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Protect your heart with coconut oil… no matter how the mainstream smears the name of this miracle fruit of the palm!

Protect your heart with coconut oil

Protect your heart with coconut oil… no matter how the mainstream smears the name of this miracle fruit of the palm!

For centuries, people who live in tropical climates where coconuts grow—anywhere from Jamaica to the Philippines—have been using coconuts for their incredible healing powers.

They can protect your skin naturally from too much sun and keep it moisturized… they can condition your hair… and they can even kill off an infestation of lice!

From Marco Polo to Sir Francis Drake, going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians and the tales of Arabian nights, we’ve found more and more scientifically-proven uses for this fruit of the palm tree.

And while using a coconut to radio your way off a desert island only happens on TV, in reality, it can actually save your life.

Now, coconut oil has become a popular health food in America, used for cooking and baking—and found in the pantry as well as the medicine cabinet.

And for good reason, too! It’s a good source of medium-chain fatty acids, with about 84 percent of its calories coming from its saturated fat content.

That, contrary to what you may have heard, is a good thing.

Our bodies need a certain amount of saturated fat. And the medium-chain triglycerides and other components in coconut oil can have a multitude of health benefits.

Yet, for some reason, the American Heart Association has waged war on coconut oil as part of its recent report on dietary fats and cardiovascular disease,1 tying it—along with several other saturated fats—to heart disease.

Like much that comes out of the mainstream, however, the AHA presents an oversimplified view—with the report’s authors linking saturated fat to increased cholesterol levels and making the giant leap to heart disease.

But they ignore all the data that suggests that cholesterol does NOT cause heart disease!

Here’s how to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the “official” but utterly nutty guidelines about heart disease—especially as they relate to coconuts and, more importantly, coconut oil.

Don’t let LDL be misunderstood

At first, it sounds simple enough—and it’s something we’ve heard before.

The American Heart Association asserts that consuming saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol, which, in turn, causes hardening of the arteries.

But it’s just not true!

If you actually READ the scientific literature, there’s emerging evidence that saturated fat from food sources is NOT a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

In a review of several studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, for example, no fewer than THREE cardiologists state that saturated fat does NOT cause arteries to harden.2

And they were certainly not the only scientists to tackle this issue.

A 2010 meta-analysis took it one step further: It found NO significant evidence to support the conclusion that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.3

So, while pushing its old agenda with outdated assumptions and dangerous misconceptions, the AHA is missing—or outright IGNORING—the major takeaways from the latest research on the issue.

Let me break it down for you and give you the ACTUAL truth, not just some twisted version of it.

In reality, LDL is not the villain. It serves several vital functions in your body, such as:

  • transports fat-soluble nutrients—such as vitamins A, D, K, and E, and CoQ10—that your body needs for a number of metabolic processes
  • synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight exposure
  • supports healthy brain cell structure and function
  • supports nerve cell communication
  • supports immunity (fights infection and neutralizes bacteria)
  • supports hormone formation

What the AHA should be focusing its energy on is the problem of people not having enough LDL to be considered healthy!

In fact, in a large study published in the American Heart Journal, researchers analyzed the data of more than 230,000 people hospitalized with coronary artery disease and found that about 50 percent of these people had LDL levels that were WAY under the “normal” number.

Half of these folks with heart disease that was bad enough to land them in the hospital showed LDL levels that were less than 100 mg/dL.4

To put that in context for you, most labs—which set the bar too low as it is, in my opinion—would deem less than 130 mg/dL to be the goal.

Yes, the ideal the reference range would be lower if you already have heart disease—or diabetes—but these basement-level numbers are way too low for most folks.

But there IS a reason why LDL is considered the “bad” kind of cholesterol—and that’s because of what happens when it becomes damaged.

What initiates inflammation and then plaque formation in the arteries isn’t the mere existence of LDL cholesterol… but the oxidation of it.

Interestingly, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology looked at a variety of heart disease risk factors, including the old mainstream medicine favorite, traditional lipid levels (or “total cholesterol”). The study matched 431 healthy men and women without any signs of coronary artery disease (CAD) with 490 men and women of about the same age who did have CAD.

It turned out that the easiest way to figure out which of the patients had CAD—or which ones were at a higher risk for it—was to take a look at their oxidized LDL levels.

In fact, oxidized LDL was BY FAR a better predictor of heart disease than the standard total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol measurements!5


Did You Know?

Coconut oil can even (modestly) reduce your appetite,12,13 increase your metabolism,14,15 and help you lose fat16—especially around your waist and in your belly (where, we’ve found, fat accumulation can be particularly dangerous).17,18

Finally, you may be surprised to know that coconut oil also contains a type of fatty acid called lauric acid, whose antimicrobial activity may help fight off infections!


