MICHAEL B. SCHACHTER, M.D.
Guy Abraham MD, former professor of obstetrics, gynecology and endocrinology at UCLA School of Medicine, has written a series of papers about iodine that has drastically changed my thinking about its role in health and the prevention and treatment of disease. I had been impressed by Dr. Abraham's previous work, which showed that vitamin B6 and magnesium could be very helpful to women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and was eager to learn what he had to say about iodine. Through a series of articles (See website link at the end of this article), termed "The Iodine Project," Dr. Abraham has proposed that the optimal daily dose of iodine for a person is approximately 12.5 mg, which is 100 times the RDA of 0.125 mg. He believes that the current prevailing medical opinion that more than 2 mg a day of iodine is toxic is wrong. He traces the source of this major blunder to a scientific experiment on rats that was published in 1948 by Drs. Wolff and Chaikoff, which erroneously concluded that iodine inhibits the thyroid gland at doses of about 20 times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iodine. This conclusion was later generalized to humans and can be found in medical textbooks, including endocrinology and nutrition textbooks.
The commonly accepted medical opinion is that iodine's only role in the body is to help make thyroid hormones. Although this is an extremely important function, Abraham demonstrates that the role of iodine in the body goes far beyond its function of making thyroid hormones. Other possible functions include: helping to regulate moods, preventing cancer (especially in breasts, ovaries, uterus, prostate and thyroid gland), preventing and treating fibrocystic breasts in women, helping to regulate blood pressure, helping to regulate blood sugar and prevent and treat diabetes, and helping to prevent abnormal cardiac rhythms. For example, Japanese women, who have one of the lowest breast cancer rates in the world, ingest more than 13 mg of iodine daily from seaweed without suffering any adverse consequences. He further demonstrates that iodine tends to be antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal and that it enhances immune function. Furthermore, he suggests that suboptimal iodine intake may contribute to various thyroid abnormalities commonly seen today, including hypothyroidism (underactive), hyperthyroidism (overactive) and autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid (Hashimoto's Disease).
Dr. Abraham started this Iodine Project around 1998 when he became aware of the many benefits of treating patients with iodine using doses far beyond the 2 mg a day, which most physicians consider to be potentially toxic. He noted that starting in the 1820s, the French physician Jean Lugol used these higher doses to treat a wide variety of conditions. Dr. Lugol combined elemental iodine (5 %) and potassium iodide (10%) with 85 % water. Since iodine kills infectious agents, Dr. Lugol successfully treated many infectious conditions with this solution, which became known as Lugol's solution, and which is still available today by prescription. Prior to World War II, many American and European physicians used Lugol's solution to treat thyroid conditions, using doses higher than 2 mg daily without apparent significant adverse effects.
Dr. Abraham notes that research has shown that the thyroid gland prefers to utilize the iodide form of iodine, while other organs, such as the breast and ovaries, prefer the elemental form of iodine. Both of these forms are present in Lugol's solution and in the preparations discussed below. After World War II, the use of Lugol's solution came to a grinding halt due to the publication of the Wolff-Chaikoff paper mentioned above and for other reasons discussed in Abraham's papers. Dr. Abraham then suggests that the disease known as "Iodophobia" developed, which he describes as the irrational fear of prescribing iodine in dosages that had previously been used successfully by physicians for decades. He points out in his preface to Dr. David Brownstein's book Iodine: Why You Need It; Why You Can't Live Without It:
"Of all the elements known so far to be essential for human health, iodine is the most misunderstood and the most feared. Yet, iodine is the safest of all the essential trace elements, being the only one that can be administered safely for long periods of time to large numbers of patients in daily amounts as high as 100,000 times the RDA. However, this safety record only applies to inorganic, nonradioactive forms of iodine. Some organic iodine containing drugs are extremely toxic and prescribed by physicians. The severe side effects of these drugs are blamed on inorganic iodine although studies have clearly demonstrated that it is the whole molecule that is toxic, not the iodine released from it."
