Coconut oil is well known for its health benefits. It’s thought to be good for your skin and may help reduce wrinkles, age spots, and cellulite. Some say it can even help balance your blood sugar, improve digestion, balance your hormones, and keep your heart healthy, but these claims are not substantiated by good research.
One probable explanation for this is the fact that it’s a major source of medium-chain fatty acids like lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid.
The latter especially has been linked to many alternative and holistic medical uses. Also found in palm oils, caprylic acid is used by holistic practitioners to treat yeast infections, as well as to restore healthy pH levels in the body, says Erin Stokes, a nutritionist for supplement maker MegaFood.
While it’s available in pill and capsule form, certified nutrition specialist Josh Axe notes that there isn’t much research available that caprylic acid is effective as a nutritional supplement.
Relief for Epilepsy?
There is some evidence that medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), like caprylic acid, can help to treat children with epilepsy. In one early experiment, a combination of these acids helped to control seizures. However, there have been no follow-ups to confirm these findings.
There is also some evidence to suggest that caprylic acid can delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association of America, but larger trials are needed to confirm this. As of now, there is no scientific evidence to prove that coconut oil alone helps people with Alzheimer’s.
Not So Fast, Says M.D.
Dr. Morton Tavel, an Indianapolis cardiologist, says that when it comes to caprylic acid alone, the evidence is sketchy at best. There is no acceptable scientific evidence to show that caprylic acid supplements can help to treat any health problems, he adds, and warns against the use of dietary supplements. They are not strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so there is no guarantee of their strength, purity, or safety.