Is coconut oil the miracle everyone says it is?

Updated: May 7

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I got a great question from a reader named Daniella wanting to know if all the coconut hype was worth listening to. I’ve done the research and here is your answer! Enjoy this read and, as always, click the numbers in square brackets to check out all the references!


Click the image to try this Organic Coconut Oil!



What is coconut oil?


Coconut oil is made from the meat of the coconuts (the white part inside) and if it is virgin it means the nut has been pressed within 24 hours of its harvest and hasn't had any additional processing (bleaching for example). Something to keep in mind is that there isn't any legal definition for virgin or extra virgin so technically companies can write virgin and do what they want with the product so be careful what you buy! The coconuts are usually pressed within 24 hours because if they wait longer to press sometimes fatty acids form that can bother your skin[1].

Warmed in the palm of your hand it becomes a smooth cream!


Are there any proven benefits?


General health

Coconut oil is very high in lauric acid which has been shown to be antimicrobial and antibacterial. Lauric acid has been found to help against pathogenic (bad) bacteria in the gut, showing that it might help your gastrointestinal health[2]. I also found some studies that suggested that lauric acid is so effective it is a possible way to help treat antibiotic resistant bacteria[3]for things like staph and strep infections[4].


Skin

There is evidence that lauric acid is effective against some bacteria that contribute to acne when you apply it on your skin[5](will be trying that ASAP!). There is a lot of research on treating dermatitis (irritated skin) with coconut oil alone or paired with pharmaceutical treatments. It has had excellent results with infants and newborns with skin irritation[6,7]and has also shown it works well on different types of adult dermatitis[8,9]. Finally I found a cool study looking at using coconut oil to help wound healing in skin that showed it improved the appearance and overall healing of the wound [10]!


Hair

I will post a separate article just on hair and coconut oil including the science behind it as well as tips on how to use it!


Any bad stuff?


I couldn’t find any research that showed negative side effects from coconut oil. There are two derivatives made from coconut oil called cocamidopropyl betaine and cocamide diethanolamine (DEA) which have been shown to cause some types of dermatitis[11,12] but these derivatives don't exist in unprocessed coconut oil.


My take?


Seems like a solid choice! It is still oil so definitely don’t slather it on because even if it is antibacterial a thick amount of it will clog your pores. I only found positive revues for using it on your skin (and eating it!) so unless you are allergic you should give it a try Daniella!


If anyone has any topics they want covered please send me an email or message on social, I am always happy to take article requests!