Coconut oil cleansing has become a popular form of detoxification. People are using it for quick weight loss, detoxification, and more.
But do they really work?
Coconut oil is a saturated fat extracted from the kernels of mature coconuts. It contains nutritious fatty acids such as linoleic acid (vitamin F) and lauric acid (1).
Coconut oil is good for dry skin and atopic dermatitis. It also helps increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” type of cholesterol ( 2 , 3Trusted Source ).
Some people believe that the lauric acid in coconut oil can help with weight loss. However, this has not been proven.
There is no evidence that coconut oil detoxification is healthy or safe, or that it helps with long-term weight loss.
Learn more about coconut oil cleansing methods, benefits, and risks here.
What is a coconut oil cleanse?
A coconut oil cleanse involves eating nothing but coconut oil, up to 10-14 tablespoons daily for 3-4 days. You can also drink water on a coconut oil cleanse, some people eat small amounts of coconut meat in these cleanses.
Unlike juice fasting, a coconut oil cleanse is a form of detox that focuses on removing excess sugar from the body. Coconut oil is used because it contains lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) ( 4Trusted Source ).
Many people say that coconut oil is a type of MCT oil, but this is incorrect.
Coconut oil and MCT oil
MCT oil and coconut oil are not the same thing.
Coconut oil contains a type of MCT called lauric acid. MCT oil, on the other hand, is a product specially formulated to have a high concentration of MCTs.
Once absorbed, MCTs are transported directly to the liver, making them a quick and easily accessible source of energy. They also don’t raise cholesterol levels and aren’t stored as body fat ( 4Trusted Source ).
In addition, some studies show that MCTs can help with weight loss. Coconut oil’s MCT content makes it popular for cleansing ( 4Trusted Source ).
However, the MCTs in coconut oil are not as beneficial as coconut oil proponents claim.
Although it is currently considered an MCT, lauric acid acts like a long-chain triglyceride. The liver only metabolizes about 30% of lauric acid, so most of it goes through the standard process of digestion and absorption ( 4Trusted Source , 5Trusted Source ).
For other MCTs, such as caprylic acid and capric acid, the liver metabolizes about 95% of them ( 5Trusted Source ).
Additionally, since coconut oil is only 50% lauric acid, it is highly inaccurate to assume that coconut oil provides the same benefits as MCT oil.