Coconut Oil May Help Your Dog's Skin Issues<p>Using coconut oil to treat skin conditions is a common practice with well-known benefits. The positive effects are likely due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.</p><p>One study found that coconut oil effectively hydrates the skin of people with xerosis, a condition characterized by dry and itchy skin.</p><p>This study was conducted on humans — not dogs. However, many dog owners and veterinarians claim that coconut oil can help treat dry skin and eczema in dogs when applied topically.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Coconut oil may help treat skin conditions in humans, and some people claim that it's also helpful for the skin of dogs.</p>
It Can Improve the Appearance of Your Dog's Fur<p>Coconut oil may improve the appearance of your dog's fur.</p><p>When applied to the skin, it can make hair shinier and less prone to damage.</p><p>This is because lauric acid, the main fatty acid in coconut oil, has a unique chemical makeup that allows it to easily penetrate hair shafts.</p><p>Other types of fat don't have this same ability, so using coconut oil may help keep your dog's coat healthy and beautiful.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>The lauric acid in coconut oil has been shown to keep hair healthier than other fatty acids. It can be used to improve the health and appearance of your dog's fur.</p>
It May Help Fight Off Pests<p>The antimicrobial effects of coconut oil may prevent dogs from being infected by ectoparasites, such as ticks, fleas, and mange mites.</p><p>It has also been shown to help eliminate these pests in dogs that have already been infected.</p><p>These effects were confirmed by two studies in which dogs were treated with a shampoo made with coconut oil.</p><p>In one of these studies, coconut oil also appeared to facilitate wound healing in dogs with ectoparasite bites. This is likely associated with coconut oil's ability to inhibit bacterial growth.<a href="https://nextgendog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/34-ECTOPARASITICIDAL-EFFECT-OF-VIRGIN-COCONUT-Cocos-nucifera-OIL-SHAMPOO-IN-DOGS.pdf" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Moreover, coconut oil has also been shown to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi in lab studies.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Coconut oil may be beneficial for preventing pest infections and treating bites.</p>
Risks Associated With Using Coconut Oil on Dogs<p>Although adverse effects are rare, there are a few things to consider before using coconut oil on your dog.</p><p>There's always the risk for an allergic reaction when introducing something new to your dog's diet or grooming regimen. If a reaction occurs, stop using it.</p><p>Also, some studies have shown that coconut oil can cause high cholesterol in dogs. In extreme cases, this can cause fatty plaques to develop in the arteries.</p><p>Furthermore, due to its high calorie content, using coconut oil in excess may lead to weight gain.</p><p>Lastly, one study concluded that a diet high in <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saturated-fat-good-or-bad" target="_blank">saturated fat</a> reduces dogs' scent-detecting abilities. More research is needed to better understand this finding, but you may want to use caution with coconut oil if you have a working dog.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Coconut oil may cause high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, and weight gain in some dogs. If your dog is prone to any of these conditions, talk with a veterinarian before use.</p>
How to Use Coconut Oil on Dogs<p>Coconut oil is generally safe for dogs to eat in small amounts or have applied to their skin or fur.</p><p>When it comes to selecting a brand, virgin coconut oil is best, as most of coconut oil's benefits have been observed with this type.</p><p>According to some sources, coconut oil can generally be given to dogs one to two times a day with meals.</p><p>The amount you give your dog will depend on its size. If your dog is overweight or has obesity, don't give it coconut oil more than once a day.</p><p>Veterinarians stress the importance of starting slowly with coconut oil. This will allow you to monitor how your dog reacts to it.</p><p>Start by giving 1/4 teaspoon daily to small dogs or 1 tablespoon daily to big dogs and gradually increase the amount. If your dog tolerates it well after 2 weeks, increase the dose to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight.</p><p>Due to a lack of research, these recommendations are not established.</p><p>Don't feed your dog coconut oil alone. Instead, mix it in with your dog's regular food. This will keep its diet varied and nutrient dense.</p><p>All dogs being fed coconut oil should be monitored for weight gain, diarrhea, and other symptoms that may signify intolerance.</p><p>Keep in mind that studies haven't revealed any benefits of using coconut oil in dog feed. On the other hand, using it on your dog's skin may improve certain skin conditions.</p><p>If you're applying the coconut oil topically, rub a small amount onto your hands and then gently pat its coat, running your fingers through the fur and massaging a little into its skin.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Coconut oil can be fed to dogs or applied to their skin. Start slowly and increase the amount you give your dog gradually.</p>
Takeaway<p>Research on using coconut oil for pets is lacking. The benefits are mainly anecdotal, as well as based on findings in humans, rodents, and test-tube studies.</p><p>Despite the lack of research, giving it to your dog in small doses is relatively safe.</p><p>Ultimately, it's a personal choice. Using coconut oil on your dog has a few potential benefits and might be worth trying.</p><p>The risks are unlikely but worth keeping in mind. It's important to monitor your dog's health after adding anything to its regimen.</p><p>Talk to a veterinarian if you have further questions or concerns about giving your dog coconut oil.</p>
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Coconut oil is widely marketed as a "superfood."
