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Using Virgin Coconut Oil Against COVID-19? Here's What Recent Studies Say

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated May 31, 2021

Using Virgin Coconut Oil Against COVID-19? Here's What Recent Studies Say

Virgin coconut oil against covid-19? Is it really effective in treating or preventing the disease?

About Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil, or VCO for short, is a powerhouse in the health, diet, and beauty world.

It is popular with keto dieters and vegans because it contains healthy fats, curb appetite, provides extra energy, and it contains no animal products. The use of VCO is not limited to food but is also a popular remedy for restoring moisture and shine to dry skin and hair.

It seems to work wonders on everything else so naturally, people have looked into using alternatives such as virgin coconut oil against COVID-19.

Promising Research on VCO

Even before COVID came into the picture, numerous studies have been done using VCO to determine its components and effects on the body.

VCO contains lauric acid, which is a medium-chain triglyceride that has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.

How does VCO work against COVID-19?

According to the results of a study that was first proposed in January 2020 led by Dr. Fabian Dayrit of Ateneo de Manila and the National Academy of Science and Technology, several components found in VCO were shown to be safe and effective against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 or the COVID-19 virus.

Because vaccine rollouts for COVID are slowly making their way around the world, finding something as promising and readily-available as VCO is truly a godsend in these trying times.

How Well Does it Work?

The results of the study showed that there was a decrease in viral replication and viral load (the total amount of a virus in a person’s body) by 60 to 90% in the patients tested.

Another incurable virus that has been studied using VCO is HIV, in which improved the white blood cell count as compared to the placebo group. 

There are three mechanisms that VCO seems to work against different viruses:

  1. Destroying the viral coating
  2. Blocking the entry of viral protein into the host’s cells
  3. Stunting maturation of the virus

Since the entire study has yet to be published and viewed by the public, the answer to the question, “How does VCO work against COVID-19?” is still a bit vague but the researchers suggest that the findings are promising.

Other groups of scientists are also looking into other readily-available medicines such as melatonin and lagundi to be used to combat COVID until a vaccine is released.

Is Herbal Medicine Effective Against COVID-19?

Purchasing Guide for Virgin Coconut Oil

With this new information, you may be looking to use virgin coconut oil against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Before you run to the store and pick up any coconut oil displayed on the shelves, it is important to know what to look for.

Coconut oil versus virgin coconut oil

As the Philippines is currently the world’s biggest producer and exporter of coconut oils, it’s quite easy and fairly affordable to find and purchase this product.

You may have encountered coconut oil in your local grocery store beside other types of edible cooking oil like canola, palm, and olive oil.

This type of coconut oil can be used to fry food and add subtle coconut flavor to dishes, however, it is not the same as virgin coconut oil.

The difference between the two oils lies in the refining process.

Virgin coconut oil is derived from the white, fresh coconut flesh while refined (cooking) coconut oil is expressed from dried coconut meat. 

The fresh meat contains a bit of milk in addition to oils which imparts extra nutrients. VCO is pressed using low to no heat as opposed to the refined oil, which uses heat, clay filters, and sometimes chemical solvents to extract as much oil as possible.

Because of this, VCO is considered healthier and purer than regular coconut oil.

Liquid versus solid virgin coconut oil

If you see one container of virgin coconut oil on the shelf that looks white and opaque then see another that is a clear liquid, don’t worry. As long as it is clearly labeled “virgin coconut oil”, they are the same thing.

Because of the high saturated fat content of coconut oil, it tends to solidify at cooler temperatures, but will quickly return to liquid form at warmer temperatures.

It can be used as either a solid or liquid as it does not affect the nutritional value or content.

Food-grade vs cosmetic-grade virgin coconut oil

You may encounter discussions online regarding food-grade and cosmetic-grade virgin coconut oil.

In general, food-grade is safer and higher quality as it is required to pass certain criteria before it can be deemed edible or safe for consumption.

Cosmetic grade substances are acceptable for use in things like makeup, lotions, shampoos, and soaps.

You won’t likely find cosmetic grade coconut oil in your local grocery store as it is usually available in massive quantities meant for drug and cosmetic manufacturers.

If you would like to use virgin coconut oil against COVID-19 by adding it to your food or applying it to dry skin, it would be safe and preferable to stick with food-grade VCO. As a general rule, food-grade materials can be used in place of cosmetic-grade substances but not vice versa.

Key Takeaways

Virgin coconut oil seems to live up to its hype and beyond, unlike some other herbal and alternative remedies. VCO somehow does work against COVID-19 and the researchers of the study under the Philippine Council on Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) are confident that it is safe, effective, and most of all, available.

But as with any new discovery, more studies are needed to further support these current findings.

Learn more about COVID-19, here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Written by

Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


Updated May 31, 2021

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