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The Latest Studies on Coconut Oil PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mary G. Enig, PhD   
Thursday, 24 August 2006 19:22

One of the very useful oils in the food supply comes from the coconut. Coconut oil has suffered from unjust criticism for more than 30 years in the United States because some of the governmental and food oil organizations, as well as consumer activist organizations such as Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), have claimed that coconut oil as a "saturated fat" is shown to be atherogenic. This is not true.

There is a variety of supportive research published in 2003, 2004, and 2005, which shows the importance of coconut oil. Also, information on coconut oil is currently coming into the research literature from numerous countries, including India, Norway, Iran and the United States.

The following are some of the most recent studies showing the benefits of coconut oil. These studies contradict claims that coconut oil contributes to heart disease and also support earlier research showing an antimicrobial role for the fatty acids in this traditional fat.

BENEFICIAL FOR HEART DISEASE

Recent research contradicts claims that coconut oil causes atherosclerosis and heart disease. In a study published in Clinical Biochemistry, 2004,1 researchers looked at coconut oil as a component of diet in laboratory animals (Sprague-Dawley rats). In this study, virgin coconut oil, which was obtained by wet process, had a beneficial effect in lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and low density lipoproteins (LDL). The effects were uniformly beneficial. In serum and tissues, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol levels were lowered and HDL-cholesterol was increased. The polyphenol fraction of virgin coconut oil was also found to prevent in vitro LDL-oxidation. We know that oxidized cholesterol can initiate the process of atherosclerosis—the fatty acids in coconut oil prevent this oxidation. The results in this study were interpreted as due to the biologically active polyphenol components present in the oil.

LOWERS LP(A)

Another study dealing with lipoproteins and cholesterol was carried out in women. Researchers found that coconut oil-based diets lowered post-prandial tissue plasminogen activator and lipoprotein (a).2 Lp(a) is a blood marker that is a much more accurate indication of proneness to heart attack than cholesterol levels. Researchers had believed that levels of Lp(a) were unaffected by various forms of dietary fat intake. However, in this study, Lp(a) was lowered when the subjects consumed a high-saturated fat diet and somewhat lowered when they consumed a slightly lowered-saturated fat diet. The saturated fat used in both of these diets was coconut oil. The control diet was based on a monounsaturated oil.

POISON ANTIDOTE

One of the more interesting uses of coconut oil found in the human toxicology literature involves the beneficial use of coconut oil as a successful treatment for acute aluminium phosphide poisoning. This poison is used to control pests in grain storage facilities where it functions as a poisonous gas, namely phosphine gas, which is a mitochondrial poison. There is no known antidote for aluminium phosphide. The patient described in this case study survived following rapid treatment which included taking baking soda and coconut oil, as well as supportive care, and it was concluded that coconut oil had a significant use as an added part of the treatment protocol in this type of poisoning.3

ANTI-MICROBIAL

A few researchers have known for some time that a derivative of coconut oil, lauric acid and monolaurin, are safe antimicrobial agents that can either kill completely or stop the growth of some of the most dangerous viruses and bacteria. Many bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics but herbal oils such as the oils of oregano and the major fatty acid from coconut oil, lauric acid, which the body turns into the monoglyceride, monolaurin, are showing great promise as anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents. Monolaurin, in particular, is being shown to be useful in the prevention and treatment of severe bacterial infections, especially those that are difficult to treat or are antibiotic resistant. Difficult bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus as well as other bacteria have been studied here in the United States in research groups such as Dr. H.G. Preuss’s group at Georgetown University. They found that monolaurin combined with herbal essential oils inhibited pathogenic bacteria both in the petri dish (in vitro) and also in mice (in vivo).4

