The effect of virgin coconut oil on weight and lipid profile among overweight, healthy individuals.

Dr. Florentino B. Herrera, Jr. Medical Library
Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine. 2008 Jan-Feb 46(1):35-44.
Pollisco, CC, Carlos-Raboca, J.

From different researches, it was learned that virgin coconut oil (VCO) has the following chemical properties; It is a saturated fat, chemically a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA), which is uniquely different from other fatty acids in that it has the lowest caloric value gram per gram but still provides the highest energy expenditure. Another special feature of MCFA, is that they circulate as fatty acids, not as triglyceride, therefore are not deposited in fat tissues. Furthermore, they raise the body’s metabolic rate giving a thermogenic effect and like animal fats, induce satiety and make one stop eating, hence can lead to weight loss.

Several human studies done from 1965 to 1994 suggested that lauric, myristic, and palmitic acids have cholesterol-raising action but of different potential levels. A meta analysis of 60 controlled trials by Mensink et. al. 2003 showed that lauric acid greatly increased total cholesterol, but much of its effect was on high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Another randomized control trial done in India also showed that low density lipoprotein levels were lower and HDL levels were higher in the serum and tissues of patients given VCO for 45 days compared with those given ground nut and copra oil.

The general objective is to determine the effects of virgin coconut oil on weight, total cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, HDL among overweight otherwise healthy individuals.

This is an open-label, randomized control trial, a pilot study on the effects of virgin coconut oil on weight, total cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, HDL among overweight otherwise healthy individuals, with a computed sample size of 50.

Thirty one patients met the inclusion criteria. Sixteen subjects (52%) were randomized to oral intake of virgin coconut oil (n=16) while 15 subjects (48%) to diet and exercise only (control). Four dropped out, one from the VCO group and three from the control group.

At baseline, the two groups were comparable in terms of age (p=.67), sex (p=.94), height (p=.59), weight (p=.77), abdominal circumference (p=.80), and body mass index (p=.08).

Within-Groups Comparison: After 45 days of oral intake of virgin coconut oil, a statistically significant reduction in the mean weight was noted from baseline (64 kg to 59.9 kg, p=.001). This finding was also seen with the control group. (65.1 to 61.8 kg, p=.002). A statistically significant decrease in the serum HDL was noted in the control after the trial (56.9 mg/dL to 51.7 mg/dL, p=.021). A non-statistically significant reduction was seen in the VCO group (54.8 to 54.2, p=.69). No significant change was noted in terms of the total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL.

Between-Groups Comparison: After 45 days, no observable statistical difference was noted in the mean weight between the VCO group and the control group (VCO=59.9 vs. Control=61.8 kg, p=.43). Likewise, total cholesterol (176.8 vs. 181.5 p=.79); triglycerides (66.5 vs. 65.9, p=.91), LDL (107 vs 113.4, p=.61), HDL (54.2 vs 51.7, p=.65) were not statistically different.

The demonstrated serum lipid-reducing effects in this trial are inconclusive. Although, total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL showed a decreasing trend from baseline, the effect size was small and statistically insignificant. Large scale trials that rigorously control for variation in serum lipids among the healthy population are still warranted. (Auth)

Language: English

Subject: Coconut oil—weight loss—triglycerides—cholesterol—overweight