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Does coconut oil help with muscle pain?
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- Anti-Inflammatory Properties. One of the main benefits of coconut oil is its anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic pain is often caused by inflammation in the body, and coconut oil has been found to reduce inflammation.
- Pain Relief. Coconut oil has also been found to provide pain relief for patients with chronic pain. The fatty acids in coconut oil can help reduce pain by blocking certain enzymes that cause inflammation.
- Improved Sleep. Chronic pain can make it difficult for people to sleep, which can worsen the pain. Coconut oil has been found to improve sleep quality, which can help reduce pain.
- Improved Brain Function. Chronic pain can affect cognitive function, making it difficult for people to concentrate and remember things. Coconut oil has been found to improve brain function, which can help patients with chronic pain.
- 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):
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).
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):
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.
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.
- Peppermint essential oil for muscle pain. The pain relieving and cooling properties of peppermint oil make this a great essential oil for natural pain relief for sore muscles.
- Lavender oil. Lavender oil is a very popular oil when it comes to getting rid of muscular pains quickly. Lavender oil is a well-known essential oil for getting rid of headaches and easing anxiety.
- Clary sage essential oil. To help get rid of muscle cramps after a strenuous physical workout or muscle injury, you can use clary sage essential oil. Clary sage oil has an analgesic effect when applied topically to tired and injured muscles and has a calming effect to help you relax and relieve muscle tension.
- Chamomile essential oil. Another essential oil that is a natural muscle relaxer is chamomile oil. You can add a few drops of chamomile oil to sweet almond oil or other carrier oil to calm aching muscles.
Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory. It is thought to curb inflammation in part by improving cellular function. The cells become more efficient in removing toxins. It improves the function of the kidneys in their role of removing toxins. Medium chain fatty acids prevent liver disease in animal studies. Coconut oil is anti-carcinogenic in animal ...
As a food ingredient, coconut oil has been marketed as having several health benefits, including helping with weight loss and preventing dementia. But many scientists say there's not enough ...