Today I have the privilege of interviewing one of the true experts in the natural health field. Dr. Bruce Fife is a certified nutritionist, naturopathic physician, author, and well-known speaker and lecturer. He has written over 20 best-selling books and travels the world speaking at various conferences and health fairs. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and will be appearing on FOX NEWS on June 7th, speaking about the health benefits of oil pulling. He is also founder and president of the Coconut Research Center in Colorado, a non-for-profit organization designed to educate the public and medical industry on the incredible benefits of coconut, palm oil and other related health topics. When it comes to the health benefits of coconut oil and palm oil, this man definitely knows what he's talking about. We suggest you pay careful attention to what Bruce has to say... he's one of the best in the business!
So... on with the interview!
1. Hi Bruce, and a very warm welcome to lifesavinghealth.org. We are extremely delighted to have you here with us today and appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. To begin with Bruce, would you mind telling our readers who may not be familiar with you a bit about yourself and what made you decide to become a naturopathic doctor all those years ago?
I became a naturopath because I knew drug therapy doesn’t work. Drugs only mask the problem, they don’t solve it. Natural therapies have the potential to not only bring relief but often a complete cure to many health problems and without the adverse side effects associated with drugs, surgery, and other invasive medical treatments. Over the past fifteen years or so I have focused a great deal of my time in studying the effects diet, and particularly fats, have on our health. In my research I’ve discovered that many of the things we’ve been taught about diet and health are wrong. One of those is the mistaken belief that saturated fats are bad. When I studied the medical literature, I learned that saturated fats were not the evil monsters they were made out to be and that some, like coconut oil, have tremendous health properties. As a result of this research, I’ve written over 20 books, many of them on the health and medicinal benefits of using coconuts and coconut oil. I currently serve as the director of the Coconut Research Center, which provides a source of scientific based information on the health and nutritional aspects of coconut and related products.
2. That leads me into my next question because your coconutresearchcenter website is absolutely amazing. There’s lots of really good information on there about coconut oil and palm oil and their amazing health benefits. So can you tell us a bit about this website and your reason behind starting it?
The Internet has a lot of information both pro and con about coconut, much of it is misleading and some of it down right wrong. My website serves as a resource for reliable scientific information about coconut products. It includes many easy-to-read, as well as more technical, articles on various aspects of coconut and palm oils and fats and oils in general. It has nutritional information derived from FDA databases and a very extensive research section listing links to hundreds of medical studies. There is a listing of relevant books, informational videos, and a free newsletter. New information is constantly being added to the site, especially in the news briefs section where recent articles and videos are posted. The website is devoted completely to education, there is no selling or marketing, and no annoying pop-ups or banners.
3. Bruce, you wrote your first book on the benefits of coconut oil back in 2000, and I have to say, you were definitely a pioneer. There were no decent books on the benefits of coconut oil back then and the medical profession were still telling us to avoid it like the plague or we’d die of heart disease! So has the medical professions perception of coconut oil changed today compared to back then, and if so how?
When I first published “The Coconut Oil Miracle” in 2000 nobody, except a few researchers, really knew anything about the incredible health benefits associated with coconut oil. I knew that the book would face a heavy amount of criticism and scepticism, so I made sure to back up every statement and every health claim with references to published medical studies, historical facts, and personal experiences. Acceptance of the book was tough at first, especially from medical professionals who were taught to view all saturated fats as bad. However, if I could get them to actually read the book and see the evidence, they would usually come around. Many doctors also began to open up to the possibility that coconut oil might not be as bad as perceived as patients with chronic health problems were reporting phenomenal results using the oil. Consequently, more and more doctors are viewing coconut oil differently than they were a decade ago.
4. Your book “Stop Alzheimer’s Now!” has drawn some excellent praise from experts such as Dr. Russell Blaylock (who also wrote the foreword for the book) and it even won a silver medal at the Nautilus Book Awards. So can you tell us a bit about the book and even your thoughts on what you think is the real problem and cause of Alzheimer’s disease is?
