Coconut Oil and Brain Health
| Fuel For Thought®
Cognate Nutritionals uses 100 percent extra virgin coconut oil plus additional medium chain triglycerides to make every bottle of Fuel For Thought®. We bring you important facts about coconut oil and brain health.
Coconut oil is a natural food that is high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), fatty acids that differ from long chain triglycerides. MCTs are fats with a distinctive chemical makeup that allows the body to digest them faster and more completely than long-chain triglycerides. That’s an important distinction.
Long-chain triglycerides are broken down in the intestine where they are remade into a special form that can be transported in the blood. On the other hand, MCTs are absorbed intact and taken to the liver, where they are converted to ketones which can be used directly for energy.
The ketones can be utilized as alternative fuel for the body’s cells, including brain cells, when glucose absorption is reduced or impaired.
MCT’s and Ketones
The idea that MCTs and ketones can play a significant role in providing fuel for the brain is not new. In fact, researchers in the 1920s found that a ketogenic diet was effective in controlling seizures in children who had epilepsy. The ketogenic diet remains as one of the most useful therapies for drug-resistant epilepsy.
The relationship between MCTs, ketones, and brain health can also be seen in diseases in which the absorption of glucose becomes impaired. Some research has shown that Alzheimer’s disease, for example, affects the brain cells’ ability to utilize glucose, their normal source of energy. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a special layer of cells that protects the brain and spinal cord , allowing some materials to cross while preventing other materials from entering the cells of the brain and spinal cord. Ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy to those brain cells.
The brain makes up only 2 percent of the body’s weight, yet it consumes about 20 percent of the body’s energy. In a healthy person, brain cells absorb the fuel they need to function properly. As the website Brain Facts explains, every day, “billions of brain cells called neurons transmit signals to each other. And they do it at trillions of junctions called synapses. It is an extremely fast and efficient process − one central to everything the brain does, including learning, memorizing, planning, reasoning, and enabling movement.”
Knowing what can be good sources for energy in our brain cells, therefore can be critical information.
Research is now underway at the University of South Florida’s Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute that explores the effects of MCTs on brain function in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The study seeks to determine if coconut oil is an effective treatment for memory loss.
The coconut oil drink, Fuel For Thought® is being used exclusively as the source of MCTs in this study.
Please let us know your thoughts on the relationship between brain health and coconut oil by posting a comment.
To learn more about coconut oil, brain health, and Fuel For Thought®, visit www.fuelforthought.co
(photo by Pixabay)