The following article appeared in Healthy Ways Newsletter
E-Mail Edition Volume 9 Number 2
Published Spring, 2012
Published by Piccadilly Books, Ltd., www.piccadillybooks.com.
Bruce Fife, N.D., Publisher, www.coconutresearchcenter.org
Autism Reversed with Virgin Coconut Oil
By Rosemarie P. Rosales
Autism is a developmental disability that affects how the brain functions, especially in those areas of the brain that control social ability and communication skills. Boys are most likely to develop autism, and most children are diagnosed before the age of three.
My name is Rosemarie Rosales. I live in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines. My son Homer Ponce Rosales was diagnosed March 13, 2002 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He was one week away from his fourth birthday. My primary concern at that time was his speech delay.
Imagine, he was almost fours years old but I had yet to hear him call me Mama (the sweetest word a mother hears from her child). His hyperactivity bothered me greatly. He was so hyperactive that as soon as he stepped out of the house he wouldn’t come back because he didn’t know how to get home. He goes into our neighbors’ homes without their permission and destroys their belongings—computers, vases, TV, stereo, etc. He would enter people’s homes unnoticed. The owners would open a door and be shocked to find him all alone in their homes.
He had no fear of danger. He never indicated if or when he was hungry. He never played with other kids and usually harmed them by throwing stones at them or striking them with hard objects. He was so destructive in church, restaurants, and stores that we rarely took him to public places. Oh my, what kind of a child I have!
Despite behavioral therapy, Homer showed little progress. Then God guided me to PRIME Center Foundation. Mr. Roni Romeo Ocubillo, the founder of this special school introduced me to a gluten-free and casein-free diet. His approach was supported by studies that demonstrated that
- certain foods seem to affect the developing brains of some children with autism.
- This is not because of allergens but because many of these children are unable to properly break down certain proteins.
Researchers in England, Norway, and the USA have found peptides (breakdown products of proteins) with opiate activity in the urine of a large percentage of autistic children. Opiates have drug-like effects that alter brain function.
The two main offenders seem to be gluten (a protein found in wheat, oats, rye, and barley) and casein (milk protein). Some researchers believe that in certain children, these foods have a drug-like effect on their brains causing autistic behavior.
He told me that autism seems to be an immune system dysfunction. Leaky gut syndrome also appears to be involved. The leaky gut permits undigested proteins from gluten and casein to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. The bloodstream then transports them into the brain where they disrupt normal brain function.
Candida and other yeasts live in our bodies in small amounts. It is believed that in individuals with improperly functioning immune systems, candida could flourish, damaging the intestinal wall leading to leaky gut syndrome.
Some of the symptoms of candida overgrowth in children include sugar cravings, headaches, hyperactivity, and behavior and learning problems. So candida also may, in part, be responsible for autistic behavior. Many parents of children with ADD or ADHD, as well as those with autism, report that treatment for candida does in fact improve their children’s behavior and concentration. Nystatin, an antifungal drug used to fight candida, is recommended to all the autistic children enrolled in the PRIME program.
At the age of four, Homer began his special school and his new diet. We eliminated all foods containing gluten and casein. Many of my son’s favorite foods such as spaghetti, oatmeal, and milk were now off limits. Nystatin was given to him to control candida and aid in building a healthy digestive tract. The program seemed be working. His hyperactivity lessened, he could focus more, and could talk a little with some sense. When I ask, “What are you doing Homer?” He could answer “Safeguard, wash.”
After following the gluten-free and casein-free diet for almost 10 months, I felt my son was on his way to lasting improvement. His behavior improved, he became more manageable, he began to socialize with other kids, could read and write a little, and talk a little. I was really very happy and satisfied with his progress.
To our dismay, we got another blow when Homer came down with pneumonia. He was confined at the hospital and advised to rest. He was absent from his therapy for a full month. During his stay at the hospital the nurses and doctors had a hard time putting in his IV. He was very strong. It literally took hours to attach the IV. When he felt the pain, instead of calling “Mama,” he shouted: “Help Barney! Mickey Mouse help! Superman, Batman!” My goodness…what a child I have! He wouldn’t take his medicines orally because he didn’t like the taste. It was a struggle for me at the hospital taking care of him. He got his medicines, mostly antibiotics, through his IV. He didn’t like to eat. He was asking for his spaghetti, wanted to drink milk and other foods prohibited on his therapy diet. He wasn’t eating properly. I was worried about his ability to fight off the infection. I called PRIME and asked permission to allow Homer to eat the foods he liked for the sake of his health.
