Coconut oil has become quite popular recently.
For decades, medical professionals vilified it as an agent of heart disease.
They blamed it because coconut oil is a very saturated fat.
In fact, it is the most saturated fat available — even more saturated than butter or animal fat.
But where did this idea come from that saturated fat and heart disease go together?
The claim comes from the Lipid Hypothesis.
This hypothesis states that saturated fat raises cholesterol and that cholesterol caused heart disease.
But there’s a problem with the hypothesis.
Despite decades of propaganda, the Lipid Hypothesis is still unproven.
While high cholesterol levels are associated with heart disease, they have not been proven to cause it.
Really, it’s like saying bricks cause houses.
Just because the builders use bricks to build the house doesn’t mean the bricks caused the house.
It’s the same with cholesterol.
The blockages contain cholesterol, but the cholesterol didn’t create the blockage.
There are plenty of case studies that show patients with heart disease who have LOW cholesterol.
And the entire Lipid Hypothesis is built on a foundation of fraud or gross negligence.
The chief study that is the basis for this hypothesis is so flawed that other studies proved it to be completely invalid.
And many studies suggest that saturated fat can PROTECT the heart.
Because of these factors, health authorities have slowly and quietly reversed their position on cholesterol and saturated fats.
Now, you can add in the studies that question the health effects of some of the newer cooking oils.
A lot of studies even show that the newer so-called “healthier” cooking oils cause more disease!
We also want to look at those people who moved away from highly processed foods.
These people have fewer cases of heart disease (among other benefits).
And these changes led people to cook with more coconut oil, which is great news.
Coconut oil is much healthier than other oils and can be used far beyond cooking.
In fact, some primitive cultures used it as a sunscreen.
Some cosmetics use coconut oil as a base, and these improve the appearance of the skin.
Now, here’s the question- does coconut oil benefit the skin?
Today, we have studies that analyzed this question.
In this study, researchers decided to test coconut oil on patients suffering from xerosis.
Xerosis is a diagnosis for really dry and itchy skin.
Sometimes, it can crack and become painful.
Researchers randomized patients to either use coconut oil or mineral oil.
Mineral oil is already used as an accepted treatment for this condition.
The patients in the study used these treatments for two weeks.
And the researchers found that the results of the study were very promising for coconut oil.
Coconut oil and mineral oil have comparable effects.
Both oils showed significant improvement in skin hydration and an increase in skin surface lipid levels. Safety was demonstrated through no significant difference in transepidermal water loss and skin pH.
The study was short — but researchers even noted that patients using coconut oil appeared to have slightly better results than the mineral oil group.
So coconut oil soothed dry, itchy skin.
It also improved hydration and appearance.
That’s all well and good.
But does coconut oil also have other beneficial effects when applied to the skin?
Another study suggests that it does.
In this study, researchers recruited people with a skin infection containing the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.
They randomized subjects to either use coconut oil or olive oil on the infection.
Both oils are traditional treatments for skin infections.
The study lasted four weeks.
And again, the results showed the health benefits of coconut oil for the skin.
Of those on Coconut Oil, 20 were positive for Staphylococcus aureus colonies at the start versus 12 on Olive Oil. Post intervention, only 1 (5%) Coconut Oil subject remained positive versus 6 (50%) of those on Olive Oil.
In other words, coconut oil cured 19 cases and had a 95% success rate!
And olive oil cured only 6 and had only a 50% success rate.
That’s a pretty strong case for using coconut oil.
The results of these studies show that coconut oil can both improve skin appearance, as well as skin function.
If you happen to be suffering from a minor skin condition, using coconut oil for skin health is a good therapy.
Coconut oil benefits not only the appearance of the skin but also appears to make it healthier.
And you’ll reap the other health benefits of coconut oil (that’s another day’s topic!).
Any brand of coconut oil should work, but you may want to use refined coconut oil.
It has fewer allergens that could aggravate certain skin types.
Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis.