Coconut oil inactivates herpes (and maybe AIDS) virus

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by mbofov, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Here is an excerpt from Nexus Magazine (February-March 2002) which describes how coconut oil can inactivate the herpes simplex virus and other viruses and pathogens, including candida albicans. The original article was longer and had more information about health benefits of coconut oil, which has been wrongly maligned because it consists of saturated fats. It's very interesting, and well worth reading about. It even talks about inactivating the AIDS virus. I know from personal experience that it is very effective against candida.

    Mary


    Earlier this year, at a special conference entitled "Functional Foods For Health Promotion: Physiologic Considerations" (Experimental Biology '99, Renaissance Washington Hotel, Washington, DC, April 17, 1999), which was sponsored by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) North America, Technical Committee on Food Components for Health Promotion, it was defined that "a functional food provides a health benefit over and beyond the basic nutrients".

    This is exactly what coconut and its edible products such as desiccated coconut and coconut oil do. As a functional food, coconut has fatty acids that provide both energy (nutrients) and raw material for antimicrobial fatty acids and monoglycerides (functional components) when it is eaten. Desiccated coconut is about 69% coconut fat, as is creamed coconut. Full coconut milk is approximately 24% fat.

    Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human (and animal) to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including Listeria monocytogenes and Helicobacter pylori, and protozoa such as Giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid.

    Also, approximately 6 - 7% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are capric acid. Capric acid is another medium-chain fatty acid which has a similar beneficial function when it is formed into monocaprin in the human or animal body. Monocaprin has also been shown to have antiviral effects against HIV and is being tested for antiviral effects against herpes simplex and for antibacterial effects against Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted bacteria (Reuters, London, June 29, 1999).

    The food industry has, of course, long been aware that the functional properties of the lauric oils, and especially coconut oil, are unsurpassed by other available commercial oils. Unfortunately in the United States, during the late 1930s and again during the 1980s and 1990s, the commercial interests of the domestic fats and oils industry were successful in driving down usage of coconut oil. As a result, in the US and in other countries where the influence from the US is strong, the manufacturer has lost the benefit of the lauric oils in its food products.

    As we will see from the data I will present in this talk, it is the consumer who has lost the many health benefits that can result from regular consumption of coconut products.

    The antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal properties of lauric acid and monolaurin have been recognised by a small number of researchers for nearly four decades. This knowledge has resulted in more than 20 research papers and several US patents, and last year it resulted in a comprehensive book chapter which reviewed the important aspects of lauric oils as antimicrobial agents (Enig, 1998). In the past, the larger group of clinicians and food and nutrition scientists has been unaware of the potential benefits of consuming foods containing coconut and coconut oil, but this is now starting to change.

    Kabara (1978) and others have reported that certain fatty acids (FAs) (e.g., medium-chain saturates) and their derivatives (e.g., monoglycerides, MGs) can have adverse effects on various micro-organisms. Those micro-organisms that are inactivated include bacteria, yeast, fungi and enveloped viruses. Additionally, it is reported that the antimicrobial effects of the FAs and MGs are additive, and total concentration is critical for inactivating viruses (Isaacs and Thormar, 1990).

    The properties that determine the anti-infective action of lipids are related to their structure, e.g., monoglycerides, free fatty acids. The monoglycerides are active; diglycerides and triglycerides are inactive. Of the saturated fatty acids, lauric acid has greater antiviral activity than caprylic acid (C-8), capric acid (C-10) or myristic acid (C-14).

    In general, it is reported that the fatty acids and monoglycerides produce their killing/inactivating effect by lysing the plasma membrane lipid bilayer. The antiviral action attributed to monolaurin is that of solubilising the lipids and phospholipids in the envelope of the virus, causing the disintegration of the virus envelope. However, there is evidence from recent studies that one antimicrobial effect in bacteria is related to monolaurin's interference with signal transduction (Projan et al., 1994), and another antimicrobial effect in viruses is due to lauric acid's interference with virus assembly and viral maturation (Hornung et al., 1994).

