Coconut Oil Does Boost the Immune System


Without coconut oil’s healthy medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) you wouldn’t be reading here because there wouldn’t be anything much to write about. But coconut oil DOES contain MCFAs and so there is plenty to say about this incredible oil, especially when it comes to boosting the immune system. Coconut oil boosts immunity thanks to its antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. And contrary to the scaremongering of the past, coconut oil does NOT contribute to coronary heart disease (CHD). Nor does it cause weight gain, raise LDL (bad) cholesterol or promote blood clotting [1].

The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil

The three MCFAs found in coconut oil include:

  1. Caprylic acid
  2. Lauric acid
  3. Decanoic acid (Capric acid)

These MCFAs all contribute to a strong and healthy immune system.

The Human Immune System Defined

A healthy immune system protects your body by resisting harmful toxins and infections (germs and microorganisms). The primary organs of this system include the thymus, lymph nodes and bone marrow. Your immune system comprises of a plethora of processes and biological structures, all of which help to protect you against disease and infection. It includes special cells, body tissues, proteins and organs. Most of the time the “immune response” does a great job at defending us, but when there’s a problem with it we can easily fall victim to infection and sickness. Poor diet and sedentary lifestyles have a negative impact on the immune system [2].

About Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are vital components of a healthy diet. They are “essential” because the body can’t synthesize them but it needs them to function. They are the building blocks of body fat. When you eat, your digestive system breaks fat down into fatty acids, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. We need these fatty acids because they transport and deliver other important molecules throughout the body. THis includes things like fat-soluble vitamins. They provide much needed fuel for your cells too, and help to prevent your blood from clotting. Fatty acids can also help to stop the growth of cancer cells and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. As you can see, fatty acids are crucial to life itself and coconut oil contains fatty acids aplenty [3].

Caprylic Acid in Coconut Oil

The beneficial caprylic acid in coconut oil has four special properties:

  1. Antibacterial
  2. Antiviral
  3. Antifungal
  4. Anti-inflammatory

These are all things that fight against common complaints such as candida, various infections and skin conditions like acne. Caprylic acid is also present in human breast milk. There is plenty of evidence in medical circles to suggest it’s effective at treating bladder infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs). It also helps with oral infections, various STDs, and plenty of other conditions, thus making it a natural immune system booster [4].

Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil

Lauric acid has certain beneficial antimicrobial properties. That means it has the ability to either kill or inhibit the growth of various harmful microorganisms. In recent trials, scientists have studied lauric acid from coconut oil. It is part of an ongoing drug therapy aimed to treat HIV infections. The way it does this is by reducing the viral load of the patient. The antimicrobial activity of both lauric acid and monolaurin (a chemical made from lauric acid) protects against a whole range of harmful infectious viruses, bacteria and fungi [5].

It’s useful to know these things because lauric acid contributes toward the solution to a common problem. And the problem is that so many modern diseases today occur as the result of an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses and funguses within the body. The stronger we can make our immune system through diet, the better we are able to protect ourselves from these hostile agents.

Capric Acid in Coconut Oil

Like the other fatty acids capric acid (Decanoic acid) also has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. In fact, horse owners use it to assist the immune systems of their animals; helping the horses to fight off various bacterial and viral agents. The capric acid in coconut oil can also help to improve your overall health and general wellbeing.

Research carried out at the University of Iceland, ran some tests on three strains of opportunistic fungus called Candida albicans. They found that Capric acid to be incredibly fast and effective at killing each of the three strains. Back in the 1980s, a study conducted in the Philippines found that both capric and lauric acids could destroy the HIV virus in lab controlled trials. This was a breakthrough because it was cheaper than the antiviral drugs at that time, and safer [6].

Closing Thoughts

Medium Chain Fatty Acids are what make coconut oil so special. In fact, it is the richest source of MCFAs of any other dietary oils and fats, most of which don’t have any at all. When consumed, these MCFAs digest almost right away, giving instant energy a nice boost to the immune system. Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFA), though, are difficult for the body to absorb and have to go through a complex process. Unlike MCFAs, LCFAs are unable to cross what scientists call the blood brain barrier (BBB), and that means they can’t work as fuel for the body. Almost all the oils and fats in the modern western diet are composed of long-chain fatty acids. This includes both plant and animal foods like milk, eggs, meat and most veggies.

The chances are you have far too much LCFAs in your diet. Still, now you know what you can do to redress this imbalance and improve your health with coconut oil.

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About Coconut Health

Hi, my name is Susan and over the past few years, stories on health especially natural ways to heal have fascinated me. This site was set up to explore the research, stories and health possibilities of coconuts. Feel free to contact me if you have suggestions, questions or to tell me your story!