MCI in the News

Coconut Oil’s Benefits to Alzheimer’s Ignored in N.Y. Times Attack

January 6, 2021

“Hey Jane, you ignored the brain,” quips Leslie Norins, MD, PhD, CEO, of He’s referring to a column by eminent health writer Jane Brody, in Science Times, a weekly section of The New York Times. She lambasts coconut oil for containing fatty acids that some cardiac gurus feel are bad for the heart.

She reported that Dr. Frank Sacks, nutrition and cardiovascular disease specialist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told her that for preparing an editorial he “. .could find nothing in the scientific literature to support advertising claims that coconut oil has some beneficial effects.”

“Ms. Brody and these heart experts should come out of their silos,” says Dr. Norins. The heart is not the only important organ in the body; the brain is critical too.” Yet, the word “brain” does not appear once in the Brody column or the Sacks editorial.

Why is this omission important? Dr. Norins says there is a growing number of reports in reputable scientific journals that coconut oil, and particularly certain medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) it contains, seems to aid cognition in many patients with MCI or Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers reported “that long-term consumption of moderate amounts of saturated fats, in the form of MCT, does not have adverse effects on [cardiovascular disease] risk factors.” In fact, they found it was about the same as olive oil.

Dr. Norins added, “If you are already 70 or 80 years old, and you don’t have heart disease, I doubt you are too worried about developing it from some coconut oil. But almost everyone I’ve met in those age groups is worried about MCI and AD. They are grateful for any tip that might alleviate these disasters.”

Also, he says, “We are making available a helpful sampling of references (see below) on the potential of coconut oil, especially its MCT (C-6 and C-8), to aid MCI and AD.”


1. Hewlings SJ. Coconuts and health: different chain lengths of saturated fats require different consideration. J Cardiovasc Dev Dis. 2020;7(4):59. doi: 10.3390/jcdd7040059.

2. Orti JE, et al. Improvement of main cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s disease after treatment with coconut oil enriched Mediterranean diet: a pilot study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(2):577-587. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180184.

3. Ortí JE, et al. How does coconut oil affect cognitive performance in alzheimer patients? Nutr Hosp. 2017;34(2):352-356. doi: 10.20960/nh.780.PMID: 28421789 Spanish.

4. Hu YI, et al. Coconut oil: non-alternative drug treatment against Alzheimer’s Disease. Nutr Hosp. 2015;32(6):2822-2827. doi: 10.3305/nh.2015.32.6.9707. PMID: 26667739 Spanish.

5. Fernando WM, et al. The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(1):1-14. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515001452. Epub 2015 May 22. PMID: 25997382 Review.

6. Hewlings SJ. Coconuts and health: different chain lengths of saturated fats require different consideration. Cardiovasc Dev Dis. 2020;7(4):59. doi: 10.3390/jcdd7040059.PMID: 33348586 Free PMC article. Review.

7. Jensen NJ, et al. Effects of ketone bodies on brain metabolism and function in neurodegenerative diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(22):8767. doi: 10.3390/ijms21228767.PMID: 33233502 Free PMC article. Review.

8. Atlante A, et al. Functional foods: an approach to modulate molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease. Cells. 2020;9(11):2347. doi: 10.3390/cells9112347.PMID: 33114170 Free PMC article. Review.

9. Mohd Sairazi NS, Sirajudeen KNS. Natural products and their bioactive compounds: neuroprotective potentials against neurodegenerative diseases. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020;2020:6565396. doi: 10.1155/2020/6565396. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32148547 Free PMC article. Review.

10. Wells J, et al. Efficacy and safety of a ketogenic diet in children and adolescents with refractory epilepsy—a review. Nutrients. 2020;12(6): 1809. doi: 10.3390/nu12061809.

11. Chang P, et al. Seizure control by ketogenic diet-associated medium chain fatty acids. Neuropharmacology. 2013;69:105–14. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.11.004.

12. Newport MT. The Coconut Oil and Low-Carb Solution for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Other Diseases: A Guide to Using Diet and a High-Energy Food to Protect and Nourish the Brain. Best Choice Book (Amazon). Basic Health Publications, Inc; 2nd Revised ed. edition (August 1, 2015). ISBN-10: 1591203813. ISBN-13: 978-1591203810.

13. Newport MT. Special Report (free download). 12 Surprising Reason Ketones Deserve Diet Consideration.

14. Newport MT, et al. A new way to produce hyperketonemia: use of ketone ester in a case of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimers Dement. 2015;11(1):99–103.doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.01.006.

15. No need to avoid healthy omega-6 fats. August 20, 2019. Accessed January 6, 2021.

16. Coconut oil is 55% MCTs. Food Data Central; US Department of Agriculture.