Category: Grain Brain

Coconut Oil: A Healthy Fat for Brain Health

Powerful Role of Ketone Fats in Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Treatment

Brain cells function with far greater efficiency when they are utilizing fat (ketones) as a fuel source as opposed to sugar. The exciting news is that scientists are now taking advantage of this finding in the actual treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, as you can see in this recent research publication.

This research clearly substantiates the health benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet as a powerful lifestyle change to achieve the goal of brain health and functionality. While there actually exists a pharmaceutical “medical food” based on the science explained in this report, you can boost the availability of ketones for your brain by simply adding coconut oil or MCT oil to your daily regimen. But to make this effective, carb restriction is a must!

Alzheimer’s now affects some 5.4 million Americans. It is my belief that this dietary approach may well go a long way to keeping the brain healthy and allowing us to remain free of this dreaded condition.

  • Ann Coleman

    I’ve also read recently that cancer cells stop growing while following a ketogenic diet.

    • mikemarkham

      KD does two things well: lowering blood glucose and insulin levels. Look at many cancer cells and you’ll see how many insulin receptors cover the cell. Cutting off glucose starves these cells. Imagine what KD does before cancer sets in.

    • stephen cohen, MD

      in fact, the most common test to look for recurrent cancer is a PET scan. Do you realize that the test requires the injection of GLUCOSE? The cancer cells, if present, feed on and grab up the glucose which then create a positive test. No sugar in the diet, then cancer cells cannot survive.

      • Ann Coleman

        why don’t doctors around the world support this diet approach? I’m on board with the low carb lifestyle. It truly cuts my insulin needs in half. But cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, MS, RA…all those suffering?? Also- how do I defend my stance when it comes those who eat raw and vegan? They (vegans ect..) say they can cure cancer too? Any thoughts out there??

        • Carol Rayner Harris

          I believe the reason is that there is no money in healthy people.. to them it is all about the dollar. Everytime they sell a drug they make more money.. if everyone was well, there would be no money for the RICH masses..

          • Lisbeth Laursen

            Scary thought, Carol but I am affraid you might very well be right.

        • sluzen

          An Ann Wigmore type of raw diet, based upon mostly raw greens, a small amount of sprouted legumes for protein, and little if any fruits, fights cancer by making you alkaline.

          You can do the same with high pH ionized (antioxidants) pH water.

          A raw fruitarian diet would create acidity and frankly I think people who do this are headed for trouble down the road.

          Cooking raw alkaline foods make that food acidic. Makes acidic raw food more acidic.

          IMHO, treating cancer, since in every person, it will have multiple causes, must take a non-toxic multi-treatment approach.

    • Lynn Dell

      Ann, there is a controversy about this topic. Here is a positive link, which simplifies matters, but does point to some research going on: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2012/december/starving-cancer-ketogenic-diet-a-key-to-recovery/ and here is another positive link: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/16/ketogenic-diet-benefits.aspx/ and here is another one: http://www.thebarrow.org/Research/Neuro_Oncology/213930/

      Here is a link where an MD, apparently of some renown in the field of oncology, offers his views on the subject. When he discusses Dr. Adkins, we must keep in mind that knowledge about the kinds of fats we ingest has advanced considerably, especially w/respect to the omega 3/omega 6 ratio issue. I have also heard of other people going on all raw, vegan diets with lots of carrot juice, and healing themselves of cancer. George Malkmus of “Hallelujah Acres” comes to mind here, but anyway, here is the counterpoint link: http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/dr-gonzalez-dismantles-ketogenic-diet-for-cancer/

    • Boundless

      “… cancer cells stop growing while following a ketogenic diet.”

      The majority of cancer cells rely on glucose for fuel, and to a lesser extent glutamine. The biochemistry of this is described in a fairly expensive 2012 text “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease” by Seyfried, which is an update of the early 20th century Warburg theory of cancer.

      I’ve been following the story, and it’s beginning to look like a low carb / high fat diet might be very protective against cancer, but is only part of the solution once cancer has set it. Dr. Peter Attia, a ketogenic experimenter, has made remarks lately suggesting that an effective treatment might include (and this is my interpretation):

      1. A very low carb deeply ketogenic diet (to reduce glucose production).

      2. Caloric restriction (to reduce glutamine, and reduce glucose metabolized from protein).

      3. Hyperbaric therapy (to increase oxygen to cells, presumably toxic to cancer cells).

      4. Exogenous ketones (BHB and AcAC ketone bodies consumed as food, possibly coming to market in 2014).

      5. Chemo at dosages reduced from what is typically used.

      And yes, getting trials for this is a challenge, because none of it is patentable or as income-producing as today’s Standard of Care for cancer, which increases lifespan trivially, at astronomical expense and agonizing personal discomfort. Fortunately, if a protocol emerges, patients may be able to arrange for all of it themselves.