    Recognition of the antiviral aspects of the antimicrobial activity of the monoglyceride of lauric acid (monolaurin) has been reported since 1966. Some of the early work by Hierholzer and Kabara (1982), which showed virucidal effects of monolaurin on enveloped RNA and DNA viruses, was done in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control of the US Public Health Service. These studies were done with selected virus prototypes or recognised representative strains of enveloped human viruses. The envelope of these viruses is a lipid membrane, and the presence of a lipid membrane on viruses makes them especially vulnerable to lauric acid and its derivative, monolaurin.

    The medium-chain saturated fatty acids and their derivatives act by disrupting the lipid membranes of the viruses (Isaacs and Thormar, 1991; Isaacs et al., 1992). Research has shown that enveloped viruses are inactivated in both human and bovine milk by added fatty acids and monoglycerides (Isaacs et al., 1991) and also by endogenous fatty acids and monoglycerides of the appropriate length (Isaacs et al., 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992; Thormar et al., 1987).

    Some of the viruses inactivated by these lipids, in addition to HIV, are the measles virus, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), visna virus and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Many of the pathogenic organisms reported to be inactivated by these antimicrobial lipids are those known to be responsible for opportunistic infections in HIV-positive individuals. For example, concurrent infection with cytomegalovirus is recognised as a serious complication for HIV-positive individuals (Macallan et al., 1993).

    Thus, it would appear to be important to investigate the practical aspects and the potential benefits of an adjunct nutritional support regimen for HIV-infected individuals, which will utilise those dietary fats that are sources of known antiviral, antimicrobial and antiprotozoal monoglycerides and fatty acids such as monolaurin and its precursor, lauric acid.

    Until now, no one in the mainstream nutrition community seems to have recognised the added potential of antimicrobial lipids in the treatment of HIV-infected or AIDS patients. These antimicrobial fatty acids and their derivatives are essentially nontoxic to man; they are produced in vivo by humans when they ingest those commonly available foods that contain adequate levels of medium-chain fatty acids such as lauric acid. According to the published research, lauric acid is one of the best "inactivating" fatty acids, and its monoglyceride is even more effective than the fatty acid alone (Kabara, 1978; Sands et al., 1978; Fletcher et al., 1985; Kabara, 1985).

    The lipid-coated (enveloped) viruses are dependent on host lipids for their lipid constituents. The variability of fatty acids in the foods of individuals, as well as the variability from de novo synthesis, accounts for the variability of fatty acids in the virus envelope and also explains the variability of glycoprotein expression - a variability that makes vaccine development more difficult.

    Monolaurin does not appear to have an adverse effect on desirable gut bacteria but, rather, only on potentially pathogenic micro-organisms. For example, Isaacs et al. (1991) reported no inactivation of the common Escherichia coli or Salmonella enteritidis by monolaurin, but major inactivation of Hemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus epidermidis and group B gram-positive Streptococcus.

    The potentially pathogenic bacteria inactivated by monolaurin include Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, groups A, F and G streptococci, gram-positive organisms, and some gram-negative organisms if pretreated with a chelator (Boddie and Nickerson, 1992; Kabara, 1978, 1984; Isaacs et al., 1990, 1992, 1994; Isaacs and Schneidman, 1991; Isaacs and Thormar, 1986, 1990, 1991; Thormar et al., 1987; Wang and Johnson, 1992).

    Decreased growth of Staphylococcus aureus and decreased production of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 was shown with 150 mg monolaurin per litre (Holland et al., 1994). Monolaurin was shown to be 5,000 times more inhibitory against Listeria monocytogenes than is ethanol (Oh and Marshall, 1993). Helicobacter pylori was rapidly inactivated by medium-chain monoglycerides and lauric acid, and there appeared to be very little development of resistance of the organism to the bactericidal effects of these natural antimicrobials (Petschow et al., 1996).

    A number of fungi, yeast and protozoa have been found to be inactivated or killed by lauric acid or monolaurin. The fungi include several species of ringworm (Isaacs et al., 1991). The yeast reported is Candida albicans (Isaacs et al., 1991). The protozoan parasite Giardia lamblia is killed by free fatty acids and monoglycerides from hydrolysed human milk (Hernell et al., 1986; Reiner et al., 1986; Crouch et al., 1991; Isaacs et al., 1991). Numerous other protozoa were studied with similar findings, but these have not yet been published (Jon J. Kabara, private communication, 1997).

