Virgin Coconut Oil, a treatment for arthritis?

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Coconut is a powerful anti inflammatory, containing compounds that shut down the inflammatory cascade.
Coconut is a powerful anti inflammatory, containing compounds that shut down the inflammatory cascade.

This morning I woke to see an article heralding the discovery that virgin coconut oil is a cure for arthritis!
Obviously this got my attention and I thought I’d be bringing you news of some new discovery on this top super food and how we might all benefit?

What about the study?

The Indian study revealed that virgin coconut oil has even more anti-oxidant potential if it is broken down with heat, and it is this increase in anti inflammatory potency which is being touted as a treatment for systemic inflammation.
Researchers found that heating the virgin coconut oil in water (wet-milling) broke down the protein bonds that hold anti oxidants in place and allowed them to be absorbed into the coconut oil.
The Wet-milling process provided an extra 20% boost to the anti-oxidant potential of the newly created oil!
The oil was then used to treat rats suffering from a form of induced inflammation in order to determine if there was any benefit in processing the oil for use in the fight against inflammation.

Does it work?

Initial results show that a dose of 80 mg per kg of body weight proved to be non toxic in rats and was able to demonstrate the ability to inhibit swelling and inflammation.
Significant anti inflammatory benefits were recorded, including reduced expression of COX-2, iNOS, TNF-a and IL-6  along with reduced concentrations of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance. The treatment also decreased the rats levels of C reactive protein and overall white blood count, it also showed the ability to suppress inflammatory cells such as reactive mesothelial cells in the synovial fluid.

Wet milling?

We have all performed the action of wet-milling when we make a cup of tea but using high temperatures during processing can damage the vital nutrients and enzymes that our food contains.

Unfortunately the study doesn’t say if the other nutrients and enzymes in the coconut are damaged by the heat in the wet milling process.
I guess we’ll have to wait for any new supplements to arrive before we can assess the damage to virgin coconut oils other active ingredients, but the promise of more anti oxidant power to our armoury is always a good thing.

The best we can do is remind you of the huge amount of beneficial nutrients provided by eating raw coconut and hope they find a way to preserve all of those natural ingredients.

Some of the natural goodies in coconuts can be seen below.

Tocopherols

Virgin coconut oil contains low levels of tocopherols compared to other vegetable oils but tocopherols are powerful antioxidants.

Tocotrienols

How to open a Cocnut with a Knife

Studies have shown tocotrienols to be better antioxidants than tocopherols. They are found in the bran and germ fraction of the coconut and are reported to have hypocholesterolemic, antithrombotic, and antitumor properties that can be used to treat and prevent many diseases. Recent research shows tocotrienols  also have anti-atherogenic (inhibiting LDL oxidation and suppression ofHMG-CoA reductase activity) , anticarcinogenic and immunodulatory actions along with a powerful antioxidant action known to inhibit lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation.

Phytosterols

Phytosterols are plant compounds with chemical structures similar to cholesterol. They help lower cholesterol levels and reduce symptoms of an enlarge prostate and have been proven to improve blood sugar control among diabetics. most importantly for us, they have been shown to reduce inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Phytostanols

Phytostanols are saturated phytosterols that have cholesterol lowering properties. They appear to stop the absorption of dietary cholesterol and block reabsorption of endogenous cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract.

Flavonoids and other polyphenols

Phenolic have been shown to have anti cancer properties through the modulation of protein kinase C activity and contain compounds which reduce cellular proliferation These compounds have a double anti cancer activity because they scavenge carcinogenic free radicals and block the generation of reactive oxygen species. Flavanoids have many health benefits and have been touted as having anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antiplatelet, antitumor and anti oxidant effects.

Phospholipids

Phospholipids ensure proper digestion and absorption of fatty foods.

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)

Medium chain triglycerides easily metabolize and convert to energy. they do not deposit as fat in the body and have been touted for weight loss.

How do I eat mine?

Ok, I don’t actually eat the whole coconut, I drink it!  My angel juicer makes a great job of grinding the coconut meat and combining the water, but I usually have to put some other veggies through the machine to push the thick fat through the screen. Once finished, I drink the wonderfully nutritious extracts and if I’m feeling like baking I’ll save the ground dry pulp and use it in my honey nut flapjacks as a nutritious filler. 😉

 

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