Is there any real evidence, hard scientific proof that coconut oil boosts brain function? It certainly looks that way, at least for some people. Here’s what we know so far. Coconut oil contains a lot of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). In simple terms, MCTs is the main type of fat found in the oil and is beneficial to human health in many ways. Studies have shown that the MCTs in coconut oil can help to improve cognitive performance. This is most notable in mature adults who suffer with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other progressive memory disorders like Huntington’s disease (HD). This alone is an impressive discovery. The most remarkable thing of all is that cognitive performance is not gradual in trials but immediate – after just a single dose of coconut oil , .
More on MCTs in Coconut Oil
OK, so we know that Medium Chain Triglycerides are a special type of fat predominant in coconut oil, but it’s their unique properties that make them so distinct. To begin with, they quickly oxidize once inside the body. They then form a unique type of molecule called a ketone. The useful thing about ketones is that the brain can use them as fuel in place of glucose (the usual fuel source). Given the choice the brain will always favor ketones over glucose. One study saw how ketones benefited patients with mild Alzheimer’s. It appears that the brain finds ketones easier to use in people at this stage of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) .
Coconut oil Improves Cognition in Diabetics
Coconut oil does not only work for people with progressive memory disorders. Tests have shown that italso boosts brain function in people who are just mentally exhausted, running on low blood sugar. Studies have looked at how Medium Chain Triglycerides can benefit brain function in people with diabetes. Scientists now understand that Alzheimer’s dementia is also more prevalent in people with type-2 diabetes in particular , , .
The Impressive Study of 2004
Here are the basics of this groundbreaking 2004 study:
- 20 subjects with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s partook in the trial
- Subjects were given emulsified MCTs or placebo on separate days
The results were outstanding. Cognitive testing showed how even this brief MCT treatment abetted improved cognitive performance in those patients with Alzheimer’s disease. There’s more to the study than that, but this is the crux of those findings.
Cognitive Testing and MCTs
Improved cognitive functioning typically includes tests in four specific areas:
- Verbal memory
- Map searching
- Digit symbol coding
- Digit span backwards
The MCTs found in coconut oil work to improve in all four areas of brain cognitive functioning. This is nothing short of miraculous, not least because coconut oil is natural, widely available and cheap .
Coconut Oil and the Foggy Brain
The health profession does not recognize “brain fog” as a medical condition, though it is a real complaint nonetheless. It’s not normal insomuch that it’s not a natural state, but it is common all the same. It is something that can affect not only the way you think and act, but also the way you feel physically. When the body and brain stop talking, there are all kinds of potentially negative consequences that can derive from that.
There are four main psychological manifestations of brain fog:
- Lack of focus
- Lack of mental clarity
A visit to the doctor’s office is not usually much help in these matters either. They will most likely tell you that it’s your age, or that you’re working too hard, a little stressed or depressed maybe, or whatever else they conclude from the meeting. The last thing you want for brain fog is a prescription for antidepressants. See, the bottom line is that doctors can’t treat brain fog because their profession doesn’t recognize it as an illness. That’s the bad news! The good news is that coconut oil can help you where doctors probably can’t.
Coconut Oil to the Rescue
The MCTs in coconut oil come to the rescue, again which we’ll look at shortly. To function optimally, your brain needs to have a continuous, steady dietary source of energy for it to stay alert. Usually, this fuel source comprises of oxygen and glucose. There are lots of things that can inhibit the delivery of both oxygen and glucose to the brain.
The six major causes of brain fog include:
- Adrenal fatigue syndrome
- Lack of sleep or sleep quality
- Poor diet (especially too much caffeine, alcohol, sugars and carbs)
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Chronic inflammation
There are all kinds of conditions and related health problems that can come about by any one of the above issues, including brain fog. Some of these can also affect your gut microbiota, or gut flora. Gut flora is the complex community of good and bad bacteria that lives inside your digestive tract. The physical and mental complications that can occur when your intestinal flora is out of balance are too many to mention. For now, just know that any negative changes in your gut bacteria will have a direct link to cognitive function, including brain fog .
The Optimal Brain Fuel
The main reason why coconut oil helps with brain fog is because it supplies a reliable, quality fuel source to the brain. This goes some way to improving membrane function. Coconut oil is also abundant in short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), MCTs and ketones, which all help the brain to function optimally. The secret here is to choose the right oil, and make sure it’s cold-pressed .
The range of physical and mental health benefits of natural coconut oil is truly amazing, and we still don’t know everything yet. This is one product that you don’t have to sit on the fence with before deciding. You can buy cold pressed coconut oil in any health food store and try it for yourself. If you feel your cognitive performance could use a little boost, then give coconut oil a try.
Some suggestions on how to take coconut oil include:
- In cooking
- By the spoonful
- Add to lemon/lime water or to smoothies
- Add to tea or coffee
- Using in baking, e.g., add to bread recipes
Brain functioning is just one of the many health benefits of this incredible oil. Use the site menus to discover all the other ways that a little coconut oil can improve your life for the better.