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Article: The Dark Side Of Coconut Oil - A Cautionary Tale

Discussion in 'Coconut Oil' started by CoolTweetPete, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. CoolTweetPete

    CoolTweetPete Member

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    This was posted on the Ray Peat Fans Facebook, and I wanted to get everyone's take. The author points to studies showing increased chances of autoimmunity in people who consume large amounts of coconut oil. He recommends people, who eat more than a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil consume large amounts of vegetables in order to promote fermentation and formation of short-chain fatty acids.

    No one on Facebook has offered any sort of rebuttal. I've included some relevant excerpts from the article. Link to the article and studies at the bottom. Would love to get folks take on this as I am far too dumb to argue against it lol.

    :hattip

    ------------------------------------

    In this study, researchers first added FAs ranging from C4 to C12 (from butyric acid to lauric acid) to naïve mouse T cells, showing that as the length of hydrocarbon backbone increased, the number of T cells that differentiated into Th17 cells increased in a strikingly linear fashion.

    So what are Th17 cells, and why should we care?

    Imbalanced T cell subsets drive numerous autoimmune diseases, and an abundance Th17 cells (called Th17-skewed immune system) can result in inflammatory autoimmune disease, including intestinal bowel disorder (IBD) and multiple sclerosis (MS).

    See, Th17 cells are meant to attack parasites and pathogenic bacteria, but having too many of them in your body can increase the chances of their attacking your own tissues, such as myelin sheaths in the case of MS. But while Th17 cells promote inflammation, they can be balanced by anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells (Tregs), and it is the ratio of pro- and anti-inflammatory T cells, not the absolute number of each cell type, that is predictive of health and disease.

    Anyways, so back to this study. Mice eating higher amounts of LA exhibited Th17-skewing in the intestines, worsened MS symptoms, and changes in the microbiome (reduction in Prevotellaceae and S24-7 of the bacteria Bacteroidetes phylum). Disease worsening was actually worsened by this microbiota shift, as repeating this study with germ-free mice (that have no intestinal microbiota) did not result in Th17-skewing.

    To be clear, these results show that high amounts of coconut oil can create rampant inflammation, nerve damage and worsen an autoimmune disease.


    Remarkably, feeding mice the SCFA proprionic acid (C3) both prevented the onset and alleviated symptoms of MS. The overall conclusion of this study is that through the intestinal microbiota, LCFA can induce pro-inflammatory T cells, and SCFA ca induce anti-inflammatory, regulatory T cells.

    Therefore, SCFA can mitigate the harmful effects of LCFA.

    In other words, if you consume SCFA along with your coconut and MCT oil based LCFAs, you mitigate the damage.

    And where do you get SCFAs in quite generous amounts?

    You guess it: vegetables.

    A high-fat diet? Thumbs mostly down.

    A high-fat diet mixed with a high intake of nutrient-rich, SCFA-inducing plants? Thumbs up.


    -----------------------------------

    http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/201 ... xtremists/

    http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/wp- ... estine.pdf
     
  2. Blossom

    Blossom Moderator

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    Perhaps they meant inflammatory or irritable bowel disorder instead of intestinal bowel disorder?
     
  3. Such_Saturation

    Such_Saturation Member

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    :eek: :ss
     
  4. OP
    CoolTweetPete

    CoolTweetPete Member

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    I would think so, I noticed a number of other grammatical/syntax errors in Greenfield's article as well, lol.

    The study itself; However, does mention inflammatory bowel disease. Seems he has trouble paraphrasing. :?
     
  5. Agent207

    Agent207 Member

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    But is it just coconut oil, or every oils, since all of them cointains larger amounts of LCFT? coconut oil is the one with the shortest carbon chain fatty acids; even the lauric is shorter than the most fatty acids found on the rest of the oils, including olive. So why the title cautions specific about the coconut oil when it should be the safest regarding that?
     