    Research continues in measuring the effects of the monoglyceride derivative of capric acid, monocaprin, as well as the effects of lauric acid. Chlamydia trachomatis is inactivated by lauric acid, capric acid and monocaprin (Bergsson et al., 1998). Hydrogels containing monocaprin are potent in vitro inactivators of sexually transmitted viruses such as HSV-2 and HIV-1 and bacteria such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Thormar, 1999).

    [This Message was Edited on 11/03/2006]
  2. gypsy101

    gypsy101 New Member

    I got confused. Is commercially bougth coconut devoid of the essential health benefits???? If I eat a coconut fresh from the nut, is that going to contain the essential acids? Or is it irradiated and the oils killed??? please help me understand.
  3. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Prickles - you're welcome! There's a book called something like The Coconut Oil Miracle which has a lot of this information. The coconut oil is good for your thyroid and skin, so many things. It is fascinating.

    Gypsy: For more information, go to the Tropical Traditions website. They explain a lot about coconut oil and the various kinds out there. As a general rule, the coconut oil should be called either virgin coconut oil or expeller pressed - these are processed naturally without chemical solvents and they are good. The best kind is the virgin, also the most expensive but if you go to Swanson Vitamins on-line, they have Jarrow virgin coconut oil for a good price. You can also go your health food store and they will have the good kind as well. I think eating a coconut is a good way to go too, I don't think they're irradiated, but I don't really know.

    Mary
  4. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    bump bump bump
  5. wish_to_be_healthy

    wish_to_be_healthy New Member

    But I had never read a paper on it...thanks for posting.

    Suz
  6. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    You're welcome. Coconut oil knocked out a candida infection I had, and is keeping it at bay. I take 2 tablespoons daily. Am hoping it will make may skin look great too, but, well, no miracles yet, but it's certainly not hurting.

    Mary
  7. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Cool article! Thanks!

    Somebody apparently has known how good coconut oil is for humans, because it's in baby formula and it's in the formula they feed to sick people in hospitals.

    I've known for a while that some people with HIV eat a lot of coconut macaroons.

    Forebearance
  8. Summerbreeze

    Summerbreeze Member

    While shopping at our Flea Market recently, we came across young coconuts for sale @ $1.75 each. They are still encased in the white fibrous coating which is underneath the shell. They are also wrapped in plastic film to protect them until they are sold and used. And I have to tell you, they are WONDERFUL!

    The coconuts are also offered for sale there with the top trimmed, hole in the shell and a straw to drink with. They are served chilled and a lot of folks walk around with their coconut drinks as they shop.

    Mom has no access to the coconuts where she lives so we buy 6 at a time to take up to her when we go for visits. I love the fresh fruits and vegetables available there and have tried some rather unusual produce not found in stores locally.

    After drinking the coconut milk, the coconut is then broken and the soft, almost custard-like meat can be eaten. It is fresh and totally unprocessed. We have a rather large Asian and Indian population here in Jacksonville. I used to think I knew all the fruits and veggies available. Not even close!! You learn something new every day!

    Cheers...Summerbreeze
  9. sascha

    sascha Member

    since incorporating coconut oil and milk into my diet, i have noticed these benefits: my constant all-over aching (one of miy major CFIDS symptoms) ceased just about entirely; my skin has improved noticeably on my face; my eye irritations are very much lessened. also i believe coc.oil is controlling candida symptoms and generalized inflammation.

    i take @2 TBsp daily of extra virgin coconut oil. i cook with it, and put it in smoothies. it has boosted my level of well-being. i feel protected when i take it.

    as an interesting side note: i shop at a co-op healthfood grocery store that gives 10% discount to seniors, of which i am one (64 yrs old). i was asked almost every time if i were a senior. after taking coconut oil for a while, i have been asked once in four months- i now have to tell them that i am a senior. and people are telling me how well i look! that's kind of fun- sascha
  10. wish_to_be_healthy

    wish_to_be_healthy New Member

    Thats cool!

