If you’re not already using coconut oil in your daily meal preparation, you really need to get with the times. Of course, many still follow the outdated recommendation to avoid saturated fats, but there’s no discernible evidence among cultures that consume unusually high amounts of saturated fat from coconut oil that it’s anything but healthy for the heart.
In fact, this study confirmed that heart disease was uncommon – yes, uncommon! – among two populations that received between 34% and 63% of their total calories from saturated fat coming predominantly from coconut.
When 1 out of 4 deaths in the U.S. today are due to heart disease, it’s nearly impossible to imagine what it would be like to live in a society where heart disease could be described as uncommon.
Then there’s this study which found that daily consumption of coconut oil resulted in enhanced abdominal fat reduction. Who can hate on that?
In his book, The Coconut Oil Miracle, Bruce Fife cites the following incredible characteristics attributed to coconut oil:
- Epidemiological studies show conclusively that populations that consume large amounts of coconut oil experience almost no heart disease.
- The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are broken down and used predominantly for energy production and thus seldom end up as body fat or as deposits in arteries or anywhere else. They produce energy, not fat. Medium chain fatty acids do not have a negative effect on blood cholesterol and help protect against heart disease.
- Coconut oil, being a highly saturated fat, is the least vulnerable of all the dietary oils to oxidation and free-radical formation and are therefore the safest to use in cooking.
- Research has shown that MCFA’s (medium chain fatty acids) from coconut oil can kill bacteria and viruses that cause influenza, herpes, bladder infections, gum disease, and numerous other conditions.
- In the coconut growing regions of India the people were told to stop eating coconut because it caused heart disease. They began eating margarine and processed vegetable oils in place of coconut oil and within just a few years the rate of heart disease tripled.
- MCFA’s are digested and utilized differently than other fatty acids. They’re not packaged into lipoproteins and do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats but are sent directly to the liver, where they are immediately converted to energy just like a carbohydrate. But, unlike carbohydrates, MCFA’s do not raise blood sugar, also making coconut oil completely safe for diabetics.
- Consuming coconut oil, especially in place of most other oils, can greatly reduce your chance of developing cancer.
- Coconut oil possesses anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, all of which protect arteries from atherosclerosis and from heart disease.
Coconut Oil’s Effect On Testosterone
As if all this weren’t reason enough to consider coconut oil as being indispensable in our quest to achieve optimal health, it turns out this incredible source of fat has also been confirmed to enhance the production of that sacred, fat-shredding, muscle-packing hormone: testosterone.
Yes, it’s true.
While I’m not aware of any comprehensive studies conducted on humans that have examined the impact coconut oil consumption has on testosterone levels, I’ve examined several such studies that have been completed using male rodents as the subjects.
Remember that we should always be cautious in assuming that humans will receive the same physiological benefits as rodents – even under identical conditions. Unfortunately, humans are not nearly as cheap or easy to control as rodents, so rodents tend to be the subjects of choice in much of today’s nutritional research.
You might be wondering, like I was, how confident we can be that results from a study on rodent testosterone levels will translate to humans.
Well, this study found that two-thirds of the time humans will exhibit a response similar to those experienced by rodents in tests pertaining to endocrine system disruption (note: the endocrine system is the collection of glands responsible for hormone production, including the production of testosterone).
The study also determined that the threshold of when these similar responses are elicited are inconsistent one-third of the time. What this means is that 33% of the time it may take more or less of the doses being used on rodents (in proportion to body mass) in a given study for humans to experience results similar in magnitude to those experienced by the rodents.
Nevertheless, given the two-thirds correlation between human and rodent responses, studies like those I’m about to share certainly deserve our attention (and subsequent research).
First, we have a study conducted in which forty Wistar rats were randomly assigned to one of four groups (10 rats were assigned to each group). Each group was fed for 60 days on the same basal diet plus different lipid (i.e. fat) sources: soybean oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or grape seed oil. After the rats were sacrificed, testicular lipids and fatty acid composition, free radical biomarkers, antioxidant levels, hormones, and steroidogenic enzymes were measured.
The measured results showed that the rats fed with the olive oil and coconut oil diets showed the highest testicular levels of antioxidants in addition to “significantly high levels of testosterone”.
What these results indicate, among other things, is that both olive oil and coconut oil may be useful for not only optimizing testosterone levels, but fending off testicular cancer, as well.
Another study comes from the Journal of Oleo Science. This particular study consisted of seven groups of rats, with each group following slightly different nutrition supplementation protocols.
The researchers found that “higher levels of testosterone and free testosterone concentrations were observed when rat diet was supplemented with coconut oil”.
Additionally, the published results went on to note that mean testosterone and free testosterone levels were 15% higher in the group receiving coconut oil. The activity of 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase – 2 key enzymes involved in testosterone biosynthesis – was also noted as being enhanced by coconut oil.
Hooray Coconut Oil!
Coconut oil is one of the best sources of dietary fat there is. The evidence continues to mount implicating coconut fat as being crucially beneficial to human health.
It’s been shown to prevent heart disease, reduce cancer risk, increase metabolism, trim abdominal fat, boost energy levels, and is now being consistently correlated with elevated testosterone levels in rodents.
There’s no denying that coconut oil is an essential source of fat for all who desire to optimize their health. And the uses are nearly endless (see: 101 Uses for Coconut Oil).
Put it in your coffee. Spread it on your toast. Cook with it. Drizzle it over your chicken. Lotion your skin with it.
My wife even found it to be extremely effective at getting gum out of my son’s hair a few weeks back.
Just make sure you’re using organic, virgin coconut oil.
You want to avoid consuming hydrogenated trans
crap fat coconut oil. Hydrogenated fats, including hydrogenated coconut oil, have no place in a health-centered diet.
Hydrogenated trans fats been shown to increase heart disease risk, promote inflammation within the body, lower good cholesterol (HDL) and raise bad cholesterol (LDL), and possibly raise your risk of developing cancer.
Stick with an organic, virgin coconut oil and you’ll be fine.
Here’s a photo of the Dr. Bronner’s brand I buy from my local Whole Foods market:
Have you been using coconut oil in your diet (or otherwise)?
Leave me a comment below to share how you use coconut oil and to let me know any noteworthy differences it’s made in your health or quality of life.
- Photo Credits: