E-Mail Edition  Volume 13   Number 1

Published Winter, 2016

Published by Piccadilly Books, Ltd., www.piccadillybooks.com.

Bruce Fife, N.D., Publisher, www.coconutresearchcenter.org  

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  • Protect and Restore Your Vision with Coconut Oil

  • New Study Shows Low-Fat Diets Don’t Work 

  • Warning: Medicines Your Child Shouldn’t Take


coconut halves


Protect and Restore Your Vision with Coconut Oil

If you are concerned about losing your eyesight to diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or other age-related degenerative eye disorders, coconut oil may provide a solution for you.

Girl getting a vision exam.


Vivian was diagnosed with diabetes 20 years ago at the age of 58. "To be quite honest," says Vivian, "when I was first diagnosed I don’t really remember what I was told. I think I was so shocked to realize I was falling prey to diabetes, a disease I thought I would never get. I was always a healthy person&mdashnever sick." Today Vivian manages her condition with four injections a day: two of insulin and two of Byetta—a drug to help control blood sugar.

Ten years ago, she was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy—a degenerative eye disease brought on by her diabetes.  "I was not prepared for vision problems," says Vivian. "The doctor who first treated me for diabetes didn’t mention that I needed to take care of my eyes. He didn’t suggest that I should go and see an ophthalmologist every year for a checkup. I don’t think too many people know that you can lose your vision to diabetes. I’ve heard of people who have had legs and other limbs amputated, but I didn’t know it could affect your eyes."

Vivian suffered with cataracts for several years but didn’t realize her diabetes was affecting her eyes until after she had cataract surgery. Her doctor informed her that she had diabetic retinopathy and had already lost some vision as a result of it. Diabetes initiates degenerative changes in the blood vessels in the retina—the photosensitive cells at the back of the eye that relay visual messages to the brain. When blood sugar is poorly controlled these blood vessels leak fluid and blood into the retina. The retina swells with fluid and vision blurs and can be lost entirely. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in individuals age 20-65. Vision loss is usually permanent. Vivian was advised to seek treatment as soon as possible.

"I found an ophthalmologist who specialized in laser treatments. He gave me the biggest hope. He told me that although I had a problem with scar tissue, he would try to fix it. I had an operation, called a vitrectomy, and this helped to remove some of the scar tissue.  I’m still considered legally blind, but I can see—I just don’t see clearly. I can see an entire person when they’re standing in front of me but I don’t see them clearly, and my peripheral vision is not so good. When someone comes up from behind me and stands to my side, I don’t always notice them."

Vivian admits she still likes to indulge in ice cream and fruit at times even though these foods raise her blood sugar levels. My vision changes along with my blood sugar levels," she says "For example, I take 46 unites of insulin in the morning and 20 at night. So, suppose at lunch time I decide to eat a lot of fruit, which I’m not supposed to because of the high amounts of sugar, then my sugar jumps up and my vision will change [become blurry]. By the time night comes around, my sugar drops and I can see better."

 The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely he or she is to develop retinopathy. Almost everyone with type 1 diabetes and most of those with type 2 diabetes will eventually develop retinopathy. Nearly half of those diagnosed with diabetes already have some stage of retinopathy.

Retinopathy can develop without any noticeable symptoms. The retina can be damaged before the person notices any change in vision. Blurred vision may occur when the retina swells from leaking fluid. At first, a few specks of blood, or spots may also interfere with vision. Sometimes, without treatment, the spots clear, and the person will see better. However, bleeding can reoccur and cause severely blurred vision and scaring. If it advances, risk of permanent vision loss is high. Despite taking medications to control her blood sugar, every time Vivian eats too much carbohydrate-rich food her vision becomes blurry, indicating leakage and swelling in her retina. Blurred vision is often one of the first signs of diabetes.

