18

votes

Are the Anti-Bacterial Properties of Coconut Oil Desirable?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 28, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Many people tout Coconut oil's anti-bacterial properties as somehow good. However, if it really does kill bacteria, then that means it kills good bacteria as well as bad bacteria when it passes through the gut. If so, is this something that we should be ingesting, especially in the hyper-sanitized world we live in?

322a2783dfe4086591f323c6d2c086d6

on September 19, 2013
at 02:34 PM

Dr. Mary Enig Ph.D writes:

"Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria, including listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid."

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Okay, but the thread is about whether beneficial flora is among the bacteria discouraged.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 21, 2012
at 09:56 PM

Actually I'm pretty sure the majority of our bacterial flora reside in the SMALL intestine.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on September 21, 2012
at 04:56 PM

Sweet oil (olive oil) is sometimes used to relieve ear pain. It can also soften ear wax. I suppose that coconut oil would act similarly.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on September 21, 2012
at 04:54 PM

Most of our bacterial flora reside in the large intestine. There is a condition called SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) where large numbers of bacteria colonize the small intestine and the bacterial flora resembles that of the large intestine, not the small which usually contains a different type.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:46 PM

God didn't create coconut oil. Nor did nature.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Hello? I think this is an important question...

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 14, 2012
at 07:28 AM

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0769260983900091

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 14, 2012
at 07:28 AM

Nope, sorry. Many medically administered antibiotics are derived from natural sources. Example: penicillin, a natural antibiotic derived from fungi, targets gram positive bacteria. Most good bacteria is gram positive. Alas being "natural" is not necessarily good.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 12, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Ah, but who created chickens?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 12, 2012
at 11:14 PM

The colon is the large intestine. What about the small intestine, where all our intestinal flora is?

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on May 20, 2012
at 08:33 PM

http://paleohacks.com/questions/61107/does-coconut-oil-kill-friendly-gut-flora

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3285)

on May 20, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Yes, but who created the Mesoamerican people? I like eggs. Who created eggs? Chickens!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on May 20, 2012
at 04:04 PM

Mesoamerican people created chocolate, from cacao seeds. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on May 20, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Mesoamerican people created chocolate from cacao seeds. :)

7cc8ea23309b0026611a93a806de208d

(0)

on April 05, 2012
at 07:01 AM

I agree, great question.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19142)

on February 17, 2012
at 11:50 AM

It also brought the extinction of some animals and plants over others. For example, dogs were adapted out of wolves. Cats were domesticated. Mice and rats developed the ability to eat grains because of our grain stores. You can be sure that bacterial colonies have similarly been affected, some possibly previously beneficial ones (h-pylori) are now causing us issues. MRSA developed from exposure to antibiotics, etc.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19142)

on February 17, 2012
at 11:48 AM

Um, us atheists don't believe in a "Mother Nature", there's no lady out there with either beneficial intent or malevolent intent. Nature just is, it doesn't have a will, it doesn't have desires, nor intent. It's not conscious. It simply is the environment that we adapted to live in. Unfortunately, as we moved to agriculture, we also moved to staying in one place and farming. That opened up several things including kings, thieves, slavery, land ownership, creating new forms of animals and plans through selection, etc.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2544)

on October 12, 2011
at 11:56 PM

@Becker .............

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2544)

on October 12, 2011
at 11:56 PM

This is wrong... we DONT want mostly gram negative... most probiotics are gram positive...

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on May 02, 2011
at 12:44 AM

Interesting paper, thanks so much for taking the time to post it. :)

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:47 PM

Good call, Richard. I hadn't considered that. Most of our natural flora are Gram negative -- lipid coated exterior. Maybe lauric acid disrupts the peptidoglycan exterior of Gram positive bacteria??

Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:37 PM

a Herxheimer reaction really only happens if there are lots of bad bacteria in the subject - sick getting sicker before getting better

Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:36 PM

There seems to be a link between the anti-microbial effects of the aluric acid and microbes with a lipid layer - the good gut flora (lactobacillus and his friends) don't have a lipid outer-layer

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:33 PM

Lauric acid is supposed to kill lipid coated viruses and bacteria, probiotics are not lipid coated.

