by Brian Shilhavy
Health Impact News
Seniors Living in the U.S. Are Sicker Than Their Parents’ Generation
Today’s senior citizens living in the United States are generally referred to as the “Baby Boomers.” They were born after WWII starting around 1946 through the first years of the 1960s.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2013 came to the conclusion that Baby Boomers are sicker than their parents’ generation, in spite of advances in medicine and longer life spans. “Despite their longer life expectancy over previous generations, U.S. baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, more disability and lower self-rated health than members of the previous generation at the same age,” wrote the study’s authors, led by Dr. Dana E. King, professor and chair of family medicine at West Virginia University in Morgantown. 
Alzheimer’s Disease is a Modern Epidemic Plaguing Seniors
Alzheimer’s Disease is increasing at an alarming rate among the elderly population in the United States today. The statistics are staggering. According to the Alzheimer’s Association :
- More than 5 million Americans are living with the Alzheimer’s Disease.
- 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
- By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 500,000 people a year die from Alzheimer’s Disease. However, a recent study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology states that the number is actually five to six times as many deaths as currently reported.  That would put death by Alzheimer’s Disease as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. based on medical stats, just after heart disease and cancer.
There are no Drugs that Cure Alzheimer’s Disease
The official statement from the medical establishment is: “Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.” 
Pharmaceutical companies desperately want to develop an Alzheimer’s drug, since the market is so huge. Attempts to develop a drug have been a huge failure so far, however.
Melissa Healy of the LA Times reported on the most recent failures of Big Pharma to develop Alzheimer’s drugs earlier in 2014:
Two biological therapies designed to improve the clearance of sticky plaques from the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease have failed to slow the steady loss of cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate forms of the degenerative disorder.
In late clinical-trial findings published [recently] in the New England Journal of Medicine, the monoclonal antibodies known as solanezumab and bapineuzumab were shown ineffective at changing the downward cognitive trajectory of Alzheimer’s patients. 
These recent failures follow a long list of drug failures in the pharmaceutical industry’s attempt to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer’s Disease. Drug companies Pfizer and Medivation abandoned their Alzheimer’s drug dimebon in January 2012, because the drug not only did not help patients in trials, but it made patients worse. The expensive drug had already reached phase III trials. 
Seniors are a Huge Market for Pharmaceutical Drugs
The search for a drug to treat Alzheimer’s continues, however, due to the huge potential market for such drugs. Research is currently ongoing to develop a vaccine for Alzheimer’s that targets seniors. 
Today’s senior citizens living in managed care facilities are taking an average of over 30 different prescription drugs! The pharmaceutical industry has good reason to target seniors, as they represent the most lucrative market for pharmaceutical drugs in the history of mankind. In the history of drug marketing, the single most successful drug to ever hit the market was a drug targeted at seniors: Lipitor, the statin drug designed to lower cholesterol levels.
Lipitor had its patent expire in late 2011, allowing cheaper statin generics to come into the market. But during its strongest years in sales, Lipitor almost outsold all other pharmaceutical drugs combined, making it the most profitable drug in the history of the world (over $140 billion in sales to date).
In early 2012, after the patent on Lipitor expired, the FDA issued “new” warnings about the dangers of statin drugs, which includes: liver injury, memory loss, diabetes, and muscle damage. 
Soon after issuing these warnings, the lawsuits started trickling in. Today, with more and more studies being published linking statin drug use to various side effects, those lawsuits have become a tidal wave, with thousands of people filing claims for damages due to statin drugs. You are not likely to hear about this in the mainstream media, however. Statin drugs are linked to over 300 diseases, including type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, liver damage, and many others. 
Today, about one out of every four Americans over the age of 55 is taking a statin drug. So this age group is a very lucrative market for the pharmaceutical companies, who would desperately like to have an Alzheimer’s drug or vaccine be approved for sale.
Are Pharmaceutical Drugs a Leading Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease?
A recent study just published in the British Medical Journal reports that taking benzodiazepines, common drugs prescribed for anti-anxiety and insomnia, are associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Common benzodiazepines include: Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam). The authors of the study reported in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that the use of benzodiazepines for three months or more was associated with a 51% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 
In an accompanying commentary written by Zosia Kmietowicz, it was pointed out that in 2012 the American Geriatrics Society had updated its list of inappropriate drugs for older people to include benzodiazepines, precisely because of their unwanted cognitive side effects. Yet almost half of the elderly population continues to be prescribed these dangerous medications, and are continuing to take them. 
In another article appearing with the BMJ study, Michael McCarthy discusses another study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine. This study shows that more than half of patients with advanced dementia in US nursing homes are prescribed medicines of questionable benefit. 
