There are several testimonials by people using virgin coconut oil (VCO) for improving scalp conditions, hair, and skin issues. But it’s doubtful that a certified dermatologist would recommend that for most skin issues. It’s more likely that an external skin condition known as atopic dermatitis (AD), which causes excess dryness, inflammation, and pruritus (itching) will be prescribed a cortecosteroid cream to apply topically. The University of Central Florida Medical School offered a paper published early in 2017 titled “Coconut oil: The future of atopic dermatitis treatment?” Overall, VCO appears to be an emerging treatment for AD due to its safety and ability to both combat the suggested pathogenesis of AD and provide clinical improvement. More extensive trials that comprehensively examine the positive and negative effects of treating AD with VCO are indicated.
There are many empirical episodes of improving memory and slowing or reversing dementia with coconut oil that are dismissed as “anecdotal.” Fortunately there are increasing scientific studies that corroborate the many remarkable testimonies of recovering from dementia to perhaps convince naysayers of coconut oil’s health and healing properties. The in-vivo (animal) study “Enhanced memory in Wistar rats by virgin coconut oil is associated with increased antioxidative, cholinergic activities and reduced oxidative stress” was published in January of 2017. The research paper stated as part of its findings: "The promising outcomes of this study strongly imply the possible use of VCO, not only as neuroprotective agents for those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, but also as brain food." A Canadian study published this year around the same time titled “Coconut oil protects cortical neurons from amyloid beta toxicity by enhancing signaling of cell survival pathways” observed that coconut oil and its medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) protect against amyloid beta (Aβ) induced neurotoxicity in primary rat cortical neurons.
A study published in January 2017 in Nigeria shows the hepatoprotective effect of virgin coconut oil when used with MTX cancer chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs are known for damaging the liver. Unlike the U.S., where government dietary advice is still against saturated fats and coconut oil, many of the coconut-producing countries are learning that their traditional diets high in saturated fats, and specifically coconut oil, are actually healthy. There is a wide body of research now looking at the health benefits of coconut oil, specifically virgin coconut oil, which is less refined than machine-made commercial coconut oils. The current study from Nigeria acknowledges that the "emerging health benefit of virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been associated with its potent natural antioxidants." So they designed a study using rats to see if virgin coconut oil and its antioxidant properties could protect the liver against oxidative stress caused by chemotherapy cancer drugs. They saw a definite improvement in liver function from the group that consumed virgin coconut oil.
Study: Coconut Oil Helps Hypertension – Science Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil Keep Increasing
A peer reviewed study published in 2016 was titled “Renoprotective effect of virgin coconut oil in heated palm oil diet-induced hypertensive rats.” The Malaysian researchers were aware of how reheated oils used over and over in deep fat fryers create hypertension (high blood pressure) and other markers for cardiovascular disease. But their focus this time was renal, or kidney health. So they used five times heated palm oil (5HPO) to induce high blood pressure in rats bred for animal study research, Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats were divided into four groups fed slightly different diets, half with 5HPO and the other half with virgin coconut oil (VCO). Systolic blood pressure was measured before and after the 16 week study. The rats fed VCO had significantly less oxidative stress markers in their kidneys than the 5HPO fed rats, leading the researchers to conclude “ … virgin coconut oil has a potential to reduce the development of hypertension and renal injury induced by dietary heated oil, possibly via its antioxidant protective effects on the kidneys.”
A new study from India published in the Journal of Food Science Technology showed positive results in improving glucose metabolism in high fructose diets in rats. Coconut oil is a common dietary oil in South India, so the researchers wanted to compare the common refined copra-based coconut oil found in the market place with the less-refined "virgin" coconut oil which has become more readily available in recent years. The results were very promising. The researchers found that glucose metabolism only increased 17% in a high-fructose diet as compared to 46% for those rates fed a standard coconut oil diet. This research confirms what we have observed over the years since we brought Virgin Coconut Oil into the U.S. market: many who switch to Virgin Coconut Oil see their blood sugar levels normalize. Here are some testimonials.
Tropical Traditions has finished testing all of their coconut oils and coconut products for the presence of the herbicide glyphosate. They now have a system in place to test each batch of coconut oil or coconut products exported from the Philippines for the presence of glyphosate. The Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil also carries the "Traditionally Produced" label, since this coconut oil is not mass produced by machine. It is a traditionally produced coconut oil made by hand in small batches, much the same way people in the Philippines have produced it for thousands of years. Tropical Traditions was the first company to import virgin coconut oil from the Philippines in 2002, and it remains one of the only premium coconut oils in the United States that is still produced using traditional methods, rather than being mass-produced by machine.
A study out of Malaysia shows that virgin coconut oil may function better than commercial "artificial tears" products in rewetting dry eyes. The title of the study is A Pilot Study: The Efficacy of Virgin Coconut Oil as Ocular Rewetting Agent on Rabbit Eyes and was published in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, February, 2015.
A study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that coconut oil supplementation and physical exercise improved high blood pressure and oxidative stress in hypertensive rats. The rats were supplemented with virgin coconut oil and subject to a swimming protocol for 4 weeks. The researchers found that coconut oil combined with exercise training reduced body weight, reduced blood pressure in hypertensive rats, improved baroreflex sensitivity, decreased lipid peroxidation, and reduced superoxide levels.
When we shipped the first "virgin coconut oil" from the Philippines into the U.S. back in 2001, there were only two other commercially available coconut oils being sold as edible oils in the U.S. market. Coconut oil was certainly not popular 13 years ago and there were few choices. If you were using coconut oil as dietary oil back then, chances are you were getting your information about fats and oils from Dr. Mary Enig. Many of her writings have been featured in the Weston A. Price Foundation over the years. Today, one has a plethora of choices when it comes to purchasing coconut oil. So what I am going to do in this article is give you an insider view of the current market, without mentioning any specific brands. Not all coconut oils are produced the same way and the type of coconut oil you purchase will depend on what you plan to do with it. But first, in order to make an intelligent decision about which coconut oil best suits your needs, you need to understand what is currently in the market, and how they differ.