Virgin Coconut Oil

Monday, November 14, 2005

How to Use Virgin Coconut Oil

(Part 12)
Some tips on VCO use.   VCO solidifies (natutulog) below 25 C.  It can be reheated to liquefy as many times as required.  VCO can be consumed internally or applied topically. It can be taken by the spoonful or mixed with warm food and drinks.  I usually put it in my hot, fresh coffee or spread it on my breakfast toast. It gives a pleasant, delightful coconut “latik” flavour.  Most recommended a daily dosage is 1-2 tablespoons for maintenance and 3-4 tablespoons or more daily for therapeutic purposes. In North America where homes are mostly air-conditioned, VCO usually remains solid. Many prefer to use them like butter or spreads. Since VCO solidifies below 25 C, it can easily be liquefied by warming it in hot water or brief microwaving. For use as salad dressing, liquid VCO can be mixed 1:1 with virgin olive oil. Cooking with coconut oil in lieu of other vegetable oils is highly recommended because of it is very stable and highly resistant to oxidation and rancidity. When heated, coconut oil is reported to be 16 times more resistant than soybean oil, 12 times more resistant than canola oil and 300 times more resistant than flax oil!

Applying VCO on the skin and leaving overnight can do wonders.  It also can be massaged to the hair and left for about 15-20 minutes or overnight before rinsing. Dr. Fife recommends as well consuming coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut delicacies (prepared with low refined sugar content) as other ways to get the benefits of MCFAs, particularly lauric acid.

In Canada, VCO and RBD products can be obtained mainly from health and natural food stores or ordered through the internet. Philippine VCO are mostly imported directly to the U.S.  I know at least one Canadian company that imports high-quality  VCO directly from the Philippines. Some producers claim that VCO is processed to the equivalent of premium extra virgin olive oil. However, based on food standards, there is really no difference between Virgin Coconut Oil and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil or Premium Virgin Coconut Oil although the latter labels have been used (not illegal) as marketing ploys. For devotees of organic foods, a number of VCO producers have obtained certification from organic associations and regulators.  Thus one should look for the label that says “Certified Organic” (name of certification body included, e.g. USDA – US Dept. of Agriculture) rather than just “Organic” (unofficial). As in most other foods, this entails extra costs.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Coconut Oil: Any Adverse Effects?

(Part 11)
Is there a downside to taking VCO? It has no harmful side effect and is non-toxic to humans.  In regulatory parlance coconut oil and VCO are considered as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). Like many other natural health remedies, VCO can be safely considered as food supplement. Except for a short period of bloating, loose bowel and flatulence for some people who just started taking it, there is no long-term inconvenience.  The fact that MCFAs are added to infant milk formulas further attests to the safety of VCO.

The rise of Hippocrates Centers.  Today’s growing concern over the adverse effects of stress, toxic foods and the emotional demands of jobs, family and society on health has led to sprouting of wellness centers. These centers offer various activities from meditation to detoxification for their clientele in quiet, pleasant and spa-like surroundings. Then there’s the diet. Emphasis is on fresh, non-meat and raw or slightly heated vegetable. Massage, yoga and other exercises are available at any time. VCO plays a major part in the diet and body care. One such place I visited is The Farm at San Benito in Lipa City, Batangas.  It is an expansive, beautifully landscaped Balinese-type resort that inspires peace, tranquility and harmony with nature. It is the quintessential spa resort with an excellent holistic healing program deserving of its name as the Center for Holistic Medicine, Spirituality and Living Foods. The Farm raises its own vegetables and produces its own VCO from coconuts in the plantation and offers a lot of Mother Nature’s foods.

