Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Coconut-Oil-Dementia Diet

A row of coconut trees
Coconut oil for Alzheimer's is based on the well-researched benefits of ketone-rich diets in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, Vascular and Lewy Body Dementia. Learn about the Coconut-Oil-Dementia Diet, a rich source of ketones & other brain-healthy nutrients.

Welcome to our series investigating dementia and the science behind the brain's use of ketones. This series offers much well-referenced information but is not medical advice. Before using any of this information, ask your doctor.

A coconut-oil-dementia diet focuses on foods that are rich in ingredients that help the body make ketones, as well as other brain-healthy nutrients that fight dementia. Here is how it works.


Glucose is our brains' primary energy source. Like an athlete too weak to run due to hunger, a brain with too little glucose can experience cognitive decline. That means a person will have problems thinking and remembering.

As our brains age, they "burn" glucose less efficiently. Furthermore, research has shown that a drop in glucose metabolism usually occurs in people with dementias such as Alzheimer's. This glucose-drop often occurs years before people begin to exhibit symptoms.

To address this problem, scientists began studying ketones as an alternative energy source to glucose.


In 2008, the medical journal "Neurotherapeutics" published the study, Ketone Bodies as a Therapeutic for Alzheimer's Disease. The groundbreaking research demonstrated the brain's apparent ability to use ketones as an alternative energy source.

With this new evidence regarding ketones' benefits for the ailing brain, scientists began taking a closer look at the "Ketogenic Diet." The ketogenic diet activates the "ketosis" process in our bodies, generating these energy-giving ketones.

Brain Studies on Ketones

Indeed, researchers found the ketogenic diet to have neuroprotective effects, breathing new life into brain cells. In uncontrolled clinical trials and animal studies, the ketogenic diet provided "symptomatic and disease-modifying activity in a broad range of neurodegenerative disorders."(1) This includes:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke (Vascular dementia) (1)
  • Huntington's Disease(2)
  • Lewy Body Dementia(3)
Further research strengthened the evidence in such studies as the one showing that the Ketogenic Diet improves dementia in mice.

Even more recently, the University of South Florida (USF) Byrd Alzheimer Institute launched a clinical trial of coconut oil in 65 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. It is currently in progress as of June 2013.


The ketogenic diet is complex. It usually requires supervision by a professional nutritionist. This is worth the effort when it is administered for its proven benefits for epileptics. However, for people living at home with dementia, it can be too demanding. When not strictly supervised or adhered to, it can have undesirable side effects.

To make its benefits more accessible to the millions of people with dementias such as Alzheimer's, the biotechnology company Accera introduced Axona®.

Axona® is a brand-name high-quality FDA-recognized prescription-only medical food. It comes in clean, easy-to-use one-a-day packets. For those who can afford it, clinical trials have shown it to be a promising supplement. At about a hundred dollars a month, though, it is not for everyone.


The ketogenic diet's process of ketosis is not the only way to get helpful ketones to the brain. When a person eats or drinks anything rich in MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides), the liver quickly converts them into ketones, which make their way to the brain in just an hour or two.

Sources rich in MCTs include MCT oil, coconut oil and Axona®. It is well worth exploring the least expensive concentrated source of dietary MCTs, coconut oil.

Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is available at health food stores, food co-ops, and many grocery stores. It is inexpensive and contains about 60 percent MCTs.

The most famous advocate of coconut oil for dementia is Dr. Mary Newport. Dr. Newport almost gave up hope on treating her husband's Alzheimer's. After doing her own research, she began giving him a daily dose of coconut oil. He showed immediate improvement.

In 2008, she started carefully documenting her husband Steve's progress. After two years of regular use, she carefully documented that he:
  • improved dramatically
  • jogged once more
  • read again and remembered what he read
  • got distracted less
  • had a stable MRI for the entire two-year period.
Dr. Newport said at the time,
"I do believe that, overall, the use of coconut oil has taken us back in time at least two years. I don't know if we will beat it, but we have at least gotten a reprieve from this disease."
See the interview of Dr. Mary Newport on her Research on Treating Alzheimer's with Coconut Oil.


In 2014, under the video, "How Much Coconut Oil for Alzheimer's & Dementia?", Dr. Newport wrote:
"About one year ago, Steve began having seizures which occur in about 1/3 of Alzheimer's patients eventually...not related to coconut oil. He fell straight back and hit his head with the first seizures. I wouldn't trade the extra three or so better quality years we had as a result of coconut oil even if Alzheimer's wins in the end. I have personally heard from about 400 people who have benefited, most with dementia, at least 35 with Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative disorders, some now stable for two to four years. It is a dietary intervention... it is your choice."
Coconut oil dissolves easily in anything from coffee to hot breakfast cereal. Check out, 20 Ways to Mix Coconut Oil into a Dementia Diet.