1. Coconut Oil Contains Healthy Fatty Acids<p>Coconut oil is high in certain saturated fats. These fats have different effects in the body compared with most other dietary fats.</p><p>The fatty acids in coconut oil can encourage the body to burn fat, and they provide quick energy to the body and brain. They also raise <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/hdl-vs-ldl-cholesterol" target="_blank">HDL (good) cholesterol</a> in the blood, which may help to reduce heart disease risk.</p><p>Most dietary fats are categorized as long-chain <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/triglyceride-level" target="_blank">triglycerides</a> (LCTs), while coconut oil contains some <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-101" target="_blank">medium-chain triglycerides</a> (MCTs), which are shorter fatty acid chains.</p><p>When you eat MCTs, they tend to go straight to the liver. The body uses them as a quick source of energy or turns them into ketones.</p><p>Ketones can have powerful benefits for the brain, and researchers are studying ketones as a treatment for <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/epilepsy" target="_blank">epilepsy</a>, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-disease" target="_blank">Alzheimer's disease</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-conditions-benefit-ketogenic-diet" target="_blank">other conditions</a>.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Coconut oil is high in fats called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs, which the body metabolizes differently than most other fats. MCTs are responsible for many of the health benefits of coconut oil.</p>
2. Eating Coconut May Benefit Heart Health<p>Coconut is an uncommon food in the Western world, with health-conscious people being the main consumers.</p><p>However, in some parts of the world, coconut — which is loaded with coconut oil — is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for generations.</p><p>A good example is the Tokelauans, a population who live in the South Pacific. According to a 1981 study, this population was getting over 60% of their calories from coconuts.</p><p>Researchers reported that this population had good health with very low rates of heart disease.</p><p>Another example of a population who ate a lot of coconut — along with tubers, fruit, and fish —and had little stroke or heart disease is the Kitavan population in Papua, New Guinea.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Several populations around the world have thrived for generations eating a substantial amount of coconut, and studies show they have good heart health.</p>
3. MCTs Can Encourage Fat Burning<p>Obesity is one of the biggest health conditions affecting the Western world today.</p><p>While some people think obesity is just a matter of how many calories someone eats, the source of those calories is important, too. Different foods affect the body and hormones in different ways.</p><p>The MCTs in coconut oil can increase the number of calories the body burns compared to longer-chain fatty acids.</p><p>One study found that consuming 15–30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%.</p><p>However, these studies didn't specifically look at the effects of coconut oil. They examined the health effects of MCTs — excluding lauric acid — which make up only about 14% of coconut oil.</p><p>There's currently no good evidence to say that eating coconut oil itself will increase the amount of energy a person uses up.</p><p>People should keep in mind that coconut oil is very high in calories and can easily lead to weight gain when they consume it in large amounts.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Research says that MCTs can increase the number of calories burned over 24 hours by as much as 5%. However, research has not shown that coconut oil itself has the same effect.</p>
4. Coconut Oil Has Antimicrobial Effects<p>Twelve-carbon lauric acid makes up about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil.</p><p>When the body digests lauric acid, it forms a substance called <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/monolaurin" target="_blank">monolaurin</a>. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.</p><p>For example, test tube studies show that these substances can help to kill the bacteria <em>Staphylococcus aureus,</em> which causes staph infections, and the yeast <em>Candida albicans</em>, a common source of yeast infections in humans.</p><p>There's also some evidence that using coconut oil as a mouthwash, a process called <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oil-pulling-coconut-oil" target="_blank">oil pulling</a>, could benefit oral hygiene, though researchers consider the evidence weak.</p><p>There's no evidence that coconut oil reduces the risk for the common cold or other internal infections.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Using coconut oil as a mouthwash could help to prevent infections in the mouth, but researchers need more evidence before they can make strong claims.</p>
5. MCTs Can Reduce Hunger<p>One interesting feature of MCTs is that they can reduce hunger.</p><p>This may be related to the way the body metabolizes fats, because ketones can reduce a person's appetite.</p><p>In one study, researchers fed varying amounts of MCTs and LCTs to 6 healthy men. The men who ate the most MCTs ate fewer calories per day.</p><p>Another study in 14 healthy men reported that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch.</p><p>These studies were small and had a very short timescale. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could lead to reduced body weight over several years.</p><p>Although coconut oil is one of the richest natural sources of MCTs, there's no evidence that coconut oil intake reduces appetite more than other types of oils.</p><p>In fact, one study has reported that coconut oil is less satiating than MCT oil.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>MCTs can significantly reduce appetite, which may lead to reduced body weight over the long term.</p>
6. MCTs May Reduce Seizures<p>Researchers are currently studying the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101" target="_blank">ketogenic diet</a> (very low in carbs, very high in fats) to treat various disorders.</p><p>The best known therapeutic use of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.</p><p>The diet dramatically reduces the rate of seizures in children with epilepsy, even those who haven't had success with multiple different types of drugs. Researchers aren't sure why.</p><p>Reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake leads to greatly increased concentrations of ketones in the blood.</p><p>Because the MCTs in coconut oil get transported to the liver and turned into ketones, healthcare professionals may use a modified keto diet that includes MCTs and a more generous carbohydrate allowance to induce ketosis and help treat epilepsy.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in children with epilepsy.</p>
7. Coconut Oil Can Raise HDL Cholesterol<p>Coconut oil contains natural <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saturated-fat-good-or-bad" target="_blank">saturated fats</a> that increase HDL (good) cholesterol in the body. They may also help turn LDL (bad) cholesterol into a less harmful form.</p><p>By increasing HDL, many experts believe that coconut oil could be good for heart health compared to many other fats.</p><p>In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.</p><p>Another study involving 116 adults showed that following a diet program that included coconut oil raised levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in people with <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/coronary-artery-disease" target="_blank">coronary artery disease</a>.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>A few studies have shown that coconut oil can raise blood levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which is linked to improved metabolic health and a lower risk of heart disease.</p>
8. Coconut Oil Can Protect the Skin, Hair, and Teeth<p>Coconut oil has <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/31-coconut-oil-uses" target="_blank">many uses</a> that have nothing to do with eating it.</p><p>Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.</p><p>Studies show that coconut oil can improve the moisture content of dry skin, and it can also reduce the symptoms of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/eczema" target="_blank">eczema</a>.</p><p>Coconut oil can also protect against hair damage. One study shows that it may work as a weak sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun's ultraviolet rays.</p><p>Oil pulling, which involves swishing coconut oil around the mouth like mouthwash, can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth. This may improve dental health and reduce bad breath, though more research is needed.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>People can apply coconut oil to their skin, hair, and teeth. Studies suggest it works as a skin moisturizer, protects against skin damage, and improves oral health.</p>
