by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News
There have been numerous studies on lauric acid for various health supporting factors. Did you know that virgin coconut oil is 50 percent or more lauric acid? So whatever healthy attributes lauric acid contains so does coconut oil, and more.
And more will be explained later in this article. For now we’ll focus on coconut oil’s major component, lauric acid, and a recent animal study with dramatic results discovered for reducing hypertension (high blood pressure) and oxidative stress.
About High Blood Pressure and Oxidative Stress
High blood pressure (hypertension) is considered the “silent killer” or precursor to heart disease and heart attack by many. Some question what readings determine whether one’s blood pressure is too high or low, but one thing is for certain: outside conventional pharmaceutical industry controlled medicine, blood pressure medications are full of side effects and capable of worsening overall health.
Oxidative stress is recognized as a precursor for chronic inflammation and a wide range of non-infectious disease, as well as affecting overall immunity to the degree one is defenseless against all sorts of infectious diseases. It is a health destroyer.
Oxidative stress is the result of the body not being able to scavenge free radicals from normal metabolic functions with the body, thus creating a toxic overload of free radicals. You’ve no doubt heard of free radicals and their antidotes, antioxidant nutrients.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an unpaired numbers of electrons. These reactive atoms or molecules are what can be considered normal waste from normal metabolic functions with oxygen. A healthy body’s immune system fortified with antioxidant nutrients can handle most of them. Otherwise they damage proteins, molecules, and genes throughout the body.
Oxidative stress leads to free radicals damaging proteins, molecules, genes, and aging biologically beyond one’s calendar years. That’s why antioxidant foods and supplements are promoted as “anti-aging.”
Coconut Oil’s Lauric Acid Reduces Hypertension and Oxidative Stress Promoting Heart Health
This 2016 animal study, “Acute Treatment with Lauric Acid Reduces Blood Pressure and Oxidative Stress in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats” conducted at the Brazilian Federal University of Paraiba provided strong evidence of lauric acid’s ability to reduce heart beat rates, blood pressure and oxidative stress in the arteries and hearts as well as kidneys of rats. (Abstract)
The researchers acknowledged in their study’s full text version that coconut oil contains 91 percent saturated fatty acids of which 72 percent are medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), comprised of over 50 percent lauric acid (LA) accompanied by caprylic and capric acids.
The researchers study text also dispelled the notion that coconut oil’s saturated fats would create arterial problems leading to heart disease by citing earlier studies. Literature from earlier studies showed coconut oil did not increase homocysteine serum levels, a unanimously accepted marker for heart disease.
The researchers also noted from prior studies that coconut oil decreased inflammation markers and increased high density lipoprotein (HDL) considered the “good cholesterol” for heart health. Prior study literature also showed the Brazilian researchers that lauric acid provided antioxidant properties. The researchers noted the oxidative stress was a key factor for creating and maintaining hypertension.
With that in mind, the research team set out to prove that heart health is promoted by coconut oil’s lauric acid by inducing vasorelaxation and reducing oxidative stress in 35 spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) compared to six normotensive (normal blood pressure) Wistar Kyoto rats (WKR). Both groups had similar heart rates.
The term spontaneous in medicine means not externally induced, such as spontaneous abortions or spontaneous remissions with untreated cancer patients. Therefore the 35 rats’ hypertension was not artificially induced. Both SHR and WKR were anesthetized and fitted with catheters for injections of lauric acid for “acute treatment” and sensors for blood pressures and heart rates.
After recovering from anesthesia the researchers began monitoring the rats as they walked about freely and ate, measuring their blood pressures and heartbeats before and after injecting various levels of small lauric acid doses. Both rat types showed lowered blood pressure and heart rates from lauric acid IV.
The researchers examined the rats’ heart and kidney tissues and observed markers of low superoxide levels that indicated low or no oxidative stress. They called for further studies to determine even more subtle biological and biochemical mechanics to see how it all comes about even more, a typical fascination for scientific types.
Proof Enough to Realize Coconut Oil Helps Heart Health and Other Health Issues
Of course the scientists want further studies. But we can take away enough from current studies to understand that coconut oil consumption supports overall heart health and adds antioxidants, thus slowing down biological aging and boosting the immune system.
This is totally opposite conventional medical thinking that saturated fats cause heart disease, and that dangerous drugs are the solutions for high blood pressure and inflammation from oxidative stress. There are natural alternatives for both maladies, and coconut oil with its high lauric acid content is one of them.
Coconut oil has also shown an ability to reduce or even eliminate dementia issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. The medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) are easily digested and ketones are produced from them in the liver.
Ketones are then able to provide metabolic energy to brain cells whose ability to process glucose has diminished, usually from insulin resistance, inspiring some medical practitioners to label Alzheimer’s diabetes 3. So far a safe effective pharmaceutical for Alzheimer’s has not been developed. (Source)
Then there is caprylic acid, another component of coconut oil not as dominant as lauric acid. But the amount is sufficient enough to reverse candida overgrowth and help restore a healthier gut biome (intestinal bacterial flora) balance. (Source)
Depending on one’s health situation, one to four tablespoons consumed orally of coconut oil over time would be helpful for several health conditions, even heart health. The rats were injected intravenously with proportionally large doses of a highly liquid lauric acid to affect rapid results. That protocol is prohibitive for humans.
For medical marijuana users who don’t smoke the weed but use edibles such as cannabutter, cannabis infused coconut oil is becoming a favorite over butter because it binds the cannabis well and its MCT fatty acids are digested and assimilated better. (Source)
Oral consumption of whole virgin coconut oil naturally improves various unhealthy conditions over time. More studies on that here.
About the author: Unlike many people who write about coconut oil by simply reading about it, Brian Shilhavy actually lived in a coconut producing area of the Philippines for several years with his family, observing firsthand the differences between the diet and health of the younger generation and those of his wife’s parents’ generation still consuming a traditional diet. This led to years of studying Philippine nutrition and dietary patterns first hand while living in a rural farming community in the Philippines. Brian is the author of the best-selling book: Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours!
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