Researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) in Ireland tested the antibacterial power of coconut in two states. The first was in its natural state. The second was coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, similar to digestion.
Coconut oil is one of the easiest fats to digest.
The coconut oil was then tested against harmful strains of bacteria. They found that coconut oil treated with enzymes—mimicking the digestion of coconut oil—blocked the growth of unwanted bacteria.
That’s not all. They also found that enzyme-treated coconut oil disrupted the growth of Candida yeast—the same yeast behind thrush, yeast infections, and leaky gut.
Coconut oil is chock-full of powerful antibacterial fatty acids. These fatty acids are only fully released when coconut oil is effectively digested.
While coconut oil contains powerful antibacterial fatty acids like lauric acid, these fatty building blocks are most effective when released through the digestive process. Once the fats in coconut oil are broken down into fatty acids, they can act against harmful bacteria and yeast.
Dr. Damien Brady, lead researcher of the AIT team, explains that, “With increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection.”
We begin digesting fat as soon as it enters the mouth. As you chew, saliva delivers an enzyme called lipase. Lipase helps release fatty acids from fat molecules.
Though the digestion of fat starts in the mouth, most of the real action takes place in the small intestine. As the gallbladder shoots out bile into the small intestine to emulsify fat, the pancreas releases more lipase enzymes, which continue to break down fat into fatty acids.
Fortunately, coconut oil is one of the easiest fats to digest because it contains medium-chain triglycerides. This type of fat is passively absorbed through the gut wall and does not require the help of bile.
If you want to get the most out of coconut oil and use it to fight infection, you must break it down with lipase enzymes.
Incorporating coconut oil into the diet is a straightforward alternative to chemical additives—like triclosan and antibiotics. Dr. Brady says that, “Products of human digestion show antimicrobial activity. This could have implications for how bacteria colonize the cells lining the digestive tract and for overall gut health.”
In other words—what we eat matters. How we digest it matters too.
This is why we also recommend that you support your digestion with Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes. When the body is unable to break down food, like fats, we miss out. We miss out on nutrients, and—in the case of coconut oil—we miss out on the opportunity to fight bacterial and yeast infection.