In spite of that, I consider it at least remotely possible that the data from a recent rodent study that was published in the UK Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biosciences (Sharig. 2015) will catch your attention. I am sure you won't catch fire, though, but maybe at least some sparks, when you read that a relatively low dose of virgin coconut oil slowed down the weight gain, even if the oil was added to a non-obesogenic diet. Not excited? Well what about its triglyceride and total cholesterol lowering prowess and it's ability to keep LDL and VLDL in check while increasing HDL significantly - that's at least news-worthy isn't it?
But first things first - here's what the scientists did: The scientists bought a bunch of 2 months old rats. After 2 weeks of acclimatization, they randomly assigned them to one of the following diets:
- Group 1 was fed the normal pellet diet (control),
- Group 2 was administered normal diet with VCO (1 ml/day),
- Group 3 named as HCD received bread with pellet,
- Group 4 animals received HCD bread and pellet with VCO (1 ml/day),
- Group 5 called as HLD animals received cheese with pellet,
- Group 6 named HLD animals received cheese and pellet with VCO (1 ml/day)
How much virgin coconut oil is that? And does it have to be virgin? For most people the approximate equivalent dose you'd have to consume are 3 tablespoons or equal to 45 ml/day. That was the easy part. Whether it has to be virgin coconut oil is a bit harder to explain, but in view of the significant correlation Marina et al. found between the total phenolic content of virgin coconut oil and its scavenging activity (r=0.91), and between the total phenolic content and its reducing power (r=0.96), I would be surprised if the phenol-depleted regular coconut oil would have the same beneficial effects on your atherosclerosis risk.The rodents remained on their respective diets for 8 weeks before... no, not before they were sacrificed, but before the scientists from the Managemant and Science University in Malaysia used a spectrophotometer and commercial enzymatic kits to determine the lipid parameters by enzymatic endpoint method, as well as the plasma total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels were measured using commercial enzymatic kits.
|Figure 1: Effect of Virgin coconut oil on plasma lipid profile of albino Wistar rats after 8 weeks (Shariq. 2015).|
- Feranil, Alan B., et al. "Coconut oil predicts a beneficial lipid profile in pre-menopausal women in the Philippines." Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition 20.2 (2011): 190.
- Liau, Kai Ming, et al. "An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity." ISRN pharmacology 2011 (2011).
- Manaf, Marina Abdul, et al. "Analysis of adulteration of virgin coconut oil by palm kernel olein using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy." Journal of Food Lipids 14.2 (2007): 111-121.
- Shariq, B., et al. "Evaluation of Anti-Atherosclerotic Activity of Virgin Coconut Oil in Male Wistar Rats Against High Lipid and High Carbohydrate Diet Induced Atherosclerosis."