There have been some exciting new developments in Alzheimer’s research recently. Alzheimer’s has now been determined to be a form of diabetes. Doctors are calling it type 3 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which is by far the most common form of the disease, is characterized by insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that transports glucose into our cells. When a person becomes insulin resistant, insulin is unable to properly transport glucose, as a consequence, the cells begin to starve, degenerate, and die. This is what leads to many of the complications associated with diabetes such as atherosclerosis, blindness, and kidney failure. In Alzheimer’s disease, the brain has become insulin resistant. The brain cells are unable to absorb a sufficient amount of glucose, as a consequence, they begin to starve, degenerate, and die. The result is dementia.
Coconut oil is composed of a unique type of fat known as medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). When ingested, a significant portion of these fatty acids are transformed into another form of fuel known as ketones. Unlike glucose, ketones do not rely on insulin to enter the cells and be converted into energy. Therefore, they are not affected by insulin resistance. Ketones are readily absorbed by the brain to supply the energy the brain needs to function and survive.
A person can easily eat enough coconut oil to produce therapeutic levels of ketones in their bloodstream that can feed the brain throughout the day. Coconut ketone therapy has the potential to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s, reverse it, and in some cases completely eliminate the disease.
The medical research on coconut oil derived ketone therapy is remarkable. In one study for example, Alzheimer’s patients were split into two groups. Each group was given a beverage to drink. The beverage given to one group contained MCFAs from coconut oil, the other beverage contained the types of fatty acids ordinarily found in the diet. Ninety minutes later the investigators had the patients take cognitive and memory tests. The results showed that those patients that consumed the beverage with MCFAs scored significantly higher on the tests.
This study was remarkable for three primary reasons. First, it demonstrated that MCFAs do have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s patients. This is incredible because no drug currently in use has shown a positive effect like this. The very best Alzheimer’s drugs can do is to slightly slow down the progression of the disease. None have ever been able to stop it or even produce any improvement. MCFAs showed actual improvement.
Second, the results of the MCFAs were seen almost immediately: just ninety minutes after taking the drink the patients shown measurable improvement on test scores.
Third, the improvement was seen after only one dose of MCFAs. The patients didn’t need to take hundreds of doses of a drug for months at a time to see any benefit, the benefit was measureable after a single dose. There is no drug on the market that can come close to matching the effects Alzheimer’s patients get from coconut oil.
Wow, that's really incredible!
5. Okay Dr. Fife, turning our attention to palm oil, you talk a lot about the health benefits of palm oil, of which there are many, but we know that there is a lot of controversy over the use of this oil because countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia are tearing down their rainforests (at the astonishing rate of 300 soccer fields every hour) to make way for palm oil plantations. The effect this is having on their native wildlife is truly catastrophic. So what are your thoughts on this and how can we stop it from happening?
I would like to point out that palm oil is completely different from coconut oil. The chemical composition of the two oils is very different. They are both good and healthy, but they come from different trees.
The publicity surrounding the destruction of rain forests to plant palm is way overblown. There has been some abuse in the past, but governments have now put in place laws that have stopped most of this. There may still be some isolated cases of abuse, but the vast majority of palm oil you buy at the store is produced in a sustainable environmentally friendly fashion.
Palm oil is actually one of the most environmentally friendly products on the planet. Unlike most other crops that produce once a year, oil palms produce fruit year round, so it is always in season. This allows for a high yield of fruit on comparatively little acreage. For this reason, the oil palm produces more oil per acre than any other vegetable source. For example, in one year on 1 acre of land a farmer can produce 18 gallons of corn oil, or 35 gallons of cottonseed oil, or 48 gallons of soybean oil. However, on the same amount of land he can produce 635 gallons of palm oil! In terms of land use, you would need to plant 13 acres of soy or 35 acres of corn to produce an equal amount of oil from just 1 acre of palm.
Soybean cultivation requires 13 times more land to produce the same amount of oil. Corn requires 35 times as much land. And this land is stripped of all other vegetation, and continually plowed and replowed, and poisoned with pesticides. On the other hand, oil palms are planted once and then the land is allowed to return mostly to its natural state without harming the environment. After oil palms reach maturity they are commercially productive for at least a quarter of a century. That means that once the trees are planted, the soil remains essentially undisturbed for decades. Unlike soy and other crops, were the ground is dug up and recultivated every year, year after year. The soil in a palm plantation remains essentially undisturbed. Native grasses and foliage are allowed to repopulate the space between trees. Much of the natural habitat returns. An oil palm plantation becomes a forest, filled with vegetation and wildlife. Since the ground is continually covered with trees and growth, the soil is not eroded, maintaining the integrity of the environment from the tiniest soil organisms to the largest land animals. So a palm plantation blends into the environment without causing untold disruption.
