As of April 4, 2020, only 57 out of 3,094 confirmed patients in the Philippines recovered from Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is a staggering 1.8% recovery rate. In contrast, recovery rate in the Bicol Region is 72.7%. Could diet be a factor in Bicol’s figures?
The Bicolano diet generally includes coconut and coconut milk. The coconut oil, which is derived from coconut milk, is largely composed of Lauric acid (C12) and monolaurin. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid which makes up about 50% of coconut oil; monolaurin is a metabolite that is naturally produced by the body’s own enzymes upon ingestion of coconut oil and is also available in pure form as a supplement.
Lauric acid and monolaurin have antiviral properties. They cause the disintegration of the virus envelope; they can inhibit late maturation stage in the virus replicative cycle; and they can prevent the binding of viral proteins to the host cell membrane. Because of Lauric Acid’s and monolaurin’s antiviral activity, coconut oil and their derivatives have been used to cure avian influenza virus and, to some extent, the human immuniodeficiency virus or HIV.
The idea of coco-based diet in general or the intake of coconut oil in particular in fighting coronavirus, however, is not yet conclusive that is why studies are still being undertaken or proposed to be undertaken. Many are excited to see the results as Covid-19 still has no cure.
But while we are still waiting for the results, maybe our nutritionists and food experts can start looking into, and comparing the diet, of the Covid-19 positive patients. Note that of the eight persons who recovered in the Bicol Region, only one is a foreigner. Who knows, the coco-based diet is, indeed, a key.