10 Side Effects Of Coconut Oil That You Didn’t Know About
Coconut oil has abundant benefits, which come from its medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). There are over 1,500 studies that prove the healthfulness of this oil.
MCFAs are easier to digest and not readily stored as fat. They also possess antimicrobial and antifungal properties. However, excess intake of the oil can lead to certain undesirable side effects as well. This oil contains a high amount of saturated fat (92%), and some research recommends that it is consumed in lower amounts.
Coconut oil is available in the market in two forms – virgin and the commercial coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil is the purest form of the oil. It is not processed. Hence, it ranks higher on the benefits and comes with almost no side effects. But the commercial coconut oil (which most of us use) is the processed variant. It does have certain side effects. A few of these include weight gain and an increase in bad cholesterol levels.
In the following lines, we are going to expand on these side effects.
Side effects of coconut oil
1. May elevate cholesterol levels
Some research states that saturated fat can elevate total cholesterol levels. This can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Coconut oil is among the foods with high saturated fat content. Though it can boost good cholesterol levels, it may not be preferred to other healthy vegetable oils.
The saturated fat content in coconut oil is higher than other fats or oils (butter or olive oil) According to an advisory published by the American Heart Association, the saturated fat in this oil is similar to that in butter, beef, and palm oil.
2. May cause allergies
Though not as prevalent as other forms of allergies, coconut oil does cause allergies if one is sensitive to it. Some of the allergic reactions include hives and anaphylaxis (which results in troubled breathing). The information on coconut allergies is limited, as only a small number of individuals have been affected
Research also suggests that coconut oil may lead to a rapid heart rate, facial swelling, and lightheadedness. If you are experiencing any of these, visit your doctor immediately.
3. May increase the risk of heart disease
Studies suggest that replacing coconut oil with unsaturated fats can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to the American Heart Association, consuming fewer saturated fats and more unsaturated fats is the best way to prevent heart disease. Coconut oil, being higher in saturated fats, may affect the heart. It contains more bad fat than beef or butter.
4. May cause mild diarrhoea
Some individuals taking virgin coconut oil experienced mild diarrhoea during the first week. Other related symptoms included stomach ache and vomiting. These symptoms resolved after the first week, and none of these impacted the daily activities of the individuals.
To minimize these symptoms, you may need to first consume the oil in smaller amounts and then gradually work your way up to the required quantity.
5. May lead to liver issues
The medium-chain fatty acids(MCFA) in this oil are transported to the liver, where they are converted into energy. Some experts theorise that the speed at which these MCFAs are brought to the liver can cause a problem. This may put stress on the liver and even harm the organ over time. If you have any liver disease or diabetes, it is recommended to avoid this oil.
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6. May cause acne breakouts
This is more likely to happen to individuals with excessively oily skin. Though lauric acid, a major component in coconut oil may help treat acne, excess of it may trigger acne.
What you can instead do is use it as a carrier oil. Use other skin-friendly essential oils along with it to relieve acne.
7. May cause allergic reactions in children
Though coconut oil is good for children, there are certain aspects to be kept in mind. The most important of those aspects is a malfunctioning thyroid. If your child has hypothyroidism, refrain from using it (or related products) before consulting the doctor. This is because the oil might aggravate the condition and cause allergic reactions in some children.
9. May cause headache
Individuals undertaking detoxification using coconut oil (for yeast infections, especially) often experience headaches. This happens when the MCFAs break down the yeast cells (that cause the infection), thereby releasing a wave of fungal toxins into the bloodstream.
10. May cause infections when used as a lubricant
Yes, virgin coconut oil could be natural yet it may contain ingredients whose safety and efficacy are not known yet. This is why using it as a personal lubricant may not be a safe option.
This oil is also known to alter the pH of the v*gina, causing yeast infections. It can also degrade the latex in latex condoms and cause serious issues. Hence, one must not use any kind of oil-based lubricant with latex condoms.
How much coconut oil can you consume in a day?
Some research shows that a daily intake of 30 ml of virgin coconut oil in adults is needed. Though there is no exact information on the right amount of coconut oil you can consume, you may stick to this dosage. You may start with as little as 5 ml and work your way up if you are not experiencing any side effects.
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