There is no doubt coconut oil’s versatility!
Aside from being used as a healthy and highly nutritious food in cooking, it can also be used as a beauty product to protect your hair and skin against damage (, ), or to remove eye makeup. Swishing coconut oil in your mouth for about 10 minutes, known as oil pulling, can improve your gum and dental health (). It can even be used as a nontoxic insect repellent (), a stain cleaner, or a wood furniture polish.
Another usage of coconut oil, which has become popular in recent years, is to use it as the main ingredient of a short-term cleanse diet known as coconut oil detox or cleanse. Coconut oil cleanses are often used to jumpstart weight loss and also to cleanse the body or fight infections.
What is Coconut Oil Cleanse?
Coconut oil detox (cleanse) is the practice of using only coconut oil and water for a few days (usually 3 to 5 days), in order to cleanse the body and promote weight loss.
Why Detox with Coconut Oil?
Unfortunately, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of a coconut oil detox.
On the other hand, there are many detox proponents who swear by it. They claim that coconut oil detox is an extremely effective and healthy way to detox and lose some pounds.
Below are some of the purported health benefits of coconut oil detox.
Coconut Oil for detox
Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat which contains a large amount of lauric acid. A substance which has turned the coconut oil into an ideal food for detoxing.
Lauric acid contains loads of medium-chain fatty acids. Unlike long-chain fatty acids, the liver can transform medium-chain fatty acids into energy as soon as they’re transported there. So, since medium-chain fatty acids do not need any further processing they can provide the body lots of quick and easy energy.
These characteristics of medium-chain fatty acids, enables coconut oil to provide all of the energy the body needs to keep going during the day, while using less food. So, by using only coconut oil for a few days the body has the opportunity to recover and cleanse, because it does not need to work hard to digest food and has lots of energy which can be used for cleansing and recovering itself.
Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
Since medium-chain fatty acids are sent directly to the liver for energy, they cannot get stored in fat tissues. Even if the energy produced by coconut oil does not get used by the body, which is a very unlikely case, that energy would turn into ketones, chemicals made in liver which can later be used by brain cells as a great source of energy.
So, a short-term coconut oil detox provides the body a great opportunity to lose weight without feeling any energy deficiency.
The largest amount of the weight that a coconut oil detox may help you to lose would be water content. As a result, you’ll gain back all of the weight you lost during this cleanse as you come back to your regular diet.
Anyway, if you want to participate in a special party or ceremony and you really need to shed some pounds off quickly and do not mind if you gain those pounds back after a few weeks, then this cleanse is going to be perfect for you.
How much weight can you lose by a coconut oil detox? It depends greatly on how many days you go on this cleanse and also on some other factors such as gender, body weight, etc. But as a rule of thumb you would usually lose about 5-10 pounds if you do a coconut oil detox for 3-5 days.
Coconut Oil for Candida
Candidiasis is a fungal infection which naturally occurs on some parts of the body like skin, mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina. It’s caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. The uncontrolled growth and candida fungi (Candidiasis) may lead to local infections or even more serious health conditions depending on the person’s general health status ().
Alcohol, sugary foods, starchy foods, and certain types of meats, such as processed meats and farm-raised fishes, may accelerate the candida overgrowth.
For this reason, coconut oil detox proponents believe that this type of cleanse can help one to get rid of candida overgrowth. Despite the fact that there are some new studies which confirm that coconut oil may reduce candida growth, there is not enough scientific evidence to attest the effectiveness of a coconut oil detox in reducing candida growth.
Coconut Oil for fungal Infections and Viruses
Coconut oil has traditionally been used as a natural antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal agent to deal with severe health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, diarrhea, dry skin, and psoriasis.
A growing number of new studies show that coconut oil’s antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties can help to deal with health conditions such as mild to moderate dermal infections (), dental caries (), and Clostridium difficile infection ().
Coconut Oil for Promoting Heart Health
The studies have also shown that the daily use of coconut oil can increase the High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol Levels (), a good type of cholesterol which helps to eradicate the bad ones from the bloodstream and decrease the risk of heart disease.
On the other hand, some argue that 90% of the content of coconut oil is comprised of saturated fatty acids, of which 75% are Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol, LDL-C) (), or bad cholesterol, two substances which may increase the risk of heart disease.
Due to these conflicting study results, it’s really very difficult to conclude whether coconut oil is your heart’s friend or foe.
