PETALING JAYA: Increasing demand for virgin coconut oil (VCO) as a health supplement and “cure” for Alzheimer’s disease has helped to revive the local coconut industry.
Local manufacturers and distributors said that while there had always been a sizeable local market for the product, recent YouTube videos depicting the oil’s use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases had increased its popularity.
The general manager of Orifera, a Malaysian company offering such products, Aaron Lim said it had received feedback from pharmacies that customers learned about the oil’s benefits through online videos.
Virgin coconut oil comes from freshly-harvested coconuts, unlike traditional coconut oil extracted from processed coconut.
The oil has been identified by the Government as a growth area for the local coconut industry, which is the fourth important industrial crop after oil palm, rubber and rice.
The “miracle oil” – as it is called in the United States – is said to be helpful for skin and hair aging, healthy metabolism, digestive and neurological systems, menopause and estrogen issues, diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension and the body’s immune system.
American physician Dr Bruce Fife, dubbed “Dr Coconut” for his research on coconut oil properties, had last year claimed in his book Stop Alzheimer’s Now that VCO was a possible cure for the disease and other neurological conditions.
However, doctors do not advise their patients to rely solely on VCO.
“Patients should not go overboard. VCO’s market price will increase with demand and people should not assume that the costlier a product is, the higher the chances of it to work wonders,” said Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s head of general medicine Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai.
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