Why aren’t you researching coconut oil or [insert other substance here]?

My recent blog entry about coconut oil generated a lot of comments with the same question: Why isn’t the Alzheimer’s Association researching coconut oil? It’s an excellent question and one I get often about coconut oil and other substances that have been rumored to help people with Alzheimer’s.

At first glance, the answer is simple: we’ve received few, if any proposals specifically studying  coconut oil. However, we have received a little over half a dozen proposals on studies that look at substances derived from coconut oil such as ketones. Most recently, we funded a study in 2010 by David Morgan, Ph.D. from the University of South Florida. Find a summary of his study here: Ketogenesis and Alzheimer Pathology.

In addition, I encourage readers to check out the section of our web site that discusses a research study on Caprylic Acid and Coconut Oil. This substance derived from coconut oil looked promising in early studies but the makers of the supplement opted to stop researching it prior to phase three trials that would have tested effectiveness. We were disappointed they didn’t continue the study.

At the Alzheimer’s Association, we fund mainly studies by new investigators, which helps us encourage the next generation of Alzheimer’s researchers and introduce fresh ideas to the field.

Every year, we receive grant applications through an online proposal process from hundreds of researchers from around the world. Those proposals are then peer reviewed by a panel of three to four volunteer Alzheimer’s research experts and they are scored and ranked. Finally, they are sent to the Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC), a group of nationally and internationally recognized Alzheimer’s experts. The MSAC is tasked with ensuring fairness and equity in the peer review process and making recommendations for funding to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Basically, our research dollars go to the research proposals that have the most merit – no matter what the institution or country of origin, we simply want to fund the best designed studies that will get us closer to better treatments, early detection or prevention.

However, while we are the largest private nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, even we cannot fund all of the studies that should be funded. For example, out of the hundreds of research proposals we received in 2011, about 22 percent were found to have merit; but we only had the resources to fund about the top 9 percent. Those studies that don’t get funding from us may find funding elsewhere, or re-apply next year – but in some cases, they fall to the wayside. It’s frustrating to know that the answers may be out there, right within reach but the research funding simply doesn’t exist.

I know it’s frustrating to hear that the research doesn’t exist for a substance rumored to help persons with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also difficult to interpret this lack of studies. Is it that studies have been done but not shown to have an impact? Sometimes this is the case. Scientific journals publish articles about positive (not negative) results.

I think the explanation of how we fund research only begs many more questions in regards to coconut oil and other things rumored to help with Alzheimer’s: Why haven’t more researchers looked at coconut oil? Will the National Institutes of Health or a pharmaceutical company study coconut oil?

The answers to these questions can be complicated, but I believe this is a large part of why the Alzheimer’s Association’s advocacy work is so important. We are working hard on several pieces of legislation right now that will help ensure the future of Alzheimer’s research, including the Breakthrough Act and the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. We’re already seeing our work on the National Alzheimer’s Project Act starting to benefit the research community and hope that it continues to do so.

Helpful information related to this story

The Alzheimer’s Association research page

The Breakthrough Act

The National Alzheimer’s Plan

Original coconut oil blog

On our blog:

Research News

Caregiver Stories


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33 Responses

  1. Abel PB says:

    DAY 1
    I live in Mexico.
    My father is 83 and has Alzheimer.
    Today he had his first dosis of extra virgin organic coconut oil.
    I hope to have him back.
    I will report if coconut oil is making a difference.
    My only goal sharing this posts is to tell the truth about my experience so families with similar challenges than mine have a clean, real and accurate reference.

  2. Abel Padilla says:

    DAY 6
    My father has been having 2 tablespoons daily of coconut oil for 6 days now.
    Coconut oil has not been the miracle that everybody is talking about for my father.
    I don’t see that improvement mentioned in a bunch of posts.
    He hasn’t been in a bad mood and there are some actions that I believe I see them as a change because of my hope of having him back.
    Never the less, we will keep providing the oil and also informing any changes.

    • Linda says:

      Just two tablespoons daily? You need to administer three tablespoons three times a day. Put it on his toast, instead of butter; on his baked, mashed, roasted or pan fried potatoes (in fact, cook his pan-fried potatoes in Coconut Oil—it has a higher tolerance for heat than Olive Oil, which should never be used in cooking, anyway); put it on his vegetables. Have you read Dr. Mary Newport’s Book, “Alzheimer’s Disease; What If There Was A Cure?”. This is based on her Manuscript from her own research from using it with her husband and working with Doctor’s in SMARTER parts of the world than the smug know it all’s here in North America, particularly in the United States.

      My mother had Alzheimer’s Disease. ALL the garbage medications didn’t do a THING to help her; she still steadily digressed, and she still eventually forgot her husband and all of her children!

