Coconut Oil for COVID: What We Know So Far
The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the worst outbreaks the modern world has seen. It has left scientists, doctors, and medical experts scrambling to find a cure or a vaccine. They have been trying both traditional and non-traditional methods alike when trying to unlock a treatment.
One of the options that a small group of scientists considered was coconut oil. They even set up a trial to determine whether or not coconut oil was effective in treating COVID-19. Here is the in-depth story of this investigation:
The Philippines Coconut Oil Study
Doctors and scientists in the Philippines have taken active steps to impact the effect of virgin coconut oil on the COVID virus. In this study, the scientists are looking at two ways coconut oil could help with the pandemic:
- The use of virgin coconut oil for individuals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms
- Virgin coconut oil as a supplement to additional pharmaceutical drugs
The scientists are mainly interested in the lauric acid that is found in coconut oil. This is because lauric acid has traditionally had antibacterial and antiviral properties. As such, the experts believe that virgin coconut oil can have the following impact:
- Disintegrate the virus membrane
- Inhibit virus maturation
- Prevent binding of viral proteins to host cell membrane
What is the Basis of Using Coconut Oil to Treat COVID?
Naturally, the idea to use coconut oil to treat the coronavirus wouldn’t have come from thin air. So, why did scientists in the Philippines decide to create a clinical study around it? Well, there has been some precedence in how coconut oil works against bacteria viruses.
To begin with, researchers tested the impact of coconut oil on staphylococcus aureus. It was discovered that lauric acid produced a bactericidal effect, killing the strains effectively. This lends credence to the idea that lauric acid extracted from virgin coconut oil could help to combat the symptoms of COVID-19.
Furthermore, a study conducted in Jakarta tried to determine if coconut oil could be used to combat HIV, a potent virus. This trial showed that there was an increase in immune system activity that could potentially help to ward off the virus. It should be noted that this study wasn’t replicated in Indonesia or anywhere else.
There is also the fact that virgin coconut oil is seen as a universal remedy in many Asian countries. Due to this, they will use it to try and cure a wide number of diseases and medical conditions. Nevertheless, there have been few scientific studies conducted concerning this.
What's the Verdict – Can Coconut Oil Be Used for COVID-19?
So, if scientists are holding out hope that coconut oil can cure coronavirus, does this mean that it may work? Regrettably, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Several conditions prevent coconut oil from being a suitable remedy.
To begin with, there is only around 41 to 50 percent of lauric acid present in coconut oil. Although this may sound like a lot, it may not be enough to have a meaningful impact on the coronavirus. Doctors may have more luck using concentrated versions of lauric acid over regular virgin coconut oil.
Then, moving onto how lauric acid can destroy a staph infection. The problem is that the novel coronavirus is quite different from this bacterial infection. As such, it is difficult to extrapolate that data and use it as evidence against COVID-19.
It should also be noted that in that same experiment, coconut oil didn’t have much of an impact on the staph infection – only lauric acid did. Due to this, for any discernible reaction, doctors would once again need to use concentrated lauric acid.
You may imagine that the HIV study would make coconut oil a more capable candidate against the coronavirus. However, as mentioned, this study wasn’t replicated. And, though, experts have been looking into coconut oil as a remedy, there is no hard evidence that it can work against the virus.
The Problem Isn't With Coconut Oil
It is easy enough to assume that coconut oil is the issue here. This isn't exactly the case, though. There are a couple of factors that come into play that prevent the proper treatment of the coronavirus.
First, the experts don’t know everything regarding COVID-19. After all, this is the first time they are encountering this virus. They need time to examine it and understand how it functions. Until they have all the data, they will not be able to create a viable treatment. This is why no treatment for coronavirus currently exists.
You also have to consider that viruses, in general, are notoriously difficult to treat. This is why many viruses today – even those that cause colds and flu – don’t have a cure. Furthermore, viruses don’t respond to antibiotics the way that bacteria do.
Most doctors simply treat the symptoms of viruses rather than the virus itself. This is why they will give medication to relieve pain or reduce coughs. Apart from this, there is nothing more that they can do.
Last, but certainly not least, COVID-19 affects the upper respiratory tract. This makes it even trickier to treat than other viruses. The immune system doesn’t work all that well on this part of the body. So, even if you were to find decent treatment or vaccine, your body’s immune system will not respond the way that it should.
This is what you need to know regarding the impact of coconut oil on the coronavirus. At this time, it doesn’t appear that coconut oil can help with COVID-19 in a meaningful way. Nevertheless, the research is still in its early stages – there may be further developments.
Also, there is no reason why you should stop consuming or using coconut oil in moderation. It still has plenty of health benefits and may help ward off other diseases or medical conditions.
Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.
An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.