The tree of life has undoubtedly invaded even the medical community. From its long-time tag as an export winner crop, coconut, particularly its oil, is now regarded by medical experts worldwide as a powerful tool against dreaded viral diseases such as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), herpes, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
This is just one of the astounding facts revealed by a well-respected Filipino doctor Conrado Dayrit M.D. (father of Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit) about the health benefits of the virgin coconut oil during the 53rd anniversary celebration of the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science, Inc. (PhilAAS) held recently at the University of Santo Tomas, Espana, Manila. The event was supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and participated in by the country’s leading health experts and medical practitioners.
Dr. Dayrit, who had embarked on the study focusing on the capability of virgin coconut oil to retard the development of AIDS among patients diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), claimed that the viral counts in 15 HIV-patients considerably decreased after giving them dosage of virgin coconut oil over 6 months.
The results of Dr. Dayrit’s study on virgin coconut oil had also been instrumental in deposing the negative image against coconut oil, touting it as contributing to heart disease due to its high saturated fat content.
“ The fat present in coconut is lauric acid. It is NOT cholesterol,” Dr. Dayrit stressed.
Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA), which is converted into monolaurin when processed by the body. Manolaurin is used by human or animal to kill the lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, and other pathogenic bacteria like Listeria monocytegenes infesting dairy cattle and poultry and Helicobacter pylori that causes peptic ulcer.
Dr. Dayrit explained that coconut oil is a more healthful choice over American brand cooking oils derived from corn, soybeans, sunflower, and canola.
“These cooking oils disguised themselves as vegetable oils and are found in shelves of most grocery stores, contain polyunsaturated fats. These fats are converted by the body to linoleic acid that depresses thyroid activity, ” Dayrit emphasized.
According to American endocrinologist Ray Peat, Ph.D., unsaturated fats block thyroid hormone secretion causing the body to slow down its metabolic rate. When metabolism is depressed, the body’s tendency is to build deposits of high-fat fats resulting to weight gain. “That is the reason why most Americans suffer from obesity and various heart ailments, ” Dr. Dayrit added.
Dr. Dayrit also disclosed another marvel of coconut oil as a “natural fat burner” and body’s energy booster.
One remarkable thing about coconut oil is that it can help one lose weight. Replacing the fat intake with coconut oil is one of the most efficient ways to lose excess body fats. This is because coconut oil is composed mostly of medium chain fatty acids that are easily digested and absorbed by the body. Coconut oil also helps the body pump up energy since its digestion is different from that of carbohydrates and proteins. MCFAs are not packaged into lipoproteins and do not circulate in the bloodstreams like other fats, instead they are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy, Dr. Dayrit explained.
The health wonders of coconut oil include reduction of cardiovascular disease risks; prevention of bacterial, viral, and fungal skin diseases (ringworm and warts); and strengthening of the body’s immune system against infections.
While the versatility of coconut oil is fast becoming popular, several government R&D agencies are eyeing on the potential of coconut oil as substitute for fuel and atmospheric antipollutant.
Source: Mary Charlotte O. Fresco- bar.gov.ph, July-September 2003 Volume 5 No. 3