Coconut oil contains a blend of three fatty acids-lauric acid, capric acid, and capric acid, and caprylic acid. Fatty acids are an essential source of fuel for the body and the brain. Individually, each of these fatty acids has important healing powers. Combined, they are even more effective.
Capric acid, also known as decanoic acid, is the central reason for the health-giving properties of coconut oil. The word capric comes from the Latin word for goat, as capric acid is found in goat’s milk, although only coconut oil and palm oil contain capric acid in substantial quantities.
Capric acid combines with lauric acid and caprylic acid to trigger an increase in high-density lipoprotein(HDL) or “good” cholesterol. The “good” cholesterol lowers the risk of atherosclerosis, or thickening of the artery wall, a common and potentially fatal condition with no symptoms.
Capric acid has other beneficial properties. Once ingested, it converts into monocaprin, a substance with the ability to fight viruses, bacteria, and yeast infections such as Candida albicans. Monocaprin, is also believed to help you release energy more efficiently, so you can remain active longer. It can be argued that in the long term, capric acid can trigger weight loss and improve fitness.
Caprylic acid, is also found naturally in goat’s milk and cow’s milk as well as in coconut oil. Caprylic acid is believed to be effective in combating yeast infections and fighting bacteria such as staphylococcus and streptococcus. It is also believed to work as an antifungal agent by interfering with the cell walls of fungal infections such as Candida albicans. Caprylic acid will balance stomach acidity, and thus in turn boosts the immune system, so you fight infection more effectively.
Lauric acid is a saturated fatty acid suitable for the production of soaps and cosmetics. Once ingested, it converts into monolaurin, a substance with strong antibacterial properties found only in human breastmilk and coconut oil. Monolaurin works to eliminate lipid-coated viruses such as herpes and influenza.
About two-thirds of the fatty acids in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids(MCFAs), making coconut oil the world’s richest source MCFAs.Vegetable oils and seed oils contain long-chain fatty acids(LCFAs), which are difficult to digest, so they are stored as cholesterol or fat. MCFAs are smaller than LCFAs, so they penetrate cell walls more easily, and unlike LCFAs, they convert into energy rather than fat.
Coconut oil can boost your metabolism both by providing more energy and by stimulating your thyroid gland. With a more efficient metabolism, you will heal faster and bounce back from illness better.
Reference : McGRATH, S. (2014). Coconut oil for Health and Beauty. New York: Sky horse Publishing.