Diabetes is a major cause of disability leading to blindness, lower-limb amputation, kidney disease, and nerve damage. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology people with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than people without the disease. Currently 29 million people (9.3 percent of the population) in the United States have diabetes. Over 8 million are living with diabetes but are unaware of it. More than 26 percent of all adults age 65 and older have diabetes: that’s one out of every four older adults! But it’s not just an old-age disease; over 200,000 people under the age of 20 have been diagnosed with the disease as well. There are many more people, 86 million age 20 years and over, who are pre-diabetic. All of these people are at risk of developing visual problems at some point in their lives.

Diabetes not only causes retinopathy but also increases the risk of developing other visual problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. People with diabetes develop cataracts at an earlier age, and are nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma compared to non-diabetics.

Diabetes occurs as a result of the body’s inability to properly regulate blood sugar. When we eat a meal, much of the food is converted into glucose, or blood sugar, and sent into the bloodstream. When blood sugar levels rise too high, the body can be thrown into a panic, metabolically speaking. The pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to shuttle glucose into the cells and lower blood sugar levels. However, if blood sugar is not normalized in a reasonable amount of time, cells and tissues become damaged. This is what happens in people with diabetes.

Ninety percent of all diabetics are type 2 or insulin resistant. Their cells have become unresponsive or resistant to the action of insulin so blood sugar has a harder time being transported into the cells. As a consequence, blood sugar levels remain elevated for extended periods of time. You don’t have to be diabetic to develop problems. Even pre-diabetics are at risk. Any elevation of blood sugar is harmful to the eyes.

When insulin resistance is severe, it is classified or diagnosed as diabetes. Diabetes is diagnosed when fasting blood sugar—the blood glucose levels after an 8-12 hour fast—reaches 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or more. In a healthy individual fasting blood sugar levels are generally no greater than 90 mg/dL. The higher the blood sugar level is, the greater the damage being done. Chronic fasting blood sugar levels over 90 mg/dl increase your risk of degenerative eye disease.

If you have problems with cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or any other age-related eye disorder then you are most likely insulin resistant to some degree. For example, the higher a person’s blood sugar is, the greater the risk of cataract. Researchers at Yale University studied the effect of three diets—high-carb, high-protein, and high-fat—on the incidence of cataract in diabetic rats. Development of cataracts was highest in the rats fed a high-carb diet; a lesser incidence was observed in the high-protein fed animals, while no cataracts developed in rats fed a high-fat diet.1 Although all the rats in this study were diabetic, their blood sugar levels determined the severity of cataracts they developed. The higher the blood sugar levels, the greater the incidence of cataract. When blood sugar was controlled by a high-fat, low-carb diet, no cataracts developed. This effect is not seen just in lab animals, in humans better blood sugar control has shown similar results.2

Whether you are diabetic or not, eating a high-carb diet will elevate blood sugar and keep it elevated for extended periods of time and increase the risk of damaged to the eyes. Scientists working for the US Agricultural Research Service tracked 471 middle-aged women during a 14 year period. The researchers found that women in the study whose average carbohydrate intake was between 200 and 268 grams per day, which is typical for most normal weight women, were 2.5 times more likely to get cataracts than the women whose intake was between 101 and 185 grams per day. Although the consumption of 101 to 185 grams per day is lower than average, it is not considered low-carb. Low-carb diets generally include no more than 100 grams of carbohydrate a day and very low-carb diets restrict it to less than 25 grams daily. So even a modest reduction in carbohydrate intake, and corresponding drop in blood sugar levels, can significantly reduce risk of cataracts.3

Fasting blood sugar measures the glucose levels at the time of testing. Another way of measuring blood sugar that gives an average over the previous three months is the A1C test. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that type 2 diabetics who lower their A1C level by just 1 percent can reduce their risk of cataracts by 19 percent. 6 Even a small decrease in average blood sugar can make a big impact on eye health.

A study out of Tufts University in Boston showed that eating foods with a glycemic index above average is associated with a 49 percent increase in advanced macular degeneration.4 The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly certain foods raise blood sugar levels. Those that raise blood sugar levels the most, like bread and sugar, are the most detrimental. Dr. Allen Taylor, the lead researcher in this study, said that the results found that at least 1 in 5 cases of advanced age-related macular degeneration (the only eye disease evaluated in the study) would likely have been prevented entirely by consuming a lower-carb diet.