In addition, there are no Ready-Roundup palms. Soy, corn, rapeseed (canola), and other crops are genetically engineered to withstand heavy and repeated doses of Ready-Roundup pesticide use, which is destroying our environment and our health. Oil palms are not genetically engineered to resist pesticides, so the food made from these palms are safe to us and the environment.
Palm production also helps protect against global warming. Total area globally devoted to oil palm production is 9.16 million hectares. Total land area under soybean cultivation is 92.54 million hectares, more than ten times that of oil palm, yet oil palm releases nearly ten times more oxygen into the atmosphere and absorbs nearly ten times more carbon dioxide (a major contributor to global warming). When you look at the facts, you see that soy and other oil seed crops cause far more environmental harm than palm.
6. I have to talk about your tremendous weight loss book “The Coconut Ketogenic Diet”. I’ve been involved in the health and fitness industry for nearly 30 years now and I remember when the whole “all fats are bad for you” talk first started. As personal trainers we started to encourage our clients to cut the fat from their diets to lose weight but it was exactly like you say in the book, they actually started to gain weight and their energy levels plummeted! So what advice would you give to someone who is currently struggling to lose weight? Is eating more fat instead of less really the answer?
Adding fat into your diet can be the key to your weight loss success. Low-fat dieting actually causes weight gain and is one of the reasons for our current obesity epidemic. You can lose weight on these diets temporarily, but in the long run you end up gaining all your weight back, and then some. In fact, studies show that 95 percent of those people who go on low-fat diets eventually regain all their weight. That’s a 95 percent failure rate! It should be obvious that what we’ve been doing isn’t working. When you go on a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet your body interprets this as a famine. In order to prevent starvation, it slows down metabolism to conserve energy. During a famine when food is scarce, this process helps sustain life until food becomes more abundant. However, when dieting, a reduction of metabolism means your weight loss will stop unless you continue to cut out more calories. But the more calories you cut, the lower your metabolism falls. This is why people can eat a little as 800 calories a day and not lose any weight. When you do start taking in more calories, your metabolism is still depressed and these extra calories are immediately converted to fat and stored. It takes weeks for the body to realize that the diet (famine) is over and for your metabolism to rebound. By this time, you’ve regained all your weight and a few extra pounds for good measure. This process is called diet-induced obesity.
When you eat an adequate amount of fat and cut calories, the body does not recognize it as a famine, but as a choice. Consequently, metabolism remains elevated. You end up burning off more calories and loosing more weight. Fat also satisfies hunger so that you don’t feel like you are starving. You feel satisfied. In fact, with an adequate amount of fat, you don’t get hungry even when you cut down on total calorie intake. Your metabolism and energy levels remain elevated. You feel a lot better and get better results. My coconut ketogenic book explains all this in much more detail.
7. Bruce there’s been a lot of information come out recently about AIDS sufferers using coconut oil and the incredible benefits many have received. But you’ve known this for quite a while now. So when did you first discover the benefits of coconut oil for treating AIDS and how does it actually work on the virus?
One of the most extensively-researched aspects about coconut oil is the antimicrobial effects of MCFAs. Numerous studies have shown that MCFAs from coconut oil can kill a large variety of disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In the 1990s researchers discovered that MCFAs killed the AIDS virus on contact. A clinical trial conducted in 1999 demonstrated that taking as little as 3½ tablespoons of coconut oil daily had a dramatic effect in reducing the symptoms associated with HIV. As a result of these studies, many HIV infected individuals began adding coconut products into their treatment protocols with good success. I wrote about this in my book published in 2000.
In 2004 I was invited to speak at a coconut conference. One of the other speakers was a man who successfully used coconut oil therapy to overcome AIDS. Just 9 months earlier he was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS and was told he had only a few months to live. He had multiple secondary infections including pneumonia, chronic fatigue, thrush, and a horrible skin infection that covered his entire body. A doctor, familiar with coconut oil, told him to consume 6 tablespoons of coconut oil daily. When I met him 9 months after he started the program, all of his secondary infections had cleared up, his energy levels were back to normal and his skin was free from infection. You couldn’t tell by looking at him that just a few months earlier he was literally on his death bed dying from AIDS. It has now been 10 years and he is still alive and doing fine.
