Coconut Oil for Heart Health, Infection Resistance
and Weight Loss
Coconuts and coconut oil have been traditional, staple foods of Asia, Africa, Central America and the Pacific Islands for thousands of years. Pacific islanders, those who still eat traditional diets, have a reputation for good health and strong beautiful bodies. Many of these traditional diets obtain 30% to 60% of their calories from coconuts and coconut oil. They tend to have normal cholesterol levels and no cardiovascular disease.(39)
Prior to the early 1900's, coconut oil was an important dietary fat in the United States. At that time cardiovascular disease was relatively uncommon. Subsequently, coconut oil has virtually disappeared, replaced by soybean oil, corn oil and canola oil and the hydrogenated versions of these oils. While these domestic oils and their synthetic derivatives are under suspicion of causing a host of health problems, coconut oil research is revealing multiple health benefits for this oil.
Today, in countries where coconut oil is still widely used, heart and vascular disease remains uncommon. Coconut oil is converted, by the body, into the hormone pregnenolone. It also has immune-stimulating and anti-oxidant action. Coconut oil also promotes thermogenesis and increased metabolism (probably by supporting thyroid and mitochondrial function).
Coconut Oil and Cholesterol
Although coconut oil is a saturated fat, research has shown that it has a neutral effect on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Being a saturated fat, it is stable and not oxidized easily, probably explaining why it does not contribute to coronary heart disease. (3)(5)(12)(15)(31)(32)(34)(35)(36)(37)(38)(44)(48)(49)
Coconut Oil - Immune Support and Antibiotic Properties
Two thirds of coconut oil consists of Medium Chain Triglycerides. These MCTs consist of lauric acid (48 percent), capric acid (7 percent) and caprylic acid (8 percent). These fatty acids and their monoglycerides are extremely powerful antimicrobial agents, effective against a broad range of pathologic bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts and protozoa.
The antiviral properties of lauric acid was first discovered when researchers were investigating the anti-infective properties of human breast milk. Human and mammalian breast milk are rich in lauric. These fatty acids and monoglycerides provide protection against infections to babies, whose immune systems are still developing. When nursing mothers include coconut oil in their diet, the level of these fatty acids in their breast milk can triple. (6)(18)(20)(21)(22)(28)(45)(52)
Anti-Viral Mechanism of Coconut Oil and Monolaurin
The monoglycerides have antiviral properties, diglycerides and triglycerides do not. Of the saturated fatty acids, lauric acid has greater antiviral activity than either caprylic acid or myristic acid. It has been reported that monolaurin is more effective in inactivating viruses and other infective agents than lauric acid. The exact difference between coconut oil and monolaurin as an anti-infective agent is unclear because they have not been adequately tested and studied. Most of the clinical studies have been done on Monolaurin. Monolaurin is a glyceride ester derivative of lauric acid; an activated form of lauric acid.
Monolaurin dissolves the lipids and phospholipids in the envelope of the virus causing the disintegration of the virus envelope effectively lysing the plasma membrane. There is also evidence that signal transduction is also interfered with inhibiting the multiplication of the virus. (9)(16)(18)(21)(22)(51)
Viruses Inactivated by Coconut Oil
Some of the viruses inactivated by these lipids are HIV, measles virus, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), visna virus, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Many of the pathogenic organisms reported to be inactivated by these antimicrobial lipids are those known to be responsible for opportunistic infections in HIV-positive individuals. In addition to viruses, several bacteria and fungi have also been reported to be suppressed by monolaurin and coconut oil. (1)(11)(14)(22)(24)(26)(27)(33)(40)(43)(45)(46)(50)(51)
Coconut Oil - Thermogenesis and Weight Loss
Research has shown that coconut oil increases thermogenesis, the rate of burning calories to produce heat and energy from food. Research has also shown that animals fed MCT oils had smaller fat pads and a number of key adipogenic genes were down-regulated. MCT fed animals also had improved insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance and reduced adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase.
It has become clear that individuals consuming coconut oil rather than soybean, olive or other LCT (long chain triglyceride) oils have an edge in losing weight and keeping it off. (2)(10)(15)(30)(44)(48)(49)
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
There are basically two grades of coconut oil available: RBD (refined, bleached, deodorized) and virgin coconut oil. RBD oil is subjected to high heat, filtration, and processed with sodium hydroxide. A properly produced RBD oil is an acceptable food product.
The ultimate coconut oil is organic, virgin coconut oil. The lauric acid content typically runs 50-55 percent making it a particularly potent antimicrobial. This oil has a distinct coconut smell and taste where RBD oil is usually bland, with no coconut taste or odor.
How to Use Coconut Oil
You can use coconut oil for all frying and stir frying. It is heat stable and has a shelf life of over one year. You can also use it as a direct substitute for butter, ghee, margarine and other culinary oils. When warmed (it needs to be liquefied, it solidifies at 70 degrees F) and combined with a culinary vinegar and herbs, it makes an excellent salad dressing.
Dosage: How much (Coconut Oil) lauric acid or Monolaurin is needed?
Infants probably consume between 0.3 and 1 gram per kilogram of body weight if they are fed human milk or an enriched infant formula that contains coconut oil. This amount appears to have always been protective to some degree. Extrapolating breastmilk content of lauric acid and scaling the quantity to the body weight of an adult, an estimated intake of approximately 24 grams of coconut oil per day may provide protective levels for an adult. This is the equivalent of 3.5 tablespoons of coconut oil, 10 ounces of coconut milk or 7 ounces of raw coconut (approximately one half of a raw coconut per day). The Dayrit (8) study of Monolaurin and coconut oil as a therapy for HIV used dosages of 7.5 to 22 grams of monolaurin per day in three divided doses or 45 ml. (approximately 3 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day. The coconut oil and monolaurin both demonstrated a beneficial result in reducing viral loads and improving white cell counts. Growing children probably need about the same amount as adults.
Safety Precautions and Side Effects
Coconut oil is food and can be consumed freely without any adverse effects. The only precaution is to keep your total calories within the range that is appropriate for your body type and activity level. Lauric acid from coconut oil is converted into monolaurin in the human body. Monolaurin is also considered to be a food.
Where to Get Virgin Organic Coconut Oil
Search Life Extension Health Protocols
Coconut Oil References
To view the references upon which this article is based,
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