplement, you can find an anecdotal story of someone's miraculous experience. I have no reason to doubt that Dr. Newport's husband has benefited from taking the supplement.  And I'm glad Mr. Parmar has experienced a remarkable turnaround in the UK.

In the past, stories like this would temp me to give the supplement a try. But years of reading and researching health-related stories have convinced me that  in virtually every case, these promising stories turn out not to be supported by research studies or widespread positive results. I'm convinced that Americans are over-medicated and that the more pills we pop, the more danger we face for adverse interactions.

Tomorrow, I'll start my two-part report on the ten most popular supplements.

Meanwhile, here’s the full story from the Mirror, with its great news for Mr. Parmar and his family.

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Standing outside the register office in her wedding dress, nervous bride Rashi Parmar turned to her dad for reassurance.

But the man who was about to walk her down the aisle stared blankly back at her. He had no clue he was at a wedding, no idea he was father of the bride.

Dad-of-three Vrajlal Parmar, 68, was diagnosed with the late stages of Alzheimer’s in 2007.

By the next year he no longer recognised Rashi, 38.

Yet miraculously, just two years after her wedding day, Vrajlal knows who she is again.

Rashi believes it’s due to the daily dose of coconut oil he takes to treat his illness because doctors say his condition is too advanced for conventional drugs.

“I lost my dad to Alzheimer’s five years ago and I thought I would never get him back,” said Rashi. “But somehow I have, and it’s the most amazing thing.

“He missed my wedding because I was a stranger to him. Then three months ago he suddenly started asking for me again and recognising me.”

As a little girl, Rashi and her factory worker dad were close. “He was the kindest, funniest man and I thought the world of him,” she recalled.

But in 2007 Vrajlal, who lives with his wife Taramati, 64, in Harrow, Middlesex, began to behave strangely. Within a year he could barely do anything for himself. The real blow came when he no longer recognised his own daughter.

Desperate for a cure, Rashi’s brother Kal, 31, found a YouTube video posted by a doctor in Florida who was treating her husband’s Alzheimer’s with coconut oil. They decided to try it on Vrajlal, who now takes six tablespoons a day.

“Within a month his mood completely changed,” said Rashi. “He became calmer and relaxed. He started shaving, then bathing on his own. Then one day he gave me a hug and said my name. It was the most emotional moment.”

The family are now campaigning for a full medical trial into the benefits of coconut oil, which is believed to encourage the body to produce organic matter to provide an energy source for brain cells. The Alzheimer’s Society said: “We don’t yet have any strong scientific evidence to back up claims coconut oil has benefits.”

But Kal, who is making a film about his father’s story, says: “We’re certain this has helped Dad, so I know it can help others.”

1 comment:

Writingsphinx said...

I would be curious as to your findings on Kieran Clarke, professor of physiological biochemistry at Oxford University and head of its Cardiac Metabolism Research Group. Especially on her experiments with coconut oil/ ketones re. Alzheimer's.

To be sure, scientific research and peer reviews are important, although they're not the definitive authority on everything. Maybe we should consider this man's story and the Dr's husband as peer reviews? Thinking outside the box here. Could there be many more out there who choose to stay out of the spotlight?

While hucksters spoil credibility, to be fair we find those in modern medicine and pharmaceuticals also... In great numbers. In many new findings, who stands to benefit from scientific research? Research is often funded by those who stand to benefit financially - if there is a considerable return that is. Rm

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