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Coconut Oil: A-Healthy Choice for the Thyroid
Posted By:Hajas On 4/22/2007

Coconut Oil: A-Healthy Choice for the Thyroid

Coconut oil, on the other hand, is a saturated fat made up primarily of medium chain fatty acids. Also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), medium chain fatty acids are known to increase metabolism and promote weight loss.  Coconut oil can also raise basal body temperatures while increasing metabolism. This is good news for people who suffer with low thyroid function. We have seen many testimonies to this effect.

The "proof is in the pudding". Try it yourself and then you be the judge. All these people certainly can't "be wrong". Everyone will experience different benefits, some more than others, but definitely something. In my own personal experience, I was suffering with hypothyroidism that even prescription medications couldn't help. After a few short weeks of taking Virgin Coconut Oil, my reading was normal for the first time in a year. I use it on my skin after a shower and no longer struggle with the incredibly dry skin that often goes along with hypothyroidism, and I have used it on my hair as a conditioner. All I can say that the phrase "The world's perfect food" is quite accurate. Try it and see for yourself . Warmly, Melanie (Coconut Diet Forums)

I began taking coconut oil to address a hypothyroid issue. Recently, especially over the last month, thyroid activity plunged and my temperatures would top out for the day somewhere between 97.2 and 97.8. Definitely hypothyroid territory. Now in just a couple of days the coconut oil has boosted my metabolism back toward the normal range (still subnormal but getting there) and my sleep has been incredible. From past experience with thyroid management, I know that--in my case--greatly improved sleep and feelings of rejuvenation after sleep are related to more normal thyroid activity. Whatever the precise mechanism, it's a welcome development. Mike (Coconut Diet Forums)

For more information on how Virgin Coconut Oil works to promote weight loss, see our article on Weight Loss.

Coconut Oil and Oxidative Stress

One of the reasons the long chain fatty acids in vegetable oils are so damaging to the thyroid is that they oxidize quickly and become rancid.  Food manufacturers know about this propensity towards rancidity and, therefore, highly refine their vegetable oils. Considerable research has shown that trans fatty acids, present when vegetable oils are highly refined (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated) , are especially damaging to cell tissue and can have a negative affect on the thyroid as well as health in general.  Because the longer chain fatty acids are deposited in cells more often as rancid and oxidizing fat, impairment of the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 to T3 occurs, which is symptomatic of hypothyroidism. To create the enzymes needed to convert fats to energy, T4 must be converted to T3.

Dr. Ray Peat says:

When the oils are stored in our tissues, they are much warmer, and more directly exposed to oxygen than they would be in the seeds, and so their tendency to oxidize is very great. These oxidative processes can damage enzymes and other parts of cells, and especially their ability to produce energy. The enzymes which break down proteins are inhibited by unsaturated fats; these enzymes are needed not only for digestion, but also for production of thyroid hormones, clot removal, immunity, and the general adaptability of cells. The risks of abnormal blood clotting, inflammation, immune deficiency, shock, aging, obesity, and cancer are increased. Thyroid [hormones] and progesterone are decreased.

 

Since the unsaturated oils block protein digestion in the stomach, we can be malnourished even while "eating well." There are many changes in hormones caused by unsaturated fats. Their best understood effect is their interference with the function of the thyroid gland. Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. Coconut oil is unique in its ability to prevent weight-gain or cure obesity, by stimulating metabolism. It is quickly metabolized, and functions in some ways as an antioxidant. 9

Because coconut oil is saturated and very stable (unrefined coconut oil has a shelf life of about three to five years at room temperature) , the body is not burdened with oxidative stress as it is with the vegetable oils. Coconut oil does not require the enzyme stress that vegetable oils do, preventing T4 to T3 hormone conversion, not only because it is a stable oil, but also because it is processed differently in the body and does not need to be broken down by enzyme dependent processes as do long chain fatty acids. Also, since the liver is the main place where damage occurs from oxidized and rancid oils that cause cell membrane damage, and since the liver is where much of the conversion of T4 to T3 takes place, eliminating long chain fatty acids from the diet and replacing them with medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil can, in time, help in rebuilding cell membranes and increasing enzyme production that will assist in promoting the conversion of T4 to T3 hormones.

More research in this area is necessary. In the meantime, those switching from polyunsaturated oils to coconut oil are reporting many positive results.  For example, Donna has experienced encouraging improvements in her thyroid health.  She writes:

I've been on coconut oil since September, 2002 and, although, that doesn't seem like long, it has changed my life and the lives of my family and friends. My weight actually went UP when I started on coconut oil but I felt so GREAT!   Being hypothyroid, I was on Synthroid and Cytomel and had been for years, but with inconsistent results and feeling worse. Other changes besides the addition of coconut oil were the complete removal of soy (and that is a major challenge in itself!), all trans fatty acids, no refined sugar, and organ cleanses seasonally. My thyroid meds were discontinued with my doctor's knowledge as I was getting too energetic and having trouble sleeping!  [Imagine], from being a "sleepaholic" couch potato that was cold!  My weight stayed steady until the last three weeks and it has now started the downward move. My goal was health and just believed the weight would come off when I found the right diet and exercise routine that my life was comfortable with. I've tried removing the coconut oil but my energy drops and I don't feel as good.

Another coconut oil user writes:

I have experienced thyroid problems . . .  body temperature not going above 97 degrees, cold hands and feet, can't lose weight, fatigued, slow heart rate, can't sleep some nights, dry skin, etc..... My doctor did the thyroid test and it came back normal.  I am 46 and peri-menopausal. My Naturopath symptomatically diagnosed me with hypothyroidism.  She explained the blood tests currently used by allopathic medicine are not sensitive enough.  I started on the coconut oil 5 weeks ago. In the first week I noticed my body temperature had risen and my resting heart rate had gone from 49 to 88 beats per minute.  This has since settled to 66. My energy is now really high and I am slowly losing the weight - 3 lbs. in the past 5 weeks. I also had been taking flaxseed oil and gamma linoleic acid oil but have stopped eating every other oil but what Dr. Raymond Peat recommends, which is coconut oil, olive oil and butter I take 3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily.  
 
 
regards,
 
Fayaz Ahmed.
India.



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