    I think that I am going to do this...I can't believe how much I have aged in the past 2 yrs w/all the stress with getting the boys settled here...
  11. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Thanks for all the replies. The fresh coconuts sound delicious - I've never had one. I've read it's supposed to be very good for your skin, although I haven't had Sacha's results, at least not yet. For once there's something that tastes good that is actually good for you!

    Mary
  12. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Those young coconuts DO sound good! I've seen them in the grocery store and never knew what to do with them.

    Thanks, Summerbreeze!
  13. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    What is the Food for Health poll?

    Thanks,

    Mary
  14. Windytalker

    Windytalker Member

    I had a doctor tell me not to use it...he said, "It's 100% cholestrol!!!"

    I got home...read the container and it said "O%".

    Trust me...not all doctors know very much.

    Coconut oil is also good for the skin in lieu of a moisturizer.
  15. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I'm glad you looked it up for yourself - you're right - many doctors know very little about many things, especially nutrition. They're just not educated. People really have to take their health care into their own hands and educate themselves, and in turn educate their doctors.

    I only posted part of the article as it was rather long. If you look up the entire article (go to Nexus magazine, back articles and look for volume 9, number 2), it explains why coconut is not bad for your heart even though it is a saturated fat. Oh yes, by the way, it's also good for your thyroid - the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are easily converted into energy, unlike many other fats.

    Anyways, I'm really glad I discovered coconut oil. I had been battling a recurring candida infection for several years, had tried some natural remedies (including caprylic acid), but nothing worked until I started the coconut oil. And the fact that it's effective against certain viruses and other pathogens and is good for your skin is like candy on top!

    Mary
  16. wish_to_be_healthy

    wish_to_be_healthy New Member

    Mary,

    This is what my naturalpath was talking about in regard to Coconut oil...By Ray Peat,

    Suz

    ------------------

    Coconut Oil: You Want a Food Loaded with Real Health Benefits? You Want Coconut Oil

    By Ray Peat

    (This is a slightly modified version of Ray Peat's article, web address has been removed)

    I have already discussed the many toxic effects of the unsaturated oils, and I have frequently mentioned that coconut oil doesn't have those toxic effects, though it does contain a small amount of the unsaturated oils.

    Many people have asked me to write something on coconut oil. I thought I might write a small book on it, but I realize that there are no suitable channels for distributing such a book -- if the seed-oil industry can eliminate major corporate food products that have used coconut oil for a hundred years, they certainly have the power to prevent dealers from selling a book that would affect their market more seriously. For the present, I will just outline some of the virtues of coconut oil.

    The unsaturated oils in some cooked foods become rancid in just a few hours, even at refrigerator temperatures, and are responsible for the stale taste of leftover foods. (Eating slightly stale food isn't particularly harmful, since the same oils, even when eaten absolutely fresh, will oxidize at a much higher rate once they are in the body, where they are heated and thoroughly mixed with an abundance of oxygen.)


    Coconut oil that has been kept at room temperature for a year has been tested for rancidity, and showed no evidence of it.

    Since we would expect the small percentage of unsaturated oils naturally contained in coconut oil to become rancid, it seems that the other (saturated) oils have an antioxidative effect:

    I suspect that the dilution keeps the unstable unsaturated fat molecules spatially separated from each other, so they can't interact in the destructive chain reactions that occur in other oils.

    To interrupt chain-reactions of oxidation is one of the functions of antioxidants, and it is possible that a sufficient quantity of coconut oil in the body has this function. It is well established that dietary coconut oil reduces our need for vitamin E, but I think its antioxidant role is more general than that, and that it has both direct and indirect antioxidant activities.

    Coconut oil is unusually rich in short and medium chain fatty acids. Shorter chain length allows fatty acids to be metabolized without use of the carnitine transport system. Mildronate protects cells against stress partly by opposing the action of carnitine, and comparative studies showed that added carnitine had the opposite effect, promoting the oxidation of unsaturated fats during stress, and increasing oxidative damage to cells.

