Coconut oil uses have been a popular news item recently. More people are rediscovering this natural plant extract and its associated health benefits. Furthermore, coconut oil is now being recognised for its fertility benefits.
For several thousand years coconut oil has been considered a ‘superfood’. It has been used throughout tropical nations as an important food source, a cooking ingredient, and in medical treatments.
Coconut oil uses over time
Coconut oil, milk, flesh, water, fibre, and husks have been extensively uses over the years. Sanskrit scripts from as far back as 1500BC document the use of coconuts in Ayurvedic medicine.
In tropical regions coconut food sources form the foundations for staple diets. Coconut oil is also regularly used as an alternative source of engine fuel in many of these areas, providing a range of industrial applications.
Medicinal applications of coconut oil and other components of the coconut palm are plentiful. These include treating problems such as wounds, upset stomach, ulcers, tumours, toothache, syphilis, swelling, scurvy, scabies, sore throat, skin infections, rashes, nausea, malnutrition, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, gingivitis, kidney stones, lice, dysentery, ear-ache, fever, flu, colds, cough, constipation, burns, baldness, bronchitis, colds, asthma, abscesses, and bruises.
The downfall of coconut oil uses
Prior to the 1980s coconut oil was a widely consumed product. It was readily available throughout supermarkets and other convenience stores. However, this changed significantly when coconut oil was deemed as ‘unhealthy’.
Perpetuated by the producers of alternative vegetable oil producers, coconut oil was demonised globally and coconut oil rapidly disappeared off the shelves. One of the major perpetrators of this scare campaign was the American Soybean Association (ASA).
Due to the fact that coconut oil was very popular and widely consumed, the ASA needed to discredit this product to elevate soybean oil sales. The ASA released reported claiming that coconut oil was a damaging saturated fat and harmful for health.
Immediately this campaign had an effect. The use of coconut oil significantly declined. Tropical oils were no longer used by food manufacturers in favour of “healthier” soybean oil.
The following decade saw the disappearance of coconut oil. No longer could this oil be purchased from supermarkets and producers were forced out of production.
Coconut oil was wrongly believed to clog arteries and cause chronic health problems. This belief had widespread repercussions for countries that relied on coconut oil and other coconut products for their economy.
Why the use of coconut oil is healthy – rediscovering the truth
Fatty acids are contained in coconut oil, but they are not damaging. The truth is that these fats are actually beneficial for the body. Lauric acid is one of the many constituents in coconut oil.
A medium chain fatty acid (MCFA), this compound is otherwise uncommon. It is only found in coconut oil, coconut milk, laurel oil, palm kernel oil, goat’s milk, cow’s milk, and human breast milk.
Lauric acid was labelled as unhealthy during the ASA’s scare campaign because it is a MCFA. Contrary to the information promoted by the ASA and other organisations, MCFAs are actually healthy for the body.
They are easily absorbed and a direct energy source. The body convert lauric acid into monolaurin; this compound has many health benefits.
Powerful immune system support
Monolaurin has anti-fungal, antiprotozoal, and antimicrobial actions. It can effectively kill undesirable viruses, fungi, and bacterial by breaking down their lipid membranes. This help to improve the body’s immune function.
The effects of monolaurin have made this compound beneficial in the treatment of viral and fungal infections such as influenza, HIV, hepatitis C, measles, herpes, athlete’s foot and ringworm.
To produce monolaurin the body needs an abundant supply of lauric acid. For these reasons it’s long believed regular consumers of coconut oil have a better immune system. Breast-fed babies have a lower infection rate and this is also believed to be because of the high concentration of lauric acid.
Skin care applications
Not only is lauric acid beneficial for inner-health, it also has external applications. This compound is widely used by the cosmetic industry as an ingredient in topical skin care products.
This MCFA has anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe condition such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
How do coconut oil uses extend to supporting male fertility?
Regularly consuming coconut oil is believed to benefit fertility in a number of ways:
Natural hormone regulation
Lauric acid and other MCFAs have an important role in balancing hormones. These fatty acids can help to regulate sex hormones. In the absence of sufficient MCFA’s an androgen deficiency may develop.
This will adversely affect fertility and may also contribute to erectile dysfunction.
There is plenty of research that shows the negative effects of excess weight gain on sexual health1, 2, 3. By increasing the body’s access to lauric acid it is possible to support weight loss. The liver can readily process MCFAs and provide the body with energy quickly 4.
