Better brain: Coconut oil - a great foundation for better brain performance

Much like an athelete needs good nutrition to train harder and build more muscle, what you eat can also maximise the way your brain functions.

Coconut oil is one of the most potent natural sources that is great for the brain. Coconut oil contains 90% saturated fat. These fats are not stored and are a direct source of energy, and make up anecessary part of your diet. The brain is 60% fat, with the majority of this in the insulation around the neurons, myelin sheath, which help the neurons communicate with each other so your brain can work even faster. So if you aren't eating the right fats your mental performance, especially short term memory, focus and reaction time will not be as good as it can be

The saturated fats in coconut oil are known as Medium Chain triglycerides (MCTs). Coconut oil is made up of:

  • Lauric acid
  • Capric acid
  • Caprylic acid

It is the caprylic acid which has the most benefit for the brain. It is a direct source of energy, as once it is absorbed it passes through the liver it is broken down into a ketone called beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB). This can cross the blood brain barrier, and is used in the same cycle as glucose to make energy and neurotransmitters, that your nerves require to work. 

Meanwhile the lauric and capric acids, the main constituents of coconut oil, have antibacterial, anti viral and antifungal properties. These reduce the amount of toxins in your system that can make you sluggish and brain dead. 

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Since the majority of the oil is broken down and used, none of the fat is stored, and once the energy is used, your own residual body fat is then broken down to ketones for more energy, so it can actually encourage natural weight loss.

Another big plus for coconut oil is that it has a higher heat index than all other oils as well, so it can be used to cook with without becoming oxidised (up to 160C), which are the dangers of using vegetable and corn oil for frying.

But having everything you eat taste of a Pina Colada all the time isn't exactly great. I use fractionated coconut oil, which is odorless, and contains only the caprylic and capric acids, the best MCTs for your brain. I have this every morning blended into my coffee with some grass fed butter. As anyone else writing up their PhD thesis will tell you, it is a lot of hard work, and it is so easy to lose your focus, drinking this definitely helps me. Unfortunately, it is hard to pick up in stores and at the moment only available online (Go to XBrain if you want to pick some up, use code 'BETTER' for 10% off). It's effect isn't merely a placebo, I use an online cognitive function tracking platform, Quantified mind, I can do my own personal experiment over a long period of time how I am perform with and without it. It is one of the first things I recommend to people.

It is important to emphasise that these fats as well as being an energy source are also used to create your all cell membranes in your body. Only essential, good fats will allow you to make high quality neurons for you to function best. Bad fats will make low quality neurons and you will not get the benefits as a result. Choosing what you eat is vital if you want to perform at your best.

Links to peer reviewed studies

Anti Microbial action of lauric acid

BHB is an alternative energy source in the brain

BHB fuels nerve development

Complex diagram on how ketones produce energy

Coconut oil increases HDL levels and promotes weight loss