REFERENCES

  1. Beneficial effects of virgin coconut oil on lipid parameters and in vitro LDL oxidation. K.G.Nevin and T. Rajamohan, Clinical Biochemistry 37,2004;830-835).
  2. A Diet Rich in Coconut Oil Reduces Diurnal Postprandial Variations in Circulating Plasminogen Activator Antigen and Fasting Lipoprotein (a) Compared with a Diet Rich in Unsaturated Fat in Women. H. Muller, A.S. Lindman, A. Blomfeldt, I. Seljeflot and J.I. Pedersen. Journal of Nutrition. 133:3422-3427, 2003.
  3. Successful treatment of acute aluminium phosphide poisoning: possible benefit of coconut oil. S. Shahin, R. Mojgan, P. Abdolkarim, R. Mmohammad-Hosein, A. Mohammad. Human & Experimental Toxicology, 24:215-218, 2005).
  4. Minimum inhibitory concentrations of herbal essential oils and monolaurin for gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Preuss HG, Echard B, Enig M, Brook I, Elliott TB. Molecular Cell Biochemistry, 2005:272:29-34).
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2005/Spring 2006.

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Comments (7)Add Comment
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written by Greg, May 05 2013
Your article states, "Recent research contradicts claims that coconut oil causes atherosclerosis and heart disease." and "very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol levels were lowered and HDL-cholesterol was increased.". However, it does not state that coconut oil is NOT atherogenic by comparing actual arteries of humans or animals using different oils. Furthermore, the actual study falls short. They do NOT actually examine the arteries (e.g. - aortic arch and thoracic aorta), that ALL valid atherosclerosis studies use. Also, nearly 12% of all the fatty acids in coconut oil are comprised of stearic and palmitic acids. Among the saturated and unsaturated fatty acids studied, stearic and palmitic acids appeared to be the most thrombogenic when included in the hyperlipemic diet of rats, since they markedly predisposed the animals for the production of large, occlusive, endotoxin-initiated thrombosis. Stearic and palmitic acids were also the most atherogenic (Journal of Atherosclerosis Research, Volume 8, Issue 4 , Pages 625-636, 196smilies/cool.gif. So, how is the "Recent research contradicts claims that coconut oil causes atherosclerosis and heart disease.", a valid statement?
a litle help!.
written by Pilar, May 07 2012
I live the coconut oil expirience and it´s amazing, it has been so good that i decided to sell it, the thing is that one costumer send me a mail very scared because his LDL and total colesterol encresed vey much and his doctor told him, that was because of the coconut oil. I read somewere (and can´t find it)that it's normal in the first months of takin coconut oil, and then the LDL lows and the HDL encreses.
If you have some information that can help me to suport these would be great!. thank you!
Coconut Oil vs Pill Form
written by Diana Kramer, Jan 20 2012
We are considering adding coconut oil to our daily vitamin regime and wondering whether the pill form is as effective as adding the coconut oil to food (not terribly fond of the taste).
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written by Mary, Sep 04 2011

Dr. Mary Newport wrote a book entitled "what if there was a cure for Alzheimer's and nobody knew?" and here is a link to a pdf format of an article of the same name: http://www.coconutketones.com/whatifcure.pdf

Here is her blog site, if you are not familiar with it. It also lists a large amount of articles, studies, etc. on coconut and mct oils. There is a long list of Diseases it helps, not just Alzheimer's.

http://coconutketones.blogspot.com/

She used coconut oil to bring her husband back from the edge of totally losing his personality and mental abilities, to a semi normal lucid state. Previous to the MCT oils, He wasn't even remembering simple things, such as to eat. He has Alzheimer's and there was very swift improvement with coconut oil, which could be measured within hours of first taking it. After several years he is still holding his own, with his personality back to normal and great improvement in his brain, with the use of coconut/mct oils.

http://coconutketones.com/

She is a proponent and supporter of a research that has synthesized the ingredient in coconut oil that causes this and I believe it is in clinical trials or soon to be.

PS she lists this site in her list of "Important Links"
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written by eric foster, Mar 31 2011
Ive been wanting to read more on coconut oil. I read a couple of good things but was scared still of coconut oil since it is one of the highest saturated fat oils. I have staph a. ...I beleive it is the version now going around that has finally been acknowledged that is being named something like " sureasasses marchlikeants" ...sure as asses, march like ants. it wasnt prounced this way on television but after i wrote it down and tried to decode it it seemed to spell this. im not surprised. it fits perfectly. id love to get some mail on updates of coconut oil or whatever work your doing. im impressed. thank you for the info. bless you. eric newer and alternate email is imawinwinsituation@hotmail.com

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 June 2009 17:52