Fractionated coconut oil is a fairly new ingredient to the cosmetic industry. With the explosion of essential oil use and viral posts of Coconut Oil health benefits, it’s not surprising that a coconut product would be well-received by Americans. But is this “new” product really a health food? or a Green-washed ingredient marketed as natural?
Coconut oil has historically been used in cultures all over the world as part of diet and wellness. The Coconut Research Center estimates that at least one third of the world relies on coconut products for food and health. In the U.S., it was originally thought of as a “bad fat” because of it’s saturated fat content, but recently scientists have been confirming the many antimicrobial, immune-boosting benefits of extra-virgin coconut oil. Now, Americans are following the rest of the world in pursuing health with the help of coconut oil.
Coconut oil in it’s full, pure form (with nothing added or taken away) has many benefits and characteristics that make it unique from other vegetable oils. What makes Pure Coconut oil so special?
- Heart Health Coconut oil is made up mostly of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA, not to be confused with MCT which I’ll cover below), other vegetable oils are made of mostly Long Chain Fatty Acids. MCFA’s are what give coconut oil it’s amazing health benefits, unlike long chain fatty acids, the MCFA’s do not have a negative impact on cholesterol and heart health as previously thought by scientists, and recent research is actually showing coconut oil consumption may help lower cholesterol levels, triglycerides and LDL’s.
- Supports Weight Loss Traditionally it was thought that fat consumption led to a fat body. This marketing strategy paved the way for fat-free and sugar-free packaged goods into American stores. These products only starve the body and brain of valuable fats needed for healthy brain function, cellular healing and natural energy. Many vitamins are fat-soluble, A, D, E, F, K and require the presence of fats in order to be absorbed and used by the body. Deficiencies in these vitamins affect metabolism and bio-chemical reactions. Coconut oil supplementation works in two ways to balance your weight: by improving nutrient absorption when it is consumed with healthy foods and moving through the body to nourish cells rather than be deposited as fat on the body. One study found that ingesting coconut oil increase the body stores of oleic acid which helps the body use excess fats for energy during times of fasting rather than depleting muscle mass.
- Anti-Microbial & Anti-Cancerous One of the components of Coconut Oil is Lauric Acid, this is what makes it antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral. Coconut oil has been researched against many bacteria and fungi including Candida albicans, Listeria, P. Vulgaris (acne), Aspergillus niger and even found to inhibit HT-29 Colon Cancer Cells.
- Versatility Coconut oil is healthful for the diet and the body. It can be used in cooking as well as personal care. There are many posts with all the uses of coconut oil like 50 Uses for Coconut Oil, 13 Evidence-Based Properties of Coconut Oil, 42 Healing Ways to Use Coconut Oil.
Fractionated Coconut is Refined and Processed It is has had the Lauric Acid removed, along with all the health benefits. Virgin Coconut oil contains almost 50% Lauric Acid. Yes, fractionated coconut oil has a stable shelf life, it’s clear and odorless – like CRISCO. Fractionated Coconut Oil is also an ingredient in Confectionary goods, like doughnuts and pastries because it acts like a stabilizer. It’s what makes them fluffy and large. Fractionated Coconut Oil will stand the test of time because it has nothing in it that will perish. If you are looking at greening up your personal care routine, fractionated coconut oil may not be your best option because it has been man-altered. Fractionated Coconut Oil is a manufacturing by-product of Lauric Acid harvesting (valued for it’s health-supporting benefits). The only other significant source of naturally occurring Lauric Acid is Breast Milk. Manufacturers remove the Lauric Acid for use in other products as an added ingredient or supplement and the leftover Fractionated Coconut Oil is sold as a valuable commodity, brilliant!
MCT is not Coconut Oil While Fractionated Coconut Oil is often sold in cosmetics and personal care, MCT is often marketed as Liquid Coconut Oil for consumption, though they are both really a Fractionated Coconut Oil because some of the components have been removed. True coconut oil will be solid at room temperature (it’s melting temperature is about 78 degrees F, in warmer weather it would be a liquid). MCT is used in baby formulas and some digestive supplements and pharmaceuticals because it is easy to digest. MCT like fractionated coconut oil has had all the Lauric Acid removed and therefore most of the Coconut Oil benefits are not present. MCT is a processed form of Coconut Oil but cannot claim most of the health benefits because it is not a whole food supplement.
Have you invested in essential oils and other quality ingredients for natural living? If so, skip the fractionated coconut oil and go with a pure vegetable oil that has not been adultured, cleaned or deodorized (politically correct terms are “refined”). Organic Jojoba, Tamanu or Apricot oils are great for DIY personal care products and natural moisturizers along with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
What is your favorite vegetable carrier oil for essential oils? Leave a comment below and share!
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