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Virgin Coconut Oil good for Diabetics?

Question: “Is virgin coconut oil good for diabetics? Is it true that it can also prevent diabetes?”

Answer: Dietary supplements abound in the market today, many of them being promoted as a cure-all, a magic potion that can prevent and even treat many diseases. Unfortunately, many of these claims are based on anecdotal reports and testimonials, a few backed up by studies using animal subjects and even a much smaller number with actual human studies with small number of subjects. The regulation of these supplements is a tricky matter since these substances often only need to be registered but not necessarily approved before being marketed. That is why these supplements need to carry that important label “NO THERAPEUTIC CLAIMS”. Exactly because they did not undergo strict scrutiny for effectiveness and safety, THEY ARE NOT DRUGS AND SHOULD NOT REPLACE DRUGS. They may have certain uses and benefits, again not fully proven, and thus, they can only supplement.

Virgin coconut oil falls into that category at this time. The long history of the benefits of coconut oil as used in most Asian diets suggest important effects on heart disease prevention, based on observation that cultures that rely on coconut oil as part of daily food have lower incidence of heart disease. It has been noted that when people from these cultures adopt diets low or devoid of coconut oil, the incidence of heart disease rises significantly similar to that seen in Western societies. Coconut oil is also believed to contribute to skin health and to possess antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Improvement in cholesterol levels and promotion of weight loss are also considered potential effects of coconut oil.

To answer the questions then, what can be said is that intake of virgin coconut oil might have potential but incompletely proven benefits. Proof that it is effective and, more importantly, safe is lacking at this point in time. How much of it is good enough and how much of it will not cause harm? That can not be answered with finality. So, at this time, A CLEAR YES OR NO ANSWER CAN NOT BE MADE regarding its effects on patients with diabetes. At best, a “MAYBE” answer can be offered and wisely, a “maybe” response is not comforting enough and unac-ceptable.

The best advice that can be made is for both the doctor and the patient to examine available evidence for many supplements, be it coconut oil, ampalaya and the like. No good-thinking doctor will prescribe any new drug without adequate information about its effectiveness and safety. Why should it be different for supplements? Any substance, whether a drug or a supplement, can have good or bad effects once it enters our body. The pro-verbial “take it with a grain of salt” stance won’t hurt. Deciding whether to take any supplement should be made with a good grasp of its benefits as well as potential side-effects. Inform your doctor if you are planning to take any supplement. You and your doctor can work out an INFORMED CHOICE.

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