Coconut and coconut oil

How coconut oil helps your gut

Do you experience bloating, flatulence, thrush, “foggy” head, bad breath, peeling skin on the feet, jock itch, headaches, irritable bowel or fatigue? These symptoms and many more can be caused by a little organism called Candida albicans and according to a new study coconut oil may be able to help control it.

Along with hundreds of other microscopic organisms, Candida albicans makes up part of the human digestive flora also known as the gut microbiome or microbiota. Put together, these microorganisms account for up to two kilos of your total weight. These microorganisms aren’t necessarily bad as some help digest your food, create a healthy immune system and even make certain vitamins. However, when the digestive flora is out of balance, candida organisms are able to overwhelm the “good” digestive flora and cause “candidiasis”.

It seems to reasonable to assume that adding coconut oil to the diet not only reduces the risk of candidiasis but it might also fight candida infection that already exists.

Candida albicans itself is a yeast-like fungus that inhabits the intestines, genital tract, mouth, oesophagus and throat. Normally it lives in healthy balance along with a host of other organisms and does not cause problems. However, when conditions are right, candida can multiply and enter the bloodstream and spread to different organ systems. This is when the condition is called “systemic” and is no longer a simple local infection.

According to this new study, coconut oil may help control the overgrowth of candida.

In the new study, researchers examined the effect of three dietary fats on candida growth in the gut of mice. There were four groups of mice in the study: one group was given coconut oil, another beef tallow, a third soybean oil and a fourth group were control fed a standard mice diet.

The results showed that a coconut oil diet reduced candida in comparison to both beef tallow and soybean oil. In fact, compared to a beef tallow diet, the coconut oil reduced candida by 90 per cent. Additionally, when mice were first fed beef tallow and then coconut oil, the coconut oil reduced fungal colonisation. Based on this, it seems to reasonable to assume that adding coconut oil to the diet not only reduces the risk of candidiasis but it might also fight candida infection that already exists.

Given coconut oil’s excellent properties for cooking it might well be worth adding it to your diet for your gut’s sake.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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