Consequently metabolising lauric acid may improve satiety and prevent ‘binge’ eating and over-eating. The added energy can also lower lethargy and make exercising easier. Scientists have confirmed that MCFAs do help to fight obesity and can support weight loss5. A consequence of this is an improvement in fertility.
Immune system enhancement
Regularly consuming coconut oil will increase monolaurin availability. This effectively increases immunity by protecting the body form an array of pathogens and viruses6. Furthermore, this will also assist with cleansing and detoxifying the body. Inflammation will be reduced and overall health improved. All these factors help to improve fertility.
Popular coconut oil retailers
There a range of quality coconut oil brands:
NIUGINI ORGANICS: Based in Australia, this company specialises in certified certified organic coconut oil and related coconut palm products. Cold pressed and unrefined, this pure virgin coconut oil comes in reusable Kilner jars and retains all the natural compounds and is an excellent source of lauric acid. Niugini Organics coconut oil is certified organic, because it uses wild harvested and single origin coconuts. The company supports the economy of seven villages on the Island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea.
Biona Organic: Another company based in the United Kingdom, this company is part of Windmill Organics Ltd, who specialise in organic produce. Using the flesh of organic coconuts, Biona Organic cold press their coconut oil. This is a completely natural, raw product.
Tiana: Specialising in a wide range of coconut oil products, Tiana is based in the United Kingdom. They retail coconut oil, sugar, flour, water, butter, and a selection of beauty products based on coconut oil. Their raw products are certified fair trade and imported from the Philippines.
Improve your fertility with micronutrients
Several micronutrients such as vitamins, vitaminoids, amino acids and trace elements have proven themselves effective in improving sperm quantity, mobility and shape. This directly translates into better overall sperm quality and therefore a higher chance of pregnancy.
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For those reasons, male fertility food supplements are most definitely recommended as the first step in the treatment of oligospermia and asthenospermia.
Also men who have not yet taken a semen analysis test will benefit from supplementing micronutrients to ensure they are able to deliver high-quality semen.
There are no contraindications or side effects to this form of natural ‘sperm boosting’.
An excellent and detailed overview of many studies can be found in Steven Sinclair’s Male Infertility: Nutritional and Environmental Considerations.
A considerable range of male fertility supplements available on the UK market.
However, the products differ widely in price and composition. Menfertility.org has compared 10 of them in terms of value for money and the nutrients they provide.
The most effective male fertility nutrients
A multitude of studies has shown that highly dosed nutrients have potentially significant impact on overall sperm quality.
Vitamin D has been shown to improve sperm count, motility and morphology12.
Vitamin B9, better known as folic acid has been shown to increase count, motility and morphology13.
Zinc improves the immune system and significantly improves sperm count in combination with folic acid14.
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All of the male fertility supplements in our great test include several of these nutrients at once, albeit at a lower dose. This is a cost-effective and convenient way making this type of fertility therapy affordable and requiring taking only one all-in-one supplement instead of many.
To find out more about the effects of the individual nutrients and how the various supplements compare, please read menfertility.org’s male fertility supplement review.
The top male fertility supplements
- “Pasquali, et.al. (2007). Obesity and infertility. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, & Obesity. Volume 14, Issue 6, (pp. 482-87).” ↩
- “Parihar, M. (2003). Obesity and infertility. Reviews in Gynaecological Practice. Volume 3, Issue 3, (pp. 120-6).” ↩
- “Hammoud, A. et.al. (2008). Impact of male obesity on infertility: a critical review of the current literature. Fertility and Sterility. Volume 90, Issue 4, (pp. 897-904).” ↩
- “Dayrit, F. (2015). The properties of lauric acid and their significance in coconut oil. Journal of the American Oil Chemist’s Society. Volume 92, Issue 1, (pp. 1-15).” ↩
- “St-Onge, M, and Jones, P. (2002). Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: Potential agents in the prevention of obesity. The Journal of Nutrition. Volume 132, Issue 3, (pp. 329-32).” ↩
- “Lieberman, S. et.al. (2006). A review of monolaurin and lauric acid: Natural virucidal and bactericidal agents. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. Volume 12, Issue 6 (pp. 310-4).” ↩
- “Imhof, Martin et al., “Improvement of sperm quality after micronutritient supplementation”, e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Epub published ahead of print.” ↩
- “http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/5/1/28.pdf” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7701414” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12568837” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8085668” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21427118” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20978181” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11872201” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21403799” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12623744” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8862739” ↩