expert this month is Dr. Bruce Fife, a naturopathic physician
and certified nutritionist and president of the Coconut Research
Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the author of Coconut
Cures (Piccadilly, 2005) and The Coconut Oil Miracle
Q. How does
coconut oil work against yeast infections?
A. Coconut oil has several unique properties that make
it an excellent treatment for yeast infections.
Among the most potent natural yeast-fighting substances
are lauric acid and caprylic acid, both derived from
All medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil kill
yeast, viruses and bacteria.
Some of these substances are stronger against one type
of organism and some work better against others, so
when all these elements combine forces in this unique
type of oil, they become a daunting weapon against dysbiosis.
When I began researching coconut oil, I noticed that
many patients mentioned they were getting relief from
a wide variety of symptoms, including fatigue, joint
pain, irritability and recurrent bladder infections.
Of course, you’re aware that people suffering
from candida infections often complain of precisely
That’s when I realized that the medium chain fatty
acids in coconut oil must be killing candida in the
Medium chain fatty acids penetrate cell membranes. They’re
used as food to produce energy in beneficial cells of
all sorts. But when they’re absorbed by an organism
that is not beneficial, they penetrate the cell membrane
and weaken the cell, so it just disintegrates. Then
white blood cells go in a gobble up the waste material.
I recommend taking a good quality coconut oil if you’re
suffering from yeast problems because it contains a
full spectrum of antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial
properties that can handle the many varieties of organisms
that may be affecting you.
Many people get very good results taking about 3.5 tablespoons
of a high quality organic extra virgin coconut oil daily.
If you have been suffering from candidiasis for a long
time or if your case is particularly severe, it may
be necessary to combine your coconut oil regimen with
prescription antifungal medications.
Of course, you’ll need to adhere to the basic
since diet and medications are the only methods assured
to stop fungal overgrowth.
Q. Will coconut oil cause die-off like other anti-fungals?
A. If you’re familiar with candida, you’ll
also be familiar with the term “die-off.”
This refers to the flu-like symptoms some people experience
when they start to detoxify and large numbers of fungal
organisms begin to die and release their toxins into
This is a sign your treatment plan is working and it
should encourage you to continue. However, many people
give up at this stage, thinking their condition is worsening.
For some people, the symptoms of die-off can be quite
intense while, for others, the disturbance is minor.
Die-off rarely lasts more than a few days and can be
managed by increasing your fluids and planning a light
schedule for those first days.
Q. What are some other conditions that coconut oil can
Coconut oil is also a very effective remedy for fungal
infections of the skin.
Diaper rash, usually caused by candida organisms, can
often be cleared completely with external application
of coconut oil.
It’s also a good flu prevention measure if you
begin taking a tablespoon of coconut oil every two hours
at the first sign of flu symptoms. In most cases, the
flu will disappear overnight.
Q. Will coconut oil complement the anti-candida diet?
A. Absolutely, and I have a detoxification program that
will psweed up your recovery.
If you’re suffering from candida overgrowth, I
strongly recommend the coconut oil detox described in
my latest book, Coconut Cures.
I’ll warn you, this is an intense detoxification,
but it can produce equally powerful improvements.
On this seven-day fast, you’ll eat primarily coconut
oil throughout the day. You may add a little unsweetened
yogurt and a couple of drops of stevia and a little
sugarless lemonade to help promote the cleansing.
In seven days, people achieve fantastic results, killing
off all the harmful microorganisms and leaving the beneficial
The cleanse is not only good for candida infections,
it can also help clear up serious digestive problems.
I know of one medical doctor who suffered from Crohn’s
disease (a potentially life-threatening intestinal disorder)
for two years, trying every available remedy.
When he finally tried the coconut oil detox, his symptoms
disappeared within a week.
Q. How can I tell if I’m getting the best coconut
A. When you’re buying coconut oil, be sure to
look for organic extra virgin food grade varieties.
Others are highly processed and won’t give you
the same benefits.
If you are familiar with coconut oil you know it naturally
has a high melting point. At 76 degrees F and lower
it becomes solid, at higher temperatures it turns into
a liquid. It’s much like butter, when it’s
in the refrigerator it’s solid, but you leave
it out on a hot day, it melts.
High quality virgin coconut oil should be snow white
in color when it is solid and water clear when liquid.
If you see any shade of yellow or gray, it is of an
Pure coconut oil is colorless. Any discoloration is
a sign of contamination which can come from mold or
If old or sun-dried coconuts are used to make oil it,
will almost always contain mold. The mold isn’t
considered harmful because temperatures used in processing
are high enough to essentially sterilize it.
If the heat used comes from open flames from wood or
gas fuel smoke can be absorbed into the oil.
In choosing a coconut oil, consider aroma and flavor.
Virgin coconut oils should always retain a coconut smell
and taste. If not, they have been highly refined. If
they have no flavor, they are essentially refined and
processed oil, even if they did come from fresh coconut.
Finally, consider the price. You get what you pay for.
Obviously, a very inexpensive oil is going to be of
inferior quality. From my experience, the cheapest oils
are the most disagreeable tasting, and usually tainted
with residual contaminants.
A word of caution: Classification is voluntary at this
point. So anyone can claim to have “extra”
virgin coconut oil. Some brands that say “extra
virgin coconut oil” are not raw or centrifuged.
Again, take the taste test to find out.
Q How can I use coconut oil in my diet?
A Among the beauties of coconut oil is that you can
cook and fry with it, bake with it and use it as-is.
Many people like to blend it into a morning health drink
or smoothie and enjoy the light coconut taste. Coconut
oil can be used in tea or coffee and blended into soups
Because coconut oil is naturally solid at room temperature,
it’s not a good choice for salad dressings unless
it’s mixed with another oil such as olive oil.
It is also a stable oil that can sit on your shelf for
months without becoming rancid.
I’ve had patients express concern about the extra
calories they are taking in using coconut oil—probably
more than 300 calories a day.
However, this should not be a worry, since ample clinical
research shows that a single meal containing coconut
oil actually helps raise the metabolic rate by as much
as 48% for a full 24 hours after you eat it, burning
calories faster and actually helping you lose weight.
In fact, if you have weight concerns, as do many people
suffering from yeast overgrowth, coconut oil is probably
one of the best additions you can make to your diet.
Coconut oil has actually been shown to help you feel
full sooner and stay full longer, keeping you from feeling
hungry between meals.
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