  6. XPlus

    XPlus Member

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    What other different things was the mice diet made up of.
    Eating more fat in the diet interferes with sugar metabolism (especially when there isn't enough sugar in the blood stream). Relying more on fat for fuel isn't ideal.
    That's why Peat usually recommends only a tsp of CO with every meal and a low fat diet in general.
    Also, LA isn't exactly coconut oil but since repeating the study with germ-free mice didn't skew their supposed marker, the problem obviously isn't in the oil - it's in the bacteria-diet interaction.
     
  7. Hugh Johnson

    Hugh Johnson Member

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    So mice with induced auto-immune disease have worse symptoms when fed SFA, which is protective against PUFA induced immune suppression?

    I might have missed something relating to gut bacteria and SFA being antibacterial in the gut, though.
     
  8. Suikerbuik

    Suikerbuik Member

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    Thanks for bringing this up CoolTweetPete :)
     
  9. thyrulian

    thyrulian Member

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    Thought this would've been obvious to a bunch of Peatarians.

    I'm depressed now.
     
  10. Such_Saturation

    Such_Saturation Member

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    Did you check your blood sugar?
     
  11. narouz

    narouz Member

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    Coconut oil has no dark side, silly.
    Everybody knows this.
     
  12. mt_dreams

    mt_dreams Member

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    I guess this means if you have an autoimmune disorder, then trying low fat & moderate soluble fiber diet might be advantageous. I wonder if this means the reverse for people who have a overproduction of th2 like with cancer, though maybe not due to the fact you wont be getting any regulatory th17 from the reverse consumption.

    I think the original author wrote that you get scfa from veggies due to the fact that he eats truck loads of the stuff. You can make the stuff from fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, cream, resistant starch, etc. if you don't like consuming above ground veggies,you could first try things like potatoes, kohirabis, parsnips, jerusalem artichokes, beets, or fruits like pears, oranges, pomelos before diving into some of the harder to digest vegetables. Onions are high in fos which I believe are great in producing scfa.
     
  13. haidut

    haidut Member

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    There is no dark side, the study simply showed that eating coconut oil increased the immune response in a mouse model of MS. This is actually a GOOD thing, as "autoimmune" conditions where your own immune system attacks you simply do not exist. The ramping up of immune response is the result of tissue breakdown that the immune system is simply trying to clean up lest it poisons you or invites a deadly bacterial infection. The tissue breakdown, especially in the nervous system, is usually caused by high estrogen, low levels of neurosteroids, or potentially a viral infection (i.e. JCV, EBV, herpes). All of these are results of hypothyroidism. The immune system's job is to maintain tissue integrity, and clean up disintegrated tissue that is prime food for viruses and bacteria.
    home_page
    You see, if you start with the premise that autoimmune conditions are caused by overactive immune system then of course anything that activates the immune response even more would be bad by definition. Of course, the "autoimmune" industry conveniently avoids explaining why people with "autoimmune" conditions (and thus overactive immune system) are much more prone to viral and bacterial infections, and even cancer.
    The cure for "autoimmune" conditions is not to suppress the immune system! That is at best misguided and at worst potentially lethal approach - i.e. I am sure you have all seen the ads for Humira, Entyvio, Remicade, Embrel, etc and their side effects of causing cancer. The solution is to inhibit tissue breakdown, and that's why therapies increasing NAD levels are so effective.
    viewtopic.php?f=75&t=5014

    NAD levels, and actually NAD/NADH ratio, is one of the most reliable biomarkers for good health and metabolism. Oh and btw, raising NAD levels also stimulates the immune response.
    http://www.jleukbio.org/content/93/5/669.full
    http://www.idi.harvard.edu/uploads/inve ... d_2009.pdf

    Why is this not detrimental for the "autoimmune" conditions, but rather therapeutic?!?