In 2011, Dr. Stephanie Seneff published research looking at the effects of a low-fat diet and statin drugs in relation to Alzheimer’s Disease. This research noticed a strong correlation between insulin resistance in the brain and early Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study’s main conclusions regarding the early causes of Alzheimer’s Disease centered around the transport of cholesterol from the blood stream to the brain. The research stated that there is mounting evidence which suggests that a defect in cholesterol metabolism in the brain may play an important role in Alzheimer’s Disease. A nice summary of the brain’s dependency on cholesterol is given:
The brain represents only 2% of the body’s total mass, but contains 25% of the total cholesterol. Cholesterol is required everywhere in the brain as an antioxidant, an electrical insulator (in order to prevent ion leakage), as a structural scaffold for the neural network, and a functional component of all membranes. Cholesterol is also utilized in the wrapping and synaptic delivery of the neurotransmitters. It also plays an important role in the formation and functioning of synapses in the brain. 
They point to several studies showing that there is a lack of cholesterol in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients which is so vital for several functions, and also note that other studies show this cholesterol deficiency in dementia and Parkinson’s disease as well. In contrast, high cholesterol levels are positively correlated with longevity in people over 85 years old, and in some cases has been shown to be associated with better memory function and reduced dementia. 
In 2012, another study looked at the effects of statin cholesterol-lowering drugs on Alzheimer’s patients. The patients in the study had their statin medication stopped for six weeks, and then restarted. The results showed that during the six weeks when their statins were stopped, the basic brain function of the individuals improved. When the drugs were restarted, brain function got worse again. 
So if statin cholesterol-lowering drugs are part of the problem in causing Alzheimer’s Disease, should we really depend upon pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs to cure Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s Disease is a Type 3 Diabetes
As Dr. Stephanie Seneff noted in her work (referenced above), there is a strong correlation between insulin resistance in the brain and Alzheimer’s. This observation corresponds with what other studies have discovered about Alzheimer’s Disease and insulin resistance. As early as 2008 researchers were beginning to classify Alzheimer’s Disease as a “type 3” diabetes. 
Similar research was published in 2012 at Rhode Island Hospital by Suzanne de la Monte, M.D. Dr. Monte found a link between brain insulin resistance and two other key mediators of neuronal injury that help Alzheimer’s Disease to progress, lending further evidence that Alzheimer’s is a type 3 diabetes. 
Type 3 diabetes, much like type 2 diabetes, can be controlled by lifestyle and diet. The primary cause of type 2 and type 3 diabetes today is a diet too high in refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are what have primarily replaced healthy saturated fats in modern times, after saturated fats were wrongly condemned as unhealthy in the 1970s.
Here in 2014 researchers are recommending that diabetes management begin with restricting carbohydrates through diet, rather than drugs.  Diabetes drugs have a terrible track record in the U.S., with some being pulled off the market due to serious side effects.  A recent study published by JAMA concluded that insulin may do more harm than good in treating type 2 diabetes, and even potentially accelerate death. 
Coconut Oil is More Successful than Drugs in Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
I realize that to make a statement that coconut oil is more successful than drugs in treating Alzheimer’s Disease is not much of a statement at all, if drugs are one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s disease to begin with. Quitting pharmaceutical drugs altogether and doing nothing else is probably better than taking drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.
The anecdotal evidence of the success in stopping, and even reversing, Alzheimer’s in some people using coconut oil, however, is so remarkable, that it is foolish to discount what this simple dietary oil can do. After all, it is a fact that Alzheimer’s drugs have been a huge failure until now.
There is currently one trial ongoing looking at the effects of coconut oil on Alzheimer’s Disease. It was started in 2013 at the University of South Florida’s Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute. They have a study currently in progress where they have enrolled 65 individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s to measure the effects of coconut oil, versus a placebo, on the disease. The funding reportedly came from a private foundation, as there is obviously no interest or government funds available to research coconut oil, since it would not bring any profit to pharmaceutical companies with their billions of dollars in revenue and government tax-payer funded research dollars at stake. 
People all across America, and around the world, are not waiting for the results of research trials however. Many people with Alzheimer’s Disease are already seeing a huge improvement, and in some cases a full reversal, of the disease after starting with coconut oil. You can read these testimonials at CoconutOil.com. These stories will absolutely amaze you!
Why Does Coconut Oil Work in Treating Alzheimer’s?
The first thing we should make clear is that not everyone who tries coconut oil with dementia or Alzheimer’s sees the same results as reported in the testimonials we publish here. Coconut oil does seem to be more effective in those who do not have advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and are still in the earlier stages, although we have seen a few testimonials for late-stage Alzheimer’s as well (See: Woman with End-stage Alzheimer’s Sees Improvement in One Week after Starting Coconut Oil.)
