The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil (Part 2)
In the first part of this article, Dr. Conrado S. Dayrit debunked long-held myths about fats, cholesterol and coconut oil in relation to having a healthy heart. In this issue, he reveals more of the positive effects of coconut oil and virgin coconut oil on the human body.
- You mentioned that when the Americans switched from using coconut oil to soybean oil and corn oil, they began having serious health problems.
A. That’s true. When they were using coconut oil, they had no heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Now that they’re using soybean oil and corn oil, 75 percent of adults are overweight, and 30 percent are obese.
How did they get so fat? They’re eating too much – especially too much carbohydrates, french fries, processed foods, margarine and shortening both derived from partial hydrogenation of soybean oil, corn oil or sunflower oil, which are all polyunsaturates and rich in transfatty acids.
And what are they sick of? They have epidemics of heart disease, arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Also, 15 percent of their children are fat.
- Would you say that Filipinos are in danger of going the same route as Americans because we follow their lifestyle?
A. Of course we are in danger. However, at present, we can’t tell if there is an increasing mortality rate from heart disease as reported by the DOH. Our statistics are not good because 60 percent of deaths in the Philippines are not seen by a doctor. We do not have enough doctors in the barrios to report the actual figures of morbidity and mortality in these areas.
So what will the doctor write on the death certificate? Cardiac arrest, heart attack. That mush be the reason why our mortality statistics on heart disease are very high. But look at our morbidity rate. Heart disease is ranked only as 7th or 8th.
- Aside from its health benefits for the heart, what does coconut oil do for the rest of the body?
A. * It is an immunity booster.
* It is antimicrobial – antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal
* It has some anticancer activity.
Let’s start with coconut oil’s immunity-boosting benefits. One study was done on lab animals, which were divided into two groups, with one group being given coconut oil. Both groups of animals were given a dose of E.coli endotoxin that is guaranteed to kill 50 percent of them. Of course, the group that was not given coconut oil, 50 percent died. But in the group that was given coconut oil, only 25 percent died, and 75 percent survived. This shows the protective effect of coconut oil against toxins.
- Please tell us about a study you did about the effects of virgin coconut oil on HIV patients.
A. We did a short-term study on 14 Filipino HIV patients, who have a high viral count and low immunity. [They were given virgin coconut oil] and in six months, their viral count went down, and there was a marked improvement in their immunity. This verifies what had been reported about AIDS patients going to the Caribbean and West Indies to ingest coconut oil. It was later found that their HIV count went down from very high to practically non-detectable levels.
This is probably the reason why we don’t have SARS. We had SARS patients coming in, but it did not spread. We can probably attribute this to the coconut oil in our diet.
- What are the other antimicrobial properties of coconut oil?
A. Coconut oil kills viruses that are lipid-coated, such as the HIV virus, the herpes virus and the lymphotrophic viruses. Coconut oil kills TB and other bacteria. The TB bacterium can be killed in vitro (in the laboratory setting). But we need to study if coconut oil can be used to cure TB patients.
- Can virgin coconut oil be used to treat yeast infections, such as candidiasis?
A. Yes, coconut oil is very effective. A study conducted at Mary Chiles Hospitals showed that candidiasis can be cured by using coconut oil tampons.
- Is it true that virgin coconut oil can help one to lose weight?
A. That’s true. One very obese patient who took virgin coconut oil daily reported losing 140 pounds. Coconut oil is a fat, but it does not get into the fat depot. It raises the basal metabolic rate, so you metabolize even the fat that you have in your body. Thats why you lose weight.
- What is the recommended dosage for virgin coconut oil?
A. For skin infections, directly apply virgin coconut oil to the affected area. We recommend a daily oral intake of 3 to 4 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil, but for systemic diseases such as TB, HIV, diabetes and arthritis, it should be taken in big enough doses to produce maximum effect. Do not incorporate virgin coconut oil with food as this will lead to greater loss of the coconut oil.
- Are there any contraindications to intake of virgin coconut oil?
A. None that I know of yet. In fact, it should be given to babies. Coconut oil has monolaurin, which is the primary fatty acid of human milk. It helps in bone development and protects babies against disease.
Now, there’s a preparation in the U.S. called MCT (medium chain triglycerides). This is the leftover of lauric acid, which is commonly used in making soap and for other industrial purposes. MCT is used for convalescent patients, for infant food, premature infants, athletes, the elderly, anyone who needs energy. But why buy an expensive preparation when you can get these MCTs in coconut oil?
- From what you’ve told us, coconut oil and virgin coconut oil have many health benefits.
A. Yes, that’s why we’re fighting to correct all the misconceptions about coconut oil and virgin coconut oil. In fact, virgin coconut oil will be included in the Philippine pharmacopoeia. There are too many testimonials about its health benefits that cannot be ignored. I am hoping that in the near future, more studies can be done to substantiate all these claims. Not only will coconut oil and virgin coconut oil make us a healthier nation, they will also help resuscitate our coconut industry.