    I suspect that a degree of saturation of the oxidative apparatus by short-chain fatty acids has a similar effect -- that is, that these very soluble and mobile short-chain saturated fats have priority for oxidation, because they don't require carnitine transport into the mitochondrion, and that this will tend to inhibit oxidation of the unstable, peroxidizable unsaturated fatty acids.

    When Albert Schweitzer operated his clinic in tropical Africa, he said it was many years before he saw any cases of cancer, and he believed that the appearance of cancer was caused by the change to the European type of diet. In the l920s, German researchers showed that mice on a fat-free diet were practically free of cancer.

    Since then, many studies have demonstrated a very close association between consumption of unsaturated oils and the incidence of cancer.

    Heart damage is easily produced in animals by feeding them linoleic acid; this "essential" fatty acid turned out to be the heart toxin in rape-seed oil.

    The addition of saturated fat to the experimental heart-toxic oil-rich diet protects against the damage to heart cells.

    Immunosuppression was observed in patients who were being "nourished" by intravenous emulsions of "essential fatty acids," and as a result coconut oil is used as the basis for intravenous fat feeding, except in organ-transplant patients. For those patients, emulsions of unsaturated oils are used specifically for their immunosuppressive effects.

    General aging, and especially aging of the brain, is increasingly seen as being closely associated with lipid peroxidation.

    Several years ago I met an old couple, who were only a few years apart in age, but the wife looked many years younger than her doddering old husband. She was from the Philippines, and she remarked that she always had to cook two meals at the same time, because her husband couldn't adapt to her traditional food. Three times every day, she still prepared her food in coconut oil. Her apparent youth increased my interest in the effects of coconut oil.

    In the l960s, Hartroft and Porta gave an elegant argument for decreasing the ratio of unsaturated oil to saturated oil in the diet (and thus in the tissues). They showed that the "age pigment" is produced in proportion to the ratio of oxidants to antioxidants, multiplied by the ratio of unsaturated oils to saturated oils.

    More recently, a variety of studies have demonstrated that ultraviolet light induces peroxidation in unsaturated fats, but not saturated fats, and that this occurs in the skin as well as in the lab.

    Rabbit experiments, and studies of humans, showed that the amount of unsaturated oil in the diet strongly affects the rate at which aged, wrinkled skin develops.

    The unsaturated fat in the skin is a major target for the aging and carcinogenic effects of ultraviolet light, though not necessarily the only one.

    In the l940s, farmers attempted to use cheap coconut oil for fattening their animals, but they found that it made them lean, active and hungry. For a few years, an antithyroid drug was found to make the livestock get fat while eating less food, but then it was found to be a strong carcinogen, and it also probably produced hypothyroidism in the people who ate the meat.

    By the late l940s, it was found that the same antithyroid effect, causing animals to get fat without eating much food, could be achieved by using soy beans and corn as feed.

    Later, an animal experiment fed diets that were low or high in total fat, and in different groups the fat was provided by pure coconut oil, or a pure unsaturated oil, or by various mixtures of the two oils. At the end of their lives, the animals' obesity increased directly in proportion to the ratio of unsaturated oil to coconut oil in their diet, and was not related to the total amount of fat they had consumed.

    That is, animals which ate just a little pure unsaturated oil were fat, and animals which ate a lot of coconut oil were lean.

    G. W. Crile and his wife found that the metabolic rate of people in Yucatan, where coconut is a staple food, averaged 25% higher than that of people in the United States.

    In a hot climate, the adaptive tendency is to have a lower metabolic rate, so it is clear that some factor is more than offsetting this expected effect of high environmental temperatures. The people there are lean, and recently it has been observed that the women there have none of the symptoms we commonly associate with the menopause.

    By l950, then, it was established that unsaturated fats suppress the metabolic rate, apparently creating hypothyroidism.

    Over the next few decades, the exact mechanisms of that metabolic damage were studied. Unsaturated fats damage the mitochondria, partly by suppressing the reparatory enzyme, and partly by causing generalized oxidative damage. The more unsaturated the oils are, the more specifically they suppress tissue response to thyroid hormone, and transport of the hormone on the thyroid transport protein.

