Seven Facts You May Not Know About Coconut Oil

7 Facts You May Not Know About Coconut Oil

By Dr. Edward F. Group

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Cultures and countries across the world use and appreciate the coconut tree. Because of its nutritional and therapeutic values, it’s referred to as “Kalpavriksha” (the all giving tree) in India. As the name implies, the coconut palm is extremely versatile and used in many capacities. Everything from the coconut water, to the leaves, to the kernel hull have characteristics that are beneficial to human health.[1] Coconut oil, specifically, has become quite popular for cooking and even other uses. Let’s take a look at a few facts about coconut oil that you may not know.

1. The Saturated Fat in Coconut Oil isn’t All Bad

I’ve heard reports from people who are confused when they spot coconut oil at the grocery store, read the nutritional label, and see the high saturated fat content. “What gives?” they ask, “I thought this stuff was healthy?” Well, it is.

Unfortunately, the fat in coconut has been the subject of much misinformation. Although we’re told that saturated fat, across the board, is bad, the saturated fats in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids and do not degrade within the body. In fact, the human body uses them directly as energy and coconut oil consumption has even been associated with beneficial lipid profiles.[2] [3]

Coconut oil is even better than other vegetable oils like sunflower or safflower oil. Those oils contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which aren’t good for the cardiovascular system. Many nutritional experts recommend switching to coconut oil to avoid the health risks. [4]

2. Coconut Oil is Great for Hair

Coconut oil is used in a staggering amount of shampoos, conditioners, and hair care products.[5]  The reason for its inclusion is quite simple. With its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, coconut oil can effectively penetrate the hair shaft to reduce protein loss, leaving it nourished and healthy. [6]

3. And, It’s Great for Skin

Coconut oil is also very moisturizing and beneficial for the skin. [7]  In many cultures, it’s used as a remedy for a great many skin conditions. [8]  The reason? It’s chemical structure. The short-chain and saturated fatty acids, which prevent it from oxidizing and becoming rancid, are nourishing to the skin and have even been found to encourage wound healing. [9]

4. Useful Against Harmful Organisms

Perhaps one of the most astounding facts about coconut oil is how potent it is against harmful organisms.

  • When a 2007 study evaluated the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil against candida, a 25% concentration of coconut oil was found to be 100% effective against candida. [10]
  • Randomized and controlled research in 2010 found that a coconut oil and anise spray was effective against head lice. [11]
  • Coconut oil has been found to repel mosquitoes. [12]
  • Tungiasis, or sand flea disease, is a nasty problem not common in the United States but way too common elsewhere. Research earlier this year discovered that coconut oil may be an effective repellant to the flea that spreads the disease. [13]

5. Can Replace Milk in Ice Cream

Everyone loves ice cream but not everyone is keen on the milk fat used to produce it. What’s the alternative? Bland, fat-free ice cream? Maybe not. It seems that virgin coconut oil may be an acceptable replacement for milk fat in ice cream. Those who have tried it claim that the ice cream has a pleasant coconut flavor and an excellent appearance, texture, and aroma.[14]

6. Is a Beneficial Massage Oil for Newborns

Did you know that giving oil massages to newborns has been found to improve thermoregulation and encourage healthy weight gain? A 2005 study evaluated the effect of coconut oil on the growth of newborn babies in India. Starting on the second day of their lives, an oil massage was given four times a day by a trained person until the baby was discharged, and then by the mother until the baby was 31 days old. The results? Coconut oil massage significantly increased weight gain and growth. [15]

7. Might be a Remedy for Poison?

It might be premature to call coconut oil an antidote for poisoning but a 2005 incident in Iran certainly suggests it may have something to offer. Hospital officials there reported of a young man who had attempted suicide by ingesting the pesticide aluminium phosphide. Upon admittance to the hospital, he was experiencing severe indications of toxicity and given several counteractive substances, including charcoal, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulphate, and coconut oil. The result? He survived, and coconut oil, while probably not deserving of all the credit, was labeled as an important part of the protocol.[16]

Do you know a coconut oil factoid that we missed? Or do you just have great things to say about coconut oil… or even constructive criticism? Please leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook!