However, if we look at Alzheimer’s Disease as a “type 3″ diabetes and as an insulin resistance problem, coconut oil makes a lot of sense, as does a ketogenic high-fat diet. Coconut oil is known as a rich source of ketone energy, supplying an alternate form of energy to the brain. In fact, pharmaceutical companies are currently trying to develop drugs that mimic the same “ketonic” effect that can be achieved via a high-fat diet in order to treat Alzheimer’s. 
Also, if the brain is being starved of cholesterol, coconut oil might provide benefits by increasing HDL cholesterol levels. A study appearing in the American Journal of Cardiology in February 2011 showed that the higher men’s HDL cholesterol levels, the longer they lived and the more likely it was that they would reach the age of 85. 
The High-fat Ketogenic Diet vs. USDA Dietary Guidelines
The high-fat low-carb ketogenic diet has been around since the 1920s, when it was developed at Johns Hopkins Hospital as a way to stop seizures in children with epilepsy. Children who are not helped by anti-seizure drugs often can greatly reduce or even eliminate their seizures completely while on a high-fat low-carb ketogenic diet. 
During this time when the ketogenic diet was developed, dietary fats common in the market were considered healthy. The dietary fats prevalent in the U.S. during the 1920s and 1930s would have consisted primarily of animal fats from dairy (mostly raw unprocessed dairy) and meats, such as tallow and lard. Imported oils were more expensive but also seen as healthy, and included olive oil and coconut oil.
But the ketogenic diet and dietary fats fell out of favor with doctors after the USDA dietary guidelines started condemning saturated fats and cholesterol in the 1970s. Scientists had doubts even back then regarding what is referred to as the “lipid theory” of heart disease, and the recommendation of adopting a low-fat diet as “heart healthy.” This video clip is an actual CBS news report in the 1970s covering the “McGovern Report” Congressional Hearings where the low-fat anti-saturated fat dogma became an official part of the USDA dietary guidelines:
Research Shows Saturated Fats are Healthy
The research linking saturated fats and cholesterol to heart disease has never been based on solid data. Recent research has completely exonerated saturated fat from being associated with heart disease.
A 2010 meta-study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at almost 350,000 people over a 23 year period and found no association between saturated fat and heart disease. 
A similar meta-study was conducted and published in May of 2013, analyzing the existing medical literature regarding dietary fats and heart disease in the journal Advances in Nutrition showing no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease. 
The most recent meta-study was finished here in 2014 and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 32 studies involving over 500,000 participants looked at dietary fatty acid consumption and concluded that the evidence did not support cardiovascular dietary guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats., which is what the USDA dietary guidelines still advocate. 
Due to all this recent research showing that the low-fat high-carb dietary advice, basically the food pyramid the USDA has promoted since the McGovern Report in the 1970s, is not supported by real science, many are beginning to abandon the USDA dietary guidelines that condemn saturated fats in favor of polyunsaturated fats (most of which are soy and corn oils, two highly subsidized crops), and promote high amounts of carbohydrates (must of which are derived from wheat, another highly subsidized crop.)
For example, Time Magazine recently ran as their cover story: “Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.” This reversed over 50 years of telling people that cholesterol and saturated fat were the cause of heart disease and supposed to be avoided. 
Today, the ketogenic diet principles of a high-fat low-carb diet are becoming popular once again. The ketogenic principles can be seen in recent diet fads, such as the Atkins Diet and the Paleo Diet. Since the original name was the ketogenic diet, and because some of the fad diets do differ on some points, I will continue to use the term ketogenic diet.
With the rise of diabetes, and recognizing that many modern diseases can be linked to an overconsumption of refined carbohydrates, particularly in the form of refined sugars, the ketogenic diet is being used and studied with diseases linked to insulin resistance, and this includes Alzheimer’s.
Here is an excellent video with a round table discussion with 5 medical doctors and two nutritionists discussing the low-carb high-fat diet and coconut oil in relation to treating Alzheimer’s Disease, and the absurdity of current Alzheimer’s expenditures in the health care system that threatens to bankrupt our country. One of the doctors has worked in nursing homes for over 35 years. 
Virgin Coconut Oil Offers Hope
Virgin coconut oil offers much hope for Alzheimer’s, as well as other neurological diseases common among the elderly. Sadly, you are not likely to hear about the health benefits of coconut oil from your doctor or healthcare provider who is only trained in pharmaceutical products. Today’s senior care provider will need to spend time researching the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs and the benefits of natural products outside of the medical system.
