The write-ups and anecdotal reports on using virgin coconut oil (VCO) for health purposes has sparked many health food advocates and “foodies” toward using it. This trend is increasing despite the half century of junk science dogma that saturated fats cause obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Yes, coconut oil is a saturated fat with medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which makes it more digestible to provide energy and healthier than other oils.
Most people still cling to the old misguided “science” of saturated fats causing obesity and heat disease created by one flawed study and carried by the medical establishment and the media, enough to create a huge no or low fat industry that actually has contributed more to obesity and heart disease than any other dietary choice before.
Add the current type 2 diabetes epidemic to this little list of dangerous diseases that have increased significantly after the saturated fat scare drove millions into avoiding saturated fats while bringing billions of dollars into the processed food industry.
Despite the popular misconception of saturated fats creating fat, reports and claims of slimming down and losing weight with a high fat diet began emerging within the last decade. It’s too easy for the saturated fat causes obesity and heart disease crowd to dismiss all these reports and claims as merely anecdotal and not scientific.
However, it seems the science is beginning to catch sight of reality, for those who insist on science based studies that are peer reviewed and published, proving that anecdotal health successes true.
Virgin Coconut Oil Studies
A peer reviewed study published in 2016 was titled “Renoprotective effect of virgin coconut oil in heated palm oil diet-induced hypertensive rats.” The Malaysian researchers were aware of how reheated oils used over and over in deep fat fryers create hypertension (high blood pressure) and other markers for cardiovascular disease. But their focus this time was renal, or kidney health.
So they used five times heated palm oil (5HPO) to induce high blood pressure in rats bred for animal study research, Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats were divided into four groups fed slightly different diets, half with 5HPO and the other half with virgin coconut oil (VCO). Systolic blood pressure was measured before and after the 16 week study.
The rats fed VCO had significantly less oxidative stress markers in their kidneys than the 5HPO fed rats, leading the researchers to conclude “ … virgin coconut oil has a potential to reduce the development of hypertension and renal injury induced by dietary heated oil, possibly via its antioxidant protective effects on the kidneys.” (Study abstract source)
An earlier Malaysian animal study determined that saturated fat VCO did not increase weight or create higher blood pressure (BP). Heated five times virgin coconut oil (5HVCO) did create create higher blood pressure and mild cardiovascular disease markers. But it was mentioned that both palm and soy oils reheated only once produced those same effects of 5HVCO.
It’s easy to conclude from those two animal studies alone that virgin coconut oil is a superior dietary oil for health and is safer to use as a cooking oil than other popular unsaturated fat cooking oils. They also provide a reminder of the cardiovascular dangers of restaurant deep fat fried foods that use soy, peanut, palm, or canola oils over and over.
Many Health Impact News readers may know of the anecdotal empirical evidence of VCO slowing down and even reversing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). This flies in the face of the pharmaceutical industry’s failure to provide anything that helps AD victims after several attempts. (Source)
Fortunately, some studies have indicated that coconut oil is highly helpful for improving mental acuity, memory, and resolving dementia and AD. Coconut oil’s high medium chain triglycerides content is easily converted to ketones by the liver instead of being stored as reserve energy the way long chain triglycerides (LCT) are metabolized.
Brain cells adapt easily to using ketones for fuel as other metabolic efforts wane. Alzheimer’s is considered more as diabetes type 3 because the brain cells have become insulin resistant, disabling glucose/oxygen metabolism. The ketones provide what’s necessary to metabolize oxygen in lieu of glucose. (Source)
The Paleo people encourage incorporating virgin coconut oil into one’s diet along with exercise to lower blood pressure. The article “Eliminating Hypertension with Coconut Oil and Exercise” appeared on the site run by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., author of the Paleo Diet. That article has several references to other studies not mentioned in this article as well.
If you have any blood pressure or cardiovascular health concerns, stay away from partially hydrogenated polyunsaturated and monosaturated vegetable oils and use coconut oil as much as possible for frying and baking in your diet. (Source)
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