Coconut Oil for Digestive Health
By referring to these studies, some health experts and nutritionists are touting coconut oil as a potent natural colon cleansing food.
Is Coconut Oil Detox Safe?
There is not enough scientific evidence to support the validity of coconut oil detox. Nevertheless, coconut oil detox sounds healthy, and for many people it is. If you’re suffering from any special health condition you may need to consult with your doctor before going on a coconut oil detox.
As mentioned earlier, some studies have shown that coconut oil may increase the amount of LDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in your blood and pose the risk of heart disease (). So, if you have high cholesterol or are suffering from any heart disease you may definitely need to talk to your doctor before embracing a coconut oil detox.
Coconut oil detox can be categorized as an intense type of detox. It may tax your body, and you may experience symptoms and discomforts during the cleanse. The most common symptoms are:
- Diarrhea or stomach distress
- Joint stiffness
- Dry mouth
- Feeling weakness
How to Detox with Virgin Coconut Oil?
Before trying a coconut oil detox, I highly recommend you to review the safety and precautions outlined above to make sure it’s a completely safe option for you.
Follow the basic guidelines provided below to make sure your coconut oil detox is done properly.
- Take extra care not to buy processed coconut oil for this detox. Only unrefined and cold-pressed organic extra virgin coconut oil is suitable for this cleanse.
- This detox takes about 3-5 days to complete. You are only allowed to use organic extra virgin oil (plus water, yogurt, sugarless limeade, or warm lemon water) during these days.
- Use about 10-14 tablespoons of organic coconut oil per day. Space out your intake during the day. You may take 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil every few hours throughout the day.
- You may mix coconut oil with water, warm lemon water, or sugarless limeade to make its horrible taste more tolerable. You can also add a small amount of stevia to your mixture too, but no sugar should be used during the detox.
- You may also eat up to 4 ounces of fresh coconut meat daily during the detox.
- Make sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses of filtered water each day to accelerate the detox process.
- You may experience symptoms and discomforts such as headaches, diarrhea, or dizziness during the cleanse.
- In order to reduce the symptoms and avoid discomforts you may need to introduce coconut oil into your daily diet for about one or two weeks before starting the cleanse. Use 1 tbsp of coconut oil before each meal for one week and then 2 tbsp before each meal for the next week. After that you’re ready to start your cleanse. In this way you make your body feel comfortable taking the oil before starting the cleanse.
- Avoid any physical exertion that could put more stress on your body during the cleanse. You may do light household chores during the day but not strenuous exercises or activities which make you sweat.
- If you experience symptoms such as extreme dizziness, lightheadedness, or faint during the cleanse, stop the cleanse immediately and eat some solid foods.
- Never do this detox for more than 7 days (3-5 days is recommended) even if you feel comfortable with it. Your body needs many different types of nutrients to function properly. Coconut oil alone cannot provide all of the nutrients your body needs and so a long-term coconut oil detox may pose the risk of nutrient deficiency.
- After this cleanse, try to follow a healthy and nutritious diet for at least 2 weeks in order to avoid any kind of nutrient deficiencies. It’s especially recommended to consume lots of fruits and veggies after completing your detox.
Coconut Oil Detox Testimonials
As it was mentioned earlier, the proponents of coconut oil detox swear by it and claim that they have seen great results by going on this cleanse.
Below is a testimonial from someone who has really gone on a coconut oil detox for 3 days.
Even though there is not enough scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of a coconut oil detox, its proponents claim that this type of detox has helped them to to cleanse their bodies and promote weight loss and overall health significantly.
Some studies suggest that coconut oil may increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and pose health risks to those with high cholesterol levels and heart disease. On the other hand, there are some studies which have shown that coconut oil can increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels and so it may be helpful for those with high cholesterol levels or heart disease. As a result, it’s really very difficult to conclude whether coconut oil is really dangerous or helpful for those with high cholesterol level.
To do a coconut oil detox you need to consume only organic extra virgin coconut oil with other fluids, such as water, yogurt, sugarless limeade, or warm lemon water, for 3-4 days.
During a coconut oil detox you may experience symptoms and discomforts such as headache, dizziness, joint stiffness, diarrhea, or stomach distress.
I personally believe that coconut oil detox is not a robust cleansing method and usually do not recommend it to my clients. Anyway, this detox method can be a great option for healthy individuals who want to lose a large amount of weight during a very short period of time, and don’t mind if they gain that weight back after a few weeks.