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:30 PM

lauric acid is supposed to kill the lipid coated viruses and bacteria...probiotics are no supposed to be lipid coated

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Can you share with us how your critical thinking and research has led you to the above opinion?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:47 PM

Also, if it is strong enough to bring about a Herxheimer reaction (releasing poisons from spirochetes) then it must be killing a lot of them. If that is the case, then I don't see how it is much different from an anti-biotic. I mean, in that case it IS an anti-biotic.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:46 PM

I've been searching for information regarding the effects of lauric acid on good gut-flora, but I'm coming up empty-handed. My assumption is based on a couple of years of microbiology study and some critical thinking.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:27 PM

Katherine, this study indicates that it does kill bacteria (in this instance for the good): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772209/?tool=pmcentrez I don't understand this argument (stated in a previous answer) that it is possible for it to kill "bad" bacteria as opposed to good bacteria.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:11 PM

Bree, what's this answer based upon?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:07 PM

How does it distinguish between the two?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3531)

on April 28, 2011
at 06:41 PM

Great question.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on April 28, 2011
at 06:39 PM

Waiting on answers to this one.

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16 Answers

8
4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on April 28, 2011
at 10:26 PM

Medium chain triglycerides are absorbed in the upper gut so they never reach the colon.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 12, 2012
at 11:14 PM

The colon is the large intestine. What about the small intestine, where all our intestinal flora is?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Hello? I think this is an important question...

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on September 21, 2012
at 04:54 PM

Most of our bacterial flora reside in the large intestine. There is a condition called SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) where large numbers of bacteria colonize the small intestine and the bacterial flora resembles that of the large intestine, not the small which usually contains a different type.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 21, 2012
at 09:56 PM

Actually I'm pretty sure the majority of our bacterial flora reside in the SMALL intestine.

3
3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

on April 28, 2011
at 07:06 PM

The lauric acid in coconut oil is not supposed to kill the good bacteria in the gut

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:33 PM

Lauric acid is supposed to kill lipid coated viruses and bacteria, probiotics are not lipid coated.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:07 PM

How does it distinguish between the two?

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:30 PM

lauric acid is supposed to kill the lipid coated viruses and bacteria...probiotics are no supposed to be lipid coated

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:47 PM

Good call, Richard. I hadn't considered that. Most of our natural flora are Gram negative -- lipid coated exterior. Maybe lauric acid disrupts the peptidoglycan exterior of Gram positive bacteria??

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2544)

on October 12, 2011
at 11:56 PM

@Becker .............

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2544)

on October 12, 2011
at 11:56 PM

This is wrong... we DONT want mostly gram negative... most probiotics are gram positive...

3
Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 28, 2011
at 06:56 PM

Yes we should be ingesting it! The benefits far outweigh any worry about killing off good bacteria - your body is colonized with so much good bacteria that you would have to spend you life eating coconut oil inorder to do major damage (IMO) But definitely watch the amount! Read the post today from ROB re: fat overload and the possibility of a Herxheimer reaction.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:37 PM

a Herxheimer reaction really only happens if there are lots of bad bacteria in the subject - sick getting sicker before getting better

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Can you share with us how your critical thinking and research has led you to the above opinion?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:11 PM

Bree, what's this answer based upon?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:47 PM

Also, if it is strong enough to bring about a Herxheimer reaction (releasing poisons from spirochetes) then it must be killing a lot of them. If that is the case, then I don't see how it is much different from an anti-biotic. I mean, in that case it IS an anti-biotic.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:36 PM

There seems to be a link between the anti-microbial effects of the aluric acid and microbes with a lipid layer - the good gut flora (lactobacillus and his friends) don't have a lipid outer-layer

Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:46 PM

I've been searching for information regarding the effects of lauric acid on good gut-flora, but I'm coming up empty-handed. My assumption is based on a couple of years of microbiology study and some critical thinking.

