Coconut Oil Lowers Cholesterol, Improves Thyroid Function

Coconut Oil Lowers Cholesterol

This week in the Nutrition News Roundup I have a testimonial to share. I got a phone call from my mother-in-law last week. She and my father-in-law were at the doctor's office and they had just found out that their cholesterol levels had dropped quite substantially.

Nancy's total cholesterol dropped 66 points — from 239 to 173. Ed's total cholesterol dropped 60 points — from 265 to 205.

They insist that in the past few months since the last time they had their cholesterol checked, they have only changed one thing in their diet. They have started eating baked oatmeal (soaked overnight in kefir). They have been eating oatmeal for years — but this is their first time soaking it and eating it baked. They wondered if it could be the kefir that helped to lower their cholesterol.

I did a little research online and it seems that it's much more likely that what might have caused the drop in cholesterol is the coconut oil. The recipe for baked oatmeal on Kelly the Kitchen Kop's site that they have been using calls for 1/2 cup of coconut oil. I'm not sure how much they ate but I'm guessing they were probably getting 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in each serving, and they say they were eating the baked oatmeal about 4 times per week.

While I am skeptical about cholesterol and doubt the benefits of lowering cholesterol and am very much opposed to cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) and also anti-low fat diets, I was curious as to why increasing coconut oil would lower cholesterol. Especially when most dietitians and nutrition experts will tell you that saturated fat raises cholesterol.

Experts say that you should avoid foods high in saturated fat. Coconut oil is made up of about 90% saturated fat.

An FDA spokesperson was quoted as saying:

Saturated fatty acids tend to raise levels of LDL cholesterol (‘bad' cholesterol) in the blood. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with heart disease. Source

And yet my in-laws, after eating coconut oil 4 times a week for about a month, saw a drop in their total cholesterol and their LDL. Nancy's LDL dropped 38 points, from 143 to 105. Ed's went down 49 points, from 172 to 123.

So how do we explain this? If saturated fats raise cholesterol and LDL, then how come my in-laws saw their numbers drop?

High Cholesterol and Low Thyroid Function

I found this article by thyroid expert Mary Shomon: The High Cholesterol Thyroid Connection Undiagnosed Thyroid Disease May Be the Reason for Your High Cholesterol

She writes:

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located behind and below the Adam's Apple, produces a hormone that helps regulate metabolism. When the thyroid produces too little hormone, metabolism slows, and the ability to process cholesterol is also impaired.

Scientist Ray Peat has this to say:

Since the l930s, it has been clearly established that suppression of the thyroid raises serum cholesterol (while increasing mortality from infections, cancer, and heart disease), while restoring the thyroid hormone brings cholesterol down to normal.

Coconut Oil and Thyroid Function

There's a lot of information online about how coconut oil helps to support thyroid function. Read this excerpt from an article by coconut expert, Bruce Fife:

I have developed a drugless thyroid program based on diet and lifestyle. While coconut oil is a primary feature of this program, it is defiantly not the only factor involved. I do recommend that those people who are on thyroid medication when they start the program, to continue with it under the close supervision of their doctors. Some people have reported that using thyroid medication while on my program makes their thyroid function too good and they become hyperthyroid. So a doctor must monitor the medication and gradually reduce it. This is what I'm seeing. People report that they have more energy, they lose weight, and they are able to reduce and even completely get off thyroid medication. They no longer need it.

One lady, for example, had been hypothyroid for over 20 years. She had been using Armour thyroid with partial improvement. Her body temperature averaged 1 to 2 degrees below normal. After going through my program. Her daily average body temperature shot up to 98.6 degrees. She has much more energy now, doesn't need 10 hours of sleep every night or need a nap in the afternoon, and she now tolerates cold better than her husband who has normal thyroid function. She no longer needs medication; her thyroid is functioning normally for the first time in decades. She doesn't need to depend on coconut oil either. She's gone without coconut oil for as long as a month with no noticeable drop in thyroid function. Her improved condition appears to be permanent.

I have a drawer full of testimonials of people telling me how they lost 10, 20, 60 pounds of excess fat with coconut oil and how my program is helping their metabolism and overall health. Just recently I received a letter from a lady who followed the recommendations in my book and began using coconut oil. She lost 56 pounds. As you can imagine, she was overjoyed! Source

Ray Peat also wrote:

As far as the evidence goes, it suggests that coconut oil, added regularly to a balanced diet, lowers cholesterol to normal by promoting its conversion into pregnenolone. (The coconut family contains steroids that resemble pregnenolone, but these are probably mostly removed when the fresh oil is washed with water to remove the enzymes which would digest the oil.) Coconut-eating cultures in the tropics have consistently lower cholesterol than people in the U.S. Source


I learned a lot about coconut oil from this book: The Coconut Oil Miracle (Previously published as The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil)

If you don't like the taste of coconut, a great option for coconut oil is expeller pressed coconut oil. Expeller pressed coconut oil is also very economical. You don't get the benefits of eating raw coconut oil, but it's a lot cheaper. For cooking, frying and baking, I use expeller pressed.

Did you know you absorb coconut oil through your pores? Try using coconut oil as a moisturizer. It also makes a great deodorant — believe it or not!

Suddenly I'm craving popcorn popped in coconut oil… and tonight I'll be making buttermilk fried chicken fried in — that's right — coconut oil.

Photo credit: Flickr

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

35 thoughts on “Coconut Oil Lowers Cholesterol, Improves Thyroid Function

  1. Ha! I did not know that about coconut oil through your pores. I’ve been using Tropical Traditions lotions and soap for a couple of years now. Yay, me!

