STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Does coconut oil prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease? No, that's not true: A spokesperson from the Alzheimer's Association told Lead Stories, "There isn't a single food, ingredient or supplement that -- through rigorous scientific research -- has been shown to prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer's or other dementia." A spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) tells Lead Stories that they have not authorized this claim.
This claim has also been debunked previously by other health organizations that say, in addition, that the overconsumption of coconut oil is a potential health threat.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on April 5, 2022. It includes a meme titled "10 Coconut Oil Remedies" with the text listing 10 purported uses for coconut oil with directions for each:
Fat Burning Supplement
Blood Sugar Stabilizer
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thur Apr. 7 16:33:33 2022 UTC)
This fact check will focus only on the claim that coconut oil prevents Alzheimer's.
The Alzheimer's Association has a statement on dietary supplements and medical foods. It emailed Lead Stories on April 7, 2022:
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests eating a healthy diet may contribute to decreasing one's risk for cognitive decline and dementia. However, there isn't a single food, ingredient or supplement that - through rigorous scientific research - has been shown to prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer's or other dementia.
In an April 12, 2022 email, the FDA responded to Lead Stories concerning the validity of this claim:
The FDA has not authorized the claim that 'Coconut oil is a fat burning supplement, blood sugar stabilizer, provides digestive support, and serves as a cholesterol supplement.'
Products claiming to cure, treat, mitigate, or prevent disease are drugs, and are subject to all requirements that apply to drugs.
... these claims can't be verified, and need to be treated with caution. In fact, it's best to be wary about any claims around coconut oil or other foods or supplements: as well as no proven benefits, there are potential harms.
The World Health Organization warns consumers to restrict their use of coconut oil, a saturated fat, because it can increase overall cholesterol levels and thereby increase the risk of heart disease.
2022-04-12T19:39:35Z 2022-04-12T19:39:35ZThis story was updated with an April 12, 2022, statement from the FDA.