9. MCTs Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer's Disease<p>Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/dementia" target="_blank">dementia</a>. It usually affects older adults.</p><p>In people with Alzheimer's disease, the brain's ability to use glucose for energy is reduced.</p><p>Researchers have suggested that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.</p><p>The authors of a 2006 study reported that consuming MCTs improved brain function in people with milder forms of Alzheimer's disease.</p><p>However, research is still early, and there's no evidence to suggest that coconut oil itself helps with Alzheimer's disease.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Early studies suggest that MCTs can increase blood levels of ketones, supplying energy for the brain cells of people with Alzheimer's disease and relieving symptoms.</p>
10. Coconut Oil May Help Reduce Harmful Abdominal Fat<p>Given that some of the fatty acids in coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, evidence suggests that it can also <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-weight-loss" target="_blank">help you to lose weight</a>.</p><p>Abdominal fat, or visceral fat, lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs. MCTs appear to be especially effective at <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/20-tips-to-lose-belly-fat" target="_blank">reducing belly fat</a> compared to LCTs.</p><p>Abdominal fat is the most harmful type and has links with many chronic diseases.</p><p>Waist circumference is an easy, accurate marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.</p><p>In a study of 40 women with abdominal obesity, those who took 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of coconut oil per day had a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference over 12 weeks.</p><p>Another study in 20 males with obesity noted a reduction in waist circumference of 1.1 inches (2.86 cm) after 4 weeks of taking 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of coconut oil per day.</p><p>Coconut oil is still high in calories so people should use it sparingly. Replacing some of your other cooking fats with coconut oil could have a small weight loss benefit, but the evidence is inconsistent overall.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>If you want to buy coconut oil, there's an <a href="http://amzn.to/2nepI91" target="_blank">excellent selection online</a> with thousands of customer reviews. It's also available in most health food stores.</p><p>In order to get the potential health benefits outlined in the article, make sure to choose organic, virgin coconut oil rather than refined versions.</p>
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What Are MCTs?<p>MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, are a type of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saturated-fat-good-or-bad" target="_blank">saturated fat</a>.</p><p>They are a natural component of many foods, including coconut oil and palm kernel oil, as well as dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese.</p><p>A triglyceride consists of three fatty acids and a glycerol molecule. These fatty acids are made up of carbon atoms linked together in chains that vary in length.</p><p>Most fatty acids in dietary triglycerides are long-chain, meaning they contain more than 12 carbon atoms.</p><p>In contrast, the fatty acids in MCTs have a medium length, containing 6–12 carbon atoms.</p><p>It's this difference in fatty acid chain length that makes MCTs unique. In contrast, most dietary sources of fat, such as fish, avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, are comprised of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs).</p><p>The medium-chain length of MCTs doesn't require the enzymes or bile acids for digestion and absorption that LCTs require.</p><p>This allows MCTs to go straight to your liver, where they are rapidly digested and absorbed and either used for immediate energy or turned into ketones.</p><p>Ketones are compounds produced when your liver breaks down a lot of fat. Your body can use them for energy instead of glucose or sugar.</p><p>What's more, MCTs are less likely to be stored as fat and may promote weight loss better than other fatty acids.</p><p>Here are the four types of MCTs, listed in order of fatty acid chain length, from shortest to longest:</p><ul><li>caproic acid — 6 carbon atoms</li><li>caprylic acid — 8 carbon atoms</li><li>capric acid — 10 carbon atoms</li><li>lauric acid — 12 carbon atoms</li></ul><p>Some experts define MCT fatty acids as those that have a length of 6–10 carbon atoms instead of 12. That's because lauric acid is often classified as an LCT because it's digested and absorbed much slower than the other MCTs.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>MCTs are a type of saturated fat that is rapidly digested and absorbed by your body.</p>
MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil<p>While they're similar, MCT and coconut oils have many differences, namely the proportion and types of MCT molecules they contain.</p><p><strong>MCT Oil</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-benefits" target="_blank">MCT oil</a> contains 100% MCTs, making it a concentrated source.</p><p>It's made by refining raw coconut or palm oil to remove other compounds and concentrate the MCTs naturally found in the oils.</p><p>MCT oils generally contain 50–80% caprylic acid and 20–50% caproic acid.</p><p><strong>Coconut Oil</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil" target="_blank">Coconut oil</a> is made from copra, the kernel or meat of coconuts.</p><p>It's the richest natural source of MCTs — they comprise about 54% of the fat in copra.</p><p>Coconut oil naturally contains MCTs, namely 42% lauric acid, 7% caprylic acid, and 5% capric acid.<a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/343868/nutrients" target="_blank"></a></p><p>In addition to the MCTs, coconut oil contains LCTs and unsaturated fats.</p><p>Lauric acid behaves more like an LCT in terms of its slow digestion and absorption. Thus, experts suggest that coconut oil cannot be considered an MCT-rich oil, as is widely claimed, given its high lauric acid content.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>MCT oil is a concentrated source of MCTs made from coconut or palm kernel oil. MCT oil contains 100% MCTs, compared with 54% in coconut oil.</p>
MCT Oil is Better for Ketone Production and Weight Loss<p>MCT oil is popular among those following a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101" target="_blank">keto diet</a>, which is very low in carbs, moderate in protein, and high in fats.</p><p>The high intake of fat and low intake of carbs puts your body in a state of nutritional ketosis, in which it burns fat instead of glucose for fuel.</p><p>Compared with coconut oil, MCT oil is better for ketone production and maintaining ketosis. Fatty acids that promote the formation of ketones are called ketogenic.</p><p>One study in humans found that caprylic acid was three times more ketogenic than capric acid, and about six times more ketogenic than lauric acid.</p><p>MCT oil has much larger proportions of the more ketogenic MCTs than coconut oil, which contains the greatest concentration of lauric acid, the least ketogenic MCT.</p><p>What's more, MCTs may decrease the time it takes to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-tips-to-get-into-ketosis" target="_blank">reach nutritional ketosis</a> and its associated symptoms, such as irritability and fatigue, compared with LCTs.</p><p>Several studies have also shown that MCT oil may aid fat loss by boosting metabolism and promoting greater feelings of fullness compared with coconut oil and LCTs.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>MCT oil contains a greater proportion of ketogenic MCTs than coconut oil. MCT oil has also been shown to boost metabolism and promote fullness to a greater extent than coconut oil.</p>
Coconut Oil is Better for Cooking, as Well as Beauty and Skin Care<p>While coconut oil has not been consistently shown to provide the same ketogenic or weight loss properties as pure MCT oil, it has other uses and benefits.<span></span></p><p><strong>Cooking</strong></p><p>Coconut oil is an <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-is-coconut-oil-good-for-you" target="_blank">ideal cooking oil</a> for stir-frying and pan-frying due to its high smoke point, which is higher than that of MCT oil.</p><p>The smoke point is the temperature at which fat begins to oxidize, negatively affecting the oil's taste and nutritional content.</p><p>Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350°F (177°C) compared with 302°F (150°C) for MCT oil.</p><p><strong>Beauty and Skin Care</strong></p><p>Coconut oil's high percentage of lauric acid makes it beneficial for beauty and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-skin" target="_blank">skin care</a>.</p><p>For example, lauric acid has strong antibacterial properties that have been shown to help treat acne in human cells.</p><p>Coconut oil has also been shown to improve the symptoms of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/coconut-oil-for-eczema" target="_blank">atopic dermatitis</a> (eczema), such as redness and itchiness, when applied to affected areas.</p><p>The skin-hydrating properties of coconut oil likewise make it useful for alleviating xerosis, a common skin condition characterized by dry and itchy skin.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Coconut oil has a higher smoke point than MCT oil, making it more suitable for cooking. The antibacterial and hydrating properties of coconut oil also make it beneficial for beauty and skin care.</p>
