Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder (mainly in women), and new therapies are needed. In this way, ketone bodies are a direct source of cellular energy and can be obtained from coconut oil, postulating that coconut oil could be a new non-pharmacological alternative in AD patients.
Objective: The aim of this study is to detect changes in the main cognitive functions of patients with AD after following a coconut oil enriched Mediterranean diet, and to determine whether there are differences in function of stage or sex.
Methods: A prospective, longitudinal, qualitative, analytic, experimental study was carried out in 44 patients with AD, who were randomly divided into two homogenous groups of 22 patients each: an experimental group of patients who followed a coconut oil enriched Mediterranean diet for 21 days and a control group. In order to determine the cognitive changes after the intervention, we carried out the 7 Minute Screen, which analyses temporal orientation, visuospatial and visuoconstructive abilities, and semantic and episodic memory.
Results: After intervention with coconut oil, improvements in episodic, temporal orientation, and semantic memory were observed, and it seems that the positive effect is more evident in women with mild-moderate state, although other improvements in males and severe state were also shown.
Conclusions: The isocaloric coconut oil enriched Mediterranean diet seems to improve cognitive functions in patients with AD, with differences according to patient sex and degree of severity of the disease, although more studies in this line are needed.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Mediterranean diet; coconut oil; cognitive functions; ketone bodies.