    Giving cortisol to people with "autoimmune" conditions is one of the worst things you can do. Cortisol will suppress the immune system AND also increase tissue breakdown. So, the people with "autoimmune" conditions taking cortisol or any other immunosuppressive therapy tend to die much earlier than people not taking anything. And here is the "fun" part - these people tend to die of cancer, systemic infections, or especially nasty conditions like PML. Not that there are any nice lethal conditions, but PML progression is much like Mad Cow disease and turns a person into a zombie before they expire.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressi ... phalopathy
    Again, if anybody doubts that suppressing the immune system is a bad thing just look up the side effects of Humira or Embrel - the blockbuster immunosuppressive drugs used for virtually all "autoimmune" conditions.
    Adalimumab - Wikipedia
    Etanercept - Wikipedia
     
  14. marikay

    marikay Member

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    @haidut - wow - every time i read once of your posts, my mind is blown again. And never more so than this last post. Thanks.
     
  15. haidut

    haidut Member

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    :hattip
     
  16. Vinero

    Vinero Member

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    So a good example for the dumb approach by modern medicine would be giving cortisone/corticosteroids to people with eczema or skin rashes? What started out as a small skin rash treated with topical cortisone ended in a full body eczema rash that was dependent on cortisone to keep the flare ups under control. All the while I got weird symptoms like constant anxiety, restlessness, pressure in head, popping/cracking sounds in head, difficulty sleeping and relaxing etc. Once I stopped the cortisone my body broke out in a heavy rash that lasted a few months, and with time it healead itself, and the weird cortisone induced symptoms are now gone. Look op topical steroid addiction/ red skin syndrome. People with rashes are commonly prescribed the damaging topical steroids, making the situation worse in the long run, and creating additional problems as cortisone is highly catabolic for the body and immunosupressive. The correct thing to do is to let the body do what it wants to do, create a rash/small inflammation to get rid of the toxins created by estrogen or inneffecient metabolism. And taking actions to avoid the rash in the first place by correcting metabolism, not by supressing the immune system with cortisone. The sad thing is that people are not aware of the dangerous and addictive properties of cortisone they are being presribed to clean up a rash. The docters wil insist it is harmless and at worse might thin the skin with overuse. But the effects of cortisone are systemic not local even though they say the cream only acts local. Don't fall into the same trap as I did. The cortisone will feel very good in the beginning as it supresses the inflammation and seems to give you endless energy, but after a few months the toxic effects begin to appear creating all kinds of disturbing side effects and a dependence on the topical steroids to have normal skin. Stopping the steroids cold Turkey, supplementing progesterone and niacinamide, and doing nothing and riding it out is what I did to heal. I feel fine now and all my symptoms are gone thanks to this.
     
  17. Suikerbuik

    Suikerbuik Member

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    Everything has a down side, including water. In reality things are far more nuanced and are about balance; whether things are good or bad depend on one's particular physiology, which is clearly different in the case of MS. Beyond what they state here, coconut oil has known immunomodulatory effects (I don't feel to simply generalize these to be good or bad).
    The point this speaker seemingly wants to make is to be cautious about consuming heaping spoons of coconut oil -- as he supposedly advised earlier, like many other paleo blogs where sometimes people use up to a liter CO per week.
    RP seems to consume coconut oil in the order of teaspoons nowadays, not saying that people coming from a western-PUFA-laden-diet should restrict themselves to a few tsp. as they are likely better off consuming more.

    I am unfamiliar with the autoimmune industry, but there are explanations: T-cell exhaustion.
     
  18. haidut

    haidut Member

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    Thanks.
    In regards to your last point about the T-cells - given that they are involved in the relapse phase of conditions like MS, how can people with T-cell exhaustion still have pretty bad relapses?
     
  19. Suikerbuik

    Suikerbuik Member

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    That is really difficult to say.. The body is an immensly dynamic organism constantly (fortunately) trying to achieve balance, influenced by seasonal changes, activity, altering balance in microbiome, changing antigen burdens, emotional influences, etc. It is not that their immune system isn't functioning. And as you say, the inflammation isn't there without reason.

    The next paper may inform you more, as they also find interesting gene expression patterns http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26123020. I have the fulltext and supplementary data somewhere, in case you're interested and don't have access to.
     
  20. haidut

    haidut Member

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    That''s a very interesting study. Thanks for sharing, reading it now.
     
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