Virgin Coconut Oil and Health Benefits

The coconut has many uses. In Sanskrit, its is called “the tree which provides all the necessities of life” since it has many practical uses. In Malay, it is known as pokok seribu guna or “the tree of a thousand uses”. While in the Philippines, the coconut is characteristically had the title “Tree of Life”. Let’s take into account the coconut oil which is, in numerous ways, nature’s gift to mankind. Fife (2000) reveals that the coconut oil contains 92% saturated fatty acids which gives it substantial properties to control rising cholesterol levels.

The oil is so practical to use that it can actually survive in most weathers without refrigeration or special storage conditions. Apparently, there has been a growing acknowledgment of health- supporting functions of the fatty acids found in coconut. Enig, M and Fallon, S (1998) shared that recent reports from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration on essential labeling of the trans fatty acids will bring coconut oil in a more contending position and may help restore to its use by the baking and snack food industry where it has remained to be identified for its functionality.

Today, it can be acknowledged for another kind of purpose: the development of the health of mankind. Studies and Reasearches on Coconut Oil Coconut is said to contain fatty acids that can give both energy and raw material for antimicrobial fatty acids and monoglycerides when it is eaten. Modern researchers have developed significant health benefits and crucial bodily functions that are backed by the pool of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) available to the human body. The fact most lost in the debates over cholesterol is the distinction of the different sub-groups of fatty acids particularly the importance in particular of MCFA.

The high concentration of MCFAs of 62% is the discerning aspect of why this tropical oil not only behaves otherwise to any other saturated fat but is also believed healthier than most unsaturated oils, the latter often having a much superior concentration of long chain fatty acids.. This is further boosted by the fact that short and medium chain fatty acids are made soluble and soaked up in the aqueous phase of the intestinal contents and conveyed directly via the portal vein to the liver where they are absorbed as an energy source comparable to carbohydrates.

MCFA have also been demonstrated to support the absorption and retention of calcium, magnesium and some amino acids as well supporting the healthy functioning of the thyroid. Studies conducted by Dayrit (2000) revealed that the most vital of these MCFAs that promote and build up the bodies immune system are Caproic Acid, Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid, Lauric Acid and Myristic Acid. It is however the potent capacity of Lauric acid to disable harmful raiders of our body, which has thrilled researchers the most.

Lauric acid has recently been discovered with strong potential in fighting bacterial and viral infections. The use of MCFAs would not only boost the human immune system without fear of negative side effects, but also that they could be used to commend the functions of common antibiotic treatments when their effectiveness is reduced by built up imperviousness found in bacteria. The truth is that over 63% of coconut oil is composed of these three major fatty acids.

While the majority or around 48% is Lauric acid, the essential building block of our bodies immune system and the most effective anti-pathogenic of all MCFAs. These research results have carried to the incorporation of especially Caprylic, Capric and Lauric Acid into many conventional anti-viral/anti-bacterial pharmaceutical treatments today. Moreover in a seminal study conducted by Prof.

Conrado Dayrit (2000) on the use of MCFAs and, in particular monolaurin, as a cure for HIV/AIDS, early trials warrant anecdotal reports that coconut oil does have an anti-viral effect and can usefully reduce the viral load of HIV patients. Also, the study revealed that the positive anti-viral action was understood not only with monolaurin, but also with coconut oil itself and thus showed the effectiveness of the consumption of coconut oil in boosting the immune system of the body.

Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the added useful function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria, including listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Capric acid, on the other hand, is another medium chain fatty acid, has a similar beneficial use when it is formed into monocaprin in the human or animal body.

Monocaprin has also been shown to have antiviral effects against HIV and is being tested for antiviral issues against herpes simplex and antibacterial effects against chlamydia and other sexually transmitted bacteria. The food industry is aware that the practical properties of coconut oil are optimum by other available commercial oils. Lamentably, in the U. S. , both during the late 1930s and again during the 1980s and 1990s, the commercial interests of the U. S. domestic fats and oils industry were successful in driving down usage of coconut oil. This resulted in the manufacturer losing the benefit of the lauric oils in its food products.

The antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal properties of lauric acid and monolaurin have been acknowledged by researchers for nearly four decades which resulted in more than 20 research papers and several U. S. patents, and this past year it resulted in a comprehensive book chapter, which reviewed the important aspects of lauric oils as antimicrobial agents (Enig 1998). Kabara (1978) revealed that certain fatty acids and their derivatives can have unfavorable effects on diverse microorganisms that are dormant including bacteria, yeast, fungi and enveloped viruses.

Moreover, it is said that the antimicrobial effects of the fatty acids and monoglycerides are additive and total concentration is crutial for inactivating viruses. These antimicrobial fatty acids and their derivatives are essentially nontoxic to man; they are produced in vivo by humans when they ingest those commonly available foods that contain adequate levels of medium-chain fatty acids such as lauric acid. Conclusion Coconuts perform an exceptional role in the diets of mankind because they are the source of important physiologically functional components.

These physiologically functional components are found in the fat part of whole coconut, in the fat part of desiccated coconut, and in the extracted coconut oil. The option to reward oneself of this recently rediscovered information would be the academic choice of each individual. Diet is only one feature of our general mental, physical and spiritual well being, albeit an important one. The question whether the proof put further will one day declare coconut oil as a miracle cure for our failing ability to fight disease may be irrelevant.

The reality is that advantages arising from the utilization of coconut oil within a healthy diet have been acknowledged for over 4000 years. The tree is beautiful and abundant and the question to be answered is whether we can meet the expense of continuing to ignore its tremendous potentials.


Mary G. Enig, Ph. D. , F. A. C. N. , Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21st Century Enig, M & Fallon, S. , The Oiling of America, Nexus Magazine, 1998 Jones, P. J. , 1997, Regulation of cholesterol biosynthesis by diet in humans, Am J Clin Nutr. Aug; 66(2): 438-46. Kabara, J. J.

, Health Oils from the Tree Of Life: Nutritional and Health Aspects of Coconut Oil Thampan, P. K. , 1994, Facts and Fallacies About Coconut Oil, Asian & Pacific Coconut Community Dayrit, S. Conrado, 2000, Coconut Oil in Health and Disease: Its and Monolaurin’s Potential as a Cure for HIV/AIDS, 37th Cocotech Meeting, Chennai, India The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil, by Bruce Fife, N. D. Piccadilly Books, Ltd, Healthwise Publications, Colorado Springs, CO, 2000, ISBN 0-941599-51-5. Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol by Mary G.

Enig, Ph. D. Bethesda Press, 2000, ISBN: 0967812607 – Your best bet for comprehensive information on the whole coconut oil/fat issue. Nourishing Traditions , by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph. D. NewTrends Publishing, revised edition October 1999, ISBN 0967089727 – Loaded with interesting information on all aspects of nutrition. Actually a cookbook with nutritional information. A fun read. The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease. By Uffe Ravnskov, M. D. , Ph. D. NewTrends Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0-9670897-0-0. All Thumbs Book Re

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