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Article references

  1. DebMandal M, Mandal S. Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): in health promotion and disease prevention. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Mar;4(3):241-7. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60078-3. Epub 2011 Apr 12.
  2. Amarasiri WA, Dissanayake AS. Coconut fats. Ceylon Med J. 2006 Jun;51(2):47-51.
  3. Feranil AB, Duazo PL, Kuzawa CW, Adair LS. Coconut oil is associated with a beneficial lipid profile in pre-menopausal women in the Philippines. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(2):190-5.
  4. Sircar S, Kansra U. Choice of cooking oils–myths and realities. J Indian Med Assoc. 1998 Oct;96(10):304-7.
  5. Burnett CL, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Klaassen CD, Marks JG Jr, Shank RC, Slaga TJ, Snyder PW, Andersen FA. Final report on the safety assessment of Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil and related ingredients. Int J Toxicol. 2011 May;30(3 Suppl):5S-16S. doi: 10.1177/1091581811400636.
  6. Rele AS, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-92.
  7. Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS. Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15.
  8. Saikia AP, Ryakala VK, Sharma P, Goswami P, Bora U. Ethnobotany of medicinal plants used by Assamese people for various skin ailments and cosmetics. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Jun 30;106(2):149-57. Epub 2006 Feb 13.
  9. Sachs M, von Eichel J, Asskali F. [Wound management with coconut oil in Indonesian folk medicine]. Chirurg. 2002 Apr;73(4):387-92.
  10. Ogbolu DO, Oni AA, Daini OA, Oloko AP. In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):384-7.
  11. Burgess IF, Brunton ER, Burgess NA. Clinical trial showing superiority of a coconut and anise spray over permethrin 0.43% lotion for head louse infestation, ISRCTN96469780. Eur J Pediatr. 2010 Jan;169(1):55-62. doi: 10.1007/s00431-009-0978-0. Epub 2009 Apr 3.
  12. Das NG, Baruah I, Talukdar PK, Das SC. Evaluation of botanicals as repellents against mosquitoes. J Vector Borne Dis. 2003 Mar-Jun;40(1-2):49-53.
  13. Feldmeier H, Sentongo E, Krantz I. Tungiasis (sand flea disease): a parasitic disease with particular challenges for public health. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2013 Jan;32(1):19-26. doi: 10.1007/s10096-012-1725-4. Epub 2012 Sep 1.
  14. Choo SY, Leong SK, Henna Lu FS. Physicochemical and sensory properties of ice-cream formulated with virgin coconut oil. Food Sci Technol Int. 2010 Dec;16(6):531-41. doi: 10.1177/1082013210367546. Epub 2010 Nov 11.
  15. Sankaranarayanan K, Mondkar JA, Chauhan MM, Mascarenhas BM, Mainkar AR, Salvi RY. Oil massage in neonates: an open randomized controlled study of coconut versus mineral oil. Indian Pediatr. 2005 Sep;42(9):877-84.
  16. Shadnia S, Rahimi M, Pajoumand A, Rasouli MH, Abdollahi M. Successful treatment of acute aluminium phosphide poisoning: possible benefit of coconut oil. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2005 Apr;24(4):215-8.

Recommended articles by Dr. Group

About the author

dr-edward-group-iiiDr. Edward F. Group  founded  Global Healing Center  in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

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  • The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil can be broken down into ketones by the liver. Ketones can then cross the blood-brain barrier to provide instant energy to brain cells with no insulin spike.

    It is this unique quality – it’s high MCT content – that makes coconut oil a potential Alzheimer’s treatment. Currently, the University of South Florida is conducting a clinical trial studying the benefits of coconut oil on people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. You can read more about this here:

  • Deane Alban:

     0 0 i Rate This

    The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil can be broken down into ketones by the liver. Ketones can then cross the blood-brain barrier to provide instant energy to brain cells with no insulin spike.
    It is this unique quality – it’s high MCT content – that makes coconut oil a potential Alzheimer’s treatment. Currently, the University of South Florida is conducting a clinical trial studying the benefits of coconut oil on people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. You can read more about this here:

    • grandma4cannabis

      I make candies of coconut oil and dark chocolate with almond meal, hemp powder, powdered milk to keep them from melting immediately, ( coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, so needs to be refrigerated ) for my sister who has alzheimer’s. She loves the candies and always remembers that she does. She has been in a home for a couple of years so doesn’t get the candies daily, only when I visit or an aid remembers and gives them to her. But the little she gets them she has a better quality of life and the alzheimers is slow at progression. I would love to see how she would respond if she could have them daily but I live in a different city and can’t get to see her daily. But she is living proof that coconut oil gives the alzheimers brain the energy it needs to function. I use it also on hair , skin and teeth. It’s wonderful.

