Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Benefits of Coconut Oil - A Medium Chain Fatty Acid

The benefits of coconut oil as a 'medium chain fatty acid' are being studied in a variety of ways. The vast majority of fats and oils we use (98%), either saturated or unsaturated, come from plants and animals and are comprised of 'long chain fatty acids'(LCFA) or otherwise termed 'long chain triglycerides' (LCT). Coconut oil is predominantly comprised of 'medium chain fatty acids' (MCFA) or 'medium chain triglycerides' (MCT). What's the difference and what, if any, health benefits are there?

The coconut is a nutritious food, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. We are now finding out that coconut oil is more beneficial to our health than was once thought. Over the last 20 years, we have learned about oils and fats and their health benefits, mainly through their saturation classification. However a second method of classifying fats is being done by molecular size, or length of their fatty acid carbon-hydrogen chain. Our bodies respond to and metabolize each fatty acid differently according to its size. Current research is showing that the shorter MCFA molecules actually have a positive effect on cholesterol and heart disease contrary to their saturation classification. Modern medical science is finding coconut oil, revered by many ancient cultures as a healing food and medicine, is a truly unique and different oil compared to most other fats and may have many healing properties for the body.

As is stated in an article at www.coconutresearchcenter.org, traditional medicine around the world has used the coconut to help treat a wide variety of health problems including: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds.

Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Here are some of the topics being published:

  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
  • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
  • Improves digestion and bowel function.
  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body's antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
  • Reduces epileptic seizures.
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • Dissolves kidney stones.
  • Helps prevent liver disease.
  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
  • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Helps control dandruff.
  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
  • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
  • Is completely non-toxic to humans.

(Disclaimer: These statements come from the coconutresearchcenter.org website, and "were supplied by a variety of sources and authors and have not all been evaluated by the FDA ".) 

In another article from www.wikipedia.com, research of MCFA's are shown to reduce fat oxidation and food intake. Special noteTheir use is not recommended for diabetics unless under supervised medical treatment and those with liver problems due to the added stress they may put on the organ. MCFA's are known to be quickly absorbed into the body and are being evaluated as a unique specialized treatment for children with epilepsy.

The coconut is being studied from many angles. The use of coconut fruit, milk and oil is available in many natural and processed foods as well as beauty products on the market.  Be smart before purchasing specialized products claiming specific health benefits. As is the case with all posts on this blog, I encourage you to TALK with your healthcare practitioner to determine the benefits for YOUR specific healthcare NEEDS.

Thanks for stopping by today. Wishing you all the best today has to offer. Hope to see you again soon for another interesting topic to consider about healing inflammation in your body.


  1. I found a contradictory article about Coconut Oil and Diabetes. Here's the link: http://www.coconut-oil-central.com/coconut-oil-diabetes.html You'll have to determine for yourself what you think. Perhaps your doctor or nutritionist will have a good understanding of this oil and help you determine whether it could be helpful to you.

  2. Thank you for this great article. I have been using coconut oil and drinking coconut milk for the past year and love it. I use it as much as possible.

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