Coconut Oil and Crohn’s
In my last post, I explained that Lauric Acid has been proven to kill MAP, and MAP is found in Crohn’s sufferers. Considering that coconut oil is approximately 50% Lauric acid, Crohn’s sufferers could potentially benefit from taking coconut oil. So, I spent some time looking for anecdotal stories of Crohn’s and coconut oil.
“I read your column on the effect that coconut macaroons might have on Crohn's disease. Having suffered with this dread disease for years, I bought four boxes of Archway cookies. Much to my shock, there has been dramatic improvement in my diarrhea in less than a week.
I am on prednisone, which has horrible side effects. My gastroenterologist pooh-poohed this new remedy, but the macaroons have given me far more relief than any medication I have taken. It is still too early to tell if this improvement is a temporary blip on the radar screen, but it is the first optimism that I have had in years! Thank you so much.”
"I have had Crohn's disease for forty years, and during that time I have had a never-ending battle with diarrhea. Lomotil helps some, but it doesn't eliminate the problem. Three months ago I bought a box of ... Coconut Macaroon cookies. I've been eating two a day and have not experienced diarrhea in that time. If by chance I eat three in a day, I get constipated. Believe me, I have a new life now. My brother-in-law has a friend who just had cancer and suffered diarrhea as a consequence of the operation. We told him about the cookies, and they corrected his diarrhea. I would be delighted if others were helped by my discovery too."
"Eating coconut cookies has made an impact on Gerald Brinkley, a Crohn's disease sufferer for 30 years. "When I read that eating coconut macaroons could ease symptoms," Brinkley says, "I decided to try them myself. Coincidence or not, my symptoms have improved since I began eating two cookies a day."
“There have been anecdotal reports on the People’s Pharmacy web site (e.g., 3/08/1999, 1/10/2000) about the beneficial effects of consuming coconut in the form of macaroons as an adjunct treatment for chronic Crohn’s disease. Coconut meets the definition of a nontoxic agent. Although the usefulness of such treatment has not been rigorously tested in clinical trials.”
<blockquote>“There are a lot of people who swear by this folk remedy: two coconut macaroons a day to keep Crohn's disease diarrhea at bay. I have no idea if there is a scientific or even anecdotal evidence that two macaroons a day will help Crohn's, but I do know that they are tasty. They don't seem to bother my Crohn's and they remind me of Passover holidays, which is nice. Also, my kids and husband don't like them which means that they don't disappear like most of the rest of the food in my house.”
“Q. My niece has Crohn's disease and has suffered from unremitting diarrhea for months. She started eating homemade macaroon cookies (1 per day, 12.5 grams of dried coconut per macaroon). As a result, she had a dramatic improvement in her diarrhea in less than a week and actually had to reduce the "dose" to one macaroon every other day. I love double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, but in this case there was no reason not to try one cookie a day.
We too love double-blind studies, but we agree that your niece figured out a way to determine that coconut macaroons help her. We're impressed with the precision of the dose.
Ever since we first learned from Donald Agar about the beneficial effects of coconut macaroons on diarrhea associated with Crohn's, we have been collecting messages from others. Most people who suffer from this inflammatory bowel condition report that they get good results with two or three cookies a day. The homemade macaroons may be more potent. Readers can find a recipe for homemade macaroon cookies in our book, Recipes and Remedies from The People's Pharmacy.”
“A while back you ran an article concerning chronic diarrhea caused by Crohn's disease: some people were experiencing relief with cookies (of all things). They were Archway Coconut Macaroons, to be exact.
Before reading your column I was leading quite a dismal life with ulcerative colitis. I tried prednisone, Cortifoam and many other drugs that barely relieved symptoms but brought on a host of side effects. None of the drugs left me feeling normal and I knew their long-term use was harmful to my health.
My family suffered as well, since I had no energy and was miserable. The doctors were suggesting surgery. Life was pretty bad and had been for four years.
I had made up my mind to go under the knife when my mother saw your article and sent it to me. I went out to buy some of the cookies. I had tried Chinese herbs, acupuncture and every other alternative, so this one was easy! With all these other treatments I had to go back to the prescribed drugs within two days as the bleeding increased.
Two days after I started eating the cookies I began feeling better. I was able to quit the medicine immediately and kept eating two cookies per day. My energy returned, the bleeding stopped and the trips to the restroom went from 10 to 12 per day to one or two, all within a few days.
This was miraculous. My life has been given back to me. I hope you can pass this on to others who may experience similar problems. You have certainly improved life for my whole family!”
More on coconut oil.
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Because of its high saturated fat content it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification, lasting up to two years without spoiling.
Many health organizations advise against the consumption of high amounts of coconut oil due to its high levels of saturated fa
Traditional way of making coconut oil using an ox-powered mill in Seychelles
Coconut oil can be extracted through "dry" or "wet" processing. Dry processing requires the meat to be extracted from the shell and dried using fire, sunlight, or kilns to create copra. The copra is pressed or dissolved with solvents, producing the coconut oil and a high-protein, high-fiber mash. The mash is of poor quality for human consumption and is instead fed to ruminants; there is no process to extract protein from the mash. A portion of the oil extracted from copra is lost to the process of extraction.
The all-wet process uses raw coconut rather than dried copra, and the protein in the coconut creates an emulsion of oil and water. The more problematic step is breaking up the emulsion to recover the oil. This used to be done by prolonged boiling, but this produces a discolored oil and is not economical; modern techniques use centrifuges and pre-treatments including cold, heat, acids, salts, enzymes, electrolysis, shock waves, or some combination of them. Despite numerous variations and technologies, wet processing is less viable than dry processing due to a 10–15% lower yield, even compared to the losses due to spoilage and pests with dry processing. Wet processes also require investment of equipment and energy, incurring high capital and operating costs.
Proper harvesting of the coconut (the age of a coconut can be 2 to 20 months when picked) makes a significant difference in the efficacy of the oil-making process. Copra made from immature nuts is more difficult to work with and produces an inferior product with lower yields.
Conventional coconut oil uses hexane as a solvent to extract up to 10% more oil than just using rotary mills and expellers. The oil is then refined to remove certain free fatty acids, in order to reduce susceptibility to rancidification. Other processes to increase shelf life include using copra with a moisture content below 6%, keeping the moisture content of the oil below 0.2%, heating the oil to 130–150 °C (266–302 °F) and adding salt or citric acid.
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) can be produced from fresh coconut meat, milk, or residue. Producing it from the fresh meat involves removing the shell and washing, then either wet-milling or drying the residue, and using a screw press to extract the oil. VCO can also be extracted from fresh meat by grating and drying it to a moisture content of 10–12%, then using a manual press to extract the oil. Producing it from coconut milk involves grating the coconut and mixing it with water, then squeezing out the oil. The milk can also be fermented for 36–48 hours, the oil removed, and the cream heated to remove any remaining oil. A third option involves using a centrifuge to separate the oil from the other liquids. Coconut oil can also be extracted from the dry residue left over from the production of coconut milk.
A thousand of mature coconuts weighing approximately 1,440 kilograms (3,200 lb) yield around 170 kilograms (370 lb) of copra from which around 70 litres (15 imp gal) of coconut oil can be extracted.