Can Coconut Oil Help Reduce How Often You Have Seizures?

Seizures are known as an electrical interruption that takes place in the brain, as per the Mayo Clinic. Although the event occurs internally, seizures can be identified externally through certain behaviors, such as uncoordinated and uncontrolled movement of different body extremities, loss of consciousness, an absent look in the eyes, and disorientation. The person going through the seizure may also have an internal emotional experience that can include fear or anxiety. 

While there are many different causes and types of seizures, most last anywhere from half a minute to two minutes, with events longer than five minutes requiring immediate medical attention. When seizures take place more than twice in a 24-hour period over a prolonged period of time, they are classified as the medical condition, epilepsy.

There are a variety of treatment methods and ways to control the frequency and severity of seizures in those suffering from epilepsy. The experts at the Cleveland Clinic specify that around 70% of cases are responsive to such treatment protocols, although there are currently no ways to fully prevent the onset of a seizure. Treatment options include medication, specific diets, surgery, or a combination of any of the three. When it comes to diet, experts have found that low-carb and high-fat regimens, such as the Atkins or more general ketogenic diets, have a positive effect on seizure frequency. Within these diets, coconut oil, in particular, has been studied for its ability to reduce the number of seizures experienced by those with epilepsy (via Healthline).

Coconut oil increases blood ketone levels

The reason high-fat and low-carb diets are recommended for those looking to reduce the frequency of their seizures is because of a process known as ketosis, which occurs when the body switches from using glucose for fuel to fat, as per the Epilepsy Foundation. Research has shown that the body's use of fat as fuel (in a form known as ketones) is an effective way to control seizure frequency. A 2021 article published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition explained that the reason for this can be contributed to the fact that neurons in the brain typically depend on glucose to fuel their activity. It can be theorized, then, that reducing the amount of glucose available to neurons can prevent the electrical disturbances characteristic of epilepsy.

Coconut oil can be a crucial component of a ketogenic diet due to its high-fat content. In fact, Healthline points out that the oil is 100% fat and won't contribute in any way to the daily carbohydrate limit. When consumed in conjunction with other high-fat, low-carb foods, coconut oil can help the body stay in ketosis and continue to fuel the brain with ketones instead of glucose. 

Additionally, a 2020 study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition noted that coconut oil contains a significant amount of medium-chain-triglycerides (MCT), which have ketogenic properties when processed by the liver. This can directly increase the ketone levels in the blood more so than other high-fat foods that don't contain MCTs.