In his excellent short book on iodine, Dr. Brownstein summarizes his own clinical experience with hundreds of patients for whom he has prescribed iodine with excellent results and minimal side effects. To determine whether a patient is iodine sufficient, he uses the iodine-loading test described by Dr. Abraham and now in use at the Schachter Center. This was the test that Abraham used to determine if a person had an optimal amount of iodine in his/her body. Other research had shown that iodine is readily absorbed when ingested orally and readily excreted in the urine. The assumption was that if a person ingests a given amount of iodine and is iodine sufficient, most of the iodine should be found in the urine over a 24-hour period. On the other hand, if the person does not have an optimal amount of iodine in his body, when he ingests the iodine, his body will tend to hold onto it and a smaller amount will be found in the urine during the 24-hour collection period.
To do this test, a patient first empties his bladder and then ingests 50 mg of iodine/iodide (to be discussed further below). The patient then collects his urine for the next 24 hours and a sample of it along with a note that includes the total volume collected is sent to an appropriate laboratory. If the person excretes 90% or 45 mg of the iodine, he is considered iodine sufficient. If less is excreted, the patient is not optimally sufficient or is iodine insufficient and a therapeutic dosage of iodine may be administered for a period of time, after which the test is repeated. Dr. Brownstein has found in using this test, that more than 90% of his patients are iodine insufficient. Once a person is iodine sufficient, the maintenance dose for an adult to maintain sufficiency is about 12.5 mg of iodine/iodide daily. The treatment dose when a person is iodine insufficient is generally between 12.5 mg and 50 mg daily. Preliminary research indicates that if a person is iodine insufficient, it takes about 3 months to become iodine sufficient while ingesting a dosage of 50 mg of iodine and a year to become iodine sufficient while ingesting a dosage of 12.5 mg of iodine daily. However, the patient needs to be monitored closely with awareness of possible side effects and detoxification reactions
Another way of testing for iodine sufficiency is by painting an area of skin with tincture of iodine. It should take between 18 to 24 hours or more for the body to absorb the red or orange iodine stain if the person is iodine sufficient. If the iodine patch absorbs more quickly, the likelihood is the person being tested is not iodine sufficient. This method is probably not as accurate or quantitative as the iodine-loading test with the subsequent collection of the 24-hour urine.
The dosage of about 12.5 mg of iodine daily can be obtained with 2 drops of Lugol's solution or as an identical over-the-counter solution. This same dosage is also available over-the-counter in tablet or capsule. Each capsule or tablet or 2 drops of the Lugol's solution contains 5 mg of the reduced elemental form of iodINE (preferred by the breast, ovary and prostate) and 7.5 mg in the iodIDE form (preferred by the thyroid gland). Numerous testimonials indicate that many patients improve many symptoms with optimal supplementation of this supplement.
This dose of iodine may have other benefits as well. Dr. Abraham has shown in his work that iodine promotes the excretion of toxic minerals, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium as well as the toxic halogens fluoride and bromide. In the May 2005 edition of Nutrition and Healing, Jonathan V. Wright, MD notes that his laboratory has also shown that iodine helps remove toxic elements, including bromide and fluoride, from the body. With this mobilization of toxic elements, patients may develop temporary side effects, such as fatigue and irritability, which can be reduced by lowering the dosage of iodine and making sure that other aspects of nutrition and nutritional supplementation are in place. A physician knowledgeable about iodine who can order appropriate tests when necessary should monitor this procedure.
At the Schachter Center, we investigate virtually all patients for possible iodine insufficiency, as we believe that iodine insufficiency can cause or contribute to many symptoms and illnesses. The use of iodine offers tremendous potential in helping patients with depression and many other symptoms, especially those associated with the thyroid gland. One patient who I've been following for episodes of depression for a few years had developed significant hair loss for several months, which was unresponsive to thyroid hormone supplementation, biotin, extra protein and other measures that I usually recommend for hair loss. On a dosage of 37.5 mg of iodine for 6 weeks, this condition completely cleared and also helped to stabilize her mood.
Iodine's role in helping to prevent and treat cancer needs much more exploration and research, but there is suggestive evidence that it plays a role in preventing and/or treating cancer (especially involving the thyroid gland, breasts, prostate, ovaries and uterus). Max Gerson MD, whose successful alternative therapy involved using fresh vegetable juices and intensive detoxification, recommended iodine containing Lugol's solution for all of his cancer patients.