Coconut oil is an ordinary food that does not need a prescription. Notwithstanding, taking a lot of anything can have side-effects or interactions, so be sure to ask your doctor.

For a practical guide to the use of coconut oil and MCT oil in dementias such as Alzheimer's, see the video, How to Use Coconut Oil for Dementia.



(1) Maciej Gasior, Michael A. Rogawski, and Adam L. Hartman, Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet, Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 5. PMCID: PMC2367001 Published in final edited form as: Behav Pharmacol. 2006 September; 17(5-6): 431–439.

(2) S.A Masino, M Kawamura, Jr, C.D. Wasser, L.T Pomeroy, and D.N Ruskin, Adenosine, Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy: The Emerging Therapeutic Relationship Between Metabolism and Brain Activity, Current Neuropharmacology. 2009 September; 7(3): 257–268.

(3) Yoshihiro Kashiwaya, Takao Takeshima, Nozomi Mori, Kenji Nakashima, Kieran Clarke, and Richard L. Veech, D-β-Hydroxybutyrate protects neurons in models of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,  May 9, 2000 vol. 97 no. 10 5440-5444

Copyright 2013, Alzheimer's Weekly LLC. All right reserved.


  1. I still can't figure out why this site which has so much to offer is continuing to tout this nonsense. I know why Mary . Newport, Pat Robertson,, Bruce Fife and others are pedaling this bogus claim -- $$$$. I've detailed the lack of evidence for this at htt// But the Alzheimer's Association puts it simply when they say:

    Every day we hear magical claims of products promising relief. Coconut oil, for example, is touted by a physician in Florida as having a miraculous impact on her husband. While the ketones in coconut oil are being widely studied for dementia and are a key ingredient in an FDA-approved food product for memory loss, there is no scientific evidence that coconut oil helps with Alzheimer’s.
    The coconut oil promise has been around for more than three years. If the administration of coconut oil was, indeed, beneficial, it would be shouted from every mountaintop (emphasis is mine).
    I hate to see the dollar-hungry hucksters making money by falsely raising the hopes of desperate people.
    Give me some evidence that doesn't come from people making money from this claim.

    1. There is a university preparing to do a study on this topic. I forget which one ... maybe in PA. When that study concludes, we will all know with certainty. Meanwhile, coconut oil is relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the few prescription drugs available to slow the progression of AD. I use it for my own memory loss and it does help me to feel alert, whereas, before using it, my mind was very foggy. Old lost information remains lost. New memories are now staying with me. A nice side effect is that it helps to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. This has been documented with typical cholesterol blood tests. As for books on the topic, there are many and if you have a good library system in your state (as I do), you can read all those books without spending a dime.

    2. Coconut oil is cheap, relatively safe. Would detractors of vitamins and food supplements have swallowed the leach and mercury koolaid of 17th, 18th, and 19th century Medical Industry? The modern medical industrial complex (mic) would like us to think the only viable treatments must have their approval and many times the mic does approve certain treatments that were first ridiculed by the "scientific" community and those who live up the groves of their arse (usually about 20 yrs too late, that is unless the $$$$$$$$$ are there for the approval).

    3. Mr. Schappi, your comments are very appreciated, as there is clearly a strong debate surrounding coconut oil and dementia.

      At the same time, regarding your request to "give me some evidence", please re-read the above article. It includes clear references to professional research by the U.S. government and other major research institutions. There is a clear link between ketogenics and dementia, as well as the boost in ketones caused by MCT-rich foods like coconut oil.

      This site continues to discuss coconut oil in a dementia diet because we continue to get feedback that it is relevant.

      On the other hand, when the NIH demonstrated that Gingko Biloba does not help memory in dementia, this site was one of the first places to report it. There has never been a positive word on this site about Gingko ever-since. If any research similarly knocks out coconut oil for dementia, rest assured this is one of the first places you will read about it and every positive reference will be removed or edited to reflect any negative news.

      In the meantime, we report about MCT oil and coconut oil because the research above indicates there are scientific reasons why it may work and there is a steady stream of our readers who keep adding to the list of people who say it has helped them.

      It would be irresponsible of this publication to ignore this. This site also publishes the skeptical reports about coconut, such as the video from England's Alzheimer's Society. This site has an in-depth video warning of the dietary downsides of coconut oil from "" You will find the good as well as the bad about coconut oil here.

      Your anti-coconut oil posts will continue to be welcome. This site has no interest in one side of this story over the other. Our mission is to provide support and insight, and the information in the article above (as well as the information in your comments) clearly satisfy that goal.

    4. Mr. Schappi, really, $$$ for Coconut Oil ?! "huckster" ? wow....
      Secondly, you attack this news site for Free Speech?? Ok...

