By now, I’m sure you have heard of all the super awesome benefits to adding coconut oil to your diet and, of course, to your pet’s as well.
Today, you will see organic virgin coconut oil being added to almost everything as a source of good fat and/or to make herbs and oils more readily available for you and your pet, i.e. turmeric root and omega-3 fish oils.
Note: “Coconut Oil is to not be confused with omega-3! Coconut oil is not an omega-3 or omega-6 fat. Coconut oil’s health benefits derive from its special MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids) unlike the saturated fats in animal fats, which are long chain fatty acids (LCFA)”. –Dr. Joseph Mercola
Ranked in the top 10 most important food medicines, coconut oil is a must-add for everyone! However, there is still some controversy swirling around this super nut. So let’s weigh in on the scientific evidence that is currently available.
Coconut oil contains monolaurin, lauric, capric and caprylic acids, all of which have anti-bacterical, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal activity.
Hence the nickname: nature’s antibiotic. An added benefit is that there are none of the harmful side effects that drugs normally offer.
Because of its bacteria and fungus killing properties, coconut oil is being used holistically to help prevent and kill off yeast problems ailing a pet.
“Killing off yeast problems?” you ask…
Yeast is a fungus that’s always present on pets as part of the normal flora of the body, both internally and externally. When the immune system becomes overburdened, or when the dog is fed starchy foods, the yeast will proliferate in the hair follicles and throughout the body. The result? A giant outbreak of itching and scratching with red-hot looking skin!
By adding the acids found in coconut oil to your pet’s diet (lauric, capric & caprylic), the acids attack the cell wall of the yeast fungus causing the cell wall to disintegrate which, therefore, kills off the yeast.
This is not a new concept. Coconut oil has been used for bacteria-bashing and wound-healing for thousands of years.
FUN FACT: Now current research is shedding some light on the possibility of flea prevention with the association of coconut oil!
“In this study we show that the twice daily application of a herbal repellent based on coconut-oil (Zanzarin), is highly effective in preventing sand flea disease in a heavily affected community in Madagascar. The attack rate became zero immediately after starting the application of the repellent.” – US National Library of Medicine
Coconut oil is not only great for helping kill things like yeast on your pet, but it also has many other benefits according to leading researcher Dr. Bruce Fife:
• Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
• Aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
• Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
• Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing
• Regulates and balances insulin and promotes normal thyroid function
• Helps prevent or control diabetes
• Helps reduce weight, increases energy
• Aids in arthritis or ligament problems
The recommended dosage for feeding coconut oil to your pet is:
• ½ teaspoon for every 10lbs of body weight daily
Or, if using topically, just rub the oil on your hands and apply to your pet’s coat. (Remember not to over do it!)
Studies in dogs show that coconut oil fed as 10% or less of a dog’s diet poses no digestive or other health issues. (Aldrich, 2009)
HOWEVER, A WORD OF CAUTION:
When sourcing organic virgin coconut oil, be careful. Some manufacturers can extract the coconut oil using hexane, a petroleum product made of crude oil, which is super toxic!
FYI – Hexane evaporates during processing and the FDA doesn’t require it to be listed on food labels. Source organic and look for expeller pressed products.
A study showed that a coconut-oil based diet lowered the dangerous clot formation in blood as compared to a diet with high mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids.
Check out some of the rockstar studies sited byyeastinfection.org:
(Heck, there are so many studies out there today, that it would take sketchy Dr. Brennen McKenzie from thesketchy-vet.com a lifetime to try and discredit! wink emoticon )
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effect: In 2010 by Thai scientists published a report where they studied pharmacologic properties of virgin coconut oil. They found moderate anti-inflammatory effect, moderate pain-killing (analgesic) effect, and fever-reducing (antipyretic) effect in rats with acute inflammation.
Liver-protective effects: A 2011 study from Malaysia reported the liver protecting role of virgin coconut oil against paracetamol induced damage of liver in rats. As a higher dose of VCO was needed to show liver-protective effect, it is thought that either VCO exerts this effect through the molecules that escape digestion or due to higher concentrations of other compounds in the oil.
Skin moisturizing effects: A randomized double-blind controlled trial from Philippines published in 2004 showed that coconut oil had comparable moisturizing effect as mineral oil. The study found it to be safe and with added advantage of being antiseptic in nature.
Antithrombotic effect: A study showed that a coconut-oil based diet lowered the dangerous clot formation in blood as compared to a diet with high mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids.
Antibacterial activity: Coconut oil at 5-40% concentration, incorporated in a cream base and applied to skin, has been observed to have microbe killing activity. While virgin coconut oil does not have antibacterial activity on its own, its components (lauric, capric and caprylic acid) do – this has been shown by a 2013 study from USA.
Researchers from Nigeria published an article in 2007 that described an in-vitro experiment showing candida killing properties of 25-100% coconut oil. When coconut oil was used undiluted, all the candida strains they tested were killed. In comparison, fluconazole was unable to kill all the candida strains at highest concentration.
A study from Nigeria, published in 2010 showed that coconut oil at 5-40% concentration, incorporated in a cream base and applied to skin, killed candida apart from other bacteria. This effect was attributed to monolaurin (but could also be due to other fatty acid components of coconut oil) which disrupted the microbial cell membranes with enhanced effect due to surface active agents used as emulsifiers in the cream formulation.
An article published in 2012 by Japanese researchers described how capric and caprylic acid could inhibit the filamentous growth of candida even at very low concentrations. They tested the effect of these two fatty acids on mice and found that the symptoms of oral candidiasis improved significantly. When they studied the tissues of the mice, they found that these fatty acids suppressed the filamentous growth of candida on the surface of the tongue.
A 2008 research by Indonesian scientists showed that VCO with added zinc stimulated the immune system of patients with vaginal candida infection and helped them fight candida infection. They recommended a dose of 1 tablespoon of zinc containing VCO per day for vaginal candida infections. Thus, apart from the direct action of VCO fatty acids on candida, coconut oil also boosts our immunity against it.
(I thought I would add a few more studies in case, Dr.Jessica Vogelsang from pawsibly-curious-onhowtoblog.com, came to the realization she should put down her Barbie dolls and start researching. Heck, the knowledge might even help with future book sales! grin emoticon )