1
41412b0c69288a4d2c64c577a02ba8e3

on September 21, 2012
at 01:10 PM

About a year ago I added coconut oil to my typical breakfast of eggbeaters. After cooking the eggbeaters I add a large tablespoon of coconut oil. The first thing I noticed was an improvement in my oral health. My gums seemed healthier. When I went to my regular 3 month cleaning the technician was done in about 15 min. When I questioned her about why it didnt take the normal 30-40 minutes to clean my teeth she said that there is very little plaque. I read more about coconut oil and its antibacterial properties and it made sense to me. If plaque is caused by bacteria and by eating coconut oil I am killing that plaque then I am hoping its doing the same thing to the plaque in my arteries. Im a believer. Just had another appointment and the dentist said since there is so little plaque and gums are in such good shape she should change my cleanings to every 6 months. By the way, I have never had very good oral hygene habits and that continues. I brush my teeth infrequently, maybe 3 times a week. I hate to admit that but its true and so is the fact that coconut oil has healed my bleeding gums and gotten rid of almost all my normal plaque deposits.

1
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on May 20, 2012
at 01:41 PM

God (or mother nature) created chocolate.

Chocolate is tasty to us, toxic for dogs.

Not everything on this planet is optimal for all creatures on the plant.

Just say'n.

Mike

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3285)

on May 20, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Yes, but who created the Mesoamerican people? I like eggs. Who created eggs? Chickens!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on May 20, 2012
at 04:04 PM

Mesoamerican people created chocolate, from cacao seeds. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on May 20, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Mesoamerican people created chocolate from cacao seeds. :)

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 12, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Ah, but who created chickens?

1
5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

on April 28, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I've been regularly consuming and using coconut oil as a moisturizer for the past 2 months and I haven't noticed anything negative. My skin has never been this smooth and I feel better than I have in a long time (not that it all has to do with the coconut oil). My acne and cuts heal faster than before. Also, it hasn't affected my bowl movements negatively either. Sorry my answer isn't scientific or anything, but it's the truth :)

0
34c0c094ec755cd24adf7a8bdf4860c9

(0)

on August 09, 2013
at 05:35 AM

This is a good question. I can say that coconut oil messed up my bowel habits. I had to go off of it and onto some probiotics to fix the problem. People say zeolite only removes heavy metals but not minerals, but I can testify that's not true either. I can't take zeolite for that reason. For the reasonably healthy person or only somewhat sick person, these are awesome. But I'd be careful otherwise. Just listen to your body. Be watchful.

0
Ac6699412c3ffd653401d95c699501fb

on November 24, 2012
at 08:49 PM

Stomach acid is meant to sterilize the food. Mostly this works, and the upper small bowel is often sterile. Effects of coconut oil will be minimal compared to hydrochloric acid.

The medium chain triglycerides, the active antibacterial agents, are absorbed in the upper small bowel. They should help with the sterility there, a desirable thing.

In practice, many native people in the tropics have coconut as a major component of their diet, and they are doing just fine from a bowel health standpoint. This is not a problem.

George

0
319b70570b5d1deb5234ddde3e800c83

on September 29, 2012
at 11:46 PM

The medium chain fatty acids are not anti-bacterial until they are broken apart from the triglycerides. So, they are mostly anti-bacterial and anti-viral in your bloodstream. It's like the best of both worlds. They don't affect gut bacteria, but they work against the bad boys trying to kill you from the inside.

0
4ca656af7328d5d4e20b1bd58544c2f9

on September 24, 2012
at 01:39 PM

More then once study has been done in recent years showing that coconut oil has properties to it which discourages bacteria, fungi and possibly even viruses. A study done in the University of Santo Tomas showed that. I had read about it a bit on here originally: http://avrotor.blogspot.com/2009/06/by-dr-abe-v-rotor-virgin-coconut-oil-is.html

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Okay, but the thread is about whether beneficial flora is among the bacteria discouraged.

