Can coconut oil really help fight COVID-19?

Can coconut oil really help fight COVID-19?

Coconut oil and the benefits it comes with, have again come into light while discussing a cure to the coronavirus outbreak. In the July edition of Journal of Association of Physicians (JAPI), a review on the benefits of coconut oil, especially its 'immunomodulation benefits' and 'ability to act against microbes have stirred up the conversation about coconut oil being a favourable part of the virus' antidote. JAPI is one of the most reputed medical journals in the country.

Dr Shashank Joshi, the dean of Indian College of Physicians and also a contributing author of the journal, stated to TOI, that coconut oil is rich with a type of saturated fatty acid called lauric acid, which can be easily synthesized by the human body. The oil releases lauric acid which turns into monolaurin which has the power to demolish pathogens like fungi, viruses, etc.

Dr Joshi who is also a member of the state government task force, said on COVID-19, "Indians consume a lot of saturated fatty acids, especially ghee, which are the right source of fats needed for the body's metabolism." He further added, "While COVID-19 wasn't the main reason for conducting this review on coconut oil, it is a fact that Keralites, who consume a lot of coconut oil, have managed to fight COVID-19 well."

However, many doctors have not agreed to this assumption. A doctor working at a public hospital said that there is no concrete proof to support the fact that coconut oil can protect us from the virus. He said, "It is known that it contains compounds with antimicrobial properties. It has zinc as well, which is being given to COVID patients to boost immunity, but we don't know if and how much the human body is able to efficiently absorb all these chemicals from coconut oil."

Coconut oil, which is also rich with lipids, has been considered a cause leading to several heart diseases in the state of Kerala, where the oil is used to cook food. An endocrinologist from Delhi, Dr Anoop Misra said, "I would be delighted if coconut oil is proved to enhance immunity in humans, but current limited data do not give me that much confidence."

Even though no assurance can be provided on how effectively coconut oil can work in aiding COVID-19, health officials from the very beginning have been keen on using homoeopathy and ayurvedic treatment to boost immunity.

Edited by: PranavJalan

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