Thursday, November 3, 2005

VCO as bird flu remedy?

News flash.

If coconut oil proved effective for HIV-AIDS cases, it might also be good as a H5N1 (bird flu) remedy. Studies must now be made on the oil’s efficacy against this new disease that threatens to become a worldwide epidemic.

This urgent proposal came from Dr. Conrado S. Dayrit who helped make virgin coconut oil (VCO) a popular dietary supplement and medicine here and abroad and helped remove it from the ``bad oil’’ list.

Dayrit, hale and active at 86, is a known pharmacologist, cardiologist, internist, science researcher author and University of the Philippines professor emeritus. He was former president of the National Academy of Science of Technology, the highest scientific body in the country.

The team Dayrit directed in the early 1990s proved that HIV-AIDS cases responded to coconut oil. The highly promising results are now the bases for continued trials meant to alleviate the suffering of millions HIV-AIDS patients countries especially those in Africa.

Dayrit outlined his proposal and rationale in his Oct. 24 letter personally delivered to the office of health secretary Francisco Duque III.

Dayrit’s proposal was for ``Southeast Asian countries affected by H5N1 (bird flu) to conduct clinical, animal and viral studies on the effectiveness of coconut oil (either RBD copra oil or virgin coconut oil) which the Philippines can supply.’’

RBD refers to the refined, bleached and deodorized oil used for cooking. VCO is the result of the cold-press method that uses either no heat or little heat for moisture removal.

Dayrit’s proposed studies which, he said ``we cannot do in the Philippines as we have neither the virus not the patient’’ is as follows:

• Protocol I – Laboratory test: H5N1 cell cultures treated with a range of concentration of (a) RBD or copra derived oil (ex. Minola brand) (b) virgin coconut oil (Oleum brand)

• Protocol II – On infected birds (chickens, geese, ducks). Add coconut oil to their feed and drinking water and monitor any beneficial effects

• Protocol III A – On patients with H5N1 virus. Administer VCO in doses of 30 ml every 8 hours or 3 times a day as sole antiviral agent (monotherapy). In case of availability of Tamiflu (oseltamivir), patient’s consent and choice will have to be considered

• Protocol III B – Patients with H5N1 infections. Duotheraphy with Tamiflu and VCO.

Dayrit’s rationale: ``Coconut oil fatty acids are predominantly (67-72%) medium chain (MC) saturated, not long-chain saturated. MC fats (C8, C10, C12) have been shown by Kabara and others to kill enveloped lipid-coated viruses, gram positive bacteria, fungi and some protozoa with lauric acid (C12) being most active. C14 myristic acid has additional activity.

``These four fatty acids working in synergistic natural combination are present in coconut oil, not as free acids but as glyceride esters. While triglycerides and diglycerides are inactive, their monoglycerides are strongly antimicrobiologically more active than their free fatty acids.’’

Dayrit is the author of the fast-selling book ``The Truth About Coconut Oil: The Drugstore in a Bottle’’. He also wrote a book on the history of Philippine medicine and is preparing a book on pharmacology for rational drug use.

Dayrit reminded Duque that he directed a team in treating 14 HIV-AIDS cases in San Lazaro Hospital with coconut oil. Their study later proved that coconut oil could lower viral count and raise CD4 lymphocytes as effectively as monolaurin (monoglyceride of lauric acid).

``Minola brand was the oil we used then,’’ Dayrit told the Inquirer, ``as there was no VCO yet.
Therefore coconut oil is anti-viral as is, Dayrit stressed in his letter, and this explains why there are now so many testimonials of colds and flu being put under control by those taking VCO.

``VCO might even be more effective than RBD copra-derived Minola or Baguio oil,’’ Dayrit added. ``Since H5N1 is a flu virus and lipid coated, it very likely will be also susceptive to CO viricidal action.’’

Dayrit added: ``The Philippines has very few HIV-AIDS cases, as you well know, and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) never took off here although we had some SARS patients traveling around on their return (from work abroad). Could this resistance be due to our CO consumption?’’

Dayrit listed reasons why CO should be considered. CO is a food and has no known side effects or toxicity level. Peoples of South Pacific have been regularly taking more than 50-60 percent of caloric intake as coconut fat and have no widespread heart disease or toxic symptoms.

There have been no reports of developing resistance to the cidal effects of CO.

Lastly, Tamiflu itself is untested for its effectivity against H5N1 and for adverse reactions.

Dayrit knows Duque personally. Duque succeeded Dayrit’s son Dr. Manuel Dayrit, as health secretary. The former secretary, known for his efforts to stop the spread of SARS in the Philippines, is now with the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Dayrit added in his letter to Duque that he has talked to his son about a WHO endorsement. The younger Dayrit suggested an ethics committee approval from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The bird flu virus has reportedly infected 118 people in Asia, of whom 61 have died. Cases in Europe have been reported. The virus could spread fast via migratory birds. Millions could die if the virus spreads, world health experts said. Health officials from 30 countries recently met in Canada to prepare and coordinate efforts.

Why don’t we give this a try?