Health Benefits of

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is obtained from coconut meat, by pressing dry or fresh coconut meat in coconut or Cocos nucifera. [1] Coconut is enriched with saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Oral consumption and topical application of coconut have numerous health benefits. [2] The therapeutic properties of coconut oil are listed down below.

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Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it an effective treatment option for atopic dermatitis and xerosis. Coconut oil suppresses the production and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thus, improving these inflammatory skin conditions. The antioxidant properties of coconut oil protect the skin from UV-induced oxidative damage mediated by free radicals and reactive oxygen species. [3]

Coconut Oil Strengthens Skin Barrier

Coconut promotes skin barrier repair by promoting wound healing and increasing collagen turnover. Coconut oil also promotes reepithelization and neovascularization of skin tissues undergoing the repair process. This strengthens the skin and reduces transepidermal water loss. This aids in locking moisture in the skin. [4]

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Figure 2 demonstrates the percentage of inhibition of inflammatory mediators by virgin coconut oil https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6335493/

Antimicrobial Activity of Coconut Oil

Monolaurin is derived from a fatty acid found in coconut oil called lauric acid. Monolaurin disrupts the lipid membrane of bacteria and exert bactericidal effects. Moreover, monolaurin also has antiviral and antifungal properties that protect against viral and fungal infections. [4]

Antinociceptive Activity of Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil suppresses peripheral and central nociceptive signals by thermal and chemical stimuli. It also inhibits the production and release of inflammatory mediators that modulate pain, thus providing pain relief in both acute and chronic conditions. The antinociceptive activity of virgin coconut oil is attributed to polyphenols present in the oil. [5]

Coconut Oil for Otomycosis

Fungal otitis externa, also called otomycosis, is an infection of the external ear with rare complications that may involve the middle ear as well. The clinical features of otomycosis include itching, pain, loss of hearing, and perforation of the tympanic membrane in more severe cases. Coconut oil may be used for treating fungal infection, however, coconut oil has lesser antifungal effects than other plant-based oils. [6]

Coconut Oil for Scalp Health

Coconut oil has antidandruff properties that soothe dry and irritated scalp. This also improves transepidermal water loss and repairs the skin barrier of the scalp. This aids in the moisturization of the scalp and also assists in the repair process of damaged hair. Lauric acid in coconut oil suppresses the growth of dermatophytes, preventing fungal infection of the scalp. Furthermore, coconut oil also elevates biotin metabolism that plays a significant role in maintaining scalp health. [7]