The Benefits of Coconut Oil - by Dr. Jay Journeau

Coconut oil can help a person to improve their health in many ways. The most impactful may be the elevation of the body pH. How does coconut oil help to alkalize the body? It is not because coconut oil has many alkaline minerals in it.  It is not because the human body can metabolize the coconut oil into an alkaline ash. It is because the use of coconut oil may help a person to eliminate harmful acids. It is because coconut oil contains large quantities of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils, such as capric acid and caprylic acid. Coconut oil is composed of the fatty acids, caprylic acid C -8:0 (8%), capric acid, C-10:0,(7%), lauric acid C-12:0, (49%). The rest of the coconut oil are long chain fatty acids, such as myristic acid C-14:0(8%), palmitic acid C-16:0 (8%), stearic acid C-18:0 (2%), oleic acid C-18:1 (6%) and 2% of C-18:2 linoleic acid. The body can rapidly metabolize MCTs due to their shorter carbon chains. Unsaturated long-chain fatty acids (for example the kinds found in nuts, olive oil, or avocados) take longer for the body to breakdown and metabolize, however medium-chain fats are efficiently digested and then provide a source of quick-acting energy. For the body to burn through long-chain fats, it must go through a 26 step process (including various enzymes, etc.), but when breaking down medium-chain fats it only has to go through about 3 steps. Unlike long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), the body transports MCTs directly to the liver, bypassing the lymphatic system  and thus MCFAs do not participate in the biosynthesis and transport of cholesterol.(1)

The liver rapidly converts MCTs into energy and ketones. Ketones, or ketone bodies, are the byproducts of fat metabolism. Some people believe that ketones are more efficient sources of energy than glucose, which the body normally uses as its main fuel source.

Since the body uses MCTs almost immediately, MCTs may produce a thermogenic effect in the body. In other words, MCTs may enhance the body’s ability to burn fat.

The fatty acids in coconut oil are extremely easy to digest, as they move passively (without any help from bile salts) from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. We mostly digest fat in the small intestine, however, there are actually lipase enzymes in the mouth. (2)  These enzymes are called lingual lipase.  Lingual lipase is released along with saliva. Recent reports tell us that it may help us detect how much fat is in food. (3)  The presence of lingual lipase helps to explain why the ancient practice of oil pulling is so effective! (4) When fat (like coconut oil) has been broken down in the mouth by lipase enzymes, the fatty acids released are extremely antimicrobial. (5)

One of the roles of fat in the food is to stimulate the secretion of bile by the gall bladder. Besides that important function, saturated fats have a variety of protective, antiinflammatory effects, including the reduction of endotoxemia and lipid peroxidation (6). Coconut oil completely abolishes the responses to endotoxin (7).

The saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil inhibit the formation of histamine (8), as does glucose (9), and prevent leakiness of the intestine, protecting the liver from endotoxin (10). Progesterone and testosterone protect against histamine, while estrogen increases its formation and actions. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) protects the liver and other organs from various toxins, and from the toxic effects of histamine.

The Western pattern diet (WPD) or the Standard American Diet (SAD) is a modern dietary pattern that is generally characterized by high intakes of red meat, processed meat, pre-packaged foods, butter, candy and sweets, fried foods, conventionally-raised animal products, high-fat dairy products, eggs, refined grains, potatoes, corn (and high-fructose corn syrup) and high-sugar drinks, and low intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed animal products, fish, nuts, and seeds. (11) The SAD diet creates an acidic environment in the body and a less alkaline microbiome. The human microbiota consists of the 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harbored by each person, primarily bacteria in the gut.  The human microbiome consists of the genes these cells harbor. (12) Americans have a lower metabolic rate than some other cultures, and the result is that obesity is a major problem in this country. Since farmers had demonstrated that coconut oil was not good for fattening their animals-it made them lean and hungry and cancer researchers showed it could lower the incidence of cancer. The biochemical basis seems clear: The easily oxidized short and medium-chain saturated fatty acids of coconut oil provide a source of energy that protects our tissues against the toxic inhibitory effects of the unsaturated fatty acids, and reduces their anti-thyroid effects. The animal studies of the last 60 years suggest that these effects also provide protection against cancer, heart disease, and premature aging. Other effects that can be expected include protection against excessive blood clotting, protection of the fetal brain, protection against various stress-induced problems including epilepsy, and some degree of protection against sun-damage of the skin.

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is being discussed lately as an anti-viral agent. Lauric acid inhibits glycolysis, so coconut oil will tend to prevent hypoglycemia, while providing non-glycolytic calories directly to the respiratory system, thus reducing the metabolic burden and the metabolic endotoxin byproducts with less destruction of alkaline nutrients.













  1. Li-Hao HuangAndrew Elvington, and Gwendalyn J. Randolph. (2015 Sep 2). The role of the lymphatic system in cholesterol transport. Journal List Front Pharmacol v.6; 2015 PMC4557107.
  2. Kulkarni, B. V., & Mattes, R. D. (2014). Lingual Lipase Activity in the Orosensory Detection of Fat in Humans. American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology.
  3. Asokan, S., Rathinasamy, T. K., Inbamani, N., Menon, T., Kumar, S. S., Emmadi, P., & Raghuraman, R. (2011). Mechanism of oil-pulling therapy–In vitro study. Indian Journal of Dental Research, 22(1).
  4. Hughes, P. I., Kealey, C., Rowan, N. J., & Brady, D. B. (2013). Evaluation of Vegetable Oils and Their Respective Fatty Acids on the Viability of Streptococcus Mutans, a Persistent Oral Pathogen. Journal of Asian Scientific Research, 3(6), 670-676.
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  7. Dr. Mercola. (October 22, 2010). Coconut Oil: This Cooking Oil Is a Powerful Virus-Destroyer.
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  10. Laurene BoatengRichard AnsongWilliam B Owusu, and Matilda Steiner-Asiedu. (2016 Sept). Coconut oil and palm oil's role in nutrition, health and national development: A review. Journal List Ghana Med J v.50(3); 2016 Sep PMC5044790.
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Written by Jacquelyn Santo