Results from a population study conducted in the Philippines suggest that consuming significant amounts of dietary VCO has beneficial effects on lipid profiles and cardiovascular disease risk.3 Nearly 2,000 women were followed for more than 20 years with data collected on dietary habits, socioeconomic information, menstrual status, and medication profile. A positive correlation was noted between the amount of VCO consumed per day and elevation of total cholesterol and HDL, yielding a favorable TC/HDL ratio.

Mary T. Newport, MD, attempted to use VCO for her husband, who was coping with the progressive effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on her research, she began supplementing his diet with a large daily quantity of VCO. After 2 weeks, Dr. Newport reported that her husband’s cognitive function had improved. Although anecdotal, the case sparked interest in further study.

The operative hypothesis for the effect of VCO on symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is based on the brain’s cellular uptake of glucose, which is essential for proper function. Although this uptake system seems to be impaired in persons with dementia, ketones supplied by MCFAs act as a glucose substitute in the brain.

Findings from other studies may offer a strategy for increasing dietary ketosis by combining a low-carbohydrate diet7 with supplementation with VCO8, which may help improve cognitive functioning in these patients.

Safety, interactions

Overall, VCO is extremely safe. Due to its action on serum lipid profiles, patients should have a discussion with their healthcare provider about adding it to their diets prior to use. The most commonly reported adverse effects were gastrointestinal upset. Allergic potential exists, but is not widely reported.