      It’s going to be some time before we have more than just scattered striking anecdotes.

      • ann

        thank you for this info..can you explain more about 3 and 4?

        • Boundless

          “can you explain more about 3 and 4?”

          I haven’t looked into hyperbaric at all, but my impression is that one of the lead investigators on that is Dominic D’Agostino at USF, for example:

          Exogenous ketones (which are not “raspberry ketones”) would be a novel human food. One product (KetoForce) is apparently available now. This page on how it came about seems to have a connection to the above:

          This is all more than I know about it. 🙂

          • sluzen

            I thank Boundless for the book reference by Seyfried and the link to exogenous ketones.

            However, I would add, that some there is some cutting edge cancer treatment done mainly outside of US that is quite non-toxic and self-directed to cancer cells leaving healthy cells alone. Also, I would not use chemotherapy or any cancer treatment if it were not tested on the patients own cells in vitro first. 80% of cancer treatments have no effect on a patients individual cancer cells. So spend a little money to save a lot of money and suffering.

            On Hyperbaric chambers: had used one for a one hour initial treatment before out of country major surgery by an excellent surgeon. Just to see what it was all about. When I got home I noticed the healing was very fast for the first few days after surgery, but slowed down considerably thereafter. The cost was about $100 for hard chamber and was not connected to a medical clinic.

            6 months after the surgery I went to a local hospital urged by someone working at the hospital for surgery scars that were still scabs. I was told my insurance would pay for the considerably higher treatment, $2,000.00 per treatment. Many AMA hospitals have these, but use them sparingly.

            By then I had learned more about hyperbarics, and found that it would be a good treatment for autism and other diseases. However, these AMA hospitals don’t ever use them for autism and cancer. They use them for really bad injuries.

            At the hospital they denied me hyperbaric treatment, and charged me about $400.00 for that denial. I am still paying that bill at $5 per month to show my displeasure.

            9 months after the surgery I went out of country again and stayed at that same 5 star hotel where I received hyperbaric treatment. I swear the following is true. At the beginning of treatments (3 treatments total), the scabs were still present on my surgical wounds. One week later, treatment finished, all scabs were gone, one could barely see a scar. $300.00 total.

          • Lisbeth Laursen

            Interesting! Hope you make posts about your experience in other forums too. Thanks for sharing!

          • sluzen

            Thank you, Lisbeth. I did make, I think, some important comments about my bad experience and resultant chronic and serious disease with erithritol low glycemic sugar and what I think I have discerned about it after listening carefully to Robert Lutzig’s very important video (on that same page), regarding coconut palm sugar. You can find it at http://www.drperlmutter.com/coconut-palm-sugar-whats-skinny/

            Just note that I made several comments, some of which I meant to erase because I felt they were not good enough explanations. I hope you will be somewhat informed if you read them, but most of all, I hope they make you laugh.

            I hope no one is offended by my “attitude”. My feeling is that we have given over our power to other “experts” who dd not have our best interests in mind and that we need to take our power back!

          • Lisbeth Laursen

            Thanks so much for your reply! Looking forward to watch the video.

  • Lynn Dell

    I tend to feel alert, and much more peaceful when I’m in ketosis. I noticed mild (not debilitating) anxiety feelings return when I went off the plan a few weeks back. It appears to me, based on how I feel and other self-reports I’ve read of, that ketosis is a good for the whole person!

    • Jennifer Ochoa

      Me too! I started a ketogenic diet to lose weight, but even better, my depression and anxiety cleared up. It comes back when I go off the plan too. Worked faster and with less side effects than any antidepressant I’ve tried.

    • Ann Coleman

      I haven’t been in ketosis in quite awhile. I remember about 10 years ago, feeling a sense of euphoria when I was spilling ketones. I felt great. Since that time, I ‘ve been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes..so I was doing low carb even before it was necessary! I still eat a bit too many carbs for my body to switch over. My goal is to get back down around 20 carbs a day. It’s tough!

      • Geckotreefrog

        Consuming coconut oil helps you reach/ maintain ketosis without having to go quite so low on carbs. Try cooking with or eating ~ 2 tbsp per day. (Right off the spoon). Everyone is unique, so there is no exact dosage. Don’t eat coconut oil on an empty stomach, as it can cause stomach upset. Paul Jaminet Ph.D discusses coconut oil in his book & website on “Perfect Health Diet”. You can also learn more about a ketogenic diet in the new book “Keto Clarity” by Jimmy Moore.

