Authors: Teng M, Zhao YJ, Khoo AL, Yeo TC, Yong QW, Lim BP

PMID: 31769848 DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nuz074


Context: Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids and has been claimed to have numerous health benefits.

Objective: This review aimed to examine the evidence surrounding coconut oil consumption and its impact on cardiovascular health.

Data sources: A systematic literature search of the PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and CINAHL databases, up to May 2019, was performed.

Data extraction: Study characteristics including study design, population, intervention, comparator, outcome, and source of funding were summarized.

Data analysis: Meta-analyses included 12 studies to provide estimates of effects. Subgroup analyses were performed to account for any differences in the study-level characteristics. When compared with plant oils and animal oils, coconut oil was found to significantly increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) by 0.57 mg/dL (95%CI, 0.40-0.74 mg/dL; I2 = 6.7%) and 0.33 mg/dL (0.01-0.65 mg/dL; I2 = 0%), respectively. Coconut oil significantly raised low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) by 0.26 mg/dL (0.09-0.43 mg/dL; I2 = 59.7%) compared with plant oils and lowered LDL-C (-0.37 mg/dL; -0.69 to -0.05 mg/dL; I2 = 48.1%) compared with animal oils. No significant effects on triglyceride were observed. Better lipid profiles were demonstrated with the virgin form of coconut oil.

Conclusion: Compared with animal oils, coconut oil demonstrated a better lipid profile n comparison with plant oils, coconut oil significantly increased HDL-C and LDL-C.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; cholesterol; coconut; lipids; saturated fatty acids.