Back in March 2016, I started melting a teaspoon of pure coconut oil in to my hot tea, two or three times a day. I'd heard seemingly miraculous things about this unique natural oil. For me, the results and benefits were immediate and unambiguous. Some time after taking that first drink, I encountered my initial experience of something I call "coconut clarity", which I would describe as the clearing of the "brain fog" associated with Parkinson's - that lack of ability to concentrate and sluggish thought processes. But it was also about the clearing of the mists of depression and anxiety. I felt happy. Not manic, not bouncing of the walls, but just happy. I also felt my eyes widen.
Coconut clarity has come whenever I have had the drink since, although its effective has become somewhat less noticeable, since after so long on this regime, I have now well and truly plugged this nutritional gap. It is a reproducible, observable effect and I am also convinced, that indeed as the months and years pass, it is having cumulative benefit on my health. I am also convinced that this brain fuel makes it very much easier for me to bring in to play the mindfulness tools I have developed and demonstrated in my Video Diary for over-coming the symptoms of Parkinson'st through conscious movements.
Coconut Oil and Neurological Conditions
There is also a significant body of evidence behind the benefits of coconut oil, especially for neurological disorders. But one of the interesting things, specifically in regards to Parkinson's, is the connection with the digestion. There is mounting evidence that digestive problems play a large role in PD, and I myself suffered for many years from IBS before diagnosis and now have problems digesting most fats due to gall bladder issues. However, the therapeutic substances in coconut oil apparently bypass the need for bile to be broken down. Indeed, I don't ever recall getting that twinge in my side, which I usually do after eating lots of fat, with coconut oil.
Another intriguing point about coconut oil is that there is also growing evidence that the active substances it contains can actually repair damaged parts of the brain. If so, then the applications for Parkinson's Disease are profound. There is now a lot of work on using coconut oil and its active ingredients, progressing the science behind this into demonstrated and very impactful results. Here is just one video blog which really makes the case:
Addressing the Saturated Fat Question
There has been much debate recently that the benefits of Coconut Oil may be outweighed by the negatives of it being so high in saturated fats. However, an article on the Dr Mercola website called Saturated Fat: The Forbidden Food You Should Never Stop Eating explains why saturated fats, in of themselves, are not necessarily "bad", and that there is a lot of misinformation about this subject. Indeed, in a more recent article, Dr Robert Lustig states
"The problem, of course, is that when we took the fat out of the food, we took ALL the fat out of the food. It’s been a real chore to get the medical cognoscenti to turn around on this. I do want to do a shoutout to the American Heart Association, because they have now debunked their long-standing cholesterol-fat hypothesis. They now recognize that saturated fat was not the demon they made it out to be, and that there are seven classes of fats, and that you actually have to consume omega-3s. You have to consume monounsaturated fats. In fact, you do have to consume some saturated fat because it’s a major component of membranes."
The reference here to membranes is very important in Parkinson's Disease, where mucous membrane health has a critical role:
Another article, the Science Behind Coconut Oil, reports:
".. the South Pacific Islanders incorporated high quantities of coconut in their diet but remained healthy and fit, and there was a low incidence of heart disease. In 1981, researchers learned that Polynesian communities whose primary source of food was coconut remained in excellent cardiovascular health. Coconut oil is naturally high in medium chain triglycerides and lauric acid... research shows that coconut oil can support cardiovascular health, immune health, skin health, hair health, weight management and performance enhancement."
"Recent research has indicated that not all saturated fats increase the risk of heart disease. Studies show that virgin coconut oil can improve cholesterol levels by decreasing low-density cholesterol and increasing high-density cholesterol in serum and tissues."
Of course, just like anything, it all about balance, and not being excessive. For example, it is important to eat lots of vegetables when using coconut oil in therapeutic doses. Also, it is possible to have personal allergies, intolerances or sensitivities to coconut and its derivatives.
Here are a few more science articles backing the health benefits of coconut oil:
If you have tried coconut oil or its derivatives and found it beneficial, we would welcome hearing your story too.