You may be at risk of developing an age-related eye disease, even if you are not diabetic and have no known visual difficulties; we are all at risk. Degenerative eye diseases don’t appear overnight. They take years, even decades to develop. Glucose metabolism becomes abnormal one to two decades before type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.5 In the meantime, the damage that can be done could be extensive before any symptoms become noticeable. Since no pain or sudden changes in vision are noticed, the gradual loss of sight is not easily recognized until

The cataract started bothering me with a blurred film on my left eye. So after reading [The Coconut Oil Miracle], we purchased a coconut from Wal-Mart and my husband drilled a hole to drain and I strained the water through sterile gauze and used an eye dropper to instill about three drops in my left eye then covered with a hot wash cloth for ten minutes. I took off the washcloth and nothing had changed. However, the next morning the eye was clear as a bell and has been ever since!!!


Stop Vision Loss Now

Stop Vision Loss Now
by Dr. Bruce Fife

Available from Piccadilly Books, Ltd.

click here

substantial damaged has occurred. Waiting until symptoms appear may be too late.

The way to prevent or stop degenerative eye disease is to get your blood sugar levels under control. The standard medical approach to accomplish this is through medications. However, many people mistakenly believe that as long as they take their drugs, they are protected. This false sense of security permits them into eat excessive amounts of carbohydrate, which causes high blood sugar. Vivian, whose story was told at the beginning of this article, took her drugs faithfully and still lost her eyesight because she continued to eat foods she shouldn’t have.

A dietary approach is much better and doesn’t require drugs. Even if you are severely diabetic you can get your blood sugar under control using a low-carb, coconut oil-based diet. A low-carb diet can help control blood sugar levels. Coconut oil, in addition to helping with blood sugar, can reverse much of the damage caused by chronic high blood sugar.

Coconut oil can work wonders in alleviating symptoms associated with insulin resistance. Studies show that the medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil improve insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.6 This means, coconut oil can improve cell sensitivity to insulin and lower blood sugar levels. In addition, coconut oil can help keep blood sugar from spiking after meals. When added to foods, coconut oil slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, thus moderating blood sugar levels.

Insulin resistance impedes glucose transport into the cells, essentially starving the cells, causing them to slowly degenerate and die. This is what leads to the major complications associated with diabetes. Blood vessels and capillaries degenerate and become leaky. Circulation is hampered. This leads to diabetic neuropathy (loss of feeling) in the feet and legs, which could progress to foot ulcers, gangrene, and amputation. It could also lead to a poor circulation to the eyes, the development of retinopathy, and vision loss.

Coconut oil can stop this degenerative process and restore the health and function of damaged blood vessels and capillaries, in the eyes. Unlike glucose or long chain fatty acids, MCFAs are not affected by insulin resistance. They do not require insulin to enter the cells. They easily diffuse across the cell membrane to provide the cells in the eyes with nourishment, allowing the blood vessels and capillaries to repair themselves and for proper circulation to be restored.

It has been estimated that up to 80 percent of the population has some level of insulin resistance (fasting blood sugar above 90 mg/dl) and that their cells are not absorbing glucose effectively. As a consequence, blood vessels and capillaries throughout the body are being damaged, which increases the risk of age-related eye disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

For this reason, it is a good idea to have your eyes examined periodically. Also, have your fasting blood glucose levels checked every few years. If your blood sugar is high, you can take steps now to correct the problem and greatly reduce your risk of experiencing vision loss later on.

For a more complete discussion on how coconut oil combined with a proper diet can prevent, stop, and even reverse degenerative eye disorders see my new book Stop Vision Loss Now!



  1. Rodriguez, RR and Krehal, WA. The influence of diet and insulin on the incidence of cataracts in diabetic rats. Yale J Biol Med 1951;24:103-108.

  2. The effect of intensive treatment of diabetes on the development and progression of long-term complications in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The Diabetes Control and Complications Research Group. N Engl J Med 1993;329:977-986.

  3. Chiu, CJ, et al. Carbohydrate intake and glycemic index in relation to the odds of early cortical and nuclear lens opacities. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:1411-1416.

