Boosting Memory And Cognitive Functions With Coconut

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Overview

Coconut oil is becoming popular as a ‘natural brain boost,’ made from coconuts and has been incorporated into diets worldwide for a long period of time. Scientists are now researching oils l with a high content of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), like coconut oil and how it might help the brain work better.1 This research into the effect of coconut oil on the brain could be good news for people who want to improve their memory and thinking naturally.

Coconuts have been found to have a lot of nutritional value, with products that vary, including coconut oil.2 Coconut oil has been making waves in the health and wellness community, with claims of its potential benefits for brain health and cognitive function. From preventing dementia to improving memory, the hype surrounding coconut oil seems to be growing.2 Now, let’s explore the science behind coconut oil and its impact on brain health.

Let's talk about how our brain works and what it needs to work well. Our brain is a complicated organ, and it needs a lot of energy to do its job, which include thinking, memory, and solving problems. This energy mostly comes from a type of sugar called glucose, which is in our blood.

Understanding alzheimer's disease and dementia

Before delving into the potential benefits of coconut oil, it is essential to understand the conditions it aims to address: Alzheimer's disease(AD). AD is the most common type of dementia, affecting around 5.5 million people in the United States, with this number expected to grow to about 13.8 million by 2050. AD is a slow-moving brain condition, causing problems such as memory loss, confusion, thinking, such as speech troubles and difficulty recognizing objects. Before someone gets the worst possible form of dementia, they could potentially go through a stage called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This stage is a middle point where people may have some trouble with their thinking, however it does not stop them from doing their daily tasks.3

AD is named after a German doctor, Alois Alzheimer... AD occurs due to the buildup of a substance called amyloid-beta peptide in specific parts of the brain. It's like a traffic jam in the brain that stops it from working properly. Other things like infections, poor circulation, or not getting the right nutrients can also make you lose your memory and thinking abilities over time, so AD is just one of the many reasons which may cause this.4

The role of inflammation and energy metabolism

Recent studies have shed light on the possible causes of AD, pointing towards inflammation and energy metabolism as key players. Inflammation in the brain has been linked to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which contribute to neuronal damage and cognitive decline. Additionally, impaired energy metabolism, particularly the brain's ability to use glucose as fuel, is implicated in AD.5

The brain uses more energy than any other body organ. Neurons, which are brain cells, need a lot of energy to do their job properly. These changes in how the brain uses energy are some of the first signs of Alzheimer's disease.6

The potential of coconut oil: medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and ketones

Coconut oil has special fats called MCTs that can help fight AD and memory problems. These fats turn into ketones in the body, which gives your brain a different kind of energy and this can be really helpful when the brain has trouble using glucose.1

Our brains use 20% of all the energy our bodies use. However, when something goes wrong with how the brain uses glucose, our brain can use different kinds of energy. This is where MCTs and coconut oil can be helpful.

Ketones, made from MCTs, can go into the brain, and give it an easy-to-use energy source, which is important when the brain has trouble using glucose. New research shows that ketones might help brain cells that are having a hard time getting the energy they require.7

The controversy surrounding coconut oil

While some individuals and studies have reported positive effects of coconut oil on brain health, it is important to note that the scientific evidence is still limited and controversial. The studies conducted so far have yielded mixed results, and more high-quality research is needed to draw definitive conclusions. Additionally, it is crucial to consider the potential risks and side effects associated with high coconut oil consumption, such as increased cholesterol levels.

Research on coconut oil and brain well-being

Many research studies have looked at how coconut oil affects memory and thinking. One important study led by Dr. Mary Newport looked at how eating a diet that includes coconut oil, especially for people assigned female at birth with mild to moderate AD, can help improve certain types of memory. They found that things like remembering past events and knowing the time improved. However, more studies are needed to be certain of these results and to better understand how the brain works.7

Ways to keep your brain healthy and prevent dementia

While coconut oil might help, it is important to do many things to keep your brain healthy and prevent dementia. Here are some ideas to think about:

  • Eating a variety of good foods: Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats in meals. Eat foods with antioxidants, omega-3 fats, and vitamins such as B6, B12, and E
  • Exercise regularly: Try activities like walking, swimming, or biking. Exercise helps blood flow to your brain imrproving thinking
  • Keep your brain busy: Do things that make your brain work, like puzzles, reading, learning new stuff, or being creative. These activities can help keep your brain strong and prevent it from getting worse
  • Stay at a healthy weight: Being overweight is linked to a higher chance of getting dementia. Try to stay at a healthy weight by eating well and staying active
  • Sleep well: Get enough sleep each night, around seven to eight hours. Sleep is important for your memory and brain
  • Manage stress: Long-lasting stress can hurt your brain. Try activities like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or doing relaxing hobbies to manage stress

When you do these things, along with trying coconut oil, you can have a complete plan for keeping your brain healthy and preventing dementia.8

FAQ

What's the right daily dose of coconut oil for memory improvement?