At the Schachter Center, we are reevaluating all of our current patients who suffer from fatigue, depression and any type of thyroid dysfunction or disorder, including hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) and chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto's disease). So far, we have found that most of these patients are iodine insufficient, using the iodine loading, 24-hour urine iodine test. Adding iodine to the program of these individuals seems to be helping many of them. All new patients are also being checked for iodine insufficiency. For more information on the thyroid and hypothyroidism, read the article on our website ( www.schachtercenter.com ) by clicking on Literature and Articles and then the article "Hypothyroidism".
Iodine insufficiency problems are aggravated by our use of agents that interfere with the utilization of iodine (sometimes called goitrogens because they may cause an enlargement of the thyroid gland). These include the halogens (class of chemicals to which iodine belongs) fluoride, bromine and bromides, and chlorine. Fluoride, added to 50% of the U.S. water supplies, is also present in most toothpastes, and is used in fluoride dental treatments for children. It is also present in many processed foods and beverages. Fluoride can interfere with iodine utilization. For more information about fluoride, check out the article "The Dangers of Fluoride and Fluoridation" on our website. Bromine replaced iodine in most baked goods in the 1980's because of the concern that iodine might be toxic. In fact, it is the bromine that is toxic and which can also interfere with iodine utilization. Bromine is also used to clean hot tubs and is present in many medications. Chlorine, used to treat swimming pools and present in many of the public drinking water supplies, also interferes with iodine levels in the body. Safer water purification systems, like ozone and iodine, itself, exist, but are currently not widely used.
Most people get iodine in their diet from seafood and iodized salt. However, only about 50% of Americans use iodized salt and because of concerns about high blood pressure, many people have reduced their salt intake. One gram of salt contains 77 mcg of iodine. Because of the high chloride content in table salt, some experts estimate that only about 10% of the iodine in iodized salt is actually absorbed. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine is 150 mcg (somewhat higher for pregnant women and certain other groups). Though 150 mcg daily may be sufficient to prevent an enlarged thyroid (goiter) and cretinism (severe iodine deficiency in babies leading to mental retardation and impaired development), these values are far short of the optimal values of 12,500 mcg (12.5 mg) recommended by Dr. Abraham. But, even using the lower values, many people still do not get the RDA and tests have shown that the average blood levels of iodine have decreased significantly over the past 30 years, in part no doubt, due to the substitution of bromide for iodide in baked goods in the early 1980's.
According to the last national nutritional survey (NHANES III 1988-1994), 15% of the U.S. adult female population is iodine deficient, as defined by the World Health Organization: levels of iodine/iodide below 50 mcg/L in collected urine. Therefore, 1 in 7 women in the U.S. are frankly iodine deficient. Keep in mind that these figures are much lower than those found by using the iodine loading test and 24-hour urine collection for iodine discussed above.
All things considered, I think that the therapeutic use of iodine/iodide has the potential of drastically changing how medicine is practiced today. All of Dr. Guy Abraham's research papers relating to the Iodine Project may be viewed and downloaded free from the Internet by accessing the Optimox website and clicking on Iodine Research.
August 7, 2005
Material excerpted from Dean, Carolyn. The Miracle of Magnesium (2003 Ballantine Books: New York, NY), 2003. pp. 5-7.A test for cellular magnesium called EXATEST is available at www.exatest.com . This updated article was originally printed in Total Health Magazine November, 2003. Dr. Carolyn Dean is an acknowledged authority in both conventional and alternative medicine. As the well-known author of The Miracle of Magnesium, she is an expert in recognizing and treating the dozens of conditions caused by magnesium deficiency. Dr. Dean currently offers private telephone wellness consultations through her website at www.carolyndean.com .
By: Dr. Batmanghelidj May 21, 2007
Source: http://www.watercure2.org Note: THIS IS NATURAL SALT, NOT TABLE SALT, WHICH IS ACTUALLY..SODIUM CHLORIDE.AN INDUSTRIAL WASTE. NATURAL SALTS ARE.HIMALAYAN SALT, UNREFINED SEA SALT, AND TRY TO USE SALT THAT IS ONLY FROM NATURAL SOURCES..YOU ARE NATURAL, USE .NATURAL!
Salt is a vital substance for the survival of all living creatures, particularly humans. Water and salt regulate the water content of the body. Water itself regulates the water content of the interior of the cell by working its way into all of the cells it reaches. It has to get there to cleanse and extract the toxic wastes of cell metabolisms. Salt forces some water to stay outside the cells. It balances the amount of water that stays outside the cells. There are two oceans of water in the body; one ocean is held inside the cells of the body, and the other ocean is held outside the cells. Good health depends on a most delicate balance between the volume of these oceans, and this balance is achieved by salt - unrefined salt. See number 21 below .