      But you ask the “Professionals”, and they will say, “Oh, the meds just slow Alzheimer’s Disease down”! Coconut Oil, combined with MCT Oil (found in Health Food Stores) administered in the appropriate doses, literally REVERSE the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease!

      NOTHING they have in their little experimental cupboards has EVER been shown to do that!!!

  3. R Robart says:

    Please keep us posted, Abel, on what you see. My mother in law is considering removing her husband from a nursing home so she can get enough coconut oil into him to cure his advanced Alzheimer’s. We want to be an encouragement to her, but we are fearful of disappointment if this does not work as it claims. We would appreciate your continued reports.

  4. Abel Padilla says:

    Day 13
    Still giving him 2 table spoons: morning and afternoons.
    He is in a better mood since we began.
    He has “sparks” of lucidity that he hasnt had in months.
    He shows more interest for things we thought he had forgotten.
    He is far from being cured but he seems little bit better.
    We are happy.
    You can contact me in agroin@cablevision.net.mx

  5. SHENNO says:


  6. Abel Padilla says:

    Day 22
    We increase the doses: 3 tablespoons, 1 before each meal.
    Still having a good mood and “sparks of lucidity” that were gone even a big issue that is going on inside the family.
    (My mothers nani that is 94 years old is living with them and she had a small stroke).
    I expected him to go back with the “issue” but he is thinking well and his mood is good.
    He is concerned about the nani but in a “healthy way”.
    He began joking again! I have been asking different opinions and everybody agree that he is doing better.
    My mother agrees also, she was also in a better mood before the stroke.
    The reason I shared the Nani issue is because my father for smaller things reacted very bad.
    Sorry about my spelling. My native language is Spanish.

  7. Tracy Calloway says:

    Have been reading about coconut oil and found your blog…it’s FASCINATING…please..please..please keep blogging…what a wonderful hidden secret this could turn out to be…Best of luck to your father…my prayers are with you both..

  8. Tracy Calloway says:

    Abel..FYI…I read some other articles tonite as well…there is a study done by a Dr. Newport which recommends 4 teaspoons of coconut oil twice per day. The video was amazing …if you have not seen it…google her…or look on YOU TUBE….Best of luck…,.Tracy

  9. Abel Padilla says:

    Day 43
    My mother nani is not longer living with them. The family took the desicion to take her to a special facility in her home town so she can be treated as needed.
    For this reason, My mother went away for almost 10 days and my wife and I stayed in their house to take care of my Father.
    I expected a very difficult situation in terms of his mood but everything was smooth. He missed my mother and asked constantly about her and when she was coming back but everytime they spoke by phone he was relaxed. He slept and ate well. Also he didnt stop his walking sessions.
    My mother is back and they began an adaptation process.
    I havent seen any progress in his lucidity sparks or other things but I also dont see him going back. He is in a Flat situation.
    This following 2 weeks are going to be very interesting in how they will adapt without “lola” (The nani).
    I will keep you posted.

  10. Mary Hughes says:

    Dear Frieds: Woulldn’t it make sense to conduct a study of elderly peope in the Philippines who use coconut oil in their daily diet to discern what percentage develop Alzheimers? Studies have been conducted in Japan on aging and diet. The Japanese people have a very good record of longevity. It would seem be prudent to compare the two peoples. Also, what did native Americans do for their aging citizens to deal with aging. ? Did their medicine men have herbal remedies? What effect did introduction of alcohol have on native American peoples? /// Do American women who never drank socially have less evidence of dementia and kAltzheimers than those who have been social drinkers? In other words, what effect does the drug alcohol have on the female brain in the U.S.? Thank you for your consideration of these questions.

    • KUMAR SINGH says:

      Dear Readers,
      I was born in Guyana formerly British Guiana. This country is net to Brazil and Venezuela. I grew up there and became a teacher who was observing the lives of people living there, especially the elderly. Many of the natives never really go to visit hospitals when they discovered an illness. There was a diagnosis by the locals and they will apply herbs externally or eat or drink the juices of them for internal medical problems. On the note of coconut oil helping to cure alzheimers disease
      the natives showed proofs. In Guyana the two main farming crops are rice and coconut. In the early days you could only cook with coconut oil as no oil was imported. As I grew up many of the residents from ages 80 to 100 showed no signs of alzheimers. I would definitely support the theory that coconut oil does prevent if not cure alzheimers disease. I was a participant in many censuses for the country and always have to ask about illnesses as one of the questions. I don’t remember any one displaying and characteristics of alzheimers with over 100,000 persons that I took information during the 6 years I participated.

  11. Abel Padilla says:

    1st week with his wife and no “lola”… he is doing better. His enviroment is again in a soft mood and he looks better, talks better and he is in a good mood. Again, without telling him, he began with his exercice sessions. His “chart” is going up again, slow but up. Good for him!!!