There's no evidence that a specific amount of coconut oil helps memory. So, there's no recommended dose of coconut oil for this purpose.

Are there any risks associated with using coconut oil?

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol. It's calorie-dense, may cause digestive issues, and can trigger allergies. It may interact with medications, so it is important to consult a healthcare provider before using it for specific health purposes.

Can coconut oil help boost memory?

There is not enough sufficient evidence to determine if coconut oil aids memory and cognitive function.9

Is there a specific daily dose of coconut oil for memory improvement?

No, there's limited evidence that a particular amount of coconut oil helps memory. Therefore, there's no recommended dose for coconut oil.

What should I do if I have any questions about dementia?

Speak with your doctor if you have any questions with respect to coconut oil in boosting memory and cognitive memory.

Summary

Coconuts and coconut oil may help improve memory and thinking, but remember that maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is important for the brain. Using coconuts in food can be good, however, it works best when alongside exercise, good sleep, and keeping your brain active.

Research on the beenfits of coconut oil on the brain is still ongoing, and is exciting for those interested in natural brain health. If you like coconuts or want to try it, go ahead, but be cautious as we need more research to be sure.

Include coconut oil in a balanced diet, and talk to your doctor before making big changes. We're still learning about coconut oil's potential for brain health.

References

  1. Bisong SA, Nku CO, Sanya OA, Ita SO, Fischer VA, Abuo FE. Long-term consumption of virgin coconut (Cocos nucifera) oil diet impairs learning and memory in CD1 mice. Chin Herb Med. 2020 Oct 1;12(4):414–20.
  2. Beveridge FC, Kalaipandian S, Yang C, Adkins SW. Fruit Biology of Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.). Plants. 2022 Nov 29;11(23):3293.
  3. Yoon SP, Grewal DS, Thompson AC, Polascik BW, Dunn C, Burke JR, et al. Retinal microvascular and neurodegenerative changes in Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment compared to controls. Ophthalmol Retina. 2019 Jun;3(6):489–99.
  4. Breijyeh Z, Karaman R. Comprehensive Review on Alzheimer’s Disease: Causes and Treatment. Molecules. 2020 Dec 8;25(24):5789.
  5. Yin F, Sancheti H, Patil I, Cadenas E. Energy Metabolism and Inflammation in Brain Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 2016 Nov;100:108–22.
  6. Yan X, Hu Y, Wang B, Wang S, Zhang X. Metabolic Dysregulation Contributes to the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Front Neurosci [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2023 Sep 13];14. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2020.530219
  7. Object  object. The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action. [cited 2023 Sep 14]; Available from: https://core.ac.uk/reader/92972961?utm_source=linkout
  8. Newport MT, VanItallie TB, Kashiwaya Y, King MT, Veech RL. A new way to produce hyperketonemia: use of ketone ester in a case of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimers Dement J Alzheimers Assoc. 2015 Jan;11(1):99–103.
  9. Sandupama P, Munasinghe D, Jayasinghe M. Coconut oil as a therapeutic treatment for alzheimer’s disease: a review. J Future Foods. 2022 Mar 1;2(1):41–52.

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Titilayo Ologun

Master's degree, Bioinformatics, Teesside University

Titilayo is a versatile professional excelling as a Biochemist, Public Health Analyst, and Bioinformatician, driving innovation at the intersection of Science and Health. Her robust foundation encompasses profound expertise in scientific research methodologies, literature reviews, data analysis, interpretation, and the skill to communicate intricate scientific insights. Driven by an ardent commitment to data-driven research and policy advancement, she remains resolute in her mission to elevate healthcare standards through her interdisciplinary proficiency and unwavering pursuit of distinction. With a passion for knowledge-sharing, she brings a unique perspective to each piece.

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