What Is Fractionated Coconut Oil Good For?

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a highly beneficial type of fat 
due to its richness in medium-chain fatty acids that can positively impact metabolism. Fractionated coconut oil is a variation of coconut oil and primarily made up of two medium-chain fatty acids. It is marketed as a type of coconut oil that remains liquid even when refrigerated. This is a comprehensive review of fractionated coconut oil and its impact on health.

What is fractionated coconut oil?

Fractionated coconut oil is derived from traditional coconut oil. Both regular and fractionated coconut oil are excellent sources of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which consist of fatty acids with 6 to 12 carbon atoms. However, the composition of fatty acids between these two oils differ greatly. Coconut oil primarily contains the 12-carbon lauric acid (C12), but most or all of this fatty acid has been removed from fractionated coconut oil.

In addition to the removal of long-chain fatty acids, fractionated coconut oil also consists mainly of two medium-chain fatty acids: caprylic acid (C8) or octanoic acid, and capric acid (C10) or decanoic acid. 

These medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are metabolized differently compared to other types of fat. They are rapidly transported to the liver from the digestive system and can be used as a prompt source of energy or converted into ketone bodies, which have the potential to bring therapeutic benefits to individuals with epilepsy.

Fractionated coconut oil is generally flavorless, odorless, and costlier than standard coconut oil. It is comparable or even the same as MCT oil.

In summary, fractionated coconut oil is produced from traditional coconut oil and is primarily composed of medium-chain fatty acids, caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10).

How is fractionated coconut oil made?

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Fractionated coconut oil is produced through a process known as fractionation, which separates different types of fats in oil. Fractionation is utilized to create new consumer products.

The melting points of various fats vary, making fractionation possible. For instance, lauric acid and long-chain fatty acids have a higher melting point compared to caprylic acid and capric acid, causing them to solidify faster upon cooling.

Fractionated coconut oil is produced through a process referred to as fractionation. This process involves heating the oil above its melting point, allowing it to cool, and separating the solid portion from the liquid.

The entire fractionation process can take several hours.

In summary, fractionated coconut oil is manufactured using fractionation, a technique that leverages the varying melting points of fats to separate them.

Fractionated coconut oil may help you lose weight

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Consuming a diet high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), the primary component of fractionated coconut oil, may support weight loss. Most studies on this effect have replaced other fats in the diet with MCTs.

MCTs may help with weight loss by:

  1. Decreasing hunger and calorie intake
  2. Boosting fat and calorie burning
  3. Reducing the likelihood of being stored as fat.

It's important to note that the amount of weight lost is generally small.

A review of 13 studies showed that, compared to other fats, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) resulted in an average weight loss of 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) over a three-week period. It's worth noting that half of the studies were funded by MCT oil manufacturers, which raises concerns about potential bias.

In conclusion, incorporating MCTs into your diet may result in small weight loss benefits, as they may help reduce hunger and increase fat burning, and are less likely to be stored as fat.

Other potential health benefits

The MCTs in fractionated coconut oil have been linked to various health benefits, including:

  • Reduced insulin resistance: One study showed that taking MCTs may lower insulin resistance and improve other risk factors for people with diabetes and excess weight. However, more research is needed to confirm this (11Trusted Source).
  • Epilepsy treatment: Children with epilepsy may benefit from a ketogenic diet that includes MCTs, as the addition of MCTs can allow them to eat more carbs and protein, making the diet easier to follow (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
  • Improved brain function: One study reported that MCTs may improve brain function in some people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, but further research is needed (14Trusted Source).
In summary, the MCTs in fractionated coconut oil have the potential to enhance exercise performance and improve various health conditions, but more research is required to confirm these effects.

Most fractionated coconut oils don’t contain lauric acid

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Lauric acid is a key component of coconut oil, making up about 50% of the oil and being one of the richest dietary sources of this saturated fat.

Lauric acid has been linked to several health benefits, including the ability to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi, as well as provide protection against various infections (15, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

However, most fractionated coconut oils do not contain lauric acid or have only a minimal amount of it.

As a result, fractionated coconut oil lacks many of the health benefits associated with regular coconut oil that contain lauric acid.

In summary, Fractionated coconut oil is liquid because its lauric acid has been removed. Thus, it does not provide the health benefits that are associated with lauric acid.

How is it used?

Fractionated coconut oil is marketed under three different names, including:

  • Fractionated coconut oil: This oil is commonly used for various household and personal care purposes, such as as a moisturizer, hair conditioner, and massage oil.
  • MCT oil: This product is frequently used as a dietary supplement, with a common dosage recommendation of 1-3 tablespoons per day.
  • Liquid coconut oil: This oil is marketed as an edible cooking oil.

In essence, these are all the same product being marketed for different consumer uses.

In summary, Fractionated coconut oil is known by different names, including MCT oil and liquid coconut oil, but all of these names refer to the same product. It can be used for skin care and cooking purposes.