When he went back to his school, all of the staff, including Mr. Ocubillo the foundation’s director, were disappointed and frustrated with his behavior. He was back to zero. His autism was so prevalent again! He was very hyperactive again. We had to start all over. Mr. Ocubillo told me that it was due to the antibiotics while he was hospitalized. The antibiotics not only killed the bacteria that caused his pneumonia but also the good intestinal bacteria, which help keep candida under control. I was so depressed with this regression, I don’t remember how many times I cried. But still, I didn’t lose hope. I prayed hard to God for His guidance. I have a strong faith that God has His purpose for giving me this special child.
My prayers were answered and the answer came from an unlikely source—virgin coconut oil. I had heard how coconut oil could be used to strengthen the immune system, prevent illness, and improve health.
I began to take it daily by the spoonful as a dietary supplement. I observed that my overall health improved, including my asthma. I thought it might help Homer by building up his immune system. He didn’t want to take the oil and it took awhile to get him to take his first spoonful. I continued to give it to him every day and sometimes three times a day. After two months, I noticed a dramatic improvement in his behavior and especially in his speech. Up until then, he had only been able to understand and speak a little in English. Now, not only was his English improving, but for the first time he was beginning to speak in Cebuano—our native dialect.
Autistic children often never learn to speak and when they do, they have limited communication skills. Homer was learning to speak two languages!
Homer is now 7 years old. Autistic characteristics such as echolalia (a seemingly unconscious habit of repeating words or phrases spoken by others) and ritualistic behavior are gone. He can read very well and write clearly. He can tell stories and express his feelings and ideas and has plenty of friends. He asks permission when going to our neighbors’ houses and knows his way back home.
I shared my knowledge of coconut oil with Mr. Ocubillo at PRIME. At first, he was skeptical. So I gave him some articles to read. He was also given a copy of Dr. Bruce Fife’s book The Coconut Oil Miracle. In the book Dr. Fife describes, among other things, the antifungal properties of coconut oil. That’s when I realized that coconut oil killed the candida in my son’s intestines. Originally, my only purpose in giving Homer the oil was to improve his immune system. I never realized that his autism would be gone with the help of coconut oil. What an amazing miracle! Mr. Ocubillo researched coconut oil further and now all the children at the PRIME Center Foundation are taking virgin coconut oil daily. It has replaced the antifungal drug Nystatin formerly used.
This coming June, Homer will be attending regular classes at a private school. During the evaluation process the principal was impressed because Homer can read very well. He got a score of 61 out of 65 on the written exam. Thanks to coconut oil I can say “goodbye” to PRIME Center forever and say “welcome to the world of regular students!”
Update one and a half years later:
Homer is very talkative with a good vocabulary. He can speak what is on his mind. He has plenty of friends in school, neighborhood, and in our church. Homer is doing great in his regular school. He’s one of the top five students in the class. He has even joined the church choir.
Stop Autism Now by Dr. Bruce Fife
His behavior has changed remarkably. We now enjoy going to malls, parks, and restaurants. I no longer have to constantly keep a hold of him. When my hands are full when we go to the market, either he just trails me from behind or holds on to my clothes. He is now a typical child, very different from what he was three years ago. Sometimes, he surprises me. He hugs and kisses me for no apparent reason. The initiative comes from him. Affection is something I missed when he was younger.
I read the [above] story about Homer to my husband Jun. Homer was in the room playing with a game. When I read the words “Homer is autistic,” he spontaneously said, “I’m not autistic anymore!” He’s right, he not. Some parents especially those who first encounter Homer cannot believe that he was once a “special” child.
Homer is not on a special diet any more. He eats anything he wants, including his fair share of sweets and junk foods. However, he continues to take his coconut oil every day.
