E-Mail Edition Volume 4 Number 1
Originally published Winter, 2007
Published by Piccadilly Books, Ltd., www.piccadillybooks.com.
Bruce Fife, N.D., Publisher, www.coconutresearchcenter.org
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Dr. Bruce Fife a.k.a. "Dr. Coconut" answers two of the most often asked questions about coconut oil.
I often see the iodine value mentioned when describing the properties of oil, including coconut oil. What does this mean?
Most people don't understand this term and mistakenly believe it represents the iodine content of the oil. It has nothing to do with iodine content. Processed oils don't have any iodine. The iodine value is a measure of the degree of the unsaturation of an oil. Technically it is the value of the amount of iodine, measured in grams, absorbed by 100 ml of a given oil. Although the iodine value may sound uninteresting, it has some very important health implications.
All fats and oils are composed of fat molecules known as fatty acids. The molecules can be classified into three categories depending on their degree of saturation. You have saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
No oil in nature is composed entirely of any one of these three. All dietary oils contain a mixture. Soybean oil, for example, is referred to as a polyunsaturated oil because that is the predominant fatty acid. It also contains 24 percent monounsaturated fatty acids and 15 percent saturated fatty acids. Coconut oil is also a mixture. It contains 92 percent saturated fatty acids, 6 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, and 2 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The terms saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated refer the degree of hydrogen saturation. A saturated fatty acid contains all the hydrogen atoms it possibly can. In other words, it is fully saturated with hydrogen. A monounsaturated fatty acid contains all but one pair of hydrogen atoms it can hold. A polyunsaturated fatty acids is lacking two or more pairs of hydrogen atoms.
The iodine value is a measure of the amount of unsaturated fatty acids in the oil. A fatty acid that is missing any hydrogen atoms is classified as being unsaturated. This includes all monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Although the iodine value is used primarily in industry, it is of value to us because it gives an indication of the oil's stability and health properties. Coconut oil has an iodine value of 10. This indicates that it contains a high amount of saturated fatty acids and a very small amount of unsaturated fatty acids. The higher the iodine value, the greater amount of unsaturation. As noted above, coconut oil is 92 percent saturated and 8 percent unsaturated. Soybean oil, in contrast, has an iodine value of 130. It contains only 15 percent saturated fatty acids with 85 percent unsaturated fatty acids, thus the reason for its high iodine value.
The higher the iodine value, the less stable the oil and the more vulnerable it is to oxidation and free radical production. High iodine value oils are prone to oxidation and polymerization. During heating, such as when used in cooking, oils with a high iodine value readily oxidize and polymerize. Polymerization is an irreversible process which causes the fatty acids to become hard, insoluble, plastic-like solids.
Because of their tendency to harden when oxidized, polyunsaturated vegetables have been used extensively as bases for paints and varnishes. You can see this effect in the kitchen. When you use polyunsaturated vegetable oils in cooking sometimes the oil spills onto the outside of the pan. If the outside of the pan is not thoroughly cleaned, over time you will notice a buildup of a very hard, amber colored, varnish-like substance on the bottom of your fry pans. This is polymerized vegetable oil. The oil you used in cooking has literally turned into varnish. It takes a scouring pad and a lot of elbow grease to scrub it off the pan. When high iodine value oils are heated, you are creating polymerized fatty acids in your food. The higher the temperature or the longer the exposure to heat, the greater the degree of polymerization.
These products of oxidation have been shown to be associated with numerous health problems including cancer and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Coconut oil has the lowest iodine value of any dietary oil. Therefore, it is very resistant to oxidation and polymerization. It makes a very safe cooking oil.
Iodine Values of Some Common Oils
Above are the iodine values of some common oils. Personally, I wouldn't cook with any oil that has an iodine value over 80.
Cerebral Palsy and Coconut Oil
As incredible as it may sound, coconut may hold the key to stopping the occurrence of cerebral palsy in infants. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that occurs in newborns or in early childhood. It is characterized by abnormal stiffness and contractions of groups of muscles, involuntary writhing movements, or loss of coordination and balance. The degree of disability is highly variable, ranging from slight clumsiness of hand movement and gait to complete immobility. Other nervous system disorders, such as hearing defects or epileptic seizures, may be present. Mental retardation occurs in about three quarters of all cases. The symptoms are permanent. There is no known cure or treatment that can reverse symptoms.
Tens of thousands of infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year. Generally, cerebral palsy is not recognized until well into the baby's first year when the disability becomes apparent. Most cases are believed to occur before or at birth. The prevailing belief has been that a traumatic birth, leading to asphyxia or lack of oxygen to the brain, was responsible. However a recent study from Australia has shown that exposure to certain viruses shortly before or after birth may be the real culprit.