  2. I am working on developing a recipe for coconut oil-cocoa-maca candy that I am hoping will be my answer to how to get both coconut oil and maca in without wanting to gag. I love coconut oil, but not straight up and maca, well, it’s interesting :).

  3. There’s also some research to support the idea that since coconut oil is made from medium chain triglycerides, it is more likely to be burned off than stored as fat.

    I just made a cake this weekend and the main ingredient is coconut oil. It was a HUGE hit. Here’s the link:

  4. Wow, Rachel, thank you for posting that link. Somehow I missed this on Shannon’s site.

    That cake looks SO yummy. I love coconut flour. And the coconut oil frosting looks delicious.

    I’m gonna make it.

    Shannon, you RULE! I hope you keep posting recipes — especially these fabulous recipes for dessert. 😉

  5. Yes coconut oil/creme is EXCELLENT for many health conditions! However, the cholesterol “numbers” deal is pure hype to sell drugs. Cholesterol is VITAL to health and trying to lower it only creates disease and poor health. It’s the current Big Pharma scapegoat!

    1. I was going to ask a similar question as to why her in-laws would want to lower such perfectly beautiful cholesterol numbers, so I’m glad someone else did.

      The other misunderstood idea is that our body temperature shoud always be 98.6 — I don’t think I know a single person whose body temp is 98.6. Temperature, like blood pressure will change from minute to minute. It’s hard to pin a number down!

  6. Hi, Marci,

    Yes, yes, yes! Agreed! I wanted to get into all that but ran out of time… it took a long time to write that post! Thanks for bringing it up.

  7. “An FDA spokesperson was quoted as saying:

    Saturated fatty acids tend to raise levels of LDL cholesterol (’bad’ cholesterol) in the blood. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with heart disease. ”

    Didn’t they use fully hydrogenated saturated fats in those studies which is why it showed a negative impact on cholesterol? I believe I read that in either Nourishing Traditions or Eat Fat, Lose Fat (Fallon/Enig).

    I would love your buttermilk fried chicken recipe. I fry eggs and chicken in coconut oil. I have used it on my face too, surprisingly it’s not greasy. I read that is helps reduce redness from scarring. I try to take it in tea and maybe I’m using too much oil but it’s hard for me to drink that way. I’m going to share this with my friend who has thyroid disfunction. Thanks!

  8. the reason why the cholesterol is lowered even though sat fats are high in coconut products is..

    coconut saturated fats increase HDL cholesterol, which in turn lowers LDL. eat to enjoy! my family (s.e. asian) eats coconut a lot and they all have superb cholesterol. remember to eat a lot of nuts too! and fish oil! [-:

  9. Super post – I forwarded it to all my friends – who are beginning their nourishing journey.

    I’ve been ordering my coconut oil through Mtn. Rose Herbs (upon recommendation of other bloggers). Do you use Tropical Traditions oil? It is cheaper than Mtn. Rose Herbs.

    Julie’s last blog post..Recycled Treasures

  10. Yes I love Tropical Traditions.

    I’m about to place an order with them for a bunch of their products including the coconut oil lotions and lip balms. I use plain coconut oil as a moisturizer but I don’t like the process of applying it. Tropical Traditions also has great sales and they sell a lot of different things so if you buy in bulk, you can save a lot.

    I have never ordered coconut oil from Mountain Rose Herbs so I can’t comment on that.

  11. Thanks for doing this post! Ironically, I gave blood for the first time two weeks ago, and just received a letter stating I need to get my cholesterol level checked. Initially, I was concerned as the letter stated my blood tested a level of 311 dl. However, I eat plenty of saturated fats along with mostly traditional foods. Should I be concerned I have a thyroid problem? Thanks in advance!

  12. Ack. I was just exchanging emails with food renegade about this subject. My cholesterol jumped up 26 points in less than a year, bringing it to 203. My HDL is good, at 60. However, one of the only changes I’ve done in the past eight months is add coconut oil to my soaked oatmeal and coffee (YUM). While my triglycerides are wonderful (35), it was shocking to see such a huge jump in such a short amount of time. However, foodrenegade and my doctors are not concerned at all. But, I do find it’s hard not to place the blame on adding something new. Though, I do admit, I didn’t increase my coconut oil amount drastically over the past several months. So, it probably has nothing to do with that. Though, since I did add a bit more coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil and kombucha, I expected another decrease in numbers – Not such a huge increase! Therefore, I’m very very perplexed.

    Great article, though, helping ease my mind that it probably wasn’t the coconut oil that did it.

  13. Hi,
    Someone mentioned to use half butter and half coconut oil mixed together and then put in small candy molds to harden. i tried this and we love it. I am not a big fan of the coconut taste but this is the best. Thanks for posting.

  14. I was not aware of the benefits of coconut oil in lowering cholesterol. Any thing that we can do as far as diet to avoid medication and the sometimes harsh side effects are appreciated. I have included some liks to more information to lower cholesterol through diet for your readers.

  15. You said above that one kind of coconut oil has benefits for you and the other has no benefits? So why use the kind that has no benefits. I am just confused. I understand one has coconut taste and the other doesn’t. I don’t like the taste of coconut, so I was thinking of trying the one that doesn’t have the taste, but why should I do that if there are no benefits. I need to lower my cholesterol and I think you are saying the expeller pressed coconut oil will not benefit me. Is that correct?

  16. I started using coconut oil on my skin earlier this year and the results are amazing! I hardly get dry skin anymore and even my rosacea seems better. I also use it for most of my frying and baking. Hopefully I will start to see some improvement in thyroid function 🙂

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