  12. Abel Padilla says:

    Lost the day count but…good news! My father is coming back. Things he couldnt do he is doing them again. I am clear that is difficult to recover 100% but he is doing way better.

  13. TheCureForAD says:

    My family is taking a journey as well with coconut oil. We have definitely seen some improvements and then there are some set backs as well, but forging ahead. Would love for you to follow our family’s journey. My blog site is my Name plus dot com.
    Thanks Abel for all of your updates, they have been inspiring!
    TheCureForAD com

  14. Abel Padilla says:

    Hello guys! just checking in. My father is still taking coconut oil…and his health is good. We dont see him getting worst and counting days we have been in this journey for 3 months. If you have doubts, dont!

    Go for it! It works. I dont sell any health products and I dont want to so my opinions are just a small picture of our daily life.

  15. Abel Padilla says:

    Hello Guys! Still here!!! I lost the count since we began. My father is still having Coconut Oil. Like all things that are done for long periods of time, sometimes he or we forget about his “spoon”. We can notice the difference. We began giving him a 3rd dose. He is doing ok and still with the “sparks” of lucidity I mentioned before but we are clear our “enemy” is strong and knows how to play with the minds of who are around my father. Cold weather is an allied. But we are fighting back, he is. We get together and evaluate coconut oil results and since we began everytime we have enough “facts” to keep going.

  16. rmar says:

    My wife has mild Alzheimer’s with,so far, the only symptoms being short term memory problems. After reading the book “Alzheimer’s What If There Is a Cure” I got a small container of the coconut oil. She didn’t care for the flavor it added to food when I cooked with it and she doesn’t drink coffee so mixing it in a drink would not work either so I decided to try the softgels. I have been giving her 2 softgel tablets 4 times a day for about 3 months now and I don’t think she has gotten any worse. In fact, in some ways her short term memory has improved. She now remembers things from one day to the next and she remembers a converstion that we had 2 or 3 days ago. I have hopes that she will continue to improve – at this point I don’t think I have anything to lose with the coconut pills !!

    • Linda says:

      Medium Chained Triglycerides, of which Coconut Oil contains about 60%, and the MCT capsules, HAVE proven to be very effective. Try putting coconut oil on her porridge, her veggies, potatoes at dinner, her toast, her bread when she has a sandwich. And have it yourself, too. Coconut Oil also eliminates and prevents future growth of kidney stones, and is highly beneficial to new cells that reproduce completely within our bodies every three months. Our bodies MUST HAVE OIL to reproduce at the most beneficial, BUT it must be a healthy oil! Medium Chained Triglycerides are HEALTHY triglycerides, as opposed to Long Chained Triglycerides, which are the BAD triglycerides. You see, contrary to popular myth, ALL triglycerides are NOT created equal!

  17. Paula Slater says:

    How sad, sad, sad. Do you recall the history and the discovery of the cure for scurvy and the number of years it took to realize that a citrus fruit could cure it?If not, look it up! If the possible cure for Alzheimer’s was swallowing Drano, or taking a trial drug I could understand the reluctance to embrace it as a possible treatment. Think about this. If a relative has Alzheimer’s no one will blame the spouse or family. They will extend pity. If the family resists using coconut oil I wonder at the motives. Hmm ? Alzheimer’s is a cheap divorce. Alzheimer’s can relieve the family of care. Think about it!!!

  18. I am interested to know what kind of coconut oil people are using (brand name) and how much you use and how often a day and is it given to the patient or put in his food.? I am an inventor and I have come up with an idea but I need more data. I have my best friend’s mother with dementia and it hurts me watch her every day and deteriorate.

    I am trying to learn enough about this disease and then get a small grant to do the research. I have more than 20 patents in my name and more than 200 records of inventions at General Motors. I am an inventor and I can solve this problem.

    I appreciate any feedback. Also, if you have a group of people that I could send an email, please forward my email. The only reason I used my work email is to show that I am real and this is not a tricky email.

    I do want to help and I think I can. I just need access to medical information and the current research. I do pray for your father and hope that he continues to improve.

    With kind regards,

    Mansour Ashtiani
    SR.Materials Engineer

    Huf North America
    24860 Hathaway
    Farmington Hills, MI 48335

    • Debi Collins says:

      Mansour, The brand of coconut oil is probably not important, but it should be virgin coconut oil (expeller pressed, not chemically extracted). I’ve bought some from Dr. Bronner’s Magic “All-One!” Fair Trade and Organic Fresh-pressed Virgin Coconut Oil from the health food store, and I’ve bought large quantities of it from Tropical Traditions (online). I use it in place of all other oils and fats if I am sauteing, frying or roasting (at high temperatures).

