The Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been touted as a miracle for a variety of conditions, but does the science back up the claims being made? Researchers from around the globe are putting coconut oil to the test and finding that coconut oils really is living up to its favorable reputation.


Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been around for centuries and comes from Ayurvedic medicine. It is an at home dental technique where a person swishes a tablespoon of coconut oil in their mouth on an empty stomach. After 20 minutes, the coconut oil will pull bacteria, viruses and other organisms; at this point, the person spits out the oil and rinses thoroughly with water.

A study published in 2011 found that oil pulling therapy reduces or eliminates microorganisms that are associated with halitosis and that it actually works as well as Chlorhexidine that is typically recommended by dentists for this condition. Another study found that oil pulling using coconut oil could be an effective adjuvant procedure in decreasing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis.

According to DentistryIQ, pregnant women readily develop gingivitis due to hormones. Bacteria from the mouth can get into the body and lead to premature delivery which why dental and medical professionals recommend expectant mothers regular dental visits throughout pregnancy. The site states “With this knowledge in mind, it seems that this type of oral health regime may not only benefit oral health but it would also benefit systemic health.”

Helps Patients with Coronary Heart Disease

A study out of Spain found that a diet rich in extra virgin coconut oil, increased HDL cholesterol, decreased waist circumference, and decreased body mass in patients who have coronary artery disease. Virgin coconut oil also lowers triglyceride levels and increases enzymes such as lipoprotein lipase that help break down fat.

Helps with the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease

Coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids that are easily absorbed and metabolized by the liver and can be converted to ketones. Ketones may be beneficial to people developing or already have a memory impairment such as Alzheimer’s. In addition, the phenolic compounds and cytokinins found in coconut oil can assist in preventing the aggravation of amyloid-β peptide, possibly blocking a key step in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Improves the Quality of LIfe for Breast Cancer Patients

A study published in Lipids in Health and Disease found that women undergoing breast cancer treatment for Stage III and Stage IV breast cancer who consumed virgin coconut oil while undergoing chemotherapy experienced very positive effects. Benefits of consuming virgin coconut oil exhibited better body image, sexual function, and reduction of chemotherapy side effects.

Kills Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi

Roughly 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is lauric acid. When digested, coconut oil also forms monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. It as been shown to kill Staph, Candida and also protect against the overgrowth of a fungal pathogen in the GI tract.

Easy to Incorporate

The great news about coconut oil is that it is very easy to find at the grocery store and incorporate into your daily routine. Whether you want to begin with oil pulling or adding to your morning oatmeal, it’s truly a delicious way to stay healthy.


  1. Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial. –
  2. Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – A preliminary report. Full Report available here –
  3. Nutricion Hospitalaria
  4. The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action –
  5. British Journal of Nutrition –
  6. Lipids in Health and Disease –
  7. Journal of Medicinal Food –