In a study published in the British Medical Journal (2006;332:76-80) researchers examined 443 children with cerebral palsy and 883 healthy controls. All of the babies were born between the years 1986 and 1999. Blood samples were taken within a few days of birth and checked for the presence of neurotropic viruses. Neurotropic viruses are viruses that cause infection in nervous tissue, for example herpes and rabies viruses.
These viruses are also able to cross the placenta in pregnant women and infect the fetus. This study tested for enteroviruses (viruses that replicate in the intestinal tract) and herpes viruses. Herpes viruses can be divided into two categories: group A and group B. Group A viruses include herpes simplex type 1 (causes cold sores) and herpes simplex type 2 (causes genital herpes), Epstein-Barr virus (causes glandular fever), cytomegalovirus (a very common infection that usually only causes problems in people with a weak immune system), and human herpes virus 8. Group B viruses include varicella-zoster virus (responsible for chicken pox and shingles) and human herpes viruses 6 and 7.
The researchers uncovered some very interesting results. Expose to infections was common to all the infants. Interestingly, premature babies, (without cerebral palsy) were more likely to be infected with herpes group A viruses, suggesting that infection before birth may lead to pre-term delivery. Herpes group B viruses were found more commonly in babies who went on to develop cerebral palsy. In fact, this relationship is so strong that the risk of cerebral palsy was nearly double.
The likelihood of an infection present in the mother spreading to the fetus and causing harm is determined by at least three factors: (1) the specific virus, (2) whether it is an initial infection or a reactivation of the virus, (3) the gestational age of the fetus at the time of infection.
With cytomegalovirus, the risk of transmission to the fetus is 50% for a first time infection, but less than 1% for reactivation of the virus. Once an infection enters the fetus' bloodstream it can cause direct damage to the nervous system, or the inflammatory chemicals produced by the immune system of the fetus can damage the developing brain. Some viruses stay in our body and affect us for many years after the initial infection; some may remain for life.
These viruses are extremely common, with more than half of the population being infected. These viruses tend to live inside our nerves and generally stay dormant most of the time. They can become reactivated when the immune system is compromised. Factors that can trigger reactivation include excessive stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and other infections.
The risk of transmitting a virus to the fetus is greatest with new infections. Therefore, it is important to keep the immune system healthy and avoid exposure to new viruses, particularly when pregnant. Herpes viruses are usually transmitted by saliva, direct skin contact, and sexual secretions. Risk of becoming infected with new viruses is reduced by avoiding exposure to people who might carry these infections.
There are no known drugs that can effectively kill herpes viruses. Once an infection takes hold, the immune system is the only defense. So if a woman becomes infected while pregnant there is little doctors can do.
Although conventional medicine offers little help, there is hope. Consuming coconut oil while pregnant and nursing is one possible way to help protect newborns from developing cerebral palsy. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil possess potent antiviral properties that have been shown to be effective in killing herpes viruses. Coconut oil will help to protect the mother from infections and strengthen her immune system, thus preventing an infection from spreading to her fetus. After birth the baby is still vulnerable because its immune system is still developing. A nursing mother consuming coconut oil daily will enrich her breast milk with lauric acid and other antiviral medium-chain fatty acids that will protect the baby from infections. Simply consuming coconut daily, along with eating a healthy diet, may be all that is needed to prevent this crippling disease.
How much coconut oil should be consumed to get adequate protection? About 3 to 4 tablespoons a day should be enough during pregnancy and nursing. Divide the dosage equally throughout the day. More can be taken if desired. Coconut oil is a food, not a drug, so it is not harmful. If an infection manifests itself, increase the dose to 6 or more tablespoons a day. Additional oil can be applied topically if needed.
DRUGGING OF OUR CHILDREN
By Lita Lee, Ph.D.
This article excludes all psychiatrists who do not routinely use drugs to control the behavior and the emotions of their patients. I have a great respect for these doctors.
This article is dedicated to the thousands of children worldwide who died after being given drugs to control their behavior. Causes of death include suicide, murder/suicide, drug side effects, drug withdrawal effects, and being forcibly restrained until death occurs. Now, behavior and emotional problems are routinely being treated with drugs. Talk therapy is out. Drugs are in.
Children used to be called rambunctious. Now they are given Ritalin or its later drugs, to control their behavior. Since when did we classify emotional problems such as acting out, hyperactivity, ups and downs (now called bipolar disorder), depression etc., as mental illnesses? Life on earth is not exactly free of stress, pain, anxiety or anything else. Perhaps it is easier to drug a child into becoming a compliant zombie than it is to accept or challenge his/her behavior. I don't know. But I am very disturbed by the increasing deaths, suicides and murder/suicides that are a direct outcome of the increasing use of these drugs to children. I am also concerned about state laws that force parents to drug their children. Children do not have a choice. They must comply with whomever is in charge.
