A Philippine study has confirmed that meals mixed with Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) could reduce COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, colds, body aches, headache, loss of taste and smell, and fever, thus, possibly preventing the progression or severity of the disease.
DOST released on December 3, 2020, the findings of the joint study of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) CALABARZON, City of Santa Rosa, Laguna, and the Ateneo de Manila University used VCO as a supplement treatment for probable and suspect cases of COVID-19.
The research study team comprised of Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, Mario V. Capanzana, Jacus S. Nacis, Carl Vincent D. Cabanilla, Fabian Antonio M. Dayrit, and Jaime Montoya evaluated the effects of virgin coconut oil given to suspect and probable cases of COVID-19 quarantined in a facility or hospital.
Dr. Dayrit of the Ateneo had previously published his study on the potential of coconut oil as an anti-viral treatment.
Investigators randomly assigned the volunteers into either the Intervention or VCO Group or the Control Group.
The Santa Rosa Community Quarantine Facility and at the Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Santa Rosa City, Laguna were the study sites.
There were 57 suspect and probable COVID-19 patients who participated and underwent the 28-day intervention period.
The study excluded suspect or probable cases who have a history of heart ailment and those taking medications for heart disease, those with high cholesterol levels, pregnant, and those who are asymptomatic to COVID-19.
Participants in the Intervention or VCO Group were given standardized meals mixed with VCO developed by DOST-FNRI.
The Control Group also received the usual standardized meals but without VCO.
Meals were cooked by a contracted catering service in the area, while the precise amount of VCO was mixed on-site by Registered Nutritionist-Dietitians hired for the study.
Meals were served free of charge and delivered in the quarantine facilities during the participants’ confinement, and later at their respective homes after being already discharged.
There were 29 cases who were in the VCO Group and 28 in the Control Group.
An initial dose of 0.6 milliliters of VCO per kilogram of body weight was mixed with the standard breakfast meals of the VCO Group on the first three days of the trial.
The dose was increased to 1.2 milliliters of VCO per kilogram of body weight mixed with the standard breakfast and lunch of the VCO Group from Day 4 to 28.
Study participants in the VCO Group with reported VCO intolerance were given computed amounts of VCO per kilogram of body weight in their standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals.
Symptoms, like cough, colds, body aches, headache, loss of taste and smell, and fever were monitored daily for 28 days.
Immediate effects of the VCO intervention were observed among five of the 29 patients in the VCO Group who experienced decreasing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as early as Day 2, while only 1 patient from the Control Group showed similar improvement.
Moreover, the VCO group experienced no more symptoms on Day 18, while the Control Group exhibited no symptoms only on Day 23.
The diminishing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in the VCO Group were supported by the decreasing levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) of the participants.
The CRP is a quantitative marker used in monitoring inflammation or infections.
Normalization of CRP levels correlates with recovery from infection using the cut-off of fewer than 5 milligrams per liter (mg/L) which indicates no infections or inflammations.
Mean CRP levels of the VCO Group normalized to 5 milligrams per liter or less as early as Day 14 and continuously decreased until Day 18
Normalization of CRP levels in the Control Group was also evident from Day 1 to Day 14, but this remained at the borderline of 5 milligrams per liter from Day 14 until the end of the intervention.
This study is a promising initiative in exploring locally-available and easily-accessible food supplements that might help in the management of COVID-19.
“More studies are recommended to determine the effectiveness of VCO as an adjunct or supportive therapy for COVID-19 patients with other co-morbidities”, says study leader and Scientist II Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa of DOST-FNRI.
The VCO used in the study was strictly analyzed by the Laboratory Services Division of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to ensure product quality and compliance with Philippine National Standard (PNS).
The PCA requests VCO producers to have their VCO samples analyzed by PCA prior to promotion and marketing.
Currently, PCA is planning to develop the protocol in establishing the seal of quality for VCO.
For more information on the VCO study and other food and nutrition concerns, contact: Dr. Milflor S. Gonzales, Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Director, Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City;
The VCO study in the Philippines was conducted as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the medical and scientific community into the research and development of interventions and solutions in preventing, managing, and possibly eradicating the persistent virus that has been causing havoc on socio-economic progress, as well as the health and nutritional condition of the population.
RELATED VCO STUDIES
The DOST team had earlier released test results confirming that Virgin Coconut Oil is an effective anti-viral agent against COVID-19.
Philippine Virgin Coconut Oil as a treatment for COVID-19 patients have also been undergoing clinical trials at the UP-PGH.
In a private study, Virgin Coconut Oil was also confirmed to help doctors stay healthy.
SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the research teams behind the Philippine study to use VCO as Covid treatment!
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