When water is available to get inside the cells freely, it is filtered from the outside salty ocean and injected into the cells that are being overworked despite their water shortage. This is the reason why in severe dehydration we develop an edema and retain water. The design of our bodies is such that the extent of the ocean of water outside the cells is expanded to have the extra water available for filtration and emergency injection into vital cells. The brain commands an increase in salt and water retention by the kidneys. This is how we get an edema when we don't drink enough water.
Initially, the process of water filtration and its delivery into the cells is more efficient at night when the body is horizontal. The collected water, that mostly pools in the legs, does not have to fight the force of gravity to get onto the blood circulation. If reliance of this process of emergency hydration of some cells continues for long, the lungs begin to get waterlogged at night, and breathing becomes difficult. The person needs more pillows to sit upright to sleep. This condition is the consequence of dehydration. However, you might overload the system by drinking too much water at the beginning. Increases in water intake must be slow and spread out until urine production begins to increase at the same rate that you drink water.
When we drink enough water to pass clear urine, we also pass out a lot of the salt that was held back. This is how we can get rid of edema fluid in the body; by drinking more water. Not diuretics, but more water!! In people who have an extensive edema and show signs of their heart beginning to have irregular or very rapid beats with least effort, the increase in water intake should be gradual and spaced out, but not withheld from the body. Naturally, salt intake should be limited for two or three days because the body is still in an overdrive mode to retain it. Once the edema has cleared up, salt should not be withheld from the body.
Salt has many other functions than just regulating the water content of the body. Here are some of the more vital functions of salt in the body:
THIS IS NATURAL SALT, NOT TABLE SALT, WHICH IS ACTUALLY..SODIUM CHLORIDE.AN INDUSTRIAL WASTE.
NATURAL SALTS ARE.HIMALAYAN SALT, UNREFINED SEA SALT, AND TRY TO USE SALT THAT IS ONLY FROM NATURAL SOURCES..YOU ARE NATURAL, USE .NATURAL!
Almost everyone that has experienced that if they spend enough time in a dusty environment, they will eventually cough up some thick mucus with dust particles trapped in it. The mucus is used as a method of entrapping a potentially harmful substance so as to prevent it from penetrating deeper into the body, and as a medium for expelling this substance from the body.
From the above observation, it would seem plausible that, if the body responds to the ingestion of a particular food with the production of mucus, then that food contains some substance the body recognises as potentially harmful or toxic. In this line of thought, any food that has "mucus forming" properties is considered to be potentially toxic to some degree.
Mucus is a normal body secretion. All mucous membranes continually secrete mucus as a means of keeping the surfaces moist and lubricated. Ingesting any food, or even water, will give rise to an increased level at the back of the mouth of a healthy, lubricating type of mucus. These facts are often presented as disproving the validity of the mucus theory. Yet it is easy to distinguish healthy mucus from mucus formed as a reaction to toxicity. Healthy mucus is clear and slippery. Unhealthy mucus is cloudy, thick and sticky, and this is the type of mucus produced by mucus forming foods. Once this mucous becomes dry and compacted, it becomes mucoid plaque.
Although excessive consumption of mucoid forming foods and inadequate levels of intestinal lactobacteria are the principal causes of a toxic bowel, it is not recommended that you immediately switch to a totally non-mucous forming diet. Both the body and the psyche need time to adjust to any dietary change.
In general, it is recommended that you proceed at whatever pace feels comfortable to gradually eliminate most mucus forming foods from your diet while replacing them with non - mucoid forming ones. This evolution may take place over the course of several weeks or of several years. How far you want to go is up to you.
However, performing a gastrointestinal cleansing program provides an ideal opportunity for you to make dietary change because doing so will enable you to feel more satisfied while eating much lighter foods than before. Most people feel they could never be satisfied eating just vegetables, fruits and sprouts, and this is quite true when the intestines are laden with mucoid plaque . Remove the mucoid plaque from your intestinal tract, and you will be amazed at how substantial and satisfying a diet of primarily vegetables, fruits and sprouts can be.