Friday, October 28, 2005

On Fatigue and other Health Benefits

(Part 10)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other disorders.  The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not known but there are indications that chronic infections may contribute to this disorder.  A number of microbes, alone or in combination, have been implicated in CFS.  Fortunately many of these microbial agents are killed by VCO. VCO can also help reduce the severity of other disorders resulting from infections or from immune disorders... Based on testimonials and anecdotal reports, these include: asthma, arthritis and stiff joints, autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, allergies and cystic fibrosis. VCO helps control or reduce hypothyroidism, kidney and liver disorders, and prostate enlargement. Autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s, psoriasis, Sjogren’s, hypothyroidism and even cancer, are subdued and become easier to normalize, at low doses or even suspension of usual therapies.”  It also improves calcium and magnesium absorption and support the development of strong bones and teeth; helps prevent osteoporosis and tooth decay.  People who rinsed or massaged their gums with VCO have observed reduced gum bleeding, cold sores and periodontal disease.  

Physical and athletic performance.  Foods containing MCFA is like high octane fuel and provides your car with better gas mileage. Increased metabolism from MCFA in VCO provides a burst of energy that stimulates the body. Animal and human studies involving athletes like cyclists have shown that regular and long-term consumption of MCFA-containing sports drinks and energy bars improve athletic performance and endurance.  

Other health benefits.  Because of the cascading effects of VCO on infectious and anti-inflammatory illnesses, there are many more benefits from VCO use listed in Dr. Fife’s books and in his website: www.coconutresearchcenter.org . Also testimonials abound in www.coconutoil.com.  In short, according to Dr. Dayrit, VCO is an “immunoregulator, defense regulator, and a function regulator”.  It makes the body work better, metabolize better, defend better, heal better.

VCO: On Skin and Hair

(Part 9)
Skin and hair disorders...  Of the effects of VCO, none is more overt, immediate and dramatic than its effect on skin disorders.  It is excellent for the skin as a moisturizer, deodorant and sunblocker. If you want to become a believer in the health benefits of coconut oil, just start using it on your skin. Dry, hard, discolored, and flaky skin will transform into soft, smooth healthy looking skin within weeks, according to Dr. Fife. Its molecular structure allows it to be easily absorbed by the skin leaving a long-lasting soothing and softening effect that makes VCO ideal for massages. There are claims that VCO protects against skin cancer and other blemishes because it contains antioxidants. VCO also helps control psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. It is a fast acting salve for insect bites and bee stings, skin bruises and itchiness. It is used by many as a sunblocker because of its protective effects against free radicals, from harsh chemicals and from the sun’s rays. VCO’s anti-microbial properties can also reduce body odours which, ironically, may be encouraged by frequent bathing which removes the protective acidic layer of the body. VCO can be applied under the arms and other parts with or without an acidic solution such as citric acid to inhibit the growth of odour-forming bacteria and fungi. VCO has been claimed to work just as well as the highly touted medicated cream, Retin-A for preventing pimples.   The MCFA in VCO has been found to support tissue healing and repair. A new book on the healing powers of VCO on skin disorders based on clinical trials has just been published by Dr. Verallo-Rowell of Makati Medical Center.  VCO serves as an excellent hair conditioner, promotes healthy looking hair and controls dandruffs.  One VCO producer in Leyte told me that her grey hair gradually turned dark a couple of months since applying VCO on her hair.  In Metro Manila, many teenagers and students now use VCO for hot oil treatments to make their hair silky and healthy looking. Sounds like a throwback to our parent’s generation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Virgin Coconut Oil: On Diabetes & Digestive Disorders

(Part 8)
Diabetes.  For centuries, inhabitants of the Pacific islands subsisting on a traditional diet did not develop diabetes.  Only when they abandoned their native foods and adopted Western ways did unheard of diseases such as diabetes surface. Since coconut oil puts less demand on the pancreas, this allows the latter to function more efficiently in insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.  Clinical reports indicate that MCFA in VCO can reduce the need for insulin but also helps improve insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity and glucose secretion. Testimonials have indicated significantly lower insulin demands within a few days after taking VCO.  

Digestive disorder.  VCO is known to effectively relieve pain and irritation from hemorrhoids. It is a good treatment for constipation. There have been many testimonials about the beneficial effect of coconut oil to relieve symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and stomach ulcers. It improves digestion and nutrient absorption including fat-soluble vitamins and amino acids; reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.  VCO is effective in relieving frequent sufferers of constipation and hemorrhoids.