Risks and Considerations<p>MCT oil and coconut oil are generally well-tolerated and safe when consumed in moderate amounts.<span></span></p><p>Excessive intake of MCT or coconut oil has been associated with stomach discomfort, cramping, bloating, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-diarrhea-fast" target="_blank">diarrhea</a>.</p><p>If you choose to supplement with MCT oil for its ketogenic and weight loss properties, start by taking 1 tablespoon (15 ml) per day and increase as tolerated to the maximum daily dose of 4–7 tablespoons (60–100 ml).<span></span></p><p>You can mix MCT oil easily into a variety of foods and beverages, including hot cereals, soups, sauces, smoothies, coffee, and tea.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>MCT and coconut oil are generally safe but can produce gastrointestinal discomfort if consumed in excess. The maximum recommended dose is 4–7 tablespoons (60–100 ml) per day.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>CT oil and coconut oil can both be beneficial — but for different uses.</p><p>MCT oil is a concentrated source of 100% MCTs that's more effective at boosting weight loss and energy production — especially if you're following a keto diet — than coconut oil.</p><p>Meanwhile, coconut oil has an MCT content of about 54%. It's best used as a cooking oil and may be beneficial for a variety of beauty applications and skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and skin dryness.</p>
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What is Fractionated Coconut Oil?<p>Fractionated coconut oil is an oil made from <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil" target="_blank">regular coconut oil</a>.</p><p>Both regular and fractionated coconut oils are great sources of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), providing fatty acids that contain 6 to 12 carbon atoms.</p><p>However, their fatty acid composition is vastly different.</p><p>While the main fatty acid in coconut oil is the 12-carbon lauric acid (C12), most or all of this fatty acid has been removed from fractionated coconut oil.</p><p>The long-chain fatty acids present in coconut oil have also been eliminated.</p><p>Thus, the main medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in fractionated coconut oil are:</p><ul><li><strong>C8:</strong> caprylic acid or octanoic acid</li><li><strong>C10:</strong> capric acid or decanoic acid</li></ul><p>MCFAs are metabolized differently than other fats.</p><p>They're transported directly to the liver from the digestive tract, where they may be used as a quick source of energy. They can also be turned into ketone bodies, which are compounds that may have therapeutic effects in those with epilepsy (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19049583" target="_blank">1Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Fractionated coconut oil is tasteless, odorless, and usually more expensive than regular coconut oil.</p><p>It's very similar or even identical to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-101" target="_blank">MCT oil</a>.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Fractionated coconut oil is made from regular coconut oil and mainly consists of the medium-chain fatty acids caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10).</p>
How is Fractionated Coconut Oil Made?<p>Fractionated coconut oil is produced via a process called fractionation.</p><p>Fractionation is used to separate different <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/good-fats-vs-bad-fats" target="_blank">types of fats</a> that are naturally found in some oils. It's often done to make new products for consumers (<a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224400889955" target="_blank">2</a>).</p><p>The different melting points of various fats make fractionation possible.</p><p>For example, lauric acid and long-chain fatty acids have higher melting points than caprylic acid and capric acid. Therefore, they will become solid sooner when cooled.</p><p>The fractionation of coconut oil is carried out by heating the oil above its melting point. Then, it's left to cool, and the solid fraction of the oil is separated from the liquid.</p><p>The whole process of fractionation can take several hours.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>A process called fractionation is used to produce fractionated coconut oil. This method uses the different melting points of fats to separate them.</p>
Fractionated Coconut Oil May Help You Lose Weight<p>A diet high in MCTs, the main component of fractionated coconut oil, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-weight-loss" target="_blank">may aid weight loss</a>.</p><p>Most studies on this effect replaced other fats in the diet with MCTs.</p><p>MCTs may help you lose weight because they:</p><ul><li>reduce hunger and calorie intake (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25074387/" target="_blank">3Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9701177" target="_blank">4Trusted Source</a>)</li><li>help you burn more fat and calories (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12975635" target="_blank">5Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11880549" target="_blank">6Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9570335" target="_blank">7Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12634436" target="_blank">8Trusted Source</a>)</li><li>are less likely to be stored as fat (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296368" target="_blank">9Trusted Source</a>)</li></ul><p>However, the amount of weight lost is generally quite modest.</p><p>One review of 13 studies found that MCTs reduced body weight by an average of 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) over three weeks, compared with other fats (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25636220" target="_blank">10Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>The authors also noted that about half of these studies were funded by MCT oil producers. Therefore, there is a high risk of bias.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Eating a diet rich in MCTs may lead to modest weight loss by helping you eat less and burn more fat. MCTs are also lesslikely to be stored as fat.</p>
Other Potential Health Benefits<p>The MCTs in fractionated coconut oil have been associated with several other health benefits, including:</p><ul><li><strong>Reduced insulin resistance:</strong> One small study found that taking MCTs may reduce insulin resistance and improve other risk factors in people with diabetes and excess weight. More studies are needed to confirm this effect (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17570262" target="_blank">11Trusted Source</a>).</li><li><strong>Epilepsy treatment:</strong> Children with epilepsy may benefit from a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101" target="_blank">ketogenic diet</a> enriched with MCTs. Adding the MCTs may allow them to eat more carbs and protein, making the diet easier to stick to (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23515148" target="_blank">12Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19049583" target="_blank">13Trusted Source</a>).</li><li><strong>Improved brain function:</strong> One study reported that in some people with mild to moderate <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-disease" target="_blank">Alzheimer's disease</a>, MCTs may improve brain function. However, further studies are needed (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24413538" target="_blank">14Trusted Source</a> ).</li></ul><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>The MCTs in fractionated coconut oil have been suggested to enhance exercise performance and improve various health conditions. However, more research is needed.</p>