      = Research in 2016 in which the FIRST ever PET scan that followed Ketones, [which are made after the Liver converts Medium-Chain Fatty Acids -OF WHICH COCONUT OIL IS THE RICHEST SOURCE of MCFA], within minutes of human ingesting, the frontal temporal area of the brain LIT UP with Fuel from these ketones.
      Google: The Dawn of Keto-Neurotherapeutics, by Stephen Cunnane.
      S. Cunnane:
      Ketones are the brain’s back-up fuel and the brain of someone with AD can use ketones as well as the brain of a young adult. Moderate exercise helps get more ketones into the brain. Some older people may not be able to exercise but one can make a ketone drink made from medium chain triglyceride (MCT) in one’s kitchen. We are in the middle of a trial with an MCT drink in people at high risk of AD. The early results show a significant benefit for memory. There will be no miracle cures for AD but a prevention approach may delay and/or slow it down.

      A major focus of Dr. Cunnane’s research over the past 30 years has been to develop a better understanding of the role of omega-3 fatty acids and ketones in human brain development and function. His team uses PET and MR imaging to study the impact of aging on brain structure and fuel metabolism. This information is applied to the development of keto-neurotherapeutic strategies for reducing the risk and progression of aging-associated cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed research papers and five books. Two of his books highlight the concept that the key role of ketones for normal human brain development was of importance to overcoming the nutritional, metabolic and structural constraints on human brain evolution: Survival of the Fattest: The Key to Human Brain Evolution (World Scientific 2005), and Human Brain Evolution: Influence of Fresh and Coastal Food Resources (Wiley, 2010). Dr. Cunnane was elected to the French National Academy of Medicine in 2009. In Oct 2017, he received the Chevreul Medal from the French Society for the Study of Lipids for outstanding contributions in the area of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism and the role of ketones in optimal brain function during aging.

  2. See on-going NIH-recognized clinical trial on coconut oil to treat Alzheimer's dementia:

  3. Even Dr. Newport herself has given up on touting coconut oil. See --

    The study is being conducted by a Florida University.

    Meanwhile, coconut oil is a good skin lotion

    1. And massages in the thin skin of elders ,with coconut oil maybe can works as a source of ketones as we can see bellow :

      1) OIL MASSAGE IN NEONATES: AN OPEN RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED STUDY OF COCONUT OIL VERSUS MINERAL OIL - Indian Pediatrics 2005; Authors : K. Sankaranarayanan and colleagues - From the Department of Neonatology, LTM Medical College and General Hospital, India Results: Coconut oil massage resulted in significantly greater weight gain velocity as compared to mineral oil and placebo in the preterm babies group; and in the term baby group, as compared to the placebo. Preterm infants receiving coconut oil massage also showed a greater length gain velocity compared to placebo group. No statistically significant difference was observed in the neurobehavioral assessment between all three subgroups in term babies as well as in preterm babies.

      2) TRANSCUTANEOUS ABSORTION OF TOPICALLY MASSAGED OIL IN NEONATES-Indian Pediatrics 2005 - Authors-TKirti Solanki and colleagues - From the Department of Pediatrics, KEM Hospital, , University of Pune,India. Conclusion: This study shows that topically applied oil can be absorbed in neonates and is probably available for nutritional purposes. The fatty acid constituents of the oil can influence the changes in the fatty acid profiles of the massaged babies.

    2. The link above claiming Dr. Newport moved on was dated September 2014. In November 2014 Dr. Newport wrote, under the video, "How Much Coconut Oil for Alzheimer's & Dementia?":

      "About one year ago, Steve began having seizures which occur in about 1/3 of Alzheimer's patients eventually...not related to coconut oil. He fell straight back and hit his head with the first seizures. I wouldn't trade the extra three or so better quality years we had as a result of coconut oil even if Alzheimer's wins in the end. I have personally heard from about 400 people who have benefited, most with dementia, at least 35 with Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative disorders, some now stable for two to four years. It is a dietary intervention... it is your choice."

  4. I had a grandmother who had early onset Alzheimer's starting in her 50's and now my mom is in late stage Alzheimer's. It run on my moms side of the family. I have added coconut oil in my diet for he last year and it has helped me lose 79 pounds. I am interested in any food and supplements that help dementia/Alzheimer's. I am 45 and am very concerned about getting Alzheimer's disease. So I welcome healthy changes I can make in my diet.


Comment here:










Diet & Nutrition

  1. Foods
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Dairy
  4. Diets
  5. Fruit & Vegetables
  6. Herbs & Spices
  7. Medical Food (FDA)
  8. Mediterranean
  9. Recipes
  10. Risky Foods
  11. Tips
  12. Vitamins &



All About