Monday, October 24, 2005

On Cancer and Weight Problems

(Part 7)
Cancer risks.   Medical research and clinical studies have reported the beneficial effects of lauric acid in cancer. Although each of us harbour cancerous cells, the reason many of us do not develop cancer is due to the effective functioning of our immune system.  A healthy immune system is therefore the key to prevent cancer.  By killing foreign invaders such as microbes, MCFA frees up the white blood cells to focus in destroying cancerous cells.  Research has also shown that coconut oil is twice more effective than Soya oil in protecting animals from mutagenic and carcinogenic agents. As an antioxidant, VCO neutralizes the attack of free radicals and has been reported to reduce cancer formation. Free radicals are unstable, renegade molecules that have been implicated to cause different types of cancer and other diseases as well as accelerating the aging process.  Both topical and oral applications have been found to show improvements in cancer patients.

Obesity and overweight problems.   There is increasing recognition that obesity is key factor in a number of deadly diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes and cancers. VCO promotes weight loss since it is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats. Two virtues of coconut oil help deal with obesity. Although it has the lowest amount of calories among fats and oils, it still contains enough source of energy compared to carbohydrates and protein.  This means, that hunger is satisfied sooner and you can go longer without pining for snacks when VCO is added to foods.  Secondly, coconut oil stimulates metabolism thus increasing the rate of calorie burning. That’s why VCO is considered an excellent food supplement in weight loss diets.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

VCO on Heart Diseases & High Blood Pressure

(Part 6)
Heart Diseases. VCO does not increase blood cholesterol nor platelet stickiness (excessive blood clot formation). By preventing blood clotting in arteries, it reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease associated with chronic infection and plaque formation. VCO also helps prevent high blood pressure. MCFA in coconut oil (and VCO) are smaller than the long-chain fatty acids that are in most animal fats and vegetable oils. They also are quickly digested and are absorbed as free fatty acids and processed by the liver as a source energy, not body fat nor arterial plaque.  On the other hand, long-chain fatty acids found mostly in vegetable oils and animal fat still need the digestive enzymes including pancreatic enzymes and the bile before they reach the bloodstream. As they circulate in the bloodstream as the fat cells and that collects in the arterial walls leading to artherosclerosis. People with gallbladders removed by surgery will find VCO a very useful energy source because it does not require bile or pancreatic juices for digestion. In one study, coconut oil users had almost twice the level of HDL (good cholesterol) than corn oil users. The higher the ratio of HDL to LDL, the lower the risk of heart disease occurring.  

High blood pressure...   Polyunsaturated fats are divided into two main groups: omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. . For the most part, our western diet contains more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids. Prostaglandins from omega-6 fatty acids constrict blood vessels and platelet stickiness thereby increasing blood pressure and promoting arthrosclerosis. Most polyunsaturated oils such as soybean, corn and other vegetable oils are composed of omega-6 fatty acids. On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids produce the opposite effect and abound in fish and flaxseed oils.  Since omega-3 fatty acids are unstable, fish and flaxseed oils cannot be used for cooking as toxic byproducts worse than the effects of omega-6 fatty acids may be produced. VCO as a saturated oil does not contain any significant amount of either omega-6 or omega-3 fatty acids. Thus replacing vegetable oils and margarine rich in omega-6 fatty acids with VCO or coconut oil in our meals is a sensible way of reducing the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Virtues of the VCO on some Health Concerns