      I shared some clinical studies and some personal testimonies (several from the Tropical Traditions blog) with my 86 year old father who cares for my 85 year old mother. Mom is disabled from a stroke over 10 years ago, and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My dad threw out all of the vegetable oils and margarine in his house and exclusively uses coconut oil. He feeds her two spoonfuls per day, plus the amount she gets with her food. He takes the 2 spoonfuls per day himself.

      He noticed small improvements in Mom, mostly in her having a more stable mood with less crying. After a few months, he stopped her Alzheimer’s medicine completely and hasn’t noticed a worsening. (There wasn’t much of her left.) She seems to enjoy listening to music again. Her yeast infections decreased.

      My father also tracked his own symptoms. Foggy brain, bladder/prostate problems, dizziness, high cholesterol, and maybe a few more complaints that have been getting worse in recent years. He claims that after 4-6 months of switching to coconut oil, he has cleared up his symptoms significantly. He also stopped taking his statin drugs, and his cholesterol levels have been stable and at a decent level for someone his age.

      Perhaps instead of waiting for a pharmaceutical company to package up the great properties of coconut oil and peddle it in a profitable way, we should consider supplementing our diets with foods that are natural and healthful. There are no side effects of eating coconut oil.

  19. Arthur Friesland says:


    You state that no credible research has been conducted on ketones from coconut oil and their effect on Alzheimer’s disease. Why don’t you talk with Dr. Mary Newport about that? Actually there is a lot going on. She can bring you up to date. Beyond the scientific, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Where there is smoke there may well be fire. Would it not makes sense to get serious about conducting this research? Coconut oil is very cheap and not likely to make any money for the big pharmaceutical companies. Pardon me for my cynicism, but we have seen many times that the drug industry’s interests and the public’s are frequently at odds.

  20. Abel Padilla says:

    Arthur, thank you for your post.

    One thing that people living around Alzheimer is that our loved one wont get cured. That is a fact. For us Coconut oil is another tool to find a better way to face Alzheimer.

    Regarding my father, he is doing OK. I found this link that has helped my family a lot: https://www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com/alzheimers-dementia-education/

    Good luck ! and never feel pity! is the biggest mistake we can make.

  21. Mary says:

    My Dad has had Alzheimer’s 9 years, got it at 66, please give me a brand and specifics on coconut oil…he is disappearing. Thank you Mary. Please email me @ paldinomary@yahoo.com

  22. abel Padilla says:

    if you are in the US you can go to any organic supermarket and there you´ll find it. Never the less I will send you an email. Good luck! and don´t let Alzheimer defeat you and your family.

  23. Diana says:

    I read all the comments and the intro by the doctor who seemingly answered the question: Why aren’t you researching coconut oil? I agree with one comment in here that the pharmaceutical companies not going forward until it is a proven money maker. But the doctor’s response about there not being enough evidence that coconut oils works seems to have missed the mark. If the Alzheimer’s Assoc is in the forefront of research, why not start a formal study to either disprove or prove it? Not enough money in it? I read Dr Newport’s website and the improvement with her own husband and she too, cannot get any attention from the medical community but her husband is almost back to his old self. Alzheimer’s runs in my family and I intend to start a daily regimen of it. I am especially encouraged by the man who used it initially for his wife and now takes it himself for other things.

  24. Abel Padilla says:

    I recomend that you read about Dr. Eugenia Wang from the University of Louisville and her pioneering work in using high-throughput technologies to explore the molecular signatures of Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias and heart disease.

  25. Bruce Atkins says:

    Medium chain Triglycerides (MCT) are more useful for dementia than coconut oil which has only 15% medium chain fatty acids which are responsible for ketone generation for brain. It is also worthwhile to try a combination of dietary agents. I recently came across DHA as being helpful. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/140/4/869.short.

    There are novel MCT-DHA fortified foods products like MCT Bars, MCT Protein Mix are now available on Amazon. The latter is interesting because it provides 10g MCT and 1.2 g DHA in one serving and may be more paltable to incorporate into diet. Bruce

  26. Rupert Marshall says:

    Is there no credible research on Cocoanut Oil because Big Pharma can’t make a buck off it?

  27. toby lee says:

    why is this organization not trying to get a study started. They state that no one has submitted a proposal to look into this, so why dont they create a proposal and look for someone to put it into effect

  28. Heather Murrey says:

    Hello Abel, I was just wondering if you had any updates on your father’s progress since it has been almost two years since you started this process? My grandfather has Alzheimer’s and he now lives in a nursing home where he hardly ever speaks, I was wanting to talk to my grandmother about having the nursing home start giving him coconut oil to see if it makes any improvement.

  29. Abel Padilla says:

    I am updating my email. My dad is doing fine. Alzheimer wont stop but when he gets coconut oil, he gets functional in the illness stage.

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