    Plants evolved a variety of toxins designed to protect themselves from "predators," such as grazing animals. Seeds contain a variety of toxins, that seem to be specific for mammalian enzymes, and the seed oils themselves function to block protein digestive enzymes in the stomach.

    The thyroid hormone is formed in the gland by the action of a protein digestive enzyme, and the unsaturated oils also inhibit that enzyme. Similar protein digestive enzymes involved in clot removal and immune function appear to be similarly inhibited by these oils.

    Just as metabolism is "activated" by consumption of coconut oil, which prevents the inhibiting effect of unsaturated oils, other inhibited processes, such as clot removal and immune function, will probably tend to be restored by continuing use of coconut oil.

    Brain tissue is very rich in complex forms of fats.

    The experiment (around 1978) in which pregnant mice were given diets containing either coconut oil or unsaturated oil showed that brain development was superior in the young mice whose mothers ate coconut oil.

    Because coconut oil supports thyroid function, and thyroid governs brain development, including myelination, the result might simply reflect the difference between normal and hypothyroid individuals.

    However, in 1980, experimenters demonstrated that young rats fed milk containing soy oil incorporated the oil directly into their brain cells, and had structurally abnormal brain cells as a result.

    Lipid oxidation occurs during seizures, and antioxidants such as vitamin E have some anti-seizure activity. Currently, lipid oxidation is being found to be involved in the nerve cell degeneration of Alzheimer's disease.

    Various fractions of coconut oil are coming into use as "drugs," meaning that they are advertised as treatments for diseases. Butyric acid is used to treat cancer, lauric and myristic acids to treat virus infections, and mixtures of medium-chain fats are sold for weight loss.

    Purification undoubtedly increases certain effects, and results in profitable products, but in the absence of more precise knowledge, I think the whole natural product, used as a regular food, is the best way to protect health.

    The shorter-chain fatty acids have strong, unpleasant odors; for a couple of days after I ate a small amount of a medium-chain triglyceride mixture, my skin oil emitted a rank, goaty smell. Some people don't seem to have that reaction, and the benefits might outweigh the stink, but these things just haven't been in use long enough to know whether they are safe.

    Treating any complex natural product as the drug industry does, as a raw material to be fractionated in the search for "drug" products, is risky, because the relevant knowledge isn't sought in the search for an association between a single chemical and a single disease.

    While the toxic unsaturated paint-stock oils, especially safflower, soy, corn and linseed (flaxseed) oils, have been sold to the public precisely for their drug effects, all of their claimed benefits were false.

    When people become interested in coconut oil as a "health food," the huge seed-oil industry -- operating through their shills -- are going to attack it as an "unproved drug."


    While components of coconut oil have been found to have remarkable physiological effects (as antihistamines, antiinfectives/antiseptics, promoters of immunity, glucocorticoid antagonist, nontoxic anticancer agents, for example).

    The cholesterol-lowering fiasco for a long time centered on the ability of unsaturated oils to slightly lower serum cholesterol. For years, the mechanism of that action wasn't known, which should have suggested caution. Now, it seems that the effect is just one more toxic action, in which the liver defensively retains its cholesterol, rather than releasing it into the blood.

    Large scale human studies have provided overwhelming evidence that whenever drugs, including the unsaturated oils, were used to lower serum cholesterol, mortality increased, from a variety of causes including accidents, but mainly from cancer.

    Since the l930s, it has been clearly established that suppression of the thyroid raises serum cholesterol (while increasing mortality from infections, cancer, and heart disease), while restoring the thyroid hormone brings cholesterol down to normal.

    In this situation, however, thyroid isn't suppressing the synthesis of cholesterol, but rather is promoting its use to form hormones and bile salts. When the thyroid is functioning properly, the amount of cholesterol in the blood entering the ovary governs the amount of progesterone being produced by the ovary, and the same situation exists in all steroid-forming tissues, such as the adrenal glands and the brain.

    Progesterone and its precursor, pregnenolone, have a generalized protective function: antioxidant, anti-seizure, antitoxin, anti-spasm, anti-clot, anticancer, pro-memory, pro-myelination, pro-attention, etc. Any interference with the formation of cholesterol will interfere with all of these exceedingly important protective functions.

