Coconut oil comes from the nut (fruit) of the coconut palm. The oil of the nut is used to make medicine. Some coconut oil products are referred to as "virgin" coconut oil. Unlike olive oil, there is no industry standard for the meaning of "virgin" coconut oil. The term has come to mean that the oil is generally unprocessed. For example, virgin coconut oil usually has not been bleached, deodorized, or refined.
Some coconut oil products claim to be "cold pressed" coconut oil. This generally means that a mechanical method of pressing out the oil is used, but without the use of any outside heat source. The high pressure needed to press out the oil generates some heat naturally, but the temperature is controlled so that temperatures do not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
People use coconut oil by mouth for diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Alzheimer's disease, quality of life in people with breast cancer, thyroid conditions, energy, and boosting the immune system. Despite coconut oil's high calorie and saturated fat content, some people use it by mouth to lose weight and lower cholesterol.
Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer, for neonatal health, and to treat eczema and a skin condition called psoriasis. Coconut oil is also used in hair products to prevent hair damage.
How it works
Coconut oil is high in a saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides. These fats work differently than other types of saturated fat in the body. However, research on the effects of these types of fats in the body is very preliminary.
When applied to the skin, coconut oil has a moisturizing effect.
Research suggests that applying virgin coconut oil to the skin twice daily for 8 weeks improves symptoms about 30% more than mineral oil in children with eczema.
Coconut oil is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin appropriately.Since coconut oil has a high fat content, there is concern that it might increase weight if used in large amounts or that it might increase cholesterol levels. However, these concerns have not been proven in scientific research.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Coconut oil isLIKELY SAFEforpregnantand breast-feeding women when used in the amounts normally found in the diet. But the safety of using coconut oil in larger amounts is not known. It's best to stick tofoodamounts if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.Dosing considerations for Coconut Oil.
Children: Coconut oil is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food. Coconut oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when it is applied to the skin. It has been used safely in children and infants in the short-term. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking coconut oil by mouth as medicine in children.
High cholesterol: There is concern that coconut oil might increase total cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol. But there is contradictory evidence that shows that coconut oil might actually increase levels of "good" cholesterol and have little to no effect on total or "bad" cholesterol levels.
No information available.