Two teaspoons of coconut oil a day have been shown to reduce debilitating symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in some patients.
While researchers remain skeptical of the natural remedy as there is little scientific evidence to support the therapeutic effects of coconut oil, those caring for an Alzheimer's patient have reported that the patient showed significant improvements in symptoms after they started feeding him coconut oil.
Vrajlal Parmar had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
After taking a Mini Mental State Examination test used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, doctors informed the 67-year-old's family that he was "too severely affected to score anything at all," according to the Daily Mail. A healthy person would have scored 30 on the test.
In a letter to Vrajlal's family, doctors at the Cognitive Disorders Clinic at University College London in the UK said that Vrajlal's condition was so bad that any drug treatment would be ineffective.
"Dad was so far gone he couldn't do anything for himself," Vrajlal's son Kal Parmar, told the Daily Mail.
"He couldn't wash himself, dress or go to the toilet without help. He had to be watched all the time - the idea of him catching a bus, even a special bus to a dementia centre, was out of the question," Kal said, adding that Vrajlal would frequently become hyperactive at night and aimlessly pull pots and pans off shelves and empty cupboards in the kitchen.
Later, Kal had come across a YouTube video featuring a doctor in Florida whose husband's Alzheimer's had significantly improved after taking coconut oil.
After some research, he started mixing a spoonful of coconut oil to his father's meals twice a day.
Kal said that the difference in his father was huge. Since he started taking coconut oil in July, his symptoms have drastically improved.
"Before we started him on coconut oil, Dad's speech was gone and he couldn't remember his name or his date of birth," Kal explained. "Now you can have a simple conversation with him. We go for walks."
"He even remembers his national insurance number. We're so happy," he added.
Researchers suspect that coconut oil benefits Alzheimer's patients by giving the brain an energy boost. The disease depletes the brain's energy, which means that the brain doesn't have enough energy to form new memories.
However, coconut oil contains a special kind of fat called MCT or medium chain triglycerides that can boost the brain's energy. MCT increases the body's ability to produce ketone, which can serve as an alternate energy source for the glucose-deprived brains of Alzheimer's patients.
For those seeking healthier options, as fats in coconut oil are potentially harmful to the heart, MCT oil or over-the-counter food supplement drinks are also available in the U.S.
However, many experts warn that there is not enough research to support the therapeutic effects of coconut oil. Until there is enough medical evidence to support the use of coconut oil, researchers say that other things like listening to music, getting a massage or owning a pet can also help Alzheimer's patients feel better.