  4. Chiu, CJ, et al. Association between dietary glycemic index and age-related macular degeneration in nondiabetic participants in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:180-188.

  5. Warram, JH, et al. Slow glucose removal rate and hyperinsulinemia precede the development of type 2 diabetes in the offspring of diabetic parents. Ann Intern Med 1990;113:909-915.

  6. Stratton, IM, et al. Association of glycaemia with macrovascular and microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes (UKPDS 35): prospective observational study. BMJ 2000;321:405-412.



New Study Shows Low-Fat Diets Don’t Work


If you’ve ever tried to lose weight on a low-fat diet you know how difficult it can be. Not only is total food intake severely restricted, but every morsel of fat is to be avoided at all costs. Fatty chicken skin is removed, any fat on lean cuts of meat is carefully trimmed off, fat-free egg whites are chosen over whole eggs and low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese become your preferred choice. You carefully count every calorie that passes through your lips. Foods devoid

Sinking Diet

of fat taste bland and unappetizing, so they are often enriched with additional sugar to make them more palatable.

 After months of struggling and suffering with hunger and lack of energy and feelings of depravity, you eventually end your diet. You may have lost some weight, or may have even reached your goal weight, but once your "diet" is over, old eating habits return. Before long you have regained all the weight you had lost and added on a few extra pounds to boot. In order to lose this excess weight you have to go back on a diet and repeat the whole process over again. But unfortunately, the results are the same—you struggle for months to lose some weight but before long it all returns. Ultimately the diet was a failure.

This was the conclusion of a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers at King’s College in London found that the chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity. The findings, reveal that current weight management programs focusing on low-fat dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling our growing overweight epidemic.

The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), tracked the weight of 278,982 participants (129,194 men and 149,788 women) using electronic health records from 2004 to 2014. The study looked at the probably of obese patients attaining normal weight or a 5 percent reduction in body weight; patients who received bariatric surgery were excluded from the study. A minimum of three body mass index (BMI) records per patient was used to estimate weight changes.

Body mass index is a numerical value derived from the weight and height of an individual. BMI is a much more accurate means to measure how fat or thin a person is than by weight alone. The BMI is an attempt to quantify the amount of fat, muscle, and bone a person has. A tall lean person can weigh a lot more than a short fat person, so height is a critical component in judging a person’s mass.

BMI is used to assess how much a person’s body weight departs for what is considered normal or desirable for his or her height. BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered normal or healthy. Less than 18.5 indicates underweight. More than 25 signifies overweight. A person is considered obese if BMI is 30 or more and severely obese if the value is 35 or greater.

The most recent figures on obesity in the USA say that 39 percent of the population is now obese. America is not alone. The obesity epidemic is felt worldwide. The waistlines of people all over the world are expanding.

What is your BMI? You can calculate your BMI using the following formula:


BMI = weight (kg) ÷ height (m)2


If you use pounds and inches you need a conversion factor of 703 and the formula is:


BMI = weight (lb) ÷ height (in)2 X 703


The researchers in this study found that for those people who achieved 5 percent weight loss, 53 percent of them regained this weight within 2 years and 78 percent regained their lost weight within 5 years. These results correlate with previous observations that had estimated that as many as 95 percent of those people who go on low-fat diets to lose weight regain all their weight after 5 years.

Overall, only 1,283 men and 2,245 women in the study with a BMI of 30-35 reached their normal body weight, equivalent to an annual probability of 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women; for those with a BMI above 40, the odds increased to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity. The study concluded that current obesity treatments are failing to achieve sustained weight loss for the vast majority of obese patients.

Dr. Alison Fildes, one of the authors of the study, said, "Losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight has been shown to have meaningful health benefits and is often recommended as a weight loss target. These findings highlight how difficult it is for people with obesity to achieve and maintain even small amounts of weight loss."