Safety and side effects

For the majority of people, consuming fractionated coconut oil is considered safe.

However, there have been reports of digestive symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, particularly in children who are on an MCT-enriched ketogenic diet (18Trusted Source).

In rare cases, some individuals may have an allergy to coconut or coconut oil, which could result in adverse reactions when consuming fractionated coconut oil (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).

In summary, While fractionated coconut oil is generally well-tolerated, it may cause digestive issues in some individuals and adverse reactions in those who are allergic to coconut or coconut oil.

Bottom Line

The essence of the matter is that fractionated coconut oil is created by dividing the different types of fats found in regular coconut oil. The result is two medium-chain fatty acids which may cause a moderate amount of weight loss and some other health advantages. Although fractionated coconut oil may have some positive aspects, it is more processed than its regular counterpart and lacks the beneficial lauric acid.

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Why Is Coconut Oil Good for You? A Healthy Oil for Cooking

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Coconut oil serves as a prime illustration of a contentious food item. While it often receives high praise in the media, some researchers question its claimed benefits. 

Coconut oil has faced criticism due to its high content of saturated fat, however, recent research indicates that saturated fat may not be as harmful as previously thought. The question remains: is coconut oil a detrimental, artery-clogging substance or a nutritious cooking oil? This article examines the available evidence.

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Despite its positive effects on blood lipid levels, there is currently no evidence to support that coconut oil has an impact on major heart-related outcomes, such as heart attacks or strokes.

In summary, studies suggest that consuming coconut oil can increase the levels of HDL cholesterol and potentially lower the risk of heart disease, but more research is needed to confirm its impact on hard endpoints.

Coconut Oil May Help You Lose Weight

There are indications that coconut oil may aid in weight loss. One study of 40 women with abdominal obesity found that consuming coconut oil resulted in a decrease in waist circumference compared to soybean oil and also improved other health markers. 

Another controlled study of 15 women revealed that the use of virgin coconut oil in a mixed breakfast reduced appetite compared to extra-virgin olive oil. These benefits may be due to the presence of medium-chain fatty acids, which have the potential to cause a slight reduction in body weight.

Despite some studies suggesting that coconut oil may help with weight loss, the evidence is still limited. Scientists have questioned the benefits and some have pointed out that the evidence on medium-chain fatty acids cannot be directly applied to coconut oil. Further research is needed to fully understand the weight loss benefits of coconut oil.

In summary, A limited number of studies suggest that coconut oil may have some moderate impact on reducing belly fat and suppressing appetite, however, the weight loss benefits of coconut oil are controversial and not definitively proven.

Historical Populations That Ate a Lot of Coconut Were Healthy

If coconut oil was truly unhealthy, one would expect to observe negative health effects in populations where it is consumed in large quantities.

Contrary to this expectation, there have been instances of populations who consumed high amounts of coconut oil, such as the Tokelauans and Kitavans, who were known to have remarkable health and wellness. The Tokelauans obtained over 50% of their calories from coconuts and had the highest saturated fat intake in the world, while the Kitavans consumed up to 17% of their calories from coconut-sourced saturated fat.

Both the Tokelauans and Kitavans appeared to have no evidence of heart disease despite their high intake of saturated fat and were generally in excellent health (as cited in sources 18 and 19).

It is important to consider that these populations followed holistic healthy lifestyles, consuming large amounts of seafood and fruit and minimal processed foods.

It is worth mentioning that their primary source of coconut was in its natural form such as coconut flesh and coconut cream, rather than the commercially processed coconut oil commonly found in supermarkets today.

Despite this, these observational studies suggest that people can maintain good health while consuming a diet high in saturated fat from coconuts (as cited in sources 18 and 19).

It is important to remember that the exceptional health of these Pacific indigenous populations was due to their overall healthy lifestyle, not solely their high intake of coconut oil.

Ultimately, the potential benefits of coconut oil likely depend on your overall lifestyle, diet, and physical activity level. If your diet is unhealthy and you lead a sedentary lifestyle, consuming a high amount of coconut oil will not bring health benefits.

In summary, Indigenous populations in the Pacific who followed traditional diets consumed significant amounts of coconut without any noticeable adverse effects on their health. However, it is likely that their good health was a result of their overall healthy lifestyles rather than their consumption of coconut oil specifically.

Bottom Line

The benefits of coconut oil remain the subject of debate, but there is no credible evidence suggesting that a moderate intake of coconut oil is harmful. In fact, it may even have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels, though its impact on heart disease risk is currently unclear.

This is due to its high concentration of lauric acid, a type of saturated fat that is uncommon in most foods.

In summary, consuming coconut oil appears to be safe and may even be beneficial to your health, but like all cooking oils, it is recommended to use it in moderation.

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Source: https://www.healthline.com

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