Coconut oil gaining popularity in some circles

April 5, 2012

[This is the second of two columns on coconut oil]

Coconut oil is getting internet attention and a lot of buyers in health food stores because it seems especially effective in giving a boost to high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol.

There are several forces creating this phenomenon. The coconut oil industry is working hard to win public favor. There are scientists who are backing off from the damnation of coconut oil. And then there are vegans, who abstain from animal products. Many vegans use coconut oil as a butter substitute. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Today's column is devoted to coconut-oil advocates.

One of the leading proponents of coconut oil is Joseph Mercola, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. Mercola advocates natural methods of achieving good health that he promotes on his website,

Mercola is a New York Times best-selling author who has made many appearances in the nation's top media. He is often described as controversial.
Here are a few of Mercola's positions:

• Multiple studies on Pacific Island populations who get 30-60 percent of their total caloric intake from fully saturated coconut oil have all shown nearly nonexistent rates of cardiovascular disease.

• It may be surprising for you to learn that the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil is actually good for you and provides a number of profound health benefits, such as: improving your heart health, boosting your thyroid, increasing your metabolism, promoting a lean body and weight loss, and supporting your immune system.

• Coconut oil even benefits your skin when applied topically and has been found to have anti-aging, regenerative effects.

Another advocate of coconut oil is Mary G. Enig, PhD, author of “Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol.” Here are a couple of her views:

• Although the advantage of regular consumption of coconut oil has been underappreciated by the consumer and producer alike for the recent two or three decades, its unique benefits should be compelling for the health-minded consumer of today.

• Whole coconut as well as extracted coconut oil has been a mainstay in the food supply in many countries in parts of Asia and the Pacific Rim throughout the centuries. Recently, though, there has been some replacement of coconut oil by other seed oils. This is unfortunate since the benefits gained from consuming an adequate amount of coconut oil are being lost.

The coconut-oil industry is promoting its product on the internet through This is from that website:

• Some of the most recent research has come from people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, with reports of people improving or even reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s by using coconut oil. Alzheimer’s is now seen as a type 3 form of diabetes, and for years we have seen positive results from people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in using coconut oil.

• We have also seen a lot of reports of coconut oil health benefits from those suffering from hypothyroidism, as coconut oil helps boost metabolism and raise body temperatures to promote thyroid health.

• Increasing coconut oil in the diet has also led many to report losing weight with coconut oil.

• Candida (a fungus infection) sufferers also report health benefits with coconut oil as research now confirms, and those suffering from various skin diseases are also seeing tremendous health benefits by applying coconut oil directly on the skin. The benefits of coconut oil for healthy hair are also well known.

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