Most Fractionated Coconut Oils Don't Contain Lauric Acid<p>Lauric acid is a major component of coconut oil. In fact, the oil comprises about 50% lauric acid and is one of the world's richest dietary sources of this saturated fat.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/what-is-lauric-acid" target="_blank">Lauric acid</a> has been linked to many health benefits. It may kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi while protecting against various infections (<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11746-014-2562-7/fulltext.html" target="_blank">15</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4670656/" target="_blank">16Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10762277" target="_blank">17Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Most fractionated coconut oils do not contain any lauric acid, or only very small amounts of it.</p><p>Thus, fractionated coconut oil doesn't offer all of the health effects that regular coconut oil does.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Fractionated coconut oil is able to stay in liquid form because its lauric acid has been removed. Thus, the oil does not offer lauric acid's many health benefits.</p>
How Is It Used?<p>Fractionated coconut oil has been marketed under three different names.</p><p>You may know it as:</p><ul><li><strong>Fractionated coconut oil:</strong> This oil is mainly used for various household and personal care purposes, such as a moisturizer, hair conditioner, and massage oil.</li><li><strong>MCT oil:</strong> It's often used as a dietary supplement, with 1–3 tablespoons per day being a common dosage recommendation.</li><li><strong>Liquid coconut oil:</strong> This oil is advertised as an edible <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/health-benefits-cooking-oil-guide#1" target="_blank">cooking oil</a>.</li></ul><p>Ultimately, these are the same product that has been marketed for different consumer uses.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Fractionated coconut oil is also marketed as MCT oil and liquid coconut oil, but fundamentally, these are all the same product. Its uses include skin care and cooking.</p>
Safety and Side Effects<p>Consuming fractionated coconut oil appears to be safe for most people.</p><p>However, there have been reports of people experiencing digestive symptoms.</p><p>These include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, and they seem particularly common in children on an MCT-enriched ketogenic diet (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23515148" target="_blank">18Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Although extremely rare, there have been a few cases of people with coconut and coconut oil allergy (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7702732" target="_blank">19Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10359903" target="_blank">20Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11929430" target="_blank">21Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24231149" target="_blank">22Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>These people may experience adverse reactions when consuming fractionated coconut oil.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Fractionated coconut oil is well tolerated by most people. However, it may cause digestive problems in some cases, as well as adverse symptoms in people who are allergic to coconut products.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Fractionated coconut oil is made by separating the different types of fats in regular coconut oil.</p><p>What remains are two medium-chain fatty acids that may lead to modest weight loss and several other health benefits.</p><p>While fractionated coconut oil may offer some benefits, it's more processed than the regular kind. Plus, lauric acid, one of the most beneficial fats, has been removed.</p>
Millions of people around the world depend on a morning cup of coffee to get their day started.
May Help You Stay in Ketosis<p>Coconut oil has become increasingly popular among people following the high-fat, very-low-carb ketogenic diet.</p><p>Adding it to your coffee can help you reach or maintain ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body uses ketones — molecules produced from fat breakdown — as fuel instead of glucose, a type of sugar (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23670253" target="_blank">1</a>).</p><p>Maintaining ketosis on a ketogenic diet has been linked to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-low-carb-ketogenic-diets" target="_blank">health benefits</a> like weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and reduced heart disease risk factors (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12679447" target="_blank">2</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15767618" target="_blank">3</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29712560" target="_blank">4</a>).</p><p>Coconut oil can help you stay in ketosis as it's loaded with fats called <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-benefits" target="_blank">medium-chain triglycerides</a> (MCTs).</p><p>Compared to other fats, MCTs are rapidly absorbed and immediately delivered to your liver. Here, they're either used as a source of energy or converted into ketone bodies (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18231629" target="_blank">5</a>).</p><p>Interestingly, MCT oils are more easily converted to ketones than long-chain triglycerides, another type of fat found in foods (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23515148" target="_blank">6</a>).</p><p>Research shows that MCTs can help you stay in ketosis — even if you eat slightly more protein and carbs than recommended on a classic ketogenic diet (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23515148" target="_blank">6</a>).</p><p>Coconut oil has 4 types of MCTs, and 50% of its fat comes from the MCT lauric acid (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27547436" target="_blank">7</a>).</p><p>Lauric acid appears to make ketones at a slower but more sustained rate as it's metabolized more steadily than other MCTs. Therefore, adding coconut oil to your coffee is an effective way to help you stay in ketosis (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27547436" target="_blank">7</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27430387" target="_blank">8</a>).</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Coconut oil helps your body make ketones. If you follow a ketogenic diet, adding it to your cup of coffee may help you reach and stay in ketosis.</p>
Health Benefits and Downsides<p>Adding <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil" target="_blank">coconut oil</a> to your coffee is an easy way to reap the health benefits of both.</p><p>Here are some ways in which adding coconut oil to your coffee may improve health:</p><ul> <li><strong>May speed up your metabolism.</strong> Studies show that MCTs in coconut oil and caffeine in coffee may <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coffee-increase-metabolism" target="_blank">speed up your metabolism</a>, which can increase the number of calories you burn in a day (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12634436" target="_blank">9</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11880549" target="_blank">10</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27824614" target="_blank">11</a>).</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>May improve energy levels. </strong>Coffee contains caffeine, which can help you feel less tired. Coconut oil packs MCTs, which are transported straight to your liver and can act as a quick source of energy as well (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24895603" target="_blank">12</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8567514" target="_blank">13</a>).</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>May help keep your bowels regular. </strong>Coconut oil MCTs and coffee compounds like caffeine and chlorogenic acids may help stimulate your bowels and keep your digestive system healthy (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29881797" target="_blank">14</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19621729" target="_blank">15</a>).</li></ul><ul><li><strong>May help raise HDL (good) cholesterol.</strong> Several studies have found that coconut oil can raise levels of HDL cholesterol, which is protective against heart disease (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29387131" target="_blank">16</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29511019" target="_blank">17</a>).</li></ul><p>However, adding coconut oil to coffee also has its drawbacks.</p><p>For starters, many people who add it to their morning coffee use it as a breakfast replacement. Doing so means that you may miss out on many important nutrients that you would get from eating a more <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nutritious-breakfast" target="_blank">balanced breakfast</a>.</p><p>While coconut oil has some nutrients, it won't have as many as a nutritious breakfast that contains many different food groups.</p><p>What's more, coconut oil is high in calories, providing 121 calories per tablespoon (14 grams). Most people who add it to coffee tend to use 2 tablespoons — an extra 242 calories (<a href="https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/" target="_blank">18</a>).