    As far as the evidence goes, it suggests that coconut oil, added regularly to a balanced diet, lowers cholesterol to normal by promoting its conversion into pregnenolone.

    Coconut-eating cultures in the tropics have consistently lower cholesterol than people in the U.S. Everyone that I know who uses coconut oil regularly happens to have cholesterol levels of about 160, while eating mainly cholesterol rich foods (eggs, milk, cheese, meat, shellfish). I encourage people to eat sweet fruits, rather than starches, if they want to increase their production of cholesterol, since fructose has that effect.

    Many people see coconut oil in its hard, white state, and -- as a result of their training watching television or going to medical school -- associate it with the cholesterol-rich plaques in blood vessels. Those lesions in blood vessels are caused mostly by lipid oxidation of unsaturated fats, and relate to stress, because adrenaline liberates fats from storage, and the lining of blood vessels is exposed to high concentrations of the blood-borne material.

    In the body, incidentally, the oil can't exist as a solid, since it liquefies at 76 degrees. (Incidentally, the viscosity of complex materials isn't a simple matter of averaging the viscosity of its component materials; cholesterol and saturated fats sometimes lower the viscosity of cell components.)

    Most of the images and metaphors relating to coconut oil and cholesterol that circulate in our culture are false and misleading. I offer a counter-image, which is metaphorical, but it is true in that it relates to lipid oxidation, which is profoundly important in our bodies. After a bottle of safflower oil has been opened a few times, a few drops that get smeared onto the outside of the bottle begin to get very sticky, and hard to wash off.

    This property is why it is a valued base for paints and varnishes, but this varnish is chemically closely related to the age pigment that forms "liver spots" on the skin, and similar lesions in the brain, heart, blood vessels, lenses of the eyes, etc. The image of "hard, white saturated coconut oil" isn't relevant to the oil's biological action, but the image of "sticky varnish-like easily oxidized unsaturated seed oils" is highly relevant to their toxicity.

    The ability of some of the medium chain saturated fatty acids in coconut oil to inhibit the liver's formation of fat very likely synergizes with the pro-thyroid effect, in allowing energy to be used, rather than stored.

    When fat isn't formed from carbohydrate, the sugar is available for use, or for
    storage as glycogen. Therefore, shifting from unsaturated fats in foods to coconut oil involves several anti-stress processes, reducing our need for the adrenal hormones. Decreased blood sugar is a basic signal for the release of adrenal hormones.

    Unsaturated oil tends to lower the blood sugar in at least three basic ways.

    It damages mitochondria, causing respiration to be uncoupled from energy production, meaning that fuel is burned without useful effect. It suppresses the activity of the respiratory enzyme (directly, and through its anti-thyroid actions), decreasing the respiratory production of energy.

    And it tends to direct carbohydrate into fat production, making both stress and obesity more probable. For those of us who use coconut oil consistently, one of the most noticeable changes is the ability to go for several hours without eating, and to feel hungry without having symptoms of hypoglycemia.

    One of the stylish ways to promote the use of unsaturated oils is to refer to their presence in "cell membranes," and to claim that they are essential for maintaining "membrane fluidity." As I have mentioned above, it is the ability of the unsaturated fats, and their breakdown products, to interfere with enzymes and transport proteins, which accounts for many of their toxic effects, so they definitely don't just harmlessly form "membranes."

    They probably bind to all proteins, and disrupt some of them, but for some reason their affinity for proteolytic and respiration-related enzymes is particularly obvious. (I think the chemistry of this association is going to give us some important insights into the nature of organisms).

    Unsaturated fats are slightly more water-soluble than fully saturated fats, and so they do have a greater tendency to concentrate at interfaces between water and fats or proteins, but there are relatively few places where these interfaces can be usefully and harmlessly occupied by unsaturated fats, and at a certain point, an excess becomes harmful.

    We don't want "membranes" forming where there shouldn't be membranes. The fluidity or viscosity of cell surfaces is an extremely complex subject, and the degree of viscosity has to be appropriate for the function of the cell. Interestingly, in some cells, such as the cells that line the air sacs of the lungs, cholesterol and one of the saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil can increase the fluidity of the cell surface.

