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Can Coconut Oil Help Older Adults with Alzheimer’s?

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

As millions of people live with Alzheimer’s disease, pharmaceutical companies continue testing formulations to stop the disorder’s progression or inhibit its development. However, thus far, medications have provided little hope. Nutritionists offer a variety of dietary suggestions that can slow cognitive decline, such as coconut oil. 

Based on individual reports, coconut oil seems to boost cognitive function among seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A limited number of testimonials report similar effects for older adults in advanced stages of the disease. 

Using coconut oil is one of the many ways seniors can slow cognitive decline and enjoy a high quality of life. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Allentown senior care. Services our caregivers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

The Argument for Coconut Oil

Scientists at the University of Oxford suggest Alzheimer’s disease can make the brain resistant to insulin, which prevents neurons from using glucose as fuel. Neurons then undergo starvation, which affects cognitive function. As an alternative, brain cells use ketones created by the breakdown of fats for energy. Coconut oil supplies the healthy fats necessary for the process. 

The theory that coconut oil might serve as an alternative fuel source originated by experimenting with treatment plans in children with epilepsy. The ketogenic diet limited carbohydrate intake, and the body and brain were then forced to break down the fats into ketones for fuel. The treatment regimen was successful and decreased epileptic symptoms. Thus, the findings led researchers to wonder if brains affected by Alzheimer’s disease might experience similar results. 

Coconut Oil Should Be Used Sparingly

Coconut oil can be easily added to any number of baked and cooked foods. Some add the substance to coffee or tea, while others enjoy the sweetened oil in oatmeal. However, the possibility of experiencing diarrhea remains one of the reasons seniors should use coconut oil sparingly until their bodies adjust. Using one teaspoon of the oil each day is the ideal place to start. Over time, the amount may be increased to one or more tablespoons daily. However, the dosage should not exceed nine tablespoons per day. 

If your senior loved one needs help preparing foods with coconut oil or managing other daily tasks, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Allentown respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.

Types of Coconut Oil

It has also been suggested that coconut oil should be consumed in combination with meals high in fiber or protein. Coconut oil also comes in different varieties, and virgin coconut oil typically yields the best results. The virgin form of the oil contains several essential nutrients and has not undergone extensive processing. However, virgin coconut oil is fairly expensive. If seniors or their family members find the cost prohibitive, less expensive versions can be used. 

Regardless of the refinement processes used, coconut oil still contains the medium fatty acid chains needed to provide energy. Although organic coconut oil is also available, this version is expensive and not necessary.

To date, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, seniors can slow the progression of this disease by making healthy lifestyle choices such as consuming coconut oil. If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits and accomplishing daily tasks, an Allentown caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are expertly trained to provide mental and social stimulation, assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and much more. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your loved one, call us at 484-350-3874 today.