The fewer mucoid forming foods you eat, the better the health you will eventually be able to attain. Those who do not want to change their diet at all can still get some benefit by following the a gastrointestinal and lymphatic cleansing program. Remember, however, that superb health can never be attained as long as a highly mucous forming diet is being eaten.
For a more extensive list of Mucus forming foods (also known as acid forming foods), please visit our acid alkaline foods page.
The rating of foods according to mucoid plaque forming activity is not something you have to accept on blind faith. You can judge for yourself the mucous forming activity of foods eaten simply by inspecting your stools.
Dairy products from cow's milk, whether pasteurised or raw, are the most mucus forming of all foods. This includes milk, skim milk, butter, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, yogurt, kefir, ghee and whey. Every one of these is a pernicious mucoid former. Goat's milk, however, is substantially less mucoid forming than cow's milk.
Flesh foods - meat, fish, fowl and eggs are almost as mucous forming as dairy products. They usually affect the respiratory system less but the total amount of mucoid is still quite high.
Plant foods vary from highly mucoid forming to totally non-mucoid forming. Before classifying them according to mucoid forming activity, let us define our terms.
Here we will classify the edible portions of plants as either vegetables, fruits, mature seeds or sprouts. Vegetables are edible roots, trunks, stems, stalks, leaves, flower buds, flowers, succulent immature seeds and single celled organisms. When a seed is enclosed in a tender, juicy, edible medium, that medium is termed fruit. Seeds normally eaten along with the fruit they are embedded in are considered part of that fruit. Mature seeds are divided into oily seeds, grains and pulses. Oily seeds include all nuts, coconut and other nutlike seeds such as a sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds. Grains are the mature dry seeds of plants belonging to the natural order of grasses. Examples are wheat, rice, rye, corn, barley, oats and millet. For nutritional purposes, we also classify buckwheat as a grain, although the plant does not belong to the grass family. Pulses are the mature dry seeds of pod-bearing plants. These include all beans, lentils, mature dry peas, etc. A sprout becomes a vegetable when it is no longer customary to eat the entire plant as a single unit.
Check your understanding of the above definitions with these examples: Maple syrup, yeast and spirulina plankton are classified as vegetables. String bens, cucumbers, okra, eggplant, zucchini, all melons and all squashes are fruit. Fresh corn on the cob is a vegetable, but corn meal, corn bread, corn chips and corn tortillas are grain products. Fresh peas in their tender, juicy state are a vegetable, but mature dry peas, such as are used in making split pea soup are a pulse. Wheatgrass is a vegetable.
Soy beans are the most mucus forming foods of all plant foods. Their mucous forming activity is similar to that of meat, fish and eggs, and comes close to that of dairy products. The susceptibility of soy products to putrefaction is also similar to that of meat. Notice how quickly tofu or soy milk will spoil. Soy beans have gained much attention as being a nutritionally suitable plant food substitute for dairy products and flesh foods.
They are a suitable substitute not only with respect to protein and other nutrient content, but with respect to mucoid forming activity and putrefactive susceptibility as well. The idea that soy beans are favorable to overall nutrition is based upon their similarity in biochemical composition to animal products (dairy products and flesh foods). If you want to improve health by giving up animal products, then you must also give up the nutritional or rather anti-nutritional intake associated with an animal product diet.
Vegetarians who regularly include soy products in their diets are paying pricey homage to the utterly false and highly injurious idea that their bodies cannot do without animal products.
After soy beans in mucoid forming activity are all other pulses. There is a substantial gap in mucoid forming activity between soy beans and the other pulses. Even so, the mucoid forming activity of the other pulses is considerable. Buckwheat is similar to the pulses in mucoid forming activity.
After pulses in mucoid forming activity are the grains. Next after these are the oily seeds. Millet is a special grain in that its mucoid forming activity is only about one fourth to one third that of the other grains, and so is similar to the oily seeds in mucoid forming activity. Because whole grains are often eaten to assure bowel regularity, it is possible to get the impression that grains are non-mucoid forming, although this is not the case.
Sprouts lose their mucoid plaque forming activity as the sprouting process continues. When used as a grain substitute, sprouted grains have usually been sprouted for 1 to 2 days and still have some, though substantially less, of the original mucoid forming activity. To be completely free of mucoid forming activity, the grains buckwheat and soy beans typically need to be sprouted for six or more days at room temperature. This is usually done by growing the sprouts in a tray of soil. The young plants are harvested by cutting them away from their roots, so that what is eaten would be classified as a vegetable. Pulses other than soy beans will usually lose most of their mucoid forming activity after three or four days of sprouting at room temperature.