</p><p>If this doesn't sound like much, note that it would take a 155-pound (70-kg) person nearly 50 minutes of walking at a brisk pace (3.5 miles or 5.6 km per hour) to burn that many calories (<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042810020732" target="_blank">19</a>).</p><p>Additionally, while the combined effect of coconut oil and coffee may slightly boost your metabolism, it's more likely to make you <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-causes-of-weight-gain" target="_blank">gain weight</a> if you don't account for the added calories.</p><p>The calories in a few tablespoons of coconut oil are likely to exceed the calories expended due to the small metabolism increase related to the ingestion of the MCTs and caffeine.</p><p>What's more, certain medical conditions like gallbladder issues or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) may make it necessary to limit your fat intake (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3500019/" target="_blank">20</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29424395" target="_blank">21</a>).</p><p>Coconut oil is much more effective when you use it to replace less healthy fats in your diet, such as those from processed foods, rather than on top of the fats you're currently consuming.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Adding coconut oil to coffee can offer some health benefits. Still, it has potential drawbacks, such as replacing a more nutritious meal and adding too many calories. Plus, certain medical conditions may make it necessary to limit your fat intake.</p>
How Much Coconut Oil Should You Use?<p>If you want to try coconut oil in your cup of joe, start small by adding 1 tablespoon (14 grams) to hot coffee and stirring it thoroughly to ensure that the oil incorporates well.</p><p>Some people prefer to blend the oil with <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee" target="_blank">coffee</a> in a blender to make a delicious tropical-style beverage.</p><p>Eventually, you can work your way up to 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of coconut oil if you would like to increase your fat intake. This may be most appropriate for those attempting to reach and maintain ketosis.</p><p>Avoid adding too much coconut oil too quickly, especially if you follow a low- to moderate-fat diet, as it may cause nausea and laxative-like symptoms.</p><p>Besides, 2 tablespoons (28 grams) is plenty to reap the health benefits of this tasty, healthy fat (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22164340" target="_blank">22</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058" target="_blank">23</a>).</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Start by adding 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of coconut oil to your hot coffee. You can slowly work your way up to twice as much. Note that adding too much coconut oil too quickly may cause unpleasant side effects.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>If you're watching your calorie or fat intake for medical or personal reasons, avoid putting coconut oil into your coffee.</p><p>Still, if you follow a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101" target="_blank">ketogenic diet</a> or want to include this healthy fat in your diet, then adding it to your coffee can be an easy way to increase your intake.</p><p>To avoid unpleasant side effects, start slowly and add no more than 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of coconut oil at first.</p>
Turns out, coconut oil fatty acids have strong repellency and long-lasting effectiveness against bloodsuckers and disease-carriers such as mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies and bed bugs, according to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study published in Scientific Reports.
- New Tick Species Spreads in U.S. for First Time in 50 Years ›
- 6 Things You Should Know About Bug Repellent - EcoWatch ›
The sweet-smelling tropical staple has gotten a lot of attention in recent years as a "superfood." Enthusiasts love its bounty of potential health benefits from fighting diabetes, to losing weight and even treating Alzheimer's disease. Folks following the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet like plunking the oil into coffee or blending it into smoothies.
- Dr. Mark Hyman: So Is Coconut Oil Healthy? ›
- 11 Ways to Use Coconut Oil Everywhere for Everything - EcoWatch ›
Coconuts have been a valued food in tropical areas for thousands of years, traditionally enjoyed as coconut water from the centre of the coconut, coconut flesh or coconut “milk" (made by steeping the flesh in hot water).
Solid white coconut oil (I'll use this popular term, although technically it's a fat not an oil) is now the darling of celebrities and bloggers, paleo enthusiasts and sellers of so-called superfoods. Claims for its supposed medical value reverberate around the internet, but how well do they stand up to scientific scrutiny?
Did you know that 50 percent of media headlines about medical studies are dead wrong? And that many of these headlines don't accurately match the conclusions of the studies they cover? That's from a review published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It makes me sad and furious at the same time that journalists don't do their homework and create firestorms of confusion because of their negligent work.
Is coconut oil:
- good for you
- bad for you
- neither good nor bad
- scientists don't know
The subject of this question is the source of a disagreement. Initially, the question was thought to be settled decades ago, when scientist Ancel Keys declared all saturated fats unhealthy. Coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, is a saturated fat.
By Jacky Miller
Coconut oil is the extracted oil from coconut, the fruit of the coconut tree that's well-known for growing in tropical areas. It's also an outrageously popular topic among social media and health outlets in recent years.
Typically coconut oil is refined, bleached and deodorized using high heat. The bleach filters the oil to eliminate any impurities and sodium hydroxide is used as a preservative and to get rid of excess fatty acids. Coconut oil typically has a long shelf life because its high saturated fat content prevents oxidation.
Coconut oil is the topic of hot debate, typically known for being fairly high in saturated fats. This can put it off-limits for some people trying to consume a low-fat diet plan. However, the benefits of coconut oil span much further than the detrimental effects of its saturated fat content and not just in the digestive tract. It can be used in lots of different ways.
In addition to being consumed as part of the diet, coconut oil can also be applied for health benefits in a lot of different ways. It can be used topically, as a lotion, melted and inhaled as a vapor solution or used as shampoo.
Coconut oil is made by compressing the fats out of the white part of coconut flesh. Its reputation for being high in saturated fat is not unjustified—around 84 percent of the calories in coconut oil are from saturated fat. This is incredibly high when compared to another organic oil like olive oil, which only contains 14 percent saturated fat. Even butter contains just more than 60 percent saturated fat.
How Can a Food High in Saturated Fat Be Healthy?
Coconut oil has been studied for its effects on preventing Alzheimer's, heart disease, cholesterol buildup and blood pressure. It's been studied for its ability to prevent kidney disease and inflammation and for its defensive capabilities at fighting the development of cancer. How can one food—a food high in saturated fat, no less—be responsible for so many amazing health benefits?
First, coconut oil's saturated fats are mostly composed of medium-chain fatty acids. The most dangerous fatty acids are long-chain fatty acids. Certain types of long-chain fatty acids are known for contributing to heart disease, though some can be neutral. Most people consume far too many of the unhealthy long-chain fats and this is largely what leads to heart disease.
There are three main long-chain fatty acids: Myristic acid (coconut oil contains between 16 and 21 percent), palmitic acid and stearic acid. Myristic and palmitic acid have been shown to increase LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is short for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is highly reactive and can oxidize easily, leading to heart disease, strokes and an increased chance of cancer.
Myristic acid was more potent in this regard and has a higher chance of increasing LDL cholesterol. Myristic acid is also rarely found in natural foods and is more likely to be obtained in junk food.
Stearic acid has been shown to actually help balance cholesterol levels and is the healthiest of the three long-chain fatty acids.
In comparison, coconut oil's primary fat constituents are medium-chain fatty acids, including lauric acid (45 to 52 percent), caprylic acid (5 to 10 percent) and capric acid (4 to 8 percent).
