With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise not only in the Philippines but also across the globe, medical experts and pharmaceutical companies worldwide have been trying their best to find the right treatment or vaccine against the viral disease.

The country’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has already breached the 14,000th mark as of May 24, comprising of 9,918 active patients, 3,249 recoveries, and 868 deaths. Meanwhile, the total number of positive cases globally has already exceeded the 5.5 millionth mark, over 340,000 of which passed away.

Joining the global efforts in search of treatments against COVID-19, our very own Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced last month that it will conduct clinical studies on coconut oil, specifically virgin coconut oil (VCO), as a treatment for positive patients.

The DOST banks on the premise that coconut oil serves as antiviral and antibacterial after hydrolysis with the lipase enzyme. Coconut oil has antibacterial and antiviral compounds like monolaurin, monocaprin, and medium-chained fatty acids (MCFA) like capric acid, caprylic acid, and the powerful lauric acid. Sixty percent (60%) of coconut oil consists of MCFAs.

In the Acts of Magis: Ateneans at the Forefront of a Pandemic webinar, Dr. Fabian Dayrit, RCh., professor emeritus of the Ateneo de Manila University and president of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, further discussed the antiviral properties of coconut oil and its derivatives.

Dayrit’s presentation showed that coconut oil derivatives can destroy viruses by, first, disintegrating the protective lipid membrane of the virus, and, second, inhibiting the growth or maturation of the virus, and spread of the virus inside a host.

Many previous studies show that coconut oil derivatives can destroy the outer layer of enveloped DNA or RNA viruses like herpes simplex, junin, and vesicular stomatitis virus.

Dr. Bruce Fife, certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician, and author of the book “The Coconut Oil Miracle,” extends the list of viruses destroyed by coconut oil’s MCFAs to influenza, measles, mononucleosis, hepatitis C, and AIDS virus.    

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena said that his agency has partnered with the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to perform community- and hospital-based studies on the antiviral properties of VCO.

VCO as a preventive measure

While people still await the findings of the DOST and its partners, some players in the coconut oil industry, like Team Asia Corporation, have conducted their own study on the benefits of VCO. Together with Tropicana Food Products, the company has been in the business since 1975 and known for brands Cocoking and Supercoco. 

Beginning on April 22, the company’s study focused on physicians, nurses, and other medical practitioners who currently work at the frontline to combat COVID-19 in the country. The study applied VCO as an additional protection and immunity booster.

Twenty (20) participants in the study used VCO as a supplement and a nasal spray. As a supplement, participants have to take one to two tablespoons of VCO daily or every two days. Meanwhile, as a nasal spray, participants have to spray VCO per nostril each day.

After two weeks of trial, 95% of the participants believe that VCO products could be helpful as additional protection against COVID-19. Around 40% of the participants experienced desired effects like better sleep, improved bowel movement, and decreased allergic symptoms.

“I usually have throat pains that develop into cough and colds during that certain time of the month, a few days before menses,” said Dr. Mina de Guzman, Emergency Medicine, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC). “But this month I was asymptomatic, meaning the product boosted my immune system. I am happy and satisfied with the results of its effect on me that I already bought some for the rest of my family.” 

“I have been drinking VCO 1 tablespoon before but not regularly. But since this COVID thing started, I tried everything just to protect myself,” shared Dr. Elise Ortega, Emergency Medicine, San Juan de Dios Hospital. “I believe in the healthy benefits of VCO in our bodies. Plus, Cocoking VCO tastes good! I love the nasal spray because it really helped me with the throat pain with using masks and especially after NPS / OPS.”

“I believe in the health benefits of VCO,” said Dr. Norman Mendoza, ENT, The Medical City. “I have been taking VCO before but for some reason stopped it. Now that I have resumed taking it, I believe it will help in the proper setting of a very competent immune system to fight any infection, not just COVID-19. The addition of a nasal spray will definitely add that layer of protection for the place that needs it most, the nasal cavity. I will continue using both the oral and nasal forms of VCO treatment/supplementation.” 

While the official results of DOST’s studies and the world’s quest for a COVID-19 vaccine go on, coconut oil and its derivatives like VCO offer hope and supplement that could help in fighting not only COVID-19 but also other existing and emerging diseases. Coconut trees thrive in our country which gives us adequate resources to maximize their benefits. It seems that we can still discover the many more wonders of what we call “the tree of life.”

Source: Manila Bulletin

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