This is a guest blog post written by Dr. Bruce Fife
Flu Shots Ineffective this year CDC Admits, but an Alternative Solution is in Your Kitchen
Cold and flu season is upon us, are you prepared? If you rely on seasonal flu vaccines for protection, this year you are out of luck. In a recent news release the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that a sampling of flu cases this season suggests that the flu vaccine for 2015 is not a good match for the most common flu strain currently circulating in the United States this winter.
According to the CDC, the current flu vaccine is not effective against the most predominant strain of flu showing up this season—influenza A (H3N2). The CDC has advised doctors to prepare to use antiviral medications if needed. Antivirals, however, have not proven to be very effective either, so what are we to do?
Medical researchers in the Philippines recently announced that they have found a solution to the H3N2 virus. Interesting enough, the solution doesn’t come from a medical laboratory but from the kitchen table. Conrado Dayrit, MD professor emeritus of pharmacology at the University of the Philippines and former president of the Federation of Asian Scientific Academies and Societies suggests the use of cooking oil to solve the problem; more specifically, coconut oil.
While coconut oil may seem an unlikely solution, research has shown that it possesses remarkably effective antiviral properties that may stop the H3N2 flu virus dead in its tracks. It is currently being used in the treatment of a wide variety of flu strains and has even been shown to be effective against HIV—the AIDS virus, as well as many other infectious and noninfectious diseases.
Once mistakenly believed to be bad for the heart because of its saturated fat content, coconut oil is now known to contain a unique form of saturated fat that actually helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and hardening of the arteries as well as provide many other health benefits.
Interestingly enough, the secret to coconut oil’s healing powers came as a result of research on human breast milk. Breast milk has been called nature’s perfect food. It contains all the vitamins, minerals, and other substances necessary to feed a baby for the first year or so of life. Within this milk are certain nutrients that not only provide an ideal source of nourishment but also protect the baby from disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are so prevalent in our environment.
Years ago it was discovered that human breast milk contains a unique group of saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are very different from the fats in meat and vegetables that are commonly found in our foods.
When eaten, the body transforms MCTs into monoglycerides and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), both of which possess powerful antimicrobial properties capable of killing disease causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It is due primarily to the presences of MCTs in human breast milk that protect babies from infections for the first few months of their lives while their immune systems are still developing.
The fats in our food are composed almost entirely of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Some 98 to 100 percent of the fats and oils in our diet consist of LCTs. Other than breast milk there are very few good dietary sources of MCTs. Butter and whole milk contain a small amount. But by far the richest natural source of MCTs comes from coconut. Coconut oil is unique in that is composed predominately of MCTs. For this reason, coconut oil can have a pronounced impact on our health just as mother’s milk does on newborn infants. This is what makes coconut oil different from all other oils and what gives it its unique healing characteristics.
Researchers theorize that if MCTs from breast milk can protect babies from infections, they can also protect other age groups as well. If this is true, a source rich in MCTs would provide a safe and effective way to fight off infectious illnesses. Since coconut oil is the richest natural source of MCTs, researchers have studied it extensively in this respect. They have found that MCFAs, which are created from the breakdown of MCTs in coconut oil, possess very powerful antimicrobial properties. This is well documented in the medical literature. Studies show that MCFAs from coconut oil are effective in killing bacteria that cause ulcers, sinus infections, bladder infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and many other illnesses. They kill fungi and yeasts that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch, and candidiasis. They kill viruses that cause influenza, measles, herpes, mononucleosis, and hepatitis C. They even kill HIV.
Antibiotics were effective in stopping many of the dreaded diseases of the past. However, new strains of bacteria have arisen that are resistant to these drugs and infectious illnesses are on the rise. The overuse of antibiotics has led to the development of so-called sugergerms. Scientists are continually working to develop new antibiotics to fight the increasing number drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
While antibiotics may be necessary at times, the problem with them is that they are often toxic to us as well as to the bacteria they are designed to kill. They affect our health in other ways too. Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in the body, including friendly gut bacteria that are so important to good digestive function. In the absence of friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract, candida, a troublesome yeast, is allowed to grow unrestrained. This often leads to candidiasis—a yeast infection.
Like antibiotics, MCFAs also kill disease-causing bacteria. But unlike antibiotics, they are not toxic to us and do not harm friendly gut bacteria. MCFAs don’t kill all forms of bacteria. They have no harmful effect on the good bacteria in the intestinal tract. An added benefit with MCFAs is that they also kill candida. So the intestinal environment remains healthy. In addition, they do not promote antibiotic resistance or the development of the so-called supergerms.
MCFAs do another thing antibiotics can’t do and that is kill viruses. Antibiotics can’t touch viruses. In fact, there are no medications that can effectively kill viruses. Vaccination is the only effective weapon we have against them. When you get the flu there isn’t anything the doctor can do for you. All he can do is give you medications that may make the symptoms easier to cope with, but your body has to do all the work in fighting off the infection.
AIDS is believed to be caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Since publication of studies in the 1990s showing the effectiveness of MCFA in killing HIV many infected people have been using coconut or coconut oil successfully to treat their condition. Numerous cases have reported viral loads up to 900,000 being reduced to non-detectable levels using nothing more than coconut oil.
While MCFAs are deadly to HIV and many other disease-causing microorganisms, they are completely harmless to us. In fact, they are so safe that nature puts them into mother’s milk to nourish newborn infants.
Food processors have recognized the importance of MCTs in mother’s milk and have been adding it in various forms to infant formula for years. MCTs not only help protect babies from infections but they provide an important source of nutrition. One the differences between MCTs in coconut oil and the LCTs that are more commonly found in our diet is the way in which our bodies digest and metabolize them. MCTs digest very easily. Unlike LCTs, MCTs do not need pancreatic digesting enzymes or bile for digestion. Because they digest so quickly they provide a quick source of nutrition without taxing the enzyme systems of the body. Studies have shown that when premature infants are give formula containing MCTs they grow faster and have a higher survival rate. This is another reason why they are added to commercial infant formulas.
The benefits of coconut oil don’t stop there. Research suggests that coconut oil may be of help in preventing numerous other health problems including breast and colon cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, obesity, and even Alzheimer’s disease. When you consider all the things coconut oil can do, you can see why it is often called nature’s miracle oil.
Fortunately, babies aren't the only ones who can benefit from MCFAs. We can all enjoy the benefits of MCFAs by adding coconut oil into our diets.
How much coconut oil do you need to prevent infectious illness? Any amount is beneficial. The general recommendation, however, is 2-4 tablespoons per day. How do you use it? Some people take it by the spoonful like a dietary supplement. I prefer to use it in food preparation. In recipes that call for margarine, shortening, butter, or vegetable oil simply use coconut oil instead. You can also add coconut oil to foods. For example, you can put a spoonful or two in hot beverages, hot cereal, soup, casseroles, etc.
Dr. Bruce Fife is a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician. He is the author of numerous books including The Coconut Oil Miracle and Coconut Cures. He is the director of the Coconut Research Center (www.coconutresearchcenter.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public and medical profession about the health aspects of coconut.