The standard approach to treat overweight and obesity is to go on a low-fat, calorie restricted diet and to increase physical activity. This approach is based on the outdated theory that all calories are the same—the source of the calorie has no effect. Lowering total calories will result in weight loss regardless of the type of food consumed. Fat contains more than twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrate or protein. Consequently, most weight loss diets focus on reducing the fat in the diet to allow as much carbohydrate and protein as possible. This approach has proven to be a dismal failure.

Removing fat from the diet has doomed these diets to fail. The reason is that a healthy amount of fat is necessary in the diet to achieve optimal health and weight. There are several reasons for this, let me mention just three:

  1. Fat satisfies hunger better than carbohydrates and protein. Fat slows down digestion so that foods remain in the stomach longer, extending the feelings of satisfaction and staving off hunger longer. Although fat supplies more calories than carbohydrate and protein, its effect on curbing hunger and discouraging overeating and snacking more than makes up for it by reducing total calorie intake.

  2.  Carbohydrates, especially sugar and starch, digest very quickly, leaving the stomach empty, triggering hunger pangs. These carbs are also quickly converted into glucose and released into the bloodstream. As a result, blood sugar levels rise very high quickly and then drop very quickly, leading to low blood sugar level, which also stimulates hunger. For this reason, high-carb diets, the type promoted by low-fat diet experts, causes hunger and food cravings, which makes dieting so difficult and cheating so tempting.

  3. Our bodies need fat. Every cell in the body needs fat. It is a major structural component of the body. It is also needed to make hormones and enzymes. Although our bodies can make fat from carbohydrate and protein, it cannot make enough on its own for optimal health. It needs fat in the diet. If the body does not get enough dietary fat, it activates fat producing enzymes that convert other foods into fat. When we eat enough fat, these fat producing enzymes are down regulated or switched off. In other words, the less fat you eat, the more fat your body makes and packs away into your fat cells. The more fat you eat, the less fat your body makes and the less fat that will wind up hanging around your waist, hips, and thighs.

 Studies have shown that when people eat high-fat, low-carb diets they lose more weight than those who eat a low-fat diets. One study had half the participants consume a high-fat diet consisting of 90 percent fat with a total of 1,000 calories per day. A second group of participants went on a total fast, consuming nothing but water, 0 calories per day. After 10 days the group consuming the high-fat 1,000 diet lost twice as much weight as the group that ate nothing at all. These and other similar studies are described in greater detail in my book The Coconut Ketogenic Diet.

One of the main reasons why we are experiencing an obesity epidemic today is because for the past 30 years or so we have been told to avoid fat and eat lean. Weight loss diets stress the removal of fat from our plates—just the opposite of what you should be doing to lose weight. Coconut oil is an ideal fat for weight loss as it has been shown to satisfy hunger and promote body fat reduction.

If you want to lose excess weight, forget the typical low-fat diets. You will have far greater success eating more fat in conjunction with a low-carb diet.  



Fildes, A, et al. Probability of an obese person attaining normal body weight: cohort study using electronic health records. American Journal of Public Health 1015;e1 DOI;10.2105/AJPH.2015.302773.


The Coconut Ketogenic Diet
by Dr. Bruce Fife

Available from

Piccadilly Books, Ltd.

click here

The Coconut Ketogenic Diet 




Warning: Medicines Your Child Shouldn’t Take


Many medications just aren’t worth the risk. Does your child take any of these dangerous drugs?

By Fredelle Maynard

bad medicine


 When the neighborhood pharmacist saw the prescription for two-year-old Jason’s impetigo, he protested to Jason’s mother: "Tetracycline for you little boy? It must be a mistake. If you give this drug to a child under eight it will damage his permanent teeth—irreparably."

The pharmacist was right. Jason’s doctor knew the benefits of tetracycline, but he was ill-informed about its side effects. Fortunately, the child’s mother consulted a second doctor who prescribed penicillin—and Jason’s impetigo was cleared up without ill effects. But not all children are so lucky. Many are given drugs that are inappropriate, unnecessary or harmful to their health. A Boston hospital study reports adverse drug reactions in 16.8 percent of child patients.