  • Kalliep

    Since 76% of the US population’s tap water is artificially fluoridated, has Dr. Perlmutter ever considered AWF as a factor. Declan Waugh, an Irish water scientist of the Republic of Ireland did some research and as a starter, he
    found 450% more early onset dementia, 300 % more sudden infant deaths, 100% more osteoporosis, 83% more Down Syndrome and more cancer in the FLUORIDATED country, the Republic of Ireland when compared to the non fluoridated Northern Ireland. He found there are 470% more deaths from diabetes in the fluoridated country. This study is available here: http://www.enviro.ie/Feb2013.pdf — look at pages 6, 10 and 12.. He will shortly be releasing an even more detailed report on the harm from AWF.

    • Naia McCoy

      And chem trails and round up…and so on and so on. We are inundated with toxic chemicals. That is NOT even to mention the GMO and artificial garbage in foods. Then there are vaccines. It never ends. We are doomed in a toxic society. No way out. Even the four leggeds are doomed! Fukushima!

      • Shelly St Martin

        Fukushima, If you can, avoid vaccinations, buy a water purifier, don’t eat fake food, grow some of your own vegetables, and spend time outside, away from the city, that is.

    • Ann Coleman

      Believe it or not, where I live there is no fluoride in our water supply. Now, unfortunately my kids have a had a few cavities..but my dentist completely supports NO fluoride in water. Just a good toothpaste.

      • Kalliep

        You are so fortunate Ann to live in an unfluoridated community and to have a wise and knowing dentist. Fluoride is a poison and the chemical they use to fluoridate is a toxic waste from the phosphate fertilizer industries. see http://www.fluoridealert.org

        Studies from the 1930s showed that 1000 IU of Vitamin D3, along with good oral hygiene and nutrition prevented cavities. Once my daughter added the Vitamin D3, her children stopped having cavities. A good mother, she put sunscreen on them whenever they went outside in the sun. They always had a very low sugar intake as well. I am grateful to have learned about the value of Vitamin D. see http://www.vitamindcouncil.com for good information. I can post links to the studies if requested.

        • sluzen

          There were many magazine articles in the 1950s complaining about the toxins, called fluoride, not the natural element in the periodic table, from aluminum and nuclear plants.

    • Eric

      Ok, Most of us understand this. Please reserve comments and suggestions to the ketogenic dietary approach.

    • Louise

      Something interesting I found… strontium (not radioactive) as a supplement was studied, then dropped as something to strengthen bones… I imagine it works for teeth too. You can find supplements even now, but they’re not well known. Plenty of info on them, even some research.

      • maria

        Louise, yes, STRONTIUM SUPPORT by AOR helps strengthen bones and teeth. It has to be taken between meals.

  • Kelly

    I love the conversations- I add tbsp of 95%mct coconut oil in coffee in am. Is that ok? Any suggestions for someone who is under weight but needs to get off the carbs?? I’m at 95lb

  • Marbelyn Nunez


  • Jim

    Dr. Perlmutter, you mentioned in the summary above that “Brain cells function with far greater efficiency when they are utilizing fat (ketones) as a fuel source as opposed to sugar.” However, the summary of the research you referenced stated “unlike other tissues in the body, the brain does not efficiently metabolize fats; hence the adult human brain relies almost exclusively on glucose as an energy substrate. Therefore, inhibition of glucose metabolism can have profound effects on brain function.” Can you help me understand these two seemingly contradictory comments, please? Thank you!

    • Lynn Dell

      Jim, could the following information have anything to do with it? What I gleaned from this link is until the body is producing ketones, the brain will rely on glucose, because only ketone bodies and limited fatty acids can cross the blood brain barrier:


      “When concentrations of these ketone-bodies increase one is said to be in the metabolic condition of ketosis. Ketosis is important for one
      because most fatty acids cannot pass the blood-brain barrier; only
      ketone bodies and specific short-medium chained fatty acids are able to pass this barrier.”

    • sluzen

      I seldom see the mention that there s a difference between good fats and bad fats. Good fats: coconut oil, MCT oil (from coconut oil), grass-fed meat (not pastured meat which could be grain-fed).

      • David Perlmutter

        A very important fact, and one I try to mention frequently.

  • RI


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  • Janice King

    As a woman, I am concerned with consuming SLS and Lauric acid in coconut oil. Is it true that SLS can mimic estrogen on estrogen receptors?

