Coconut oil cleanses have become a popular form of detox. People are using them to jumpstart weight loss, rid their body of toxins, and more. But do they actually work?

Coconut oil is a saturated fat derived from the kernel of ripe coconuts. It contains nourishing fatty acids, such as linoleic acid (vitamin F) and lauric acid.

Coconut oil has been found to have benefits for dry skin and atopic dermatitis. It has antibacterial qualities, making it valuable for preventing cavities when used in oil pulling. It has also been shown to boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” type of cholesterol.

Some people believe that the lauric acid content in coconut oil makes it beneficial for weight loss. However, this has not been proven.

There is also no evidence indicating that a coconut oil detox is healthy or safe, or that it can support long-term weight loss.

Here’s more about coconut oil cleanses and the potential benefits and risks.

Unlike juice fasts, a coconut oil cleanse is a form of detoxification geared toward eliminating excess sugar from the body. Coconut oil is a saturated fat that is thought to metabolize in the liver, making it readily accessible as an energy source.

Some studies indicate that the lauric acid content in coconut oil may make it beneficial for weight loss. The lauric acid content in coconut oil is also what makes it popular for cleanses.

Lauric acid contains medium-chain fatty acids. Unlike long-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids do not significantly raise cholesterol levels. They also do not get stored in the body’s fat tissue, since they transport directly into the liver.

Therefore, they’re used immediately for quick energy, or turned into ketones that the body can use as an energy source when needed. However, there is conflicting data indicating that lauric acid behaves more like a long-chain fatty acid instead of a medium-chain one, throwing this premise into question.

There is no evidence that coconut oil cleanses have any health benefits, although proponents claim they have several benefits. These purported benefits include:

Coconut oil detox for weight loss

If all you consume for 3 or 4 days is 10 tablespoons of coconut oil and lots of water, the scale is bound to go down. However, this weight loss will most likely be comprised primarily of water.

Even so, some people might feel motivated by the quick drop in pounds. But to sustain any weight loss derived during a coconut oil cleanse, you’ll need to follow up with a healthy eating plan, geared toward weight loss.

Coconut oil detox for Candida

Candida is a common fungus found on the skin and in areas like the mouth and digestive tract. Uncontrolled growth of Candida can cause an infection called candidiasis. Consuming excess sugar, refined carbohydrates, or alcohol can make you more vulnerable to candidiasis.

For this reason, proponents of coconut oil detoxes believe that this cleanse can help rid the body of these toxins, and reduce Candida overgrowth. If you have candidiasis, a diet geared toward reducing Candida overgrowth may help.

Coconut oil detox for infection

Components in coconut oil, such as caprylic acid and lauric acid, may help cleanse the gut of other types of fungi, bacteria, and viruses.

Ingesting large amounts of coconut oil can cause diarrhea, cramps, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Coconut oil may also increase levels of bad cholesterol, increasing cardiovascular risk. If you have high cholesterol, talk to a doctor before doing a coconut oil cleanse. If you decide to do a cleanse, do not stop taking your prescribed medications for lowering cholesterol.

Speak with a doctor before attempting a coconut oil cleanse or any type of cleanse. There is no medically recommended procedure for successfully doing a coconut oil cleanse, but a doctor can provide guidance on whether it’s a good option for you.

  • Proponents of the practice believe that the fat obtained from coconut oil will be enough to sustain you, and provide you with energy during the detox period. Cleanses typically last for around 3 or 4 days.
  • You’ll need to consume around 10 to 14 tablespoons of unrefined, organic extra virgin coconut oil daily. Some coconut oil is processed with chemicals and should not be taken. Read product labels carefully and look for only unrefined, organic extra virgin coconut oil.
  • This amount of oil may result in diarrhea or stomach distress. To help avoid this side effect, ease your body into it by starting slowly. Add small amounts of coconut oil to your daily diet for a week or so before you start the cleanse.
  • Space your coconut oil intake out during the day. You may mix it with water, or with a small amount of high-fat, no-sugar yogurt. You may also drink sugarless limeade or warm lemon water.
  • Some people also eat 4 or 5 ounces of raw coconut meat during a cleanse.
  • If you decide to try a cleanse, make sure to drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water each day.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or faint, stop doing the cleanse and eat a small amount of solid food, such as a protein.

The proven way to lose weight safely is with a combination of healthy diet and exercise. To lose one pound per week, you will need to create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. This means that you need to burn that many calories more than you eat and drink in a week.

Coconut oil cleanses have become popular, but there’s no evidence linking them or any other detox regimens to improved health.

Side effects can include diarrhea, cramps, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Coconut oil may also increase levels of bad cholesterol, which can be dangerous for people with high cholesterol.

If you decide to do a coconut oil cleanse, talk to a doctor first.