    In red blood cells, which have sometimes been wrongly described as "hemoglobin enclosed in a cell membrane," it has been known for a long time that lipid oxidation of unsaturated fats weakens the cellular structure, causing the cells to be destroyed prematurely.

    Lipid oxidation products lower the rigidity of regions of cells considered to be membranes. But the red blood cell is actually more like a sponge in structure, consisting of a "skeleton" of proteins, which (if not damaged by oxidation) can hold its shape, even when the hemoglobin has been removed. Oxidants damage the protein structure, and it is this structural damage which in turn increases the "fluidity" of the associated fats.

    So, it is probably true that in many cases the liquid unsaturated oils do increase "membrane fluidity," but it is now clear that in at least some of those cases the "fluidity" corresponds to the chaos of a damaged cell protein structure. (N. V. Gorbunov, "Effect of structural modification of membrane proteins on lipid-protein interactions in the human erythrocyte membrane," Bull. Exp. Biol. & Med. 116(11), 1364-67. 1993.

    Although I had stopped using the unsaturated seed oils years ago, and supposed that I wasn't heavily saturated with toxic unsaturated fat, when I first used coconut oil I saw an immediate response, that convinced me my metabolism was chronically inhibited by something that was easily alleviated by "dilution" or molecular competition.

    I had put a tablespoonful of coconut oil on some rice I had for supper, and half an hour later while I was reading, I noticed I was breathing more deeply than normal. I saw that my skin was pink, and I found that my pulse was faster than normal -- about 98, I think. After an hour or two, my pulse and breathing returned to normal.

    Every day for a couple of weeks I noticed the same response while I was digesting a small amount of coconut oil, but gradually it didn't happen any more, and I increased my daily consumption of the oil to about an ounce. I kept eating the same foods as before, except that I added about 200 or 250 calories per day as coconut oil.

    Apparently the metabolic surges that happened at first were an indication that my body was compensating for an anti-thyroid substance by producing more thyroid hormone; when the coconut oil relieved the inhibition, I experienced a moment of slight hyperthyroidism, but after a time the inhibitor became less effective, and my body adjusted by producing slightly less thyroid hormone.

    But over the next few months, I saw that my weight was slowly and consistently decreasing. It had been steady at 185 pounds for 25 years, but over a period of six months it dropped to about 175 pounds. I found that eating more coconut oil lowered my weight another few pounds, and eating less caused it to increase.

    Raymond Peat, Ph.D.
    Eugene, OR

  17. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    That's a very interesting article, thank you for posting. It's just mind-boggling, that just about everything we have been taught about the various kinds of fats is false and actually harmful.

    I have a nephew who is married to a Filipino woman, who is a few years older than him (I don't know exactly how many). Anyways, I saw her about 2 years ago at a family function and she mentioned that she had turned 50. I was shocked. She looked 40 at the most. She cooks two separate meals for her family - she continues to eat traditional Filipino food which I believe is high in coconut and coconut oil, and her husband and kids get American food. Her skin is beautiful, no wrinkles and no signs of aging yet.

    Mary
  18. wish_to_be_healthy

    wish_to_be_healthy New Member

    I had forgotten completely about this, till you posted this thread...I am definitely going to start this regimine...epecially after my reaction to flax seeds about a week ago...It seems like a better choice for my body, and I love coconut!

    I also supplemented with progerterone in vitamin E oil while I was working with her...Ray Peat had written about natural progesterone...I may post about that...

    I know I felt better when I was on that 3-4 yrs ago.

    Thanks again for the "reminder post" about coconuts...It gives me hope that I can take charge of my health again!

    Suz
  19. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    That's it, I'm packing up and moving to Hawaii!

    :)
  20. Daisys

    Daisys Member

    Thanks for this post!

    I'd forgotten that coconut oil was in my daily diet and I somehow forgot about it!

    I mix: coconut oil, coconut milk, and shredded coconut in equal parts. Mix in stevia or another sweetener, vanilla, cocoa, and almond extract to taste. This tastes like an Almond Joy bar, and I take a generous bite of it a couple times a day. A 'legal' treat with health bennies!