Depending on the age of the child, the effects of a wrong drug range from the relatively mild (rashes, nausea, vomiting) to the potentially serious and life-threatening (gastrointestinal bleeding, convulsions, and coma). Excessive doses of some toxic drugs can produce brain damage and death.

Why does this dangerous situation exist? Doctors are human. They may be under pressure, exhausted, distracted, even negligent. Like the physician who treated Jason, they sometimes make mistakes. In addition, distraught parents often plead with doctors to "do something" for a sick child. As Dr. Robert Issenman, director of ambulatory pediatrics at Canada’s McMaster University Medical Center put it, "A doctor may, against his deepest convictions, offer drugs to relieve a child’s discomfort and ease parents’ anxiety."

Another problem, according to Dr. Stuart MacLeod, chief of pharmacology at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, is our practice of acting swiftly to relieve symptoms. If a child has diarrhea, nausea, fever, or pain of any kind, we seek an instant remedy in the medicine cabinet. The trouble with such well-meaning intervention is that it ignores—and may frustrate—the symptoms’ natural functions.

Diarrhea and vomiting are the body’s way of expelling noxious substances. And fever may serve a useful purpose—improving blood circulation, strengthening the immune defenses, and reducing the spread of infection. (Except in infants under four months, temperatures up to 104° F are usually well tolerated.) Pain is also an important signal. Using drugs to mask it may allow a serious underlying problem to develop undetected.

What’s the parent of a sick child to do? First, says Dr Issenman, be aware that "the vast majority of children’s illnesses are natural processes from which the patient will recover without much intervention on the doctor’s part." It’s also important to recognize, says Dr. MacLeod, that "no drug is absolutely safe for all individuals under all circumstances." And children are especially susceptible to the ill effects of medication.

Drugs can and do save lives, of course. Often the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. It’s important, however, for parents to understand when medication is appropriate for children and which drugs may be dangerous to their health.


10 Riskiest Drugs for Children

 1. Antibiotics. Although they can be lifesavers when used against bacterial infections such as strep throat and pneumonia, these drugs are of no use whatsoever against viral infections. And they can be lethal when misused. From 5 to 6 percent of patients develop adverse reactions, some life-threatening. Two types that are especially risky for children:

Tetracycline. Causes mottling and discoloration of the permanent teeth and nails in children under eight. It can also hamper bone growth and produce intestinal discomfort and liver damage. Because of its effect on teeth and bones, it is not recommended for children under 12.

Ampicillin. A semisynthetic penicillin that can be fatal to anyone allergic to penicillin, it can also cause nausea, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, anemia, and inflammation of the mouth. It should be used only for bacterial infections; in rare cases it can produce deterioration of the bone marrow. (Amoxicillin is similar in effectiveness but less likely to cause trouble.)

2. Antidiarrheals. Lomotil, once widely prescribed for diarrhea resulting from a short-lived viral infection, is definitely not for children. Side effects include bloating, constipaltin, loss of appetite, blurred vision, drowsiness, fast heartbeat, and shortness of breath among other things. Entero-Vioform and Diodiquin, sold over-the-counter in foreign countries for traveler’s diarrhea, have been linked with irreversible nerve and eye damage and should never be given to children.

3. Antihistamines. These drugs are effective against allergies, but of limited help with cold symptoms, for which they are often prescribed. Although generally safe in recommended doses, they do produce adverse effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, insomnia, loss of appetite, and occasionally even convulsions. Children under six should take them only on a doctor’s advice—and should not play on jungle gyms, ride bikes or climb trees while on them.

4. Aspirin. Long the drug of choice for pain, fever, inflammation, headache, and toothache, aspirin is now used more cautiously with children. It should not be given to anyone under 10 unless prescribed by a doctor, because even small doses can cause rashes, bleeding and intestinal upsets. In excessive amounts, says Dr Frederick Lovejoy of Boston Children’s Hospital, aspirin makes a child "breathe too fast, too hard; the whole internal chemistry goes out of whack." Aspirin given during viral infection, such as the flu or chicken pox, can lead to the life-threatening Reye’s syndrome.