Beat back the damage that hardens your arteries

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t get your cholesterol tested by your doc. By all means, do!

You should have a sense of what the numbers on your lipid panel are, but you should also understand that they’re only part of the story.

And that means you should also urge your doctor to look for signs of oxidation, so you can do something about it before your arteries harden and cardiovascular disease sets in.

In the meantime, you can make some good tweaks to your diet to keep your LDL from becoming oxidized.

There are a number of factors that can cause this oxidative damage, including diet, environmental toxins, and medications, as well as other factors.

But research has shown that you can decrease your levels of oxidized LDL by taking some or all of the following steps:

  • Eat a diet rich in olive oil or nuts, as found in the Mediterranean diet. Oppositely, those who consume a low-fat diet have shown no changes in their oxidized LDL levels.6
  • Go vegan and/or gluten-free.7
  • Drink pomegranate juice and green tea.8,9

And you know what else has been shown by studies to reduce markers of inflammation and oxidative stress? Eating coconut oil!10

As well, a number of small, human studies have shown that coconut oil increases good HDL cholesterol.11

So, I feel pretty confident saying that a daily tablespoon of organic, coconut oil is a healthy food for most people.

I should note that the most common form of coconut oil is highly refined and, in some cases, even made from rancid coconut byproducts—so stick with organic, extra virgin versions.

A holistic doctor can assess your unique biochemical requirements and advise you further. One of the ways I do this with patients is to test their blood levels of fatty acids to identify any imbalances between their omega-3, omega-6, omega-9, saturated fat, and trans fatty acids levels.

And if anything is off-kilter, we can easily address the situation with diet and fatty acid supplements.


Citations:

  1. Frank M. Sacks et al. Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017;CIR.0000000000000510, originally published June 15, 2017
  2. Malhotra A, Redberg RF, Meier P. Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions. Br J Sports Med Published Online First:25 April 2017. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-097285
  3. Patty W Siri-Tarino, et al. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr March 2010 vol. 91 no. 3 535-546
  4. Sachdeva A et al. Lipid levels in patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease: an analysis of 136,905 hospitalizations in Get With The Guidelines. Am Heart J. 2009 Jan;157(1):111-117.
  5. Johnston N. et al. Improved identification of patients with coronary artery disease by the use of new lipid and lipoprotein biomarkers. Am J Cardiol. 2006;97:640-645.
  6. Fito M, Guxens M, et al. Effect of a traditional Mediterranean diet on lipoprotein oxidation: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1195-1203.
  7. Eklan A-C, Sjoberg B, Kolsrud B, et al. Gluten-free vegan diet induces decreased LDL and oxidized LDL levels and raised atheroprotective natural antibodies against phosphorylcholine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10:R34.
  8. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Kaplan M, et al. Pomegranate juice flavonoids inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and cardiovascular diseases: studies in atherosclerotic mice and in humans. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 2002;28:49-62.
  9. Gomikawa S, Ishikawa Y, Hayase W, et al. Effect of ground green tea drinking for 2 weeks on the susceptibility of plasma and LDL to theoxidation ex vivo in healthy volunteers. Kobe J Med Sci. 2008;54:E62-E72.
  10. Müller H1, Lindman AS, Blomfeldt A, Seljeflot I, Pedersen JI. A diet rich in coconut oil reduces diurnal postprandial variations in circulating tissue plasminogen activator antigen and fasting lipoprotein (a) compared with a diet rich in unsaturated fat in women. J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3422-7.
  11. Assunção ML1, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM. Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601. doi: 10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6. Epub 2009 May 13.
  12. Stubbs RJ1, Harbron CG. Covert manipulation of the ratio of medium- to long-chain triglycerides in isoenergetically dense diets: effect on food intake in ad libitum feeding men. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 May;20(5):435-44.
  13. Van Wymelbeke V1, Himaya A, Louis-Sylvestre J, Fantino M. Influence of medium-chain and long-chain triacylglycerols on the control of food intake in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Aug;68(2):226-34.
  14. White MD1, Papamandjaris AA, Jones PJ. Enhanced postprandial energy expenditure with medium-chain fatty acid feeding is attenuated after 14 d in premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):883-9.
  15. Papamandjaris AA1, White MD, Raeini-Sarjaz M, Jones PJ. Endogenous fat oxidation during medium chain versus long chain triglyceride feeding in healthy women.Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Sep;24(9):1158-66.
  16. St-Onge MP1, Jones PJ. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Dec;27(12):1565-71.
  17. Liau KM1, Lee YY, Chen CK, Rasool AH. An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity. ISRN Pharmacol. 2011;2011:949686.
  18. Assunção ML1, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM. Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601. doi: 10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6. Epub 2009 May 13.

With permission from Dr. Mark Stengler’s Health Revelations