AND YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
by MARY ENIG
Mary Enig , PhD is the author of Know
Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the
Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol (Bethesda Press
301-680-8600). She is President of the Maryland Nutritionists
Association and Vice President of the Weston A Price Foundation.
This piece is reprinted with the permission of
Weston A. Price Foundation
where the unedited version of this article appears.
* * * * * * * * * *
OIL – THE ANATOMY OF A BAD RAP
problems for coconut oil started four decades ago when researchers
fed animals hydrogenated coconut oil that was purposefully altered
to make it completely devoid of any essential fatty acids. The
hydrogenated coconut oil was selected instead of hydrogenated
cottonseed, corn or soybean oil because it was a soft enough
fat for blending into diets due to the presence of the lower
melting medium chain saturated fatty acids. The same functionality
could not be obtained from the cottonseed, corn or soybean oils
if they were made totally saturated, since all their fatty acids
were long chain and high melting and could not be easily blended
nor were they as readily digestible.
animals fed the hydrogenated coconut oil (as the only fat source)
naturally became essential fatty acid deficient; their serum
cholesterol levels increased. Diets that cause an essential
fatty acid deficiency always produce an increase in serum cholesterol
levels as well as an increase in the atherosclerotic indices.
The same effect has also been seen when other essential fatty
acid deficient, highly hydrogenated oils such as cottonseed,
soybean, or corn oils have been fed; so it is clearly a function
of the hydrogenated product, either because the oil is essential
fatty acid (EFA) deficient or because of trans fatty acids (TFA).
unprocessed coconut oil is added to an otherwise normal diet,
there is frequently no change in the serum cholesterol although
some studies have shown a ‘decrease’ in total cholesterol.
For example, when Ginsberg provided an Average American diet
with 2-3 times more myristic acid , 4.5 times more lauric acid
and 1.2 times more palmitic, serum cholesterol levels for this
diet group fell approximately 3% from 177.1 mg% to 171.8 mg%
during the 22 week feeding trial.
appears from many of the research reports that the effect coconut
oil has on serum cholesterol is the opposite in individuals
with low serum cholesterol values and those with high serum
values. We see that there may be a raising of serum total cholesterol,
LDL cholesterol and especially HDL cholesterol in individuals
with low serum cholesterol. On the other hand there is lowering
of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemics
as noted above.
of the anti-microbial activity of the monoglyceride of lauric
acid (monolaurin) has been reported since 1966. The seminal
work can be credited to Jon Kabara, who, with others, observed,
that certain fatty acids and their derivatives can have adverse
effects on various micro-organisms: those micro-organisms that
are inactivated include bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped
medium-chain saturated fatty acids and their derivatives act
by disrupting the lipid membranes of the organisms. The action
attributed to monolaurin is that of solubilizing the lipids
and phospholipids in the envelope of the virus causing the disintegration
of the virus envelope. Some of the viruses inactivated by these
lipids, in addition to HIV, are the measles virus, herpes simplex
virus-1 (HSV-1), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), visna virus,
and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Many of the pathogenic organisms
reported to be inactivated by these antimicrobial lipids are
those known to be responsible for opportunistic infections in
HIV-positive individuals. Thus, it would appear to be important
to investigate the practical aspects and the potential benefit
of an adjunct nutritional support regimen for HIV-infected individuals,
which will utilize those dietary fats that are sources of known
anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-protozoal monoglycerides
and fatty acids such as monolaurin and its precursor lauric
one in the mainstream nutrition community seems to have recognized
the added potential of anti-microbial lipids in the treatment
of HIV-infected or AIDS patients. These anti-microbial fatty
acids and their derivatives are essentially non-toxic to man;
they are produced in vivo by humans when they ingest those commonly
available foods that contain adequate levels of medium-chain
fatty acids such as lauric acid. According to the published
research, lauric acid is one of the best ‘inactivating’
fatty acids, and its monoglyceride is even more effective than
the fatty acid alone.
OF LAURIC ACID FROM AMERICAN DIET
over the past 40 years, the American diet has undergone major
changes. Many of these changes involve changes of fats and oils.
There has been an increasing supply of the partially hydrogenated
trans-containing vegetable oils and a decreasing amount of the
lauric acid-containing oils. As a result, there has been an
increased consumption of trans fatty acids and linoleic acid
and a decrease in the consumption of lauric acid. This type
of change in diet has an effect on the fatty acids the body
has available for metabolic activities.
MUCH LAURIC ACID IS NEEDED?
is not known exactly how much food made with lauric oils is
needed in order to have a protective level of lauric acid in
the diet. Infants probably consume between 0.3 and 1 gram per
kilogram of body weight if they are fed human milk or an enriched
infant formula that contains coconut oil. This amount appears
to have always been protective. Adults could probably benefit
from the consumption of 10 to 20 grams of lauric acid per day.
Growing children probably need about the same amounts as adults.
per capita daily intake (1985) of lauric acid countries in such
as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, and consuming
countries such as Singapore, was approximately 4.3 grams. In
India, intake of lauric acid from coconut oil in the coconut
growing areas (Kerala) ranges from about 12 to 20 grams per
day whereas the average for the rest of the country is less
than half a gram.
the United States today, there is very little lauric acid in
most of the foods. During the early part of the 20th century
and up until the late 1950s many people consumed heavy cream
and high fat milk. These foods could have provided approximately
3 grams of lauric acid per day to many individuals. In addition,
desiccated coconut was a popular food in homemade cakes, pies
and cookies, as well as in commercial baked goods, and 1-2 tablespoons
of desiccated coconut would have supplied 1-2 grams of lauric
acid. Those foods made with the coconut oil based shortenings
would have provided additional amounts.
coconut oil industry needs to make the case for lauric acid
now. It should not wait for the rapeseed industry to promote
the argument for including lauric acid because of the increased
demand for laurate. In fact lauric acid may prove to be a conditionally
essential saturated fatty acid, and the research to establish
this fact around the world needs to be vigorously promoted.
private sectors need to fight for their commodity through the
offices of their trade associations, the various governments
of coconut producing countries need to put pressure on WHO,
FAO, and UNDP to recognizes the health importance of coconut
oil and the other coconut products. Moreover, those representatives
who are going to do the persuading need to believe that their
message is scientifically correct -- because it is.
the critical foods and nutrition "buzz words" for
the 21st century is the term "functional foods." Clearly
coconut oil fits the designation of a very important functional
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Does any one really believe that the Sociopathic System that
controls the World cares about the health of the masses; healthy
people may think better and become a real threat. Dream on
corn, beets, wheat, bananas, ect. have been genetically altered.
Garlic is next 2015. Coconuts? As soon as they come up with
a fungal organism that kills the coconut they will have a
GMO version that produces no Lauric acid along with a patent
that lasts for 150 years