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Business

Coconut stakeholders upbeat on VCO potential vs COVID-19

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Coconut industry stakeholders are upbeat that recent trials that show coconut oil having strong potential in fighting COVID-19 may spur the growth of the industry as well as the local economy.

After six months of initial research trials, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) found that coconut and virgin coconut oil compounds not only reduced the coronavirus count by up to 90 percent, it also improved cell survival of patients with COVID-19.

Monolaurin found in coconut oils, VCO and MCT oils like Laurin are said to be effective not only against SARS-COV-2, but also with majority of viruses and bacteria which are Lipid-coated.

The United Coconut Associations of the Philippines (UCAP), the country’s leading coco advocacy group, said VCO would help reinvigorate the country’s economy battered by the coronavirus outbreak.

“If further research and trials prove positive for VCO as COVID-19 alternative treatment, this will undoubtedly have impact not only for patients, but a needed boost for coconut farmers and the industry as a whole,” the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said.

VCO has an estimated $1.8 trillion-dollar market.

Coconuts remain the Philippines’ number one export, generating north of $2 billion yearly to the Philippine economy, while employing an estimated 3.5 million farmers in the country.

PCA explained that even before the onslaught of the COVID 19 pandemic, they have long been advocating the health benefits of virgin coconut oil.

With the renewed interest in VCO and the indigenous coconuts, UCAP, PCA and other stakeholders hope this will spark empowerment and change, while enticing younger generations to support and re-energize the country’s greying coconut industry.

Ateneo Professor Emeritus of Science Fabian Dayrit, one of those who pushed for the research and testing of VCO against COVID-19, said a daily dose of coconut oil “is a good precaution to take” against COVID-19.

In the late ‘90s and early 2000,Dayrit was also part of the research team which administered controlled dosage of coconut and monolaurin oils to persons living with HIV.

Dayrit said the patients’ viral count significantly went down, while antibody count increased after being administered with a controlled daily dosage of coconut oil and monolaurin.

“Coconut oil-derived products are functional food; it is the same as taking vitamin supplements daily,” Dayrit said.

The United Coconut Association of the Philippines’ (UCAP) Marco Reyes says VCOs antiviral and anti-bacterial properties are unleashed inside the body once it metabolizes into a derivative called monolaurin, a property that can also be found in other coco-based products, from cooking oils to more concentrated volume in products like Laurin MCT oil.

Other test results are expected to be released by November. This early, Dayrit is positive of VCO’s efficacy, a product that is indigenous and readily available for Filipinos.

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