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VCO is good saturated fat, says expert

Dr. Raymund Gabriel Naranjilla, Cardiologist and Clinical Trialist of UST explains the health benefits of VCO on human cholesterol level during the MMHRDC Research forum for World Heart Day


“There are news that came out classifying Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) as saturated fat. Saturated fats were known to increase bad cholesterol. However, there are different kinds of saturated fats wherein one can derive certain benefits,” explained Dr. Raymund Gabriel Naranjilla, Cardiologist and Clinical Trialist of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) during the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium (MMHRDC) Research Forum for World Heart Day last October 10, 2012 at the Adamson University.

Dr. Naranjilla identified VCO as a Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT), a good saturated fat that imparts a wide range of positive health benefits.


According to Dr. Naranjilla, the UST VCO research team looked into how VCO affects the cholesterol level in humans. “This study, the first double-blind placebo-controlled clinical research on VCO primarily aims to determine the effect of VCO on human total blood cholesterol level,” said Dr. Naranjilla.

VCO processes by cold-press method from freshly grated mature coconut were used in the study. “We take the mature coconut and try to ferment it only without using heat. Because if you use heat, later on its chemical properties like antioxidants will be removed,” revealed Dr. Naranjilla.

A total of 189 recruited participants included in the study were between 35 and 65 years of age with no concurrent liver conditions and no clinically significant abnormalities on pre-study laboratory screening.

All participants were instructed to take 15mL (1 tablespoon) of VCO or the placebo three times a day after meals for four months. Informed consent was personally acquired after orientation and individual consultation. The participants were further classified according to baseline total blood cholesterol levels and were divided into normal level of cholesterol, borderline high and very high level of cholesterol in blood.

Results showed reductions in triglycerides and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL, bad cholesterol) and an increase in the good cholesterol, the high density lipoprotein (HDL).

“Although, no change was seen in low density lipoprotein (LDL, bad cholesterol), the improvement of the cholesterol to HDL ratio evident on the participants in this study is likely to support the intake of VCO to decrease susceptibility to heart attack or stroke,” confirmed Dr. Naranjilla.