The most common medium-chain fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, making up almost 75 percent of coconut oil's fait content. Medium chain fatty acids are connected with a higher rate of weight loss; in fact, subjects in a study who replaced olive oil with coconut oil or palm oil were shown to lose weight at a much quicker rate. These medium-chain fatty acids have also been studied for their efficacy at treating Alzheimer's and helping the body absorb nutrients more efficiently.
The rest of coconut oil's fat composition is made up of a mixture of caproic acid, oleic acid, palmitoleic acid and linoleic acid. Most of these are short-chain fatty acids.
How Does Coconut Oil Improve My Diet?
Residents of the South Pacific, who get up to 60 percent of their total calories—not just their total fat—from the highly saturated fat that is coconut oil, are shown to have virtually non-existent rates of heart disease.
The particular types of saturated fats in coconut oil are proven to not only not damage your cardiovascular system but are proven to improve it. Regular intake of coconut oil can improve heart health, help you lose weight, boost your metabolism, give you short and long-lasting energy. Most of these benefits are due to lauric acid, one of the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil. Lauric acid is the fat that composes the most significant percentage of coconut oil's profile.
The body converts lauric acid into a new substance, known as monolaurin. This particular compound is an antiviral, anti-bacterial and immune-boosting substance. Being a fat itself, it can also attack lipid-coated bacteria and pathogens such as herpes and HIV, the flu (caused by the influenza virus), measles and lipid-based protozoa and bacteria.
Lauric acid is extremely effective at battling viruses and bacteria and coconut oil has more of it, gram for gram, than any other substance.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil's benefits can be experienced by using coconut oil as a topical lotion, a food additive or even a vapor rub. Here are the top health benefits and the best ways to receive them.
1. Coconut Oil Helps Fight Diabetes
The human body typically makes use of medium-chain fatty acids, like the ones in coconut oil, by sending them to your liver for energy production. Since coconut oil is extremely high in medium-chain fat content, it's a great source of energy.
The energy coconut oil provides is instant due to the quick metabolization of fats, which is usually only provided by carbohydrates. The most important difference between the fats in coconut oil and carbs? Coconut oil doesn't cause a blood sugar spike or tax your body of insulin. You get all the energy from a burst of carbohydrates, but don't have to deal with the dangerous after-effects that come alongside excessive carbohydrate or sugar consumption.
Diabetes is caused, among other things, by the body developing insulin sensitivity. This comes by frequent and repeated blood sugar spikes. Insulin is the body's hormone that regulates the production of glucose (sugar) and the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar and energy. With a high carbohydrate diet comes an excessive release of insulin and with that, the body develops a sensitivity. People develop insulin sensitivity when they become dependent on large doses of carbohydrates for energy.
A quick-acting, long-lasting energy source that doesn't cause a blood sugar spike is extremely useful for diabetics and health-conscious individuals who want to avoid diabetes. Coconut oil has been shown to minimize weight gain in people with diabetes and pre-diabetics. This is very helpful at preventing diabetes from reaching type-2 stage.
2. Coconut Oil is a Great Fighter Against Cardiovascular Disease
Diabetes isn't the only blood-related illness that coconut oil fights. It has been shown in multiple clinical trials to combat a number of cardiovascular diseases, to limit heart attacks and strokes and help manage cholesterol.
Managing cholesterol is, alone, a huge improvement towards preventing heart disease. Coconut oil has a few other tricks up its sleeve though.
The nutritional profile of coconut oil helps the body form fewer blood clots, lowers the risk of developing free radicals and keeps higher reserves of antioxidants in cells. Free radicals are "rogue" atoms that are missing an electron in their outermost shell. These electrons compensate by stealing an electron from a neighboring atom and when uncontrolled, create a chain reaction of electron-theft. Each stolen electron creates an unstable atom which can spread and lead to cancer.
Many heart diseases are caused by atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries. This is caused by excess of plaque in the arteries, which can be caused by a variety of things: toxins, viral or bacterial infections, free radicals.
Much like blood will clot to heal wounds on the outer layer of skin, it sends platelets to heal wounds affecting the cardiovascular system itself. Platelets are proteins that stick together and stick to damaged tissue. They act similar to a bandaid for the cardiac system. The combination of platelets, minerals, cholesterol and scarred tissue build up in the body and can eventually harden, leading to potentially deadly disease.
Having effective systems to produce enough platelets is important. If your body cannot properly bandage an internal injury, your veins will produce too much scar tissue.
3. Coconut Oil is Great at Lowering Cholesterol
In one study on coconut oil's effect on cholesterol, 40 subjects were given either two tablespoons of coconut oil or two tablespoons of soybean oil daily for 12 weeks. The group taking soybean oil saw an increase in LDL cholesterol (not the kind you want) and a decrease in HDL cholesterol, whereas the coconut oil group saw only an increase in HDL.
HDL cholesterol can help the body wipe out LDL cholesterol. Since HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol, as its name indicates, is dense, it can sweep LDL cholesterol off the walls of veins and arteries. This prevents excess cholesterol from building up, which is one of the biggest causes of cardiovascular disease.
By Helen West
Coconut oil is an extremely versatile health and beauty product.
People use it for all sorts of things, from cooking and cleaning to moisturizing their skin and removing their makeup.
Others often use coconut oil to help improve the health and condition of their hair.
This article explores the pros and cons of using coconut oil on your hair.
Daily Grooming Practices Can Damage Your Hair
Daily grooming practices like washing, brushing and styling can cause damage to your hair and leave it looking frizzy, broken and dry.
To understand why this happens, you need to know more about your hair's structure. Your hair is made up of three layers:
- The medulla: This is the soft, central part of the hair shaft. Interestingly, thick hair contains large amounts of medulla, while fine hair has almost none.
- The cortex: This is the thickest layer of your hair. It contains lots of fibrous proteins and the pigment that gives your hair its color.
- The cuticle: The cuticle is the tough, protective outer layer of your hair.
Washing, styling and coloring your hair can damage the cuticle, rendering it unable to protect the central parts of the hair shaft.
Bottom Line: Washing, brushing, coloring and styling your hair can damage its structure, leaving it more prone to breakage.
Why Coconut Oil Is Better at Protecting Your Hair Than Other Oils
Coconut oil is often said to be the best oil to use on your hair to reduce protein loss and keep it looking healthy.
Given the current popularity of coconut oil, this would be easy to dismiss as a trend.
However, there is some evidence behind this claim.
One study examined the effects of applying coconut, sunflower or mineral oil to hair before or after washing (4).
