Is Coconut Oil One of Nature’s Miracles?
Studies from all across the globe have long demonstrated that coconut oil has the ability to strengthen the immune system – primarily due to antimicrobial lipids such as lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid that make up its complex structure. These antimicrobial aspects have long proven antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties which, when digested by the human body, is converted into lauric acid into monolaurin – both of which help to fight off viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and – possibly even HIV.
The latest research confirms longstanding beliefs about the benefits of coconut oil
More recently The Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) in Ireland tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil both in its natural state and treated with enzymes (to mimic the actions of digestion). Both versions of the oil were then tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria (bacteria commonly found of the mouth). Results of these tests indicated that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibited the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria including Streptococcus mutans – recognized as a chief cause of tooth decay. They also found that enzyme-modified coconut oil was is an excellent treatment for the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush.
Correcting false assumptions about fatty acids
Coconut oil has been used in tropical countries for eons, where it has been most available due to climate particularly India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines. The oil was also once popular in the United States until the 1970s when the corn oil and soy oil industry launched a strategic campaign against coconut oil calling it ‘harmful for the human body due to its high saturated fat content’ (a claim which has more recently been shot down thanks to a modern understanding about saturated fats. In fact, the saturated fats found in coconut actually help to increase the rate of metabolism in the body, aiding in weight loss, increasing the level of good cholesterol (High Density Lipoproteins) and lowering the level of bad cholesterol (Low Density Lipoproteins).
Coconut oil is also known to improve the ability of the body to absorb important nutrients and minerals including calcium and magnesium – necessary elements for development of and support of healthy bones. And, since calcium is an important element present in teeth using coconut oil helps in to support strong teeth and stops tooth decay.
Creating a new market for healthy coconut oil uses
Although many people may have been aware of the benefits of coconut oil for quite some time the AIT researcher’s findings now suggest that enzyme-modified coconut oil could find its way into the marketplace in exciting news ways — specifically for use as an effective commercial antimicrobial for use in the dental health field.
This study also adds to the understanding of antibacterial activity in the human gut. “Our data suggests that products of human digestion show antimicrobial activity. This could have implications for how bacteria colonize the cells lining the digestive tract and for overall gut health,” explained Dr. Brady. “Our research has shown that digested milk protein not only reduced the adherence of harmful bacteria to human intestinal cells but also prevented some of them from gaining entrance into the cell. We are currently researching coconut oil and other enzyme-modified foodstuffs to identify how they interfere with the way bacteria cause illness and disease,” he said.
AIT’s next step will be to determine exactly how coconut oil interacts with Streptococcus bacteria at the molecular level and examine additional strains of harmful bacteria and yeasts it may help to combat.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil — http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/
Coconut Oil Could Combat Tooth Decay – ScienceDaily – Aug. 30, 2012 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120902222459.htm
The Coconut Research Center – http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/