1. The Status of Baby Boomers’ Health in the United States, Dana E. King, MD, MS; Eric Matheson, MD, MS; Svetlana Chirina, MPH; Anoop Shankar, MD, PhD, MPH; Jordan Broman-Fulks – JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(5):385-386
2. Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures, alz.org
3. DEATHS FROM ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE MAY BE VASTLY UNDERREPORTED, ABC7Chicago.com.
4. Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, alz.org
5. Two proposed Alzheimer’s drugs show disappointing results, LA Times, January 22, 2014
6. Pfizer, Medivation Pull Plug on Alzheimer’s Drug Dimebon, ABC News, January 17, 2012
8. FDA Expands Advice on Statin Risks, FDA.gov
9. Consumer Alert: 300+ Health Problems Linked To Statin Drugs, GreenMedInfo.com
10. Benzodiazepine use and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: case-control study, British Medical Journal, August 2014
11. Benzodiazepines may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease, study finds, Zosia Kmietowicz, British Medical Journal, September 2014
12. Half of US patients with advanced dementia are prescribed drugs of questionable benefit, study finds, Michael McCarthy, British Medical Journal, September 2014
13. The Clue to Why Low Fat Diet and Statins may Cause Alzheimer’s, MIT.edu
14. Relation between high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and survival to age 85 years in men (from the VA normative aging study), Rahilly-Tierney, Spiro A , Vokonas P, Gaziano JM. – The American Journal of Cardiology 2011 Apr 15;107(8):1173-7.
15. The Effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors on Cognition in Patients With Alzheimer’s Dementia: AProspective Withdrawal and Rechallenge Pilot Study, Kalpana P. Padala, MD, MS1,2; Prasad R. Padala, MD, MS; Dennis P. McNeilly, PsyD; Jenenne A. Geske, PhD; Dennis H. Sullivan, MD; and Jane F. Potter, MD – The American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy October 2012 Volume 10 Number 5 (.pdf here)
16. Alzheimer’s Disease Is Type 3 Diabetes–Evidence Reviewed, Suzanne M. de la Monte, M.D., M.P.H. and Jack R. Wands, M.D. – Journal Diabetes Science and Technology. Nov 2008; 2(6): 1101–1113
17. Rhode Island Hospital Study Finds Link Between Brain Insulin Resistance and Neuronal Stress in Worsening Alzheimer’s Disease, Rhodeislandhospital.org
18. Dietary Carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management. Critical review and evidence base, Richard David Feinman, PhD, et. Al. – Nutrition. June 2014
20. Effect of Patients’ Risks and Preferences on Health Gains With Plasma Glucose Level Lowering in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Vijan S, Sussman JB, Yudkin JS, Hayward RA. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2014 Jun 30
21. U.S. study looks into the benefits of coconut oil on patients with Alzheimer’s – CTV News
22. Study: Coconut Oil Could Prevent Neurodegeneration in Diseases like Alzheimer’s – Health Impact News
23. Relation between high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and survival to age 85 years in men (from the VA normative aging study). Rahilly-Tierney CR, Spiro A 3rd, Vokonas P, Gaziano JM. American Journal Cardiology. 2011 Apr 15;107(8)
24. Epilepsy cured when parents stop all meds and use high fat diet only – Health Impact News
25. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease – Patty W Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B Hu, and Ronald M Krauss – The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 25, 2009 (Full .pdf)
26. Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence. – Lawrence GD. – Advanced Nutrition 2013 May 1;4(3):294-302.
27. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Rajiv Chowdhury, MD, et. Al. – Annals of Internal Medicine – 18 March 2014, Vol 160, No. 6
28. Time Magazine: We Were Wrong About Saturated Fats, Health Impact News
29. 5 Medical Doctors with Gary Taubes and Robb Wolf Discuss Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease, Health Impact News
An expanded version of this article, along with testimonials and dietary guidelines, is available as an eBook:
Virgin Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease
A Holistic Guide to Geriatric Care – eBook
In this book we look at the problems and causes of Alzheimer’s as they are related to an epidemic of prescription drugs being marketed to seniors, and we look at the strong evidence for dietary intervention, starting with coconut oil.
We bring you the stories of 10 different families who saw Alzheimer’s lessened or reversed by adding coconut oil to their diet, which is representative of thousands of others who are experiencing similar results. We offer guidelines on usage and types of coconut oil to consider, as well as other non-drug tips for holistic geriatric care.
Our target audience is the millions of caregivers out there loving caring for our senior population who will find it difficult to get this information from their doctors or medical professionals not trained in these areas.
Read Virgin Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease on your mobile device!
About the author: Unlike many people who write about coconut oil by simply reading about it, Brian Shilhavy actually lived in a coconut producing area of the Philippines for several years with his family, observing firsthand the differences between the diet and health of the younger generation and those of his wife’s parents’ generation still consuming a traditional diet. This led to years of studying Philippine nutrition and dietary patterns first hand while living in a rural farming community in the Philippines. Brian is the author of the best-selling book: Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours!
Read the Virgin Coconut Oil Book on Your Mobile Device!