Objective: The purpose of this randomized, placebo-controlled trial was to investigate the effect a daily coconut oil supplement (2 grams) would have on a common serum marker of systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein) and an indicator of oxidative stress (TBARS) when compared to the control group receiving a placebo capsule (white flour) in healthy, sedentary adults between the ages of 18-40 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Design: This study was designed as secondary analyses of blood samples originally collected to study the effects of coconut oil supplementation on blood lipids and body composition. The original study consisted of 32 healthy, adult volunteers recruited from the Arizona State University campus in Phoenix, Arizona. Participants followed no food restrictions or special diets, exercised less than 150 minutes per week, had no diagnoses of chronic disease, were not taking statin medications, were non-smokers, and no female participants were pregnant. Participants were randomized into either the Coconut Oil group (CO) or the Placebo group (PL) at week 0, and baseline blood samples and anthropometric measurements were obtained. Each participant completed an 8-week protocol consisting of two supplement capsules daily (coconut oil or placebo). Final fasting blood samples and anthropometric measurements were taken at week 8. This study analyzed the blood samples for measurements of C-reactive protein (CRP) and thiobarbituric reactive substance (TBARS).
Results: Eight weeks of 2 grams per day coconut oil supplementation, in comparison to placebo treatment, did not significantly reduce serum CRP ( -13% and +51% respectively, p=0.183) but did significantly increase TBARS ( +16% and -27% respectively, p=0.049).
Conclusions: Coconut oil supplementation (2 g/day) may impact lipid peroxidation as indicated by an increase in plasma TBARS concentration. Future trials are necessary to corroborate these results using other indices of fatty peroxide formation.