Having heard all the “negatives” around saturated fats, we began to wonder if it would be wise to use coconut oil in a product for better health. You should be aware that coconut oil does have saturated fat BUT it is of the Medium Chain type. Those who know a good bit about Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) know that the recent research shows that they have significant benefit for raising HDL (the good cholesterol) levels.
We believe that people should be well informed about the benefits and issues related to the food they are ingesting. Doing a bit of our own research, we found the following sites useful.
Please be advised that we are not doctors or medical researchers and are not supplying this information as advice. The reader takes whole responsibility for use of this information.
Check out the links on saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat research – very enlightening. Also, see the link for “peer reviewed research” for a LOT of added information.
Effects of Dietary Coconut Oil on the Biochemical and Anthropometric Profiles of Women Presenting Abdominal Obesity
Ingestion of coconut oil versus soybean oil was studied in the context of obesity. Overweight women in this study experienced a reduction in abdominal obesity.
A good review of the past 40 years of research on coconut, reversing the myth that it is an unhealthy fat. “Recent medical studies have shown that coconut oil can help protect against many common illnesses including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and numerous infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS.”
Oxidative stress in the liver of rats fed with sunflower-, rapeseed-, olive- or coconut oil supplemented diets.
Mice fed multiple types of oils were tested for oxidative stress on the liver. The oils evaluated included rapeseed (canola), olive, coconut and sunflower oils. The authors clearly indicate that a sunflower oil based diet (high in linoleic acid) “may contribute to oxidative stress in the liver of female rats leading to a marginal increase in oxidative DNA- damage.” They also state that “Neither the diet based on olive oil (which contains mainly oleic acid) nor the diet based on rapeseed oil (containing alpha-linolenic acid) exerted any significant protective effect against oxidative DNA damage.” And pointed out that coconut had the lowest levels of linoleic acid. From: Chem Biol Interact. 2005 Oct 25. “Oxidative stress related DNA adducts in the liver of female rats fed with sunflower-, rapeseed-, olive- or coconut oil supplemented diets.”
Mice fed coconut oil were leaner than those fed soy oil. Especially when controlled for Essential Fatty Acid intake (EFA). It was found that body content of EFA was not affected by the Coconut oil but was affected by soy oil . From: Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Oct 15; 1737(1):52-60. Epub 2005 Sep 13. “Dietary coconut oil increases conjugated linoleic acid- induced body fat loss in mice independent of essential fatty acid deficiency.”
Coconut oil massage resulted in significantly greater weight gain velocity as compared to mineral oil and placebo in the preterm babies group; and in the term baby group, as compared to the placebo. Preterm infants receiving coconut oil massage also showed a greater length gain velocity compared to placebo group. Indian Pediatr. 2005 Sep;42(9): 877-84. “Oil massage in neonates: an open randomized controlled study of coconut versus mineral oil.”
Coconut may be at least as good as mineral oil as a skin moisturizer and has antiseptic properties as well. Double-blind testing showed it was effective (and may have been even better than mineral oil) at treating a form of skin dryness called xerosis. From Dermatitis. 2004 Sep;15(3):109-16. “A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis.”
Lab rats fed diets rich in coconut oil or salmon oil were tested for the effects of added dietary cholesterol. The coconut oil was far superior in controlling the oxidative effects of the digestion of the added cholesterol. In the rats fed coconut oil only 7 genes were altered by the oxidation of the cholesterol while 50 were affected in the salmon oil fed rats. This is a good indication that coconut oil is a much better antioxidant than salmon (Omega-6) oil. From: European Journal of Nutrition (June 2005), Vol 44, No 4. “Effects of dietary fat and oxidized cholesterol on gene expression in rat liver as assessed by cDNA expression array analysis”.
Another test of laboratory rats showed reduction of the “bad” LDL cholesterol. As stated in the article, “…the potential beneficiary effect of virgin coconut oil in lowering lipid levels in serum and tissues and LDL oxidation by physiological oxidants. This property of VCO may be attributed to the biologically active polyphenol components present in the oil.” From Clin Biochem. 2004 Sep;37(9):830-5.
And in this trial, rats and chicks were tested through feeding of high saturated fat versus polyunsaturated fat. Liver and blood levels of the lipids were tested with varying results depending on the animal type however, in BOTH CASES the HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the blood were HIGHER in the coconut oil fed groups versus the soybean oil groups. From Nutrition. 2003 Sep;19(9):789-93.