Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Coconut oil is different from other oils commonly used in America. Most American oils are made from seeds like soybeans, canola (rapeseeds), almonds, sesame seeds, safflower seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. These seed oils are predominately made of triglycerides containing long chain fatty acids. To be digested, these long chain fatty acids need to be emulsified by bile salts. Bile salts are produced by the liver, stored in the gall bladder and dumped into the small intestine as needed. They are the emulsifying agents that draw the fats into the aqueous food solutions of the intestinal tract where lipase, a digestive enzyme, can work on them. Next, the long chain fatty acids are broken down into carbon chains made of 14 carbon atoms. This is the standard “energy storage unit” for the body. We call it body fat. All excess carbohydrates in the diet are also converted into these 14 carbon chain triglycerides. They are bound to HDL and LDL carriers in the bloodstream and then transported into storage.Since coconut oil contains mostly 8,10,and 12 carbon chain triglycerides (medium chain triglycerides), instead of being digested and traveling in the blood stream as explained above, these medium chain fatty acids are absorbed into the portal vein and transported directly into the liver without requiring lipase or bile salts for digestion. In the liver, these medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) support the immune system and help to cleanse the body of pathogens, toxins, etc. These supportive actions continue as the MCTs travel through the lymphatic system to the rest of the body.Since the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oildo not travel in the blood stream they have never been shown to contribute to heart disease, provided the oil has not been hydrogenated. People without gall bladders or who cannot digest food well, especially people who cannot digest fats (such as people with cystic fibrosis) can and will thrive on coconut oil. Doctors doing research have known for a long time that the elderly, invalids and the very young thrive on formulas that contain coconut oil. Products like baby formula and Ensure use to be made with coconut oil. Sadly, even these items have fallen victim to the propaganda we have received over the last 50 years.
- As the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oiltravel throughout the body they are actually anti microbial compounds. For example, Lauric acid, which makes up 48-57% of coconut oil, becomes 2 mono-lauren in the gut. 2-mono-lauren dissolves the lipid envelope that protects most pathogenic bacteria and viruses. It also attacks pathogenic yeast and parasites. Lauric acid contained in a human mother’s breast milk is one of the major reasons nursing infants have a high resistance to getting sick. Lauric acid in the diet will have the same effect, regardless of age. Its anti microbial properties have been helping people for thousands of years.
- Coconut oil, because it is smaller than the standard storage unit, is burned for energy rather than stored. This tends to increase the bodies metabolism. People with under-active thyroid glands often discover their basal temperature becomes normal from coconut oil use, especially when combined with a health diet and life-style.. Elderly Americans and many others with low energy often notice they have energy again and a sense of well-being they did not realize they had lost. And, unlike other energy the cell receives, medium chain fatty acids do not require insulin. Most people in the U.S. have some degree of insulin resistance. Many people, as they age, even though they are eating, do not feel they are getting energy from their food. The reason for many people is insulin resistance. The good news is that if a person has coconut oil or coconut products in their diet, the fats will be used as energy and that energy is not dependent on the insulin system working. Therefore, diabetics can get good energy into their cells and people who take naps, or think they need naps in the middle of the afternoon, have energy again. Low Carb dieters, as well, can eat their low carbohydrate meals, but have the energy they would otherwise have received from carbohydrates.
- Lastly, on the skin, the medium chain fatty acids in the coconut oil are identical to the medium chain fatty acids found in sebum. Normal flora that lives on our skin and keeps it healthy will actually live on the glycerol unit of the triglycerides, creating free fatty acids identical to those found in sebum. This allows the skin to have a slightly acidic pH ideal for keeping pathogens away and keeping the skin healthy. For people with dandruff or red spots on their scalp, you just douse the scalp with coconut oil and leave it for about 20 minutes. Then shampoo. You will need to shampoo at least twice. This works better than tea tree oil shampoo from the health food store or anything else you have probably tried. If you have red spots on your skin try it there as well. If you need a little more oomph, add a drop or two of lemon or lavender essential oil to the coconut oil. Many people get out of the shower and reach for their little pot of coconut oil. They just dab it on and spread it all over, very lightly. A number of customers have discovered that if they do this they eventually do not have to use deodorant.
The highest quality coconut oil, in our opinion is oil that is raw, with a very low moisture content, a low free fatty acid content, and therefore a long shelf-life. The oil is best when packaged in glass as coconut oil can dissolve and absorb plasticizers. Below are companies who carry a coconut oil that fits this criteria:
- Wilderness Family Naturals
- A brand called Fresh Shores that is very good on Dr. Mercola’s website
- Jigsaw Health
- Radiant Life Catalog
- Power Hour