Lastly, I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to Dr. Bruce Fife for sharing with us this wonderful knowledge about the healing miracles of virgin coconut oil. God bless you and more power!
Dr. Fife’s Comments
Over the years a number of parents have reported that coconut oil has helped their special needs children overcome developmental disorders such as autism, ADHD, and epilepsy.
Rosemarie Rosales attributed the improvement she saw in Homer to coconut oil’s ability to rebalance the microbial environment in Homer’s digestive tract and heal damaged tissue.
Studies have shown that autistic children have a high population of bad microflora such as candida, E. coli, and Clostridium tetani (tetanus), and lower populations of good microflora than normal children. These bad microorganisms cause chronic inflammation and damage the intestinal wall, interfering with digestion and nutrient absorption. Coconut oil helps reestablish a healthy gastrointestinal environment by killing the bad bacteria, encouraging the growth of good bacteria, and stimulating the healing of the damaged intestinal lining.
Coconut oil, however, does far more than just heal the digestive tract, it can help rebalance the brain as well. The key is found in coconut ketones.
Ketones are energy producing molecules made from fats. Our bodies can make them from stored fat or from special fats known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil. Ketones are produced specifically by the body to feed the brain. Richard Veech, MD, a long time ketone researcher and senior scientist with the US National Institutes of Health describes ketones as “superfuel for the brain.” Ordinarily glucose powers our brain’s cells. However, when the brain is plagued with chronic inflammation, irritation, and immune over activation, as is seen in all autistic children, brain cells have difficulty processing glucose. The lack of sufficient fuel causes the brain to downshift into a lower rate of performance. Normal growth and development are stifled and learned skills may become lost as the brain’s cells are starved for energy and struggle for survival.
Ketones act as an alternative fuel to glucose—a much more potent and efficient fuel. When ketones are available, it is like putting high performance gasoline into the tank of your car. You get better gas mileage, higher performance, with less wear and tear on the engine and less pollution. Ketones bypass the defect in glucose metabolism and provide the brain with the energy it needs to function and develop properly.
Ketones not only supply a superior source of energy to the brain but trigger the activation of specialized proteins called brain derived neurotrophic factors that function in brain cell maintenance, repair, and protection.
They also stimulate the growth of new brain cells to take the place of dead or dying cells. This allows healing and repair to take place.
Ketones are ordinarily produced when blood glucose levels become low. Since glucose is the body’s primary source of energy, when glucose levels fall, the body starts mobilizing stored fat to produce ketones to maintain adequate energy levels.
Medical science has learned how to alter blood ketone levels by manipulating the diet. Ketogenic diets, which boost ketones to therapeutic levels, have been used successfully for decades for the treatment of other neurological disorders, most notably epilepsy. More recently they are being used to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Another way to elevate blood ketone levels to therapeutic levels is to consume a source of MCTs. There are very few dietary sources of MCTs. The richest dietary source by far comes from coconut oil. Coconut oil is composed predominately of MCTs. Eating coconut oil can raise blood ketones to levels that can have a pronounce effect on brain growth and development.
Feeding your child coconut oil or MCTs is not as strange as it might seem. MCTs are a normal and natural source of nutrition for infants and small children. Another source of MCTs is found in human breast milk. This isn’t some accident of nature, they are there for an important reason. They are essential for proper brain development. In fact, MCT-derived ketones provide the basic building blocks for new brain tissue. They are required to build baby’s brains as well as provide needed energy. In fact, coconut oil or MCTs are added to all commercial and hospital infant formulas to assure proper brain growth and function.
Autism has long been considered an enigma to medical science. Most doctors have no clue what causes it or any idea how to prevent or treat it. The only medically recognized form of treatment is an attempt to teach affected children how to manage the disorder and live with it. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and stimulants are often prescribed to help cope with symptoms. No possibility of a cure is offered, as the condition is considered permanent—in other words “hopeless.”
Autism, however, is not a hopeless condition. It can be prevented and successfully treated without the use of drugs. The combination of coconut oil with a low-carb diet is proving to be very successful in stopping autism. The details of this new dietary approach are contained in my new book Stop Autism Now! A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Reversing Autism Spectrum Disorders. Finally, there is a hope for those with autism. ■