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2014-11-07

MCT Oil Helps Prevent Brain Ageing

Here's my first post in almost a couple weeks, and in that time, I had the privilege of being an "expert guest" (I know, sounds special right?) on a couple radio interviews: one on cognitive health and the nutrient called PQQ, and the other one just a couple nights ago on medical marijuana. Part of that interview on marijuana focused on it's incredible therapeutic value for a rare form of epilepsy that a number of children suffer from.

Now to make the transition to today's topic of discussion, another therapy shown to help some individuals with epilepsy is a ketogenic diet and the use of MCT oil (medium-chain fatty acids), which is another less known natural health product that's been gaining traction--especially with respect to Alzheimer's disease.

And just as I've been talking more and more about the benefits of MCT oil, here's a brand new study that shows how great this increasingly popular and healthy oil actually is--and again, it all boils down to mitochondria and cellular energetics, the topic of my recently released book.

In this new study, researchers suggest that signs of brain ageing can be postponed in mice when placed on a high-fat diet using MCT oil. This opens the possibility of treatment of children suffering from premature aging (Cockayne syndrome), but also adults with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is currently the fastest-growing age-related degenerative disease. Throughout our lives, it is important that our cells try their best to keep our DNA undamaged. If/when damaged, it's important to repair the damage, especially the DNA in the mitochondria. By ensuring the DNA is kept in working order, the cell can continue to produce the cellular energy it needs to keep working and fix any new damage.

As one of our most energy-intensive organs, the brain has a constant need for fuel in the form of either glucose (sugar) or so-called ketone bodies (simply known as "ketones"). Ketones are a byproduct of fat burning, and these ketones become the main source of fuel for the brain in periods of low blood sugar (e.g., if you are fasting). The researchers report there was a positive effect particularly when the mice were given MCTs.

"In cells from children with Cockayne syndrome, we have previously demonstrated that ageing is a result of the cell repair mechanism being constantly active. It eats into the resources and causes the cell to age very quickly. We therefore hope that a diet with a high content of coconut oil [or MCT oil] will have a beneficial effect, because the brain cells are given extra fuel and thus the [energy] to repair the damage," says postdoc Morten Scheibye-Knudsen from the National Institute of Health.

Cockayne syndrome is an accelerated ageing disorder characterized by progressive neurodegeneration caused by mutations in genes encoding the DNA repair proteins.

"The study is good news for children with Cockayne syndrome, because we do not currently have an effective treatment. Our study suggests that a high-fat diet can postpone ageing processes. A diet high in fat also seems to postpone the aging of the brain. The findings therefore potentially imply that patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease in the long term may benefit from the new knowledge," says Professor Vilhelm Bohr from the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen and the National Institute of Health, who has head of the study.

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Source: A High-Fat Diet and NAD+ Activate Sirt1 to Rescue Premature Aging in Cockayne Syndrome

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