  • Carol D.

    I’m into my 3rd day of the no-carb diet and not feeling very well. Headachy, shaky, low blood sugar feeling. Waking at night with anxiety. I’m 5’6″ ~ 120lbs. Should I continue?

    • David Perlmutter

      That’s not something I can comment on Carol, but if you do not feel well I suggest consulting with your doctor immediately, and speaking with him before making any other dietary changes.

    • Runner52

      Hi Carol, I felt the same way in the beginning. I had to increase the healthy fats and protein in order to feel better. I, too, weigh less than 120 lbs and dropped too much weight too quickly for my overall size. Be careful and increase your portions. Also I had a reaction to the Resveratrol and Turmeric, had to stop and felt better. Take Care

    • Boundless

      > I’m into my 3rd day of the no-carb diet …

      A casual search of the web suggests that it takes several weeks to become fully keto-adapted, and that the symptoms you report are not uncommon for someone who (and this might not describe what you did) suddenly switches from a glycemic diet to a deep (“no-carb”) keto diet.

      There’s lots of advice out there on how to transition to minimize, as one page put it: “During this time, you may develop a headache, feel tired, or experience a decrease in energy.”

      I personally have no hard data on whether/how often I’m in ketosis, but we quite unintentionally transitioned to a very low carb diet over several months, and had no apparent adverse side effects.

    • RenegadeRN

      I know this is an old post, but what you describe is call “keto Flu” it is remedied by increasing your salt and potassium and magnesium. When you start Ketogenic diet, the glycogen in your liver depletes and takes a lot of fluid with it. Those fluids contain electrolytes. This is temporary and not a bad thing.
      Just sprinkle more salt on your food and get extra potassium and Magnesium and you will feel better pretty quickly!

  • Our instant Latte and Mocha both contain coconut oil as part of our non-dairy creamer, plus 4 other health ingredients including Bacopa which is phenomenal for brain health!

  • Lori

    I recently had dinner with my friend who is an RD and I excitedly told her about your compelling book about Brain Health. She asked a valid question, but I didn’t know how to answer it. If the Brain prefers fat/ runs more optimally on fat, why does it use glucose?

    The study you reference reported: “Unlike other tissues in the body, the brain does not efficiently metabolize fats; hence the adult human brain relies almost exclusively on glucose as an energy substrate.”

    The RDs point was, since what Grain Brain premise is saying is that your body functions more optimally on fat, why doesn’t your brain just use the fat, even when glucose is present? Meaning, if someone has a balanced diet of grains and fat, why can’t the brain use the fat that is ingested, rather than the glucose?
    She also believes that a ketonic diet is only necessary when you have a several impairment, otherwise a healthy person doesn’t need to remove grains.

    Obviously, I have read your book, but she is not convinced grains are bad.
    I am interested in what the answer is…

    • Louise

      I thought it was only part of the brain that used glucose, certain cells. And it’s grains that are bad, not all sugars. Fruit and veggies are still carbs. 60g of carbs a day is absolutely lavish compared to Atkins.

  • Jennifer Davis

    I’ve heard that Coconut oil has great benefits, but does it matter if it’s partially fractionated?

  • Linda Wilkins

    Can someone tell me how to work this diet when you have allergic reactions to salicylates? The only fat on the list for me would be butter and maybe walnuts.
    The coconut oil, almond butter and olive oil give me serious hives. Are the benefits I see in this diet not open to someone like me?

    Also I eat five eggs a day. Is this ok?

    • sluzen

      The butyrate in grass-fed butter gives serious benefits.
      Sorry about your reaction to coconut oil. It is considered a non-inflammatory oil. I consume MCT oil which has 6X as much of the medium chain (good) triglycerides.

      To my knowledge, there is no problem from eating 5 eggs/day. I do this all the time. You probably know the egg yolks contain potent and important nutrients. Since the nutrients are less damaged and more easily absorbed if cooked at a lower and slower temperature, I poach mine. Of course, raw is best. 5 eggs for me, 2 raw eggs for Sweetie, my rottweiler.

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  • Laura

    Hi! Have you tried Fuel for Thought? My parents in law are selling this fantastic product. They are putting so much energy and efforts in making it accessible to everyone! Thanks, Laura (this is the link: http://fuelforthought.co/)

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  • David Lee

    Thanks for the info. I’m researching for posts on my site at http://www.OfficialKetone.com. I’m trying to find as much information as I can on the benefits of ketones to put on the site. I would love to be pointed to some other great resources and articles.

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