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  1. Mar 27, 2018 · Two peer-reviewed studies published recently (March of 2018) continue the trend of showing coconut oil's health benefits and debunking the official USDA government nutrition dogma that saturated fats are bad for one's health. The first study, published in the journal Food & Function, shows evidence that coconut oil helps combat stress and anxiety. The second study, published in the British ...

  2. Nov 3, 2014 · Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been consumed worldwide for various health-related reasons and some of its benefits have been scientifically evaluated. Medium-chain fatty acids were found to be a potential antidepressant functional food; however, this effect ...

    • Swee Keong Yeap, Boon Kee Beh, Norlaily Mohd Ali, Hamidah Mohd Yusof, Wan Yong Ho, Soo Peng Koh, Noo...
    • 10.3892/etm.2014.2045
    • 2015
    • Exp Ther Med. 2015 Jan; 9(1): 39-42.
    • Overview
    • 1. May encourage fat burning
    • 2. May work as a quick source of energy
    • 3. May have antimicrobial effects
    • 4. May help reduce hunger
    • 5. May help reduce seizures
    • 6. May boost skin health
    • 7. May protect your hair
    • 8. May improve oral health
    • 9. May help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

    Coconut oil may help reduce hunger, improve oral health, possibly reduce seizures, and more. However, while coconut oil does have several potential benefits, it may not be great for your heart health.

    Coconut oil is an increasingly popular cooking oil.

    Many people praise it for its health benefits, including antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, improved skin and oral health, and weight loss potential.

    Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil, plus some special considerations to keep in mind if you want to include it in your diet.

    Coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of saturated fat.

    In general, saturated fats are divided into three subgroups, each of which has different effects in your body. These subgroups are (1):

    •long-chain

    •medium-chain

    •short-chain

    Scientists are studying medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), including those found in coconut oil, for their potential health benefits.

    The MCTs in coconut oil provide a quick supply of energy.

    When you eat long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), the fat molecules are transported through your blood to tissues that need them, such as muscle or fat tissue (4).

    On the other hand, MCTs go straight to your liver and become a rapid energy supply in much the same way as carbs — your body’s preferred source of energy (5).

    In fact, MCTs have been long used in sports nutrition products for athletes who need a source of energy their body can absorb and use fast (1, 5).

    Summary

    Coconut oil is high in MCTs, which your body metabolizes differently than LCTs. MCTs provide a rapid energy source that your body can absorb and use faster than other types of saturated fat.

    Coconut oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties due to its MCT content — specifically, lauric acid (1).

    Lauric acid is a fatty acid that makes up about 50% of the MCTs in coconut oil.

    Research suggests it may have antimicrobial effects against disease-causing microorganisms, such as (1, 6):

    •Staphylococcus aureus

    •Streptococcus mutans

    •Streptococcus pyogenes

    One interesting feature of MCTs is that they may help reduce food intake (8, 9).

    This may be related to how the body breaks them down. A proportion of MCTs you eat are broken down in a process that produces molecules called ketones (1).

    Ketones reduce appetite by either acting directly on the brain’s chemical messengers or altering the levels of hunger-inducing hormones, such as ghrelin (10).

    You may be familiar with ketones in the context of ketogenic diets, which are quite popular these days. People who are on keto diets don’t eat many carbs, but they do often eat lots of fat. For this reason, their bodies tend to use ketones for fuel.

    However, though coconut oil is one of the richest natural sources of MCTs, there’s no evidence that coconut oil itself reduces appetite more than other oils. In fact, one study reports that coconut oil is less filling than MCT oil (11).

    Summary

    People have long used keto diets, which are very low in carbs and high in fats, to treat various disorders, including drug-resistant epilepsy. They have been shown to help reduce how often seizures happen (12, 13).

    Researchers believe that the lack of available glucose to fuel brain cells is a possible explanation for the reduction in seizure frequency in people with epilepsy on ketogenic diets (12).

    However, overall, there’s a lack of evidence for the use of keto diets in adults and infants with epilepsy, so more research is needed (14).

    Reducing your carb intake reduces the glucose in your blood, and increasing your fat intake leads to significantly increased concentrations of ketones. Your brain can use ketones as an energy source instead of glucose (1).

    Recently, people have found they can effectively treat epilepsy by following modified keto diets that include MCTs and a more generous carb allowance to induce ketosis (12, 13).

    Research shows that the MCTs in coconut oil get transported to your liver and turned into ketones (15).

    Coconut oil has many uses that have little to do with eating. Many people use it for cosmetic purposes to improve the health and appearance of their skin.

    Studies show that coconut oil can boost the moisture content of dry skin. It may also improve the function of the skin, helping prevent excessive water loss and protecting you from external factors, such as infectious agents, chemicals, and allergens (16, 17, 18, 19).

    In fact, a recent study determined that applying 6–8 drops of virgin coconut oil on your hands and leaving it overnight may be an effective way to prevent dry skin caused by frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (20).

    It may also reduce the severity of mild to moderate symptoms of atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin disease characterized by skin inflammation and defects in skin barrier function (18, 21, 22).

    Summary

    Coconut oil may help moisturize your skin and improve skin barrier function.

    Coconut oil can also protect against hair damage.

    For instance, one study determined that, since coconut oil deeply penetrates hair strands, it makes them more flexible and increases their strength to prevent them from breaking under tension (23).

    Similarly, another study found that coconut oil nourishes hair strands and reduces breakage, which further strengthens the hair (24).

    Summary

    Evidence shows that using coconut oil as a mouthwash — a process called oil pulling — benefits oral hygiene in a cost-effective way (25, 26).

    Oil pulling involves swishing coconut oil in your mouth like mouthwash. It may significantly reduce the count of harmful bacteria in the mouth — namely S. mutans — compared with a regular mouthwash (27, 28).

    This is thought to be due to the antibacterial properties of lauric acid (27, 28).

    Additionally, lauric acid in coconut oil reacts with saliva to form a soap-like substance that prevents cavities and helps reduce dental plaque buildup and gum inflammation (28, 29).

    However, the review studies note that there’s limited evidence on this topic and that oil pulling doesn’t replace dental therapy. More research is needed on the effects of oil pulling on dental health (28).

    Summary

    Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia (1).

    This condition reduces your brain’s ability to use glucose for energy. However, researchers believe that ketones can offset early signs of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease by providing an alternative energy source for brain cells (1, 30, 31).

    For this reason, individual foods like coconut oil have been investigated for their potential role in managing Alzheimer’s disease (1).

    Yet, larger studies in humans are needed.

    Summary

    Since coconut oil is rich in MCTs, which significantly increase blood levels of ketones, it may potentially help with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. However, further studies are needed.

  3. Jun 13, 2024 · This article discusses the potential whole-body benefits of coconut oil and precautions. It also covers types of coconut oil and how to cook with it.

  4. Jun 16, 2023 · Possible benefits of coconut oil include increasing good cholesterol, controlling blood sugar, reducing stress, and more. However, more research into the effects of regular coconut oil use is ...

    • Yvette Brazier
  5. Jan 10, 2024 · One study done on mice found that using virgin coconut oil helped to combat oxidative stress and reduce immobility times after a stressful event ( 17 ). It also reduced adrenal gland weight and provided for a better serum biochemical profile—both markers of a lower stress level.

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  7. Apr 21, 2020 · Coconut oil is a tropical fat that is claimed to have various benefits for health. Here are 13 human studies on coconut oil and its health effects.

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