8. Dr. Fife, after many years of practising in the natural health field and the thousands of people you’ve been able to help, I have to ask you, is there one particular patient or healing that really sticks in your mind? Is there a recovery that maybe even surprized you?
I’ve seen a number of remarkable recoveries. One lady who had been very physically active most of her life developed crippling arthritis which caused her to give up her career as a firefighter and her passion for running and mountain climbing. Her feet, knees, and back were in constant pain. She could not walk more than 100 meters or go up a single flight of stairs without experiencing excruciating pain that would nearly disable her. She underwent four back surgeries and a partial spinal fusion. Her doctor recommended she have a fifth surgery and another spinal fusion. She suffered with this for ten years until she read my book “The New Arthritis Cure,” which explains how to use coconut oil, diet, and oil pulling to cure arthritis. Within weeks all of her pain was gone, she no longer needed back surgery, and soon resumed her active lifestyle, including running and rock climbing.
Another story just as remarkable was a man who picked up a fungal infection. The infection spread throughout his body affecting his heart, liver, and brain. He was in intensive care in the hospital for weeks before they were able to get the infection under control. However, during this time the infection had eaten away much of his brain and he was left severely demented. His brain was so far gone that he could not speak well enough to communicate. His words were just senseless babblings. The doctor told his wife the condition was permanent and advised her to put him in a care facility. She couldn’t do that and brought him home. While looking for some help online she discovered that coconut oil had helped others with dementia. So she started to put coconut oil in his food. Within 3 hours after his first dose, he was speaking in full understandable sentences. She was dumfounded. She continued to give him coconut oil daily and after just 2 months, cognitive tests showed that he had regained 95 percent of his pre-illness mental function. He was essentially cured from a disease that the doctor said was incurable.
9. I love you’re newest book “Coconut Therapy for Pets”, by the way, and I think it’s very timely. Unfortunately, veterinary medicine has now gone the way of human medicine and is just a money making machine for the pharmaceutical industry. It really has become so expensive now and even just taking your pet to the vet for a routine check-up can cost you a small fortune! So is this part of the reason why you wrote the book? I mean, feeding your pet a bit of coconut oil every day is not only a better alternative to feeding them pharmaceuticals, it’s also a darn sight cheaper as well!
You’re correct. Medical costs for our pets can run into thousands of dollars. There is a better option. Believe it or not, but coconut oil can replace dozens of common pet care products, do a much better job, and cost only a fraction of the amount. Everything that coconut oil does for humans it can do for pets. It can help prevent and treat a variety of infections, including persistent skin and ear infections. I’ve seen and heard remarkable successes for a variety of conditions ranging from eye infections to diabetes. The oil improves the overall health and appearance of animals, making their coats shine with a healthier luster. It can rid them of intestinal parasites as well as protect them from fleas and ticks. Coconut improves oral health and banished doggy breath and musty body odor. Dogs, cats, and other pets generally love the taste of coconut and will happily lick coconut oil off the spoon.
10. Well Bruce, I promised you no more than 10 questions (even though I have more) so this is going to be my last one. But before I give it to you I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for speaking with us and sharing your valuable knowledge. I would also like to encourage all of our readers and followers to check out Bruce’s website coconutresearchcenter.org, and if possible, make a donation to this outstanding cause. If you would like to purchase any of Bruce’s books, you can go to piccadillybooks.com.
So for my last question Bruce I would like to ask you what your plans are for the next few years. Are there any new books on the horizon? Are you planning on continuing to go out there and “spread the good word” or are you maybe planning on slowing down and taking some time out?
I can’t slow down, especially now as interest in coconut seems to be picking up. Research on coconut is also gaining momentum as coconut oil is becoming more accepted for its health promoting properties. It will be fascinating to see what new discoveries will be made over the next few years. Currently I am working on five new books. All of them involve coconut to some extent. The more I study, the more new uses for coconut oil I find. After I finish writing these five books I’ll probably start writing five more!
Well, we can't wait to read them Bruce! Thanks again.