Honey will vary in mucoid forming activity depending upon the plant it is derived from. Most honeys have little or no mucoid forming activity. Eucalyptus honey is one that is to be noted for its relatively high mucoid forming activity.
Vegetables and fruits are virtually free of any mucoid forming activity. They are Nature's purest foods. Exceptions are gas-ripened bananas and sulphured fruit, which are mucoid forming due to the man-made processes to which they have been subjected. Except for figs and dates, all dried fruit should be considered to be sulphured unless specifically labeled otherwise. Food supplements are often mucoid forming. All protein powders, except for 100% pure yeast and spirulina plankton, are highly mucoid forming due to their inclusion of soy, milk, egg or meat derivatives. Many popular "yeast" powders are highly mucoid forming because they contain up to 50% whey. Tableted vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, etc, may also possess a degree of mucoid forming activity.
Herbal foods will often alter the mucoid content of one's stool. There are herbs that will lessen the mucoid present in one's stools. There are also many other herbs that, while not mucoid forming themselves, will cause old mucoid present in the body to be eliminated, this may result in increased mucoid in the stools. The jellylike consistency of psyllium husks makes one's faeces cling together even when a totally non-mucoid forming diet is being eaten.
Many spices possess varying herbal properties, cinnamon to a moderate degree but especially cumin are to be noted for their constipating tendency. And the gelatin capsules that are so widely used for encapsulating powdered herbs possess a residuum of mucoid forming activity. In order to avoid biasing the results when testing the mucoid forming activity of ordinary foods, items such as those mentioned in this paragraph should not be taken.
Airbourne pollutants are generally all mucoid forming. A sensitive person on a nearly or completely non-mucoid forming diet can notice a significant mucoid response due to breathing smoggy air. The secondary smoke inhalation that occurs when one is present in a room where another person is smoking tobacco is also mucoid plaque forming. The mucoid response to airborne pollutants is frequently more easily noticeable in the respiratory system than in the stools.
By removing mucoid plaque from your body, your digestive system will be able to function more efficiently, parsites will have a harder time surviving and your body will be subject to less toxic acumulations.
There are many different methods to remove mucoid plaque from the body. The most common and probably the most effective is to take psyllium husks and bentonite with water in a 'shake' and also take herbs which soften, dissolve and help to expel the mucoid plaque. There are many colon cleansing kits that contain these ingredients and are laid out in an easy to follow program.
The Tree of Life The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means “nut-bearing.” The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers. Coconut In Traditional Medicine People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions, and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. Wherever the coconut palm grows the people have learned of its importance as a effective medicine.
For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine. In traditional medicine around the world coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including the following: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds. Coconut In Modern Medicine Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarized below:
See Research to read some of the published studies regarding the above mentioned uses of coconut products.
Coconut Oil While coconut possesses many health benefits due to its fiber and nutritional content, it’s the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine. Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties. It is now gaining long overdue recognition as a nutritious health food. Coconut oil has been described as “the healthiest oil on earth.” That’s quite a remarkable statement. What makes coconut oil so good? What makes it different from all other oils, especially other saturated fats? The difference is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. The first you are probably familiar with, is based on saturation. You have saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Another system of classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Fatty acids consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. In this system you have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets, whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA. The size of the fatty acid is extremely important. Why? Because our bodies respond to and metabolize each fatty acid differently depending on its size. So the physiological effects of MCFA in coconut oil are distinctly different from those of LCFA more commonly found in our foods. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are predominately medium-chain fatty acids. Both the saturated and unsaturated fat found in meat, milk, eggs, and plants (including most all vegetable oils) are composed of LCFA. MCFA are very different from LCFA. They do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and help to protect against heart disease. MCFA help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. It is primarily due to the MCFA in coconut oil that makes it so special and so beneficial. There are only a very few good dietary sources of MCFA. By far the best sources are from coconut and palm kernel oils.
Copyright © 2004 Coconut Research Center The information supplied here comes from a variety of sources and authors and not every statement made has been evaluated by the FDA. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.