In a recent post, we talked about the differences between saturated and unsaturated fats and explained why fat is an essential part of a healthy diet.
Fat is used as a major source of energy by the body, and is also used to absorb vitamins and minerals, support the growth and development of cells, maintain brain and nerve function, and keep skin and tissue healthy.
As one of nature's healthiest fats, coconut oil has a huge range of health benefits for pets and people. These include the power to boost the immune system, support brain health, aid the digestive system, and fight infection.
But did you know that recent research also suggests that coconut oil has powerful liver-protecting properties?
That's right, coconut oil may actually help protect the liver and support the overall health of this vital organ. To find out how, let's take look at the unique properties of coconut oil and how it's used by the body.
Therapeutic-Grade Coconut Oil
Before we go into specifics about the liver-protecting properties of coconut oil it's important to note that only natural, therapeutic-grade coconut oil is suitable for supporting liver health.
Unlike most coconut oils found in stores, CocoTherapy organic virgin coconut oil is a therapeutic-grade oil. This means that it's a healthy, all-natural product that contains a high percentage of beneficial MCFAs including lauric, capric, and caprylic acids that are responsible for its unique nutritional profile and health benefits.
For more information about avoiding low-quality coconut oils please refer to our previous post, Fake Oils: Virgin Olive Oils Can Fake It, and so Can Virgin Coconut Oils.
Coconut Oil and the Liver
The liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It detoxifies, builds proteins, secretes hormones, produces bile necessary for digestion, and performs innumerable other tasks that ensure the body functions efficiently.
About two-thirds of the fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). When consumed, the body breaks down MCTs and utilizes medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) for their beneficial properties.
MCFAs are immediately transported from the digestive tract into the liver without needing bile to be metabolized. They are then used for energy rather than being stored in the body like other types of fats. The conversion of MCFAs into energy is thought to benefit the liver by reducing its workload and preventing fat accumulation.
MCFAs also have antimicrobial properties that enable them to destroy harmful viruses which can attack the liver causing infection or hepatitis. In addition, they protect the liver from free radical damage and prevent tissue injury, enabling liver regeneration while supporting the immune system.
And because coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties it can help reduce the inflammation and swelling that's usually associated with fatty liver disease.
Scientific Research into Coconut Oil and Liver Health
Recent research on coconut oil and liver health has shown that coconut oil protects against liver toxicity. In a study published in the May 2014 edition of the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, researchers found that the active components of coconut oil had protective effects against liver toxicity.
The results of a study published in the October edition of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture also show that virgin coconut oil is a safe and effective treatment with the power to reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Therapeutic-grade coconut oil is a healthy, natural product that's been shown to have protective properties which help support liver health.
Although coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat, it's important to feed it to your pet in moderation as part of a balanced, species-appropriate diet.
As always, before giving any new treat or supplement, talk to your holistic veterinarian about incorporating coconut oil in your pet's diet. We also recommend feeding a small amount of coconut oil to begin with and increasing the dosage gradually.
Some pets may need a while for their digestive systems to adapt, especially if they are not used to much fat in their diet. For more information about using coconut oil with your pet please click here.
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