  • Terri

    I live in a country where internal parasites are the norm. After contracting parasites on an almost yearly bases and having to take a very toxic medicine to rid the parasites, I read an article on coconut water for treating parasites. since then, I have been drinking fresh coconut water 8oz. once a week and have not had parasites for 8 years. Recently a friend with 2 small children (yrs. 2 and 5) was concerned as her children had been diagnosed with internal parasites.
    Her doctor prescribed the typical very toxic medicine that is prescribed here for parasites. She was hesitant to give it to her children and asked my advise. I sent her home with fresh coconuts and 3 days later her children were free of all internal parasites with no adverse reactions. She now gives them coconut water once a week to keep the parasites away 🙂

  • Darcy Walker

    I was reading an article in one of the wellness magazines which said coconut oil rubbed on the skin helps to attract the good bacteria to the skin which in turn also helps our immune system.

  • Luna123

    Years ago I contracted a fungal infection of the feet that I was trying to treat or at least keep under control by applying Canesten powder to my feet after taking shower, and puting the same into my shoes regularly. This proved moderately effective but as soon as I failed to apply the powder, the problem (peeling skin between toes) would recur. Recently I read about the anti-fungal properties of coconut oil so I decided to try out my own treatment program: first I washed my feet in warm water to which I added a sponful of soda, dried them completely and then massaged the toes and the affected skin with a bit of unprocessed (virgin) coconut oil. I repeated the treatment every next day for a week and my problem disappeared completely! Now I only apply coconut oil once weekly – to prevent possible recurrence, and always when using public swimming pool facilities (because I suspect I contracted the infection there in the first place). Hope this piece of advice may benefit anyone who has the same problem.

  • Jeneva

    I’ve been using coconut oil for a myriad of benefits over the last three years. What originally started out as the best makeup remover, ever, over time, became far more significant and substantial benefits and uses.

    From makeup remover to “oil pulling”, an ancient Ayurvedic tradition, a spoonful is “swooshed” in the mouth to extract harmful bacteria, germs and odors. It is also known to remedy or cure tooth decay, cavities and gum disease, as well as other diseases rooted throughout the body including autoimmune, diabetes and other diseases. Some people like the coconut oil pulling because of its whitening effects on the teeth, but I find it’s a great “side effect” for all of the other incredible benefits.

    Then I use coconut oil on my feet and face daily. My feet feel like the skin on a baby’s bottom! And after 30 years of battling acne, it has finally been remedied. A friend used coconut oil on her psoriasis and after only one application, saw a 50% reduction in redness and dryness…she was blown away! I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! Psoriasis is a very difficult autoimmune disease that devastates the skin and requires a tremendous amount of toxic “medicines”, tons of money and years of application to reduce. Amazing.

    Coconut oil also remedies dandruff, chapped lips, dry frizzy hair and brittle finger and toe nails.

    I know there are far more benefits to this amazing oil that I have yet to personally discover.. But my motto is, if there’s a problem, put coconut oil on it and see what happens….the worst thing that could come of it is for nothing to happen. But the likely thing is that coconut oil will help in some capacity since coconut oil is now what duct tape was in the 90s – it’ll fix nearly anything!

  • Mike Hobick

    Coconut oil protects skin from sunburn

  • Cielo Forero

    Hi, coconut oil is amazing. I started using it for almost two years, from cooking to address skin problems and hair issues. Coconut oil is a great sunscreen and pack with no chemicals, I used for my 4 year old daugther and her skin is great, never gets a sunburn or anything like it.. My dad burn his skin with hot hot coffee he was in lots of pain… I put coconut oil with some peppermint oil drops and he was amaze how fast it stops hurting and burning and how his skin was recover and healed. Once you try this oil you will never stop using it.

  • Freddie McPherson

    Have suffered with lower back pain for years then a injury to my hip , reading so much about coconut oil decided to try the milk in hours it was unreal my pain vanished allowing me to straighten up again. Now I am drinking a glass full everyday have hardly any pain hip started working again what a surprise. I did try eating the oil several years ago it did not agree with my system so greatville no problem with the milk. The taste is a little bland , I added one artificial sweetener was great. I also have eczema was suffering with a sever case when I started the coconut milk it went away did not have any idea what cleared me up , after reading more now realize it also cleared my skin up . It is nice and clear although usually very bad in cold weather some call it a cold weather disease that is a fact , my skin is very nice in warm weather. Everyone should add this to there diets such a great cure for so many things.

    • Jasbond-Matt

      That’s great to hear aside from the artificial sweetener, I’d avoid that.

  • Name Marion

    Hi Freddie,
    What amount and what make of coconut milk did you drink?
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Vic

    If you suffer from acid reflux, try a couple of spoons a day of coconut oil. I suffered for years and thought that bread, beer etc. was the main culprit. However, I no longer have acid reflux and eat anything I like without problems. No longer sucking on anti-acids every day.