As you can see from the Google search trends chart above, the idea that coconut oil could help prevent or decrease the effects of Alzheimer’s got a lot of interest back in early 2012. The reason for the interest was some research that came out showing a possible link. More recently, in 2015, Fernando and colleagues published a review article in British Journal of Nutrition that weighed all of the available evidence across multiple studies in different journals.
They found evidence that coconut oil is nutritionally beneficial, but the evidence linking coconut oil to a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease is very minimal. Rather than recommending that people consume coconut oil to overcome or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers call for more research on the subject. They do argue, however, that people should probably add coconut oil to their diets to improve health outcomes more generally. They go further in saying that the health benefits are derived from the presence of medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil. These saturated fats are more easily utilized and absorbed by the brain and the rest of the body. They also note in the article that the method of preparation of the coconut oil may impact its effectiveness as a nutritional supplement.
The American Heart Association, however, in 2017 renewed their appeal for people to limit saturated fats that increase levels of bad cholesterol. Coconut oil was named as a fatty food to avoid, along with butter, beef fat and palm oil. Mainstream consensus among government and scientific communities falls more on the side of recommending people avoid coconut oil.
Fernando, Warnakulasuriya Mary Ann Dipika Binosha, Ian J. Martins, K. G. Goozee, Charles S. Brennan, Vijay Jayasena, and Ralph N. Martins. “The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action.” British Journal of Nutrition 114, no. 1 (2015): 1-14.
Sacks, Frank M., Alice H. Lichtenstein, Jason HY Wu, Lawrence J. Appel, Mark A. Creager, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Michael Miller et al. “Dietary fats and cardiovascular disease: a presidential advisory from the American Heart Association.” Circulation 136, no. 3 (2017): e1-e23.
Aaron Charlton is a graduate student completing his PhD in marketing. He is an academic researcher with advanced knowledge of statistics and scientific methods. His interest in Alzheimer’s disease comes from many years of working in healthcare, including for two neurology practices. On this website, he (1) evaluates recent scientific findings relevant to Alzheimer’s disease, and (2) explores alternative medicine and nutrition best practices. You can contact Aaron through his website: https://aaroncharlton.com.