Recently we have become involved with a new essential oils company and as we looked at the company I began to learn more concerning nutrition and health. I noticed how many people use fractionated coconut oil (FCO) as a carrier; I found this interesting because my wife will not use FCO unless there is no other option. When I’ve questioned people about the use of FCO they have said to do my research because it is a very good oil and very nutrifying to the body.
Recently I met a man named Joshua Plant, he made this comment, “The true measure of intelligence is not what you know, but the recognition of what you don’t know.” I am not a scientist nor have I spent a lifetime studying this topic, but I have become passionate about it.
The following information comes from many sources and it is provided to hopefully be a resource in helping you make wise decisions.
My two year old son is like my wife in that he knows what is good for his body and does not need to know about the supporting science. Every time virgin coconut oil (VCO) is brought out to mix with an essential oil, he is there grabbing some of the coconut oil (which is a solid below 76 degrees) and eating it.
When studying VCO, invariably the main item of discussion is the Lauric Acid which makes up approximately 50% of VCO. Lauric Acid is a medium chain saturated fatty acid and VCO is the most abundant natural source of Lauric Acid. Human breast milk is the only other source that comes close to such a high concentration of Lauric Acid.
The increased immunity and health of babies that breast feed is well established and much of that may be attributable to Lauric Acid. Additional benefits of VCO are that Lauric Acid has been shown to reduce symptoms of digestive disorders, improvement of immune functions and effectively fights bacterial, viral and fungal infections. VCO also boosts the body’s metabolism, supports the thyroid and provides optimal nutrient absorption. There is a lot of information available and one of the best places to learn is on www.coconutoil.com. The sight has all kinds of information including peer reviewed research.
Now let me say a few things that I have learned about Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) acknowledging first that I still have so much to learn about both.
FCO I’m sure is not the worst thing that can be used and in a few ways it is more advantageous than VCO. Here are the advantages that I see for FCO over VCO:
*Long shelf life
*Very inexpensive compared to VCO
*Quickly absorbed through the skin
My understanding is that FCO is the result of a hydrolysis reaction with VCO which removes the Lauric Acid and most of the other triglycerides leaving mainly Capric acid and Caprylic acid. The higher concentrations Capric and Caprylic acid are often praised. Many sources state that they have qualities of fighting against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. However my thought is how can these saturated fatty acids, Capric and Caprylic be as effective separately than when they are included naturally with Lauric Acid.
I found one research paper from Hindawi Publishing Corporation with a research article about the hydrolysis process which I was told was simply an application of water to VCO to ‘fractionate’ it and end up with FCO. However the process appears to require an enzyme called Lipozyme, which is being highly promoted as a weight loss product. Additional chemicals used are sodium hydroxide, tributyrin and n-hexane. Know that I am still studying this in my effort to get a clearer understanding of FCO and VCO.
Past experience makes me believe that to lower the price of a product if you can take one gallon of the original product for example and manipulate it such that you still end up with something similar, but with five gallons (this is just an example) now and are able t increase your profit margins then it will be done.
I have been told and a number of sources state that FCO is much more expensive due to the processing than VCO, but well worth the price. However, in researching costs of oils I have never seen VCO that is less expensive than FCO. There is an additional type of coconut oil that may be called “Natural”, but is extracted through either high heat or with chemicals. I believe this is also sometimes called RBD Coconut Oil for ‘Refined, Bleached and Deoderized’. This RBD oil that I have seen is quite a bit cheaper than the FCO.
I’ll finish by saying I’m very comfortable with my two year old and my wife’s intuitive reaction to VCO and we will continue using it not only as a carrier oil with our essential oils, but also in our cooking, for a before and after sun oil (not a sunblock), mouth wash pulling, etc.
Please share your comments and experiences and look for follow up articles; I still have so many questions, such as expeller pressed versus cold pressed; what was the big deal with coconut oil used for popcorn in theatres; are there lobbyists for some portion of coconut manufacturing (similar to the corn & soy lobbyists); what tests are being done on saturated, mono-saturated, poly-saturated and French fries; can VCO help my thinning hair; why refine, bleach & deodorize coconut oil; is VCO an aphrodisiac; what is the difference of extra virgin coconut oil….
*The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants: U.S. National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/
*Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil: U.S. National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20645831
*Organic Facts; Fractionated Coconut Oil: https://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/fractionated-coconut-oil.html
*Peer Reviewed Research: www.coconutoil.com: http://coconutoil.com/peer_reviewed/
*Hydrolysis of Virgin Coconut Oil Using Immobilized Lipase in a Batch Reactor: Enzyme Research: Hindawi Publishing Corporation: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/er/2012/542589/