September 1, 2014

Capric Acid from Coconut Oil May Lead to Better, Safer Drug for Diabetes

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Health Impact News Editor Comments: Since coconuts are a food and cannot be patented, many will continue to look for ways to “improve” upon nature and find components of the coconut, particularly the oil, that can be made into some kind of drug form that can be patented. This study deals with one of the fatty acid chains found in coconut oil, Capric Acid. Studies for a number of years now have shown that the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are particularly helpful for diabetes (See 2009 study and this 2010 study.) In fact, replacing refined carbohydrates in one’s diet with saturated fats can drastically help diabetes (see this study as an example). So even though this specific study is identifying one specific fatty acid chain in coconut oil that is helpful for diabetes, why not just stick with the whole food of coconut oil? Just maybe the coconut was created by a master designer to work in harmony with all of the fatty acids that make up coconut oil!

by the Van Andel Research Institute

Van Andel Institute study may lead to better, safer drug for diabetes

Study reveals a natural fatty acid used in manufacturing can modulate glucose control

Grand Rapids, Mich. (November 21, 2011) A Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) study published recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry reveals that a natural fatty acid can serve as a regulator of blood sugar levels, which may have important applications in designing better and safer drugs for diabetes treatment.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, and current drugs commonly used to treat the disease sometimes have unwanted side effects.

The study found that decanoic acid, a saturated fatty acid, acts as a modulator of a sub-family of nuclear receptors (peroxisome proliferator-activated or PPAR receptors) that play a key role in glucose and lipid metabolism.

Decanoic acid, also known as “Capric acid,” occurs naturally in coconut oil and palm kernel oil, as well as in the milk and animal fats of some mammals. It is used in organic synthesis and is common in the manufacture of perfumes, lubricants, greases, rubber, dyes, plastics, food additives and pharmaceuticals.

“We studied a nuclear receptor (PPARγ) that plays a key role in glucose and lipid metabolism and is the molecular target of the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class of antidiabetic drugs, which have been shown to have negative side effects such as weight gain, fluid retention, and increased risk for cardiovascular diseases,” said H. Eric Xu, Ph.D., Director of VARI’s Center for Structural Biology and Drug Discovery. “Our results showed that decanoic acid could be used in designing better and safer PPARγ – based drugs.”

Xu’s laboratory uses a technique known as X-ray crystallography to determine exactly how and why the drug compounds work in molecular detail, which can then help drug developers engineer more potent drugs that have fewer unwanted side effects. The lab has previously published studies that could impact a variety of diseases, including osteoporosis, diabetes, and anxiety and depression disorders.

The recent study, which was carried out in collaboration with a team of international research and clinical partners from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, National University of Singapore, The Scripps Research Institute, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, and University of Michigan showed that decanoic acid is a direct ligand, or binding partner, of PPARγ, and binds and partially activates PPARγ without leading to the development of fat cells.

“Treatments with decanoic acid and its triglyceride form improve glucose sensitivity and lipid profiles without weight gain in diabetic models,” said lead author Venkata R. Malapaka, Ph.D., who conducted his research at Van Andel Research Institute and now works as a Research Fellow in Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences. “Together, these results suggest that decanoic acid is a modulating ligand for PPARs and the structure can aid in designing better and safer PPARγ-based drugs.”

In additional to the nearly 26 million Americans with diabetes, an estimated 79 million U.S. adults have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes raises a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Diabetes affects 8.3 percent of Americans of all ages, and 11.3 percent of adults aged 20 and older. About 27 percent of those with diabetes—7 million Americans—do not know they have the disease. Prediabetes affects 35 percent of adults aged 20 and older.

Read the full press release here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/vari-vai112111.php

 

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Study: Virgin Coconut Oil Reduces Symptoms of Chemo – Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

Study: Virgin Coconut Oil Reduces Symptoms of Chemo – Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

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Once again, research into the health benefits of coconut oil is mainly being done outside of the U.S., primarily in coconut-producing countries. Here in the U.S., only pharmaceutical drugs can make health claims, by law. The FDA regulates all health claims, and only allows pharmaceutical companies that have gone through the lengthy and costly drug approval process to make such claims. No company in the U.S. would spend that kind of money on research for a product found in nature that cannot be patented.

A study just published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease looked at Malaysian women suffering from breast cancer. The study discovered that stage 3 and 4 breast cancer women who supplemented their diet with virgin coconut oil during breast cancer treatment improved fatigue, dyspnea, sleep difficulties, and loss of appetite compared to the control group. Virgin coconut oil consumption during chemotherapy also helped improve the functional status and global Quality Of Life of these breast cancer patients. In addition, it reduced the symptoms related to side effects of chemotherapy.

Using Coconut Oil in Cold Drinks

Using Coconut Oil in Cold Drinks

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Cold drinks are a popular summer staple that coffeehouses and restaurants make a killing off of every year with their ridiculous prices. However, there is little need to buy them. Making most of these drinks at home is easy, not to mention with far more healthy potential when you control what goes into them.

Adding coconut oil to your blended cold drinks is one way to get your daily dose of coconut oil without it being bothersome or boring. Not only that, but the addition of coconut oil will also give your endurance and energy a boost, keeping you going throughout the day or acting as a quick pick me up along with some natural fruit as the day drags on.

Making Coconut Oil Tasteless in Cooking

Making Coconut Oil Tasteless in Cooking

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With the saturated fat myth slowly dying out, coconut oil has quickly risen to be a popular and ideal cooking oil. Coconut oil has a bounty of health benefits and is easily customizable. This versatile nature makes it ideal for many different styles of cooking and dishes.

However, not everyone is a fan of the flavor. Here are some tips on making coconut oil tasteless in cooking.

Users Testify to Coconut Oil “Miracles” on WebMD

Users Testify to Coconut Oil “Miracles” on WebMD

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WebMD is the world’s most visited “health” website. They derive their advertising from the pharmaceutical industry, so they have a pro-Pharma slant, as one can expect. It is not typically the place you would go to find information regarding alternative treatments to FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs. If you are contemplating using prescription drugs, it is a great place to get information about the medical industry’s products. If however you are looking for information on products that are not approved as drugs by the FDA, their information will be highly biased.

Due to the increasing popularity of coconut oil and its healing properties, WebMD now has a listing for coconut oil. It is listed in their vitamin and supplement section, since it is not approved as a drug, and since they generally do not provide any health information about foods.

They give the standard pro-Pharma view of coconut oil, which is that, in their view, there are no approved claims for coconut oil. They also warn people that coconut oil could raise cholesterol levels and could be harmful, even while acknowledging that research actually shows the opposite, since coconut oil traditionally lowers LDL cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol (a positive thing.) They also warn that if people eat too much coconut oil, since it is fat, that it could lead to weight gain.

Interestingly, WebMD allows users to comment on these entries, presumably in a format where patients can comment on their own experiences with the vast array of drugs listed on their website. Read what users said about the “miraculous” properties of coconut oil in relation to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, weight control, memory, mood swings, energy, dry skin, dental health, stopping seizures and more.

Adding Coconut Oil into Your Fitness Routine

Adding Coconut Oil into Your Fitness Routine

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Fitness junkies, take note: you need coconut oil. Coconut oil straight up, in your protein-rich meals, protein shakes, snacks, pre-workout, post-workout fuel – whatever you choose. Coconut oil can be adapted into your style of eating and seriously enhance the results of the style of fitness you’re into, be it body building, toning, endurance, or general weight and muscle management.

So why add coconut oil into your fitness routine? Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), a high-energy fuel that the body uses to prevent muscle loss, but take off body fat. Coconut oil has a lot of these MCTs. Eat it.

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