5. Diaper Rash Preparations. When the skin surface is broken, as in diaper rash, any chemical may be absorbed into the bloodstream and affect the infant’s immature nervous system. (In the past, the unrestricted use of boric acid powder proved fatal.) The American Pharmaceutical Association cautions against hydrocortisone cream for diaper rash and says that "the general use of any medication for a baby’s skin is questionable."

6. Growth Hormones. Human growth hormone (hGH) therapy was developed for children whose growth had been severely curtailed by chronic disease or a genetic defect. But parents of normal healthy short children may ask their physicians about the "miracle" drug.

Growth-hormone treatment is painful and protracted, requiring intramuscular injections three times a week for two or more years. If administered to children who are not hGH deficient, it may cause diabetes, hypertension, coronary-artery or cerebrovascular disease—and it may not work. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the therapy be limited to children with hormone deficiency.

7. Imipramine (Tefranil). Used to control bedwetting, imiparamine has been touted as highly successful, with minimum disturbance—psychological or physical.  Critics point to evidence that the drug produces no significant permanent result; when it’s discontinued, the child frequently reverts to nighttime wetting. Possible side effects listed by the manufacturer include hallucinations, nightmares, heart palpitation, hypertension, blurred vision, swelling of the face and tongue, skin rashes, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, irritability, and jaundice. Long-term effects can hamper normal growth and development.

This amounts to overkill for a problem that time usually solves. The greatest danger is accidental overdose; tragic accidents have involved children who believed that more means fast relief. One seven-year-old who‘d made nighttime progress with imipramine wet his pants at school and attempted an all-out attack on the problem. He took 40 tablets and died in a coma.

8.  Laxatives. All of those pleasant-tasting potions for stimulating the bowels are risky for children. So is caster oil, which can cause violent cramping and dangerous loss of water and essential body salts. Mineral oil can impair absorption of vitamins and other nutrients—and can be aspirated into the lungs of children under six. Doctors also frown on suppositories for stimulating the bowels.

9. Ritalin. A stimulant that paradoxically calms behavior while reviving up the heart rate and metabolism. Ritalin is used to treat hyperactive children. Requests for the drug often come from teachers who find certain students hard to manage—and from parents exhausted by a child who throw tantrums, resist all control, won’t sit still, and can’t sleep. But Dr. Sydney Walker, a California neuropsychiatrist who sees many hyperactive children in his practice, is adamantly opposed to use of the drug. "I have never prescribed stimulants, and I never will." He says. He points out that hyperactivity is not a disease but "a constellation of signs and symptoms that can occur for various reasons." A child labeled hyperactive may, in fact, have a heart of glandular problem, a calcium deficiency, be prediabetic, or suffer from mild, almost undetectable brain seizures. In none of these cases would Ritalin do the slightest good. In some, it would mask symptoms needing attention.

Ritalin should never be a first-line treatment, say Dr. Wendy Roberts, a specialist in learning disorders at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. And it should not be used until sophisticated testing has determined that the child has the form of hyperactivity that responds to drug treatment. Although Ritalin does reduce frenetic activity in some children and can promote concentration and improved school performance—in the short run, at least—the cost is high. It depresses emotional response so that many treated children become lethargic, withdrawn—"a bit zombieish," Dr. Roberts says.

The drug also causes insomnia, marked changes in appetite, increased heart rate, and blood pressure, and/or a suppression of growth hormones. Most troubling of all, in some susceptible children it triggers Tourette syndrome, an irreversible malady characterized by multiple tics and generally bizarre behavior. If a Ritalin patient develops any sort of tic, Dr. Roberts cautions, medication should be discontinued at once and the physician notified.

10. Teething Remedies. The safest rule is: don’t put any medication on a baby’s gums. Phenol, paregoric, and benzocaine, three common ingredients in gum soothers, are all potentially dangerous to infants.


Many home medicine chests contain preparations that aren’t safe for children. Here are four to be wary of:

1. Alcohol. Common children’s medications—teething preparations, decongestants, and cough syrups—often contain alcohol in concentrations as high as 68 percent. This is a particular threat to children who may be taking other drugs that produce serious reactions in combination with alcohol. Parents should read labels carefully.

