There are limited studies exploring the direct relationship between coconut oil and cholesterol concentrations. Research in animals and a few intervention trials suggest that coconut oil increases the good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein, HDL) and thus reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Preliminary research at Arizona State University (ASU) has found similar results using coconut oil as a placebo, positive changes in HDL cholesterol concentrations were observed.
The goal of this randomized, double blind, parallel two arm study, was to further examine the beneficial effects of a 2g supplement of coconut oil taken each day for 8 weeks on cholesterol concentrations, specifically the total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio, compared to placebo.
Forty-two healthy adults between 18-40 years of age, exercising less than 150 minutes each week, non smoking, BMI between 22-35 and not taking any medications that could effect blood lipids were recruited from the ListServs at ASU. Participants were randomized to receive either a placebo capsule of flour or a coconut oil capsule (Puritan’s Pride brand, coconut oil softgels, 2g each) and instructed to take the capsules for 8 weeks.
Results indicated no significant change in total cholesterol to HDL ratio between baseline and 8 weeks in the coconut oil and placebo groups (p=0.369), no significant change in HDL (p=0.648), no change in LDL (p=0.247), no change in total cholesterol (p=0.216), and no change in triglycerides (p=0.369).
Blood lipid concentrations were not significantly altered by a 2g/day dosage of coconut oil over the course of 8 weeks in healthy adults, and specifically the total cholesterol to HDL ratio did not change or improve.