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Experts: Virgin coconut oil increases good cholesterol

April 19, 2013 12:53pm
While virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been proven to give various health benefits to users, medical experts said it cannot replace pharmaceutical medicine.

"We're not recommending that it could be a substitute for pharmaceutical medicines," Dr. Joven Apostol, one of the doctors from the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) who conducted a study last year on VCO's effects on health, said in an interview with GMA News reporter Jam Sisante on GMA News TV's News to Go on Friday.



The study, commissioned by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), consisted of 110 participants who were made to take 3 tablespoons of VCO every day and 79 others who had to take a placebo drug similar to VCO for four months.

The subjects in the clinical study showed elevated high density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.

"Increasing HDL will decrease the risk for coronary event or even cerebrovascular event which is stroke or heart attack," said Dr. Raymund Naranjilla, a cardiologist at UST, in the TV report.

According to the team's findings, those who took VCO registered levels of drops in triglycerides, a body fat, and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), which is considered a bad cholesterol. Some of the participants in the VCO group also reported higher sex drive during the four-month study.

Apostol likewise said that since VCO is a natural laxative, it causes regular bowel movement.  He said it also increases appetite.

"The highlights of the study showed that taking VCO is safe for human consumption," said Dr. Christina Binag, the research team leader, added in the same report.

This study is what prompted the PCA to write to the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards last April 2 to request for the removal of the "no therapeutic claims" label on VCO products.

"Relative to our discussion this morning, we are re-submitting our request for change of VCO bottles' label from "No therapeutic claims" to "With therapeutic claims." Further, the producers can indicate thereon "Increases Good Cholesterol-HDL," it said in the letter.

Euclides Forbes, PCA administrator, also said coconut farmers stand to benefit if their request is approved.

"May mga kooperatiba ng farmers na gumagawa ng VCO this move will perhaps increase their sale because the scientific finding is some sort of value adding," he said.

He had also earlier said that they aim to replant 138,125 hectares of coco farmland nationwide.

Also, Apostol said hat VCO is just a food supplement.

"We're not recommending that people with high cholesterol should stop taking their drugs for cholesterol and start taking VCO alone," he said. Kimberly Jane Tan /LBG, GMA News



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