A common food oil has been found to have potent antifungal properties that could literally save lives.
The coconut palm is perhaps the world’s most widely distributed and versatile food-medicine, and has been prized and even revered by indigenous cultures for a wide range of health complaints since time immemorial. Increasingly, scientific evidence is emerging validatingits traditionally ascribed health benefits, and more, including supporting brain health, protecting the heart, and even reducing stress and depression.
But what of anecdotes referring to the presumed antifungal activity of coconut oil? Is there any basis in scientific research to make such claims?
Coconut oil effective in controlling yeast growth
Indeed, a recent study led by researchers at Tufts University has found that coconut oil is highly effective at controlling the overgrowth of the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans in mice.
Published in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal mSphere and titled, “Manipulation of Host Diet to Reduce Gastrointestinal Colonization by the Opportunistic Pathogen Candida Albicans,” the study identified C. albicans as the most common human pathogen, with a mortality rate of about 40% when causing systemic infections.
C. Albicans and candida
C. albicans is normally present in the human gastrointestinal tract, but antibiotics can destroy commensal bacteria that normally keep Candida populations within a healthy range. According to the study, compromised immunity is also a major cause of C. albicans overgrowth, and “Systemic infections caused by C. albicans can lead to invasive candidiasis, which is the fourth most common blood infection among hospitalized patients in the United States according to the CDC.”
Additionally, in a recent article we wrote on the topic of Candida albicans and cancer, we explored the implications of a paper published in Critical Reviews in Microbiology titled, “Candida albicans and cancer: Can this yeast induce cancer development or progression?“, wherein compelling evidence is presented that C. albicans overgrowth may play a significant role in carcinogenesis. If this is true, clearly natural ways to keep C. albicans levels at bay are needed by a global population increasingly afflicted by cancer as a primary cause of morbidity and mortality.
Natural treatment compared to anti-fungal drugs
Like conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy, conventional anti-fungal drugs carry with them significant risk of adverse effects, and their repeated use leads to the development of drug resistant strains of fungal pathogens, making natural approaches all the more attractive. The researchers hypothesized that a coconut-based dietary intervention might reduce Candida infection in mice. The study design and results were reported on ScienceDaily.com as follows:
“The team, led by microbiologist Carol Kumamoto and nutrition scientist Alice H. Lichtenstein, investigated the effects of three different dietary fats on the amount of C. albicans in the mouse gut: coconut oil, beef tallow and soybean oil. A control group of mice were fed a standard diet for mice. Coconut oil was selected based on previous studies that found that the fat had antifungal properties in the laboratory setting.
A coconut oil-rich diet reduced C. albicans in the gut compared to a beef tallow-or soybean oil-rich diet. Coconut oil alone, or the combination of coconut oil and beef tallow, reduced the amount of C. albicans in the gut by more than 90% compared to a beef tallow-rich diet.
“Coconut oil even reduced fungal colonization when mice were switched from beef tallow to coconut oil, or when mice were fed both beef tallow and coconut oil at the same time. These findings suggest that adding coconut oil to a patient’s existing diet might control the growth of C. albicans in the gut, and possibly decrease the risk of fungal infections caused by C. albicans,” said Kumamoto, Ph.D., a professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine and member of the molecular microbiology and genetics program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.”
Profound implications for medicine
These preliminary results have profound implications for the practice of medicine, according to a statement made to ScienceDaily by Alice H LIchtenstein, D.Sc., director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University:
“This study marks a first step in understanding how life-threatening yeast infections in susceptible individuals might be reduced through the short-term and targeted use of a specific type of fat. As exciting as these findings are, we have to keep in mind that the majority of adult Americans are at high risk for heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S. The potential use of coconut oil in the short term to control the rate of fungal overgrowth should not be considered a prophylactic approach to preventing fungal infections.”
The first author of the study, Kearney Gunsalus, Ph.D. an Institutional Research and Academic Career Development (IRACDA) postdoctoral fellow at the Sackler School in Kumamoto’s lab, also offered his opinion on the study implications:
“We want to give clinicians a treatment option that might limit the need for antifungal drugs. If we can use coconut oil as a safe, dietary alternative, we could decrease the amount of antifungal drugs used, reserving antifungal drugs for critical situations.”
Previous research, available to view on GreenMedInfo.com, indicates that coconut oil is also an effective anti-fungal agent against the growth of dermatophytes, a type of yeast which can cause infections of the skin, nails, and hair because they can utilize keratin.
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
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Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
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And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.