Poor digestion and absorption? Coconut oil can help
- The following are taken from the book "Coconut Cures" p27-p32 by Dr. Bruce Fife, Doctor of Natural Medicine, USA

Posted on February 3, 2016

Coconut oil is the most unique among the different edible oils. This uniqueness or its fat contents give its nutritional and medicinal value.

All fats and oils contain fatty acids. There are two classifications of fatty acids: first as a saturated fat, there is monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. The second classification is what distinguishes the internal size or it’s fatty acid carbon chain length molecules, namely, the short chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA).

Short-chain fatty acids include butyric acid and capric acid, which has carbon chains 4 and 6 atoms, respectively. Medium-chain fatty acids include caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid, respectively with 8, 10 and 12 carbon atoms. Long chain fatty acids have a carbon chain comprising of 14 or more carbon atoms.

In our diet, the vast majority of fat, whether saturated or unsaturated, or from plants or animals, are constituted of long-chain fatty acids. Soybean oil, corn oil, mustard seed oil, olive oil, lard and muscle fat, and almost all of our other dietary fats and oils, are made entirely or is composed of long-chain fatty acids. Fats eaten daily contain 98% -100% long-chain fatty acids, unless coconut oil is used. Coconut oil is unique: it is composed mainly of medium chain fatty acid. The medium-chain fatty acid in coconut oil gives its excellent nutritional and medicinal value. Thus, coconut oil is considered a "functional food" which means that coconut oil has exceeded its nutrients health benefits.

Since medium chain fatty acid is smaller than the long-chain fatty acids, it is easier to digest and has greater water solubility. Unlike the long-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acid can be digested even without digestive enzymes and bile. Thus, coconut oil may provide an easier source of nutrition without the use of the body's digestive enzymes.

The following is a brief description of how fat is digested and metabolized when we eat foods containing long chain fatty acids. The food will enter our stomach, then our intestines. Almost all of the long-chain fatty acids are digested in the intestine.

The pancreatic secretion of the digestive enzymes and gallbladder bile is very important for fat digestion. When the fatty acids are digested, the single link chain fatty acids get interrupted; the intestinal absorption of fat and protein are formed in the intestinal wall in small bundles, called lipoproteins (chylomicrons). Lipoproteins in the blood, which is the source of adipose fat cells, get accumulated and clog the artery wall.

When eating foods containing medium chain fatty acid, the digestion process is different. The medium-chain fatty acids enter the stomach and then through the intestinal tract. Since they are easy to digest, they leave the stomach broken into individual fatty acids. Thus, there is no need for pancreatic digestive enzymes nor bile to digest. When they are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, they immediately and directly enter the liver. These fatty acids in the liver can be used as a fuel source to generate energy. Therefore, medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in the intestine skip the process and form intrahepatic lipoproteins, unlike other fatty acids that flow through the blood circulation. MCFAs do not become fat cells that block the arterial wall. MCFAs is for energy production rather than body fat formation; It is also a non-arterial platelet.

MCFAs is not only easy to digest, but they also help the absorption of other nutrients. The coconut oil in the diet helps improve in the absorption of magnesium, calcium and minerals, some B-vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, K and ß-carotene) and some amino acids (protein). Coconut oil, per se, does not contain these nutrients, but it facilitates the fast absorption of these nutrients in the diet.

Research shows that infants grow faster and have higher survival rates after drinking milk containing medium-chain fatty acids. In a study of two babies groups, babies given with milk added with coconut oil gained more weight than the other group who did not drink the same milk. The weight gain is attributed to physical growth, rather than fat accumulation.

]The medium chain fatty acids in human milk provide a convenient source of nutrients and protect babies from infection. The more milk containing medium-chain fatty acids, the more healthy babies grow. The food mothers eat determine the nutritional content and quality of milk. Human milk contains only 3-4% of MCFAs. If coconut oil is added to the diet , the MCFAs content will be significantly increased. For example, a meal intake of 40 grams of coconut oil will increase to 9.6% from 3.9%, the lauric acid content in breast milk after 14 hours. The content of caprylic and capric acid will also increase. If the mother's daily diet include coconut products, her milk’s medium-chain fatty acids can be increased up to 18%. This increase makes the milk’s protective factor improved and the baby's growth and development is promoted, as well as the baby’s digestion. If mothers do not eat foods rich in MCFAs during prenatal and lactation stages, the breast-feeding glands produce only 3 % of lauric acid and 1% capric acid, thus, the baby will lack in many nutrients and will have immunity issues.

Coconut oil will not only help breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Others who have any digestive problems can also benefit from it. Considering that there is no need for digestive enzymes and bile to digest and absorb it, those with gallbladder problems may benefit from its use.

Reprinted Note: All information contained in this book are full and accurate. However, all of the ideas in this book, procedures and recommendations should not replace your doctor's advice. We do not offer professional advice and service for a specific audience. The Publisher and re-printers all assume joint and several liability.

The coconut oil referred to in this book refers to cold press coconut oil or Virgin Coconut Oil. It is extracted at a low temperature in the press, does not use any chemical ingredients and solvents and is only made with fresh coconut meat. The coconut oil retain its natural plant elements and with light coconut fragrance.

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