Unless otherwise noted, the information below comes from the Citizens Commission of Human Rights International.
"Over six million American children have been placed on addictive, mind-altering psychiatric drugs."
ADD or ADHA (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
"The diagnosis of ADD is entirely subjective. There is no test. It is just down to interpretation. Maybe a child blurts out in class or doesn't sit still. The lines between an ADD sufferer and a healthy exuberant kid can be very blurred. Parents are frightened of losing their children if they do not comply with the order to prescribe Ritalin or similar drugs to their children."
Case history: "At seven, Matthew Smith was diagnosed as having ADHD. Matthew's parents were told that non-compliance could bring CRIMINAL charges for neglecting their son's educational and emotional needs. After being told that there was nothing wrong with the medication, that it could only help, Matthew's parents acceded to the pressure. On March 21, 2000, while skateboarding, Matthew died from a heart attack. The coroner determined that Matthew's heart showed clear signs of damage caused by stimulant drugs such as amphetamines and concluded that he had died from the long-term use of the prescribed stimulant, Ritalin."
Diagnosis by Design
Dr. Tomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the State University of New York Health Science Center and the author of more than 25 books has been internationally acclaimed as "one of the most important writers in present-day psychiatry." He writes: "There is no blood or other biological test to ascertain the presence or absence of a mental illness. If such a test were developed, then the condition would cease to be a mental illness and would be classified, instead, as a symptom of a bodily disease." (Thomas Szasz, M.D. Professor Psychiatry Emeritus, 2002)
Brain Scans Exposing the Fraud
"In fact, brain scans do not firmly establish that biochemical imbalances cause depression and that drugs can correct this."
Schizophrenia, Harming the Vulnerable
"Diagnosing someone as schizophrenic may appear scientific on the surface, especially when biopsychiatry keeps claiming that a genetic brain disease is involved. When you observe from a distance what these researchers are really doing, you wonder how they can justify their work." (Ty C. Colbert, Ph.D., Blaming Our Genes, 2001)
Heart of Life, the Dr. Giorgio Antonucci Story
"Against tremendous opposition from his peers and without the use of drugs or coercion, Dr. Antonocci salvaged the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients deemed incurable and institutional cases. Today, many of his patients continue to live and work in the community. He is an inspiration to medicine."
Drug Induced Violence and Other Side Effects
Re-defining Life's Every Problem As a Mental Disorder
"Have you ever heard of the following mental disorders: reading disorder, disruptive behavior disorder, disorder of written expression, mathematics disorder, caffeine intoxication, nicotine withdrawal disorder, noncompliance with treatment disorder, physical abuse of a child, sexual abuse of a child, or partner relational problem? These are a few of the 374 mental disorders that psychiatrists list in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV or DSM-IV. Today, the DSM and the World Health Organization's similar International Classification of Diseases (ICD) are used not only for individual treatment but also child custody battles, other court testimony, education, and more. In fact, wherever a psychiatric opinion is sought, the DSM or the ICD are presented and increasingly accepted as the final word on sanity, insanity, and so-called mental illness." Professors Herb Kutchins and Stuart A. Kirk, authors of Making Us Crazy, warn: "The public may gain false comfort from a psychiatric manual that encourages belief in the illusion that the harshness, brutality, and pain in their lives and in their communities can be explained by a psychiatric label and eradicated by a pill. .... Far too often, the psychiatric bible has been making us crazy—when we are just human."
"Often tagged 'junk science', the DSM was voted one of the ten worst psychiatric papers of the millennium. No wonder. Psychiatric diagnoses, such as ADHD, have been voted into existence by nothing more scientific that a show of hands of American Psychiatric Association (APA) committee members."
Does this sound right to you—that psychiatrists literally VOTE on what constitutes a "mental illness"?
Is there an alternative?
Yes! There is an enzyme and hormonal connection to all behavior, emotional and mental problems. More on this in my next newsletter but for now, please read my article on "Mental Problems" from www.litalee.com (notice that I didn't say "illness").
CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights International), 6616 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028, 800-869-2247, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, websites: www.psychcrime.org, www.psychassault.org, www.cchr.org, www.fightforkids.org,
This article was first published in To Your Health newsletter, by Lita Lee, Ph.D. www.litalee.com. Reproduced with permission from the author.
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Copyright © 2007, 2005, Bruce Fife. All rights reserved.