(Part 5 )
Infectious diseases. Today we are faced with the same kind of bugs that science predicted to be eliminated with the advent of antibiotics. However, the prediction failed and microbes have become even more recalcitrant – the antibiotic-resistant superbugs - because of antibiotic abuse. MCFA in coconut oil have been known to be active against certain microorganisms that are enrobed with coat of lipids (fat).
Viral infections. About 40 years ago, Dr. Kabara, a professor of pharmacology and researcher at Michigan State University, found that among the MCFAs, lauric acid had the most antiviral activity. Several health care clinics in the U.S. are actively using coconut-derived lauric acid as supplements to treat HIV-infected patients. Dr. Conrado Dayrit, emeritus professor of UP, and his collaborators showed HIV reduction in AIDs patients given various dosages of coconut oil. This was from the first reported study of coconut oil and HIV and was undertaken in San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. The AIDS organization, Keep Hopes Alive, have reported cases of dramatic reduction of HIV load from consumption of coconut oil, coconut meat and/or coconut milk. MCFAs in VCO when metabolized in the body are converted into free fatty acids that exhibit antimicrobial activities by disrupting the lipid membranes of the pathogens. These include viruses causing mononucleosis, influenza, hepatitis C, measles, herpes, and other illnesses in addition to HIV. I was at a VCO conference in Manila early this year that included a moving presentation by an AIDS patient who took VCO as a last resort and got "cured" (Basketball star, Magic Johnson apparently is taking it regularly).
Bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. VCO is also antibacterial and antifungal. Lipid-coated bacteria are also vulnerable to VCO and include those that cause a variety of infections such as pneumonia, earache, throat infections, dental cavities, stomach ulcers (H. pylori), food poisoning, urinary tract infections, meningitis, gonorrhea, and many others. VCO also kills fungi and yeast that cause candida, jock itch, ringworm, athlete’s food, thrush, diaper rash and other infections. It is also known to expel or kill tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.

Spreading the Hidden Virtues of the VCO

Today is a special day for me because it's my natal day anniversary :o) So as expected, I got a few birthday cards, some local phone greetings from friends here in Toronto, and an almost 2-hour long distance call/conversation with my dear Ma and Pa and my sister and her family back home in the Philippines. In that long distance call, aside from the well wishes, we were trying to catch up with what's happening with our day to day lives. Eventually, we started talking about the Virgin Coconut Oil... and how it has changed their lives and then some.

You see, my parents has been using the VCO since August 2004, and after just about 2 weeks of taking the VCO, they noticed remarkable positive changes in their health. They say, they felt much healthier and energetic, and most remarkable is that my father's creatinine level had lowered from the usual high of 1.3 to just the normal 0.9. My mom too started decreasing her intake of Lipitor to control her high cholesterol and starting early this year, she has totally stopped taking it. Instead, now part of their daily routine is the consumption of 3-6 tbsp of the VCO. My sister, her husband and their kids also started taking the the VCO, and they say they've never felt better. Her children who used to be very susceptible with viral infections like the cough and cold and the flu, now very rarely get sick. :o)

Anyhow, my father started producing the VCO from his own kitchen by cold/hand press. The process, he says is really very simple, and he just makes sure everything in his production area is hygienic and sanitary. He's making it basically for the family's consumption, but when friends heard about it, they also started "ordering" from my father. So now, aside from the health benefits, he's also starting to benefit from his little home-based business now.

Honestly, though I've heard about the VCO since last year, I never took notice of it. For one, I didn't know anybody here in Toronto (Canada) who was selling it. And my family back in the Philippines also told me that at first, you would have difficulty swallowing the VCO, it being an oil. But they said, once you get used to it, there really is no problem taking it. So I never bothered to source out a local supplier here, and so never had the positive experience of the VCO. Not then.

But recently, my husband's uncle in Ottawa, Dr. Manuel Garcia (PhD), gave us a heads up about the VCO. He has actually been travelling to the Philippines doing consulting project for the government, and recently, his project is the VCO. He has "discovered" its "hidden virtues", and now he's very passionate about it. He told us about a local supplier here in Toronto, and encouraged us to take it. So to make a long story short, my family and I have been taking it now, just over a week though yet, and we're starting to feel its benefits. I'm even contemplating on starting a small VCO distributorship business here.

Meanwhile, to help spread the discovery of the hidden virtues of the Virgin Coconut Oil, I started this blog just a few days ago, commencing it with a very valuable and informative article written by someone with authority on the subject, no other than or dear uncle, Dr. Manuel M. Garcia.

So enjoy reading, and hope to hear your positive experiences with the VCO too.

God bless!