0
20c2203e923d8ab9e0e8f3f75a31d975

(0)

on September 14, 2012
at 07:07 AM

natural antibiotics do not kill good bacteria

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 14, 2012
at 07:28 AM

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0769260983900091

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 14, 2012
at 07:28 AM

Nope, sorry. Many medically administered antibiotics are derived from natural sources. Example: penicillin, a natural antibiotic derived from fungi, targets gram positive bacteria. Most good bacteria is gram positive. Alas being "natural" is not necessarily good.

0
22b333dc0ea044212a19796471fe45d5

on February 17, 2012
at 01:01 AM

I dont know how to respond to this but 2 ways:

god believers: do you seriously think god creates such beneficial food for human consumption with such horrible side effects(cleaning good bacterias)?

atheists:do you seriously think mother nature produces such beneficial food for human consumption with such horrible side effects(cleaning good bacterias)?

i understand if we were to take man made anti-biotic, all bacteria will be killed and you need to replenish good ones back. but nature is so perfect that do u seriously think it has effect same as man made "cures". Til today, man made medicine has always worked in ways that fixes one problem and causes another. eveything from HIV drugs to the innocent ascorbic acid. Nature has so much to offer...but we have been brainwashed to think all medicine work the same way as man made ones. if god/mother nature creates a food suited for human consumption, delicious, natural, has so much nourishing and health benefit, do you seriously think he/she would put in side effects that can cause people's life? if so, god/mother is a cruel thing or just has too much time to spare and make pointless things on earth.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19142)

on February 17, 2012
at 11:48 AM

Um, us atheists don't believe in a "Mother Nature", there's no lady out there with either beneficial intent or malevolent intent. Nature just is, it doesn't have a will, it doesn't have desires, nor intent. It's not conscious. It simply is the environment that we adapted to live in. Unfortunately, as we moved to agriculture, we also moved to staying in one place and farming. That opened up several things including kings, thieves, slavery, land ownership, creating new forms of animals and plans through selection, etc.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19142)

on February 17, 2012
at 11:50 AM

It also brought the extinction of some animals and plants over others. For example, dogs were adapted out of wolves. Cats were domesticated. Mice and rats developed the ability to eat grains because of our grain stores. You can be sure that bacterial colonies have similarly been affected, some possibly previously beneficial ones (h-pylori) are now causing us issues. MRSA developed from exposure to antibiotics, etc.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 21, 2012
at 01:46 PM

God didn't create coconut oil. Nor did nature.

0
Fe198e0c02edd407cdf8c83c0fceaea1

(753)

on April 28, 2011
at 10:16 PM

I read today that a couple drops of coconut oil in the ear will clear up a clogged ear. Anyone have any experience with that? :)

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on September 21, 2012
at 04:56 PM

Sweet oil (olive oil) is sometimes used to relieve ear pain. It can also soften ear wax. I suppose that coconut oil would act similarly.

0
Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:00 PM

The Tiana coconut company's website suggests that lauric acid doesn't harm natural bacterial flora but instead exhibits antimicrobial activity only with invaders. Of course, they have a vested interest in convincing consumers that that is the case, and they didn't cite anything, so it's hard to say if that's true. I've been searching for the antimicrobial mechanism of lauric acid, but I can't find anything. That just leaves me with the unsatisfying guess of an answer that if the Tiana people are correct, then our natural flora have evolved to roll with the lauric acid punches in the HG diet, maybe even eat the lauric acid, and the invaders haven't been able to do so.

0
Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

on April 28, 2011
at 07:56 PM

I've never seen any evidence that coconut oil is anti-bacterial but rather that lauric acid is anti-fungal (in vitro afaik) and that it may be beneficial from that perspective.

Two very different things...

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on May 02, 2011
at 12:44 AM

Interesting paper, thanks so much for taking the time to post it. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78437)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:27 PM

Katherine, this study indicates that it does kill bacteria (in this instance for the good): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772209/?tool=pmcentrez I don't understand this argument (stated in a previous answer) that it is possible for it to kill "bad" bacteria as opposed to good bacteria.

322a2783dfe4086591f323c6d2c086d6

on September 19, 2013
at 02:34 PM

Dr. Mary Enig Ph.D writes:

"Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria, including listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid."

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