To see which oil was best for protecting hair health, the researchers measured the amount of protein the hair lost after each of these treatments.
They found that coconut oil was better at preventing protein loss than both the mineral and sunflower oils when applied either before or after the hair was washed.
In fact, coconut oil came out on top in all of their studies and reduced protein loss in hair that was undamaged, bleached, chemically treated and UV exposed.
On the other hand, both the mineral and sunflower oils did not have this effect and weren't found to be effective at reducing protein loss from hair.
It's thought that coconut oil's chemical structure is behind its superior ability to protect hair (5).
Coconut oil is predominantly made up of a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid. This gives coconut oil a long, straight structure, which is more easily absorbed deep into the hair shaft.
Sunflower oil contains mostly linoleic acid, which has a much bulkier structure, so it's not as easily absorbed into the hair.
This means that oils like mineral oil and sunflower oil can coat the hair, but they aren't absorbed as well into the hair shaft (6).
Bottom Line: When applied to hair before washing, coconut oil has been shown to reduce protein loss more than sunflower and mineral oils.
Rubbing Oil on Your Hair Before or After Washing Helps Prevent Damage
There are a few ways you can apply oil to your hair to help protect it from damage.
First, applying oil to your hair before it's washed can help reduce the amount of damage it sustains during washing and while it's wet.
Interestingly, hair is most vulnerable to damage when it's wet. This is because of subtle, structural changes that occur when it absorbs water.
When you wet your hair, the thick, central cortex soaks up the water and swells, causing a structural change in the cuticle.
The hair cuticle is actually made up of flat, overlapping scales that are attached towards the root end of your hair and point towards the tip.
When the cortex of your hair absorbs water and swells up, these scales are pushed outward so they stick up. This makes wet hair much easier to damage, especially when brushing or styling.
Applying oil to your hair before you wash it can reduce the amount of water absorbed by the hair shaft and the degree to which the cuticle scales "stick up." This makes it less prone to damage while it's wet.
Second, coating your hair in oil after you wash it helps make it softer and smoother. This reduces the amount of friction caused by styling, making your hair less likely to snag and break (5).
Bottom Line: Your hair is most vulnerable to damage when it's wet. Applying oil to your hair both before and after you wash it helps protect it from damage.
Coconut Oil Could Help You Grow Your Hair Longer
Lots of people want to grow long, sleek and shiny hair.
However, day-to-day wear and tear on your hair caused by styling, grooming, the weather and pollutants can damage it.
This can make growing longer hair difficult, as your hair can become more worn and tired the longer it gets.
Coconut oil could help you grow your hair longer by:
- Moisturizing your hair and reducing breakage
- Protecting your hair from protein loss and damage when wet
- Protecting your hair from environmental damage like wind, sun and smoke
To get the most out of coconut oil, you'll probably need to make it a regular part of your beauty regimen.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil reduces damage to your hair caused by day-to-day wear and tear. Using coconut oil in your hair care routine could help you grow longer, healthier hair.
Other Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair
Coconut oil may also have other benefits for your hair. However, many of them haven't been examined in properly controlled studies.
Possible benefits include:
- Lice prevention: One small study found that when combined with anise in a spray, coconut oil was 40 percent more effective at treating head lice than the chemical permethrin (7).
- Sun protection: UV filters can help protect your hair from sun damage. Some studies have found coconut oil to have a sun protection factor of 8, so putting it on your hair could be useful (8, 9, 10).
- Dandruff treatment: Dandruff can be caused by an overgrowth of fungus or yeast on the scalp. While no studies have examined coconut oil specifically, it has antimicrobial properties and could be useful for treating dandruff (11, 12).
- Hair loss prevention: Excessive grooming can damage the hair shaft, which in extreme circumstances can cause hair loss. Coconut oil can help keep your hair in good condition and prevent this.
It's also claimed that consuming coconut oil can be beneficial for hair health due to the nutrients it provides. However, there is little evidence that this is the case (13).
Bottom Line: Coconut oil could help get rid of lice, protect your hair from the sun and reduce dandruff, but more studies are needed.
Does Coconut Oil Have Any Negative Effects on Hair?
Coconut oil is generally considered safe to apply to your skin and hair (14).
However, using too much could cause a buildup of oil on your hair and scalp.
This could make your hair greasy and dull, especially if you have very fine hair.
To avoid this, make sure you start with only a small amount and begin by rubbing the coconut oil through your hair, from the midsection to the ends. People with very fine hair may want to avoid putting coconut oil on their scalp altogether.
Furthermore, while it's normal to lose about 50–100 hairs a day, many people also report losing lots of hair when they use coconut oil.
But coconut oil is not usually the culprit. Simply applying the oil allows hair that has already detached from your scalp to fall away.
Bottom Line: Using too much coconut oil can make your hair greasy. It usually doesn't cause hair loss, but it can cause previously detached hair to fall away from your scalp more easily.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Beautiful Hair
Here are a few ways to use coconut oil to help improve the health of your hair.
- As a conditioner: Shampoo your hair as normal and then comb coconut oil through your hair, from the midsection to the ends.
- As a post-wash detangler: After shampooing and conditioning your hair, rub a little coconut oil through your hair to protect it while you brush it.
- As a hair mask: Rub coconut oil through your hair and let it sit for a few hours (or even overnight) before washing it out.
- As a pre-wash hair protector: Rub coconut oil through your hair before you wash it.
- As a scalp treatment: Before bed, massage a small amount of coconut oil into your scalp. Leave it overnight and wash it off with shampoo in the morning.
These techniques can be used regularly or once in a while (depending on your hair type) to give you beautiful, healthy and shiny hair.
The amount of coconut oil you'll need will depend on your hair length and type. Most people use just enough to cover the midsection to the ends of their hair to avoid their hair getting greasy.
The best approach is to start with the smallest amount you think you will need and gradually increase from there.
If you have short or very fine hair, you may need as little as one teaspoon. However, people with long, thick hair may want to use as much as two tablespoons.
There are also many different types of coconut oil to choose from. Some people prefer to choose a virgin (unrefined) coconut oil, as they also use it in their diet.
However, there aren't any specific studies on whether one type of coconut oil is better for your hair than another. Additionally, both unrefined and refined coconut oil have the same moisturizing properties.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil can be used as a conditioner, hair mask or scalp treatment to give you shiny, healthy hair.
Take Home Message
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizing product for your hair.
It can be used both before and after you wash your hair to help prevent damage and keep your hair looking shiny and healthy.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.