Alcohol baths, once standard for reducing fever, are dangerous. Children sponged with isopropyl alcohol have died of acute alcohol poisoning.

2. Boric Acid. This product is toxic when ingested or applied on broken skin and is often used as an insecticide. It accumulates in the body, so repeated use (in any way) can cause skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, coma, even death. Infants have died after boric acid was applied to broken skin. Be sure to check labels and avoid any preparation containing boric acid.

3. Camphor. A not-so-innocent ingredient in some oils and liniments, camphor is readily absorbed through the skin and may be carried throughout the body in the bloodstream. Excessive amounts can cause convulsions, coma, and death.

The FDA has recalled dangerous products containing 11 percent camphor or more; those with lesser amounts are of doubtful safety and generally useless. Tragedies have occurred with distracted parents, reaching for cough medicine, administered a dose of camphor instead.

4. Hexachlorophene. A phenol-based antiseptic, this drug was removed from soaps and other products when found to cause brain damage if applied to the skin of premature infants. Still available by prescription, it may produce allergic rashes or leave the skin sensitive to sunlight and is unsafe on burned or broken skin.


Dr. Cynthia Carver, a family physician and the author of Patients Beware! Recommends the following:

  • Don’t ask your child’s doctor for medication. The drugs you get could be useless—and dangerous.

  • When a medicine is prescribed, be sure you know how it should be taken. At whet times? With or without food? Ask about possible side effects, danger signs to watch for.

  • Be sure to tell your doctor about any medication the child is currently taking. Drugs that are safe alone can cause trouble in combination.

  • Follow prescribed dosages exactly, Don’t exceed the amount or frequency of the dose. Be sure to complete the prescribed course of an antibiotic even if all symptoms have disappeared. Never use old antibiotics or give child medications prescribe for someone else.

  • Notify your doctor at once if a child on medication develops a rash, headache, unusual drowsiness, dizziness, stomach, or a marked change in bowel movements.

  • Always ask, "Is there a way to treat this illness or condition without drugs? What kinds of home care—diet, rubs, vaporizer—will help?"

  • Find a pharmacist you can trust to discuss prescribed medications.

  • Read up on prescribed drugs on the Internet. Go to http://www.drugs.com/sfx/ and type in the drug in question for a detailed description of its known side effects.


Dr Fife’s Comments: The vast majority of illnesses children commonly experience will resolve on their own without any medical intervention. Bacterial infections can become life-threatening so antibiotics may be necessary at times. However, viral and fungal infections do not respond to antibiotics. There is really nothing the doctor can do for most viral infections and any medication the doctor prescribes will not shorten the duration of the infection. Antibiotics should not be taken for a viral infection. They will do little or no good and may cause a number of troubling side effects.

While medications may be necessary in some circumstances, often a non-drug solution can be found. Coconut oil and coconut water have been found to help with many childhood illnesses. Coconut oil possesses antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It works better for the treatment of diaper rash than any commercial ointment, and is far safer.

The daily use of coconut oil can help keep infections at bay. Taken internally it can help fight off systemic infections. Applied on the skin it can fight surface infections. It is especially effective for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and ringworm.

Coconut water is great for treating dehydration and has proven highly effective in areas hit by cholera, influenza, and other illnesses that cause severe diarrhea and dehydration.

Coconut oil, especially when combined with an appropriate diet, can even be useful, and in many cases more so than drugs, for the treatment of some more serious conditions such as epilepsy, autism, learning disability, malnutrition, ADHD, and others.

For a more complete list of the medicinal uses of coconut oil see my book Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut. For parents with children suffering from autism or learning disabilities I recommend my book Stop Autism Now!: A Parents Guide to Preventing and Reversing Autism Spectrum Disorders.



Coconut Cures
by Dr. Bruce Fife

Available from

Piccadilly Books, Ltd.

click here

Coconut Cures

Stop Autism Now!
by Dr. Bruce Fife

Available from

Piccadilly Books, Ltd.

click here

Stop Autism Now



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Copyright © 2016, Bruce Fife. All rights reserved.