3 Reasons You Need Coconut Oil for Thyroid Health

By |2017-04-24T22:38:39+00:00July 22nd, 2015|Hypothyroidism, Nutrition|30 Comments
  • coconut oil for thyroid

It’s no secret that the rate of virtually every disease continues to rise year after year.

In a previous post, I mentioned that oftentimes if you want to achieve the opposite results with your health, you must take opposite action.

A perfect example of this can be seen by looking at the fats in your diet.

Coconut oil is by far one of the best fats, or cooking oils, for hypothyroidism because of the fact that it’s highly saturated.

Not only is coconut oil a very saturated fat containing 96% or more saturated fat, but it contains next to no polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), which we know are quite thyroid suppressive on multiple levels.

Before you start cringing and squirming in your seat at the idea of using a saturated fat in your diet, let’s think about it for just a second and use a little common sense for once.

We know that unsaturated fats oxidize easily and promote cell damage.

The reason they oxidize so easily is because of their weak and unstable chemical structure.

Saturated fats on the other hand are extremely stable and do not oxidize.

So, by simply eating coconut oil instead of PUFAs, you’re protecting yourself from accelerated aging and a number of other health problems associated with the oxidative damage caused by PUFAs in your diet.

But won’t coconut oil, being a saturated fat, clog your arteries and cause heart disease?

Unfortunately, that’s what more than a half of a century of brain washing will do to you.

But it’s a good thing that you’re too smart to let that continue to happen, right?

In fact there’s lots of research on coconut oil and how it protects against heart disease.

Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in aging and arteriosclerosis.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3519928

The Demographic Yearbook of the United Nations (1978) reported that Sri Lanka has the lowest death rate from ischemic heart disease. Sri Lanka is the only of the countries giving reliable data where coconut oil (containing over 50% medium chain fatty acids) is the main dietary fat.

What baffles me even more is that regardless of the research, the benefits of coconut oil are still being greatly down-played by the medical community.

In fact, here’s a quote directly from a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist regarding the potential benefits of coconut oil with hypothyroidism:

The misconception that coconut oil can cure underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) arose after publication of a book several years ago touting the beneficial effects of coconut oil. However, there is no evidence that coconut oil stimulates thyroid function.

–       Mayo Clinic Endocrinologist

Even the FDA has stated that coconut oil, being a saturated fat, should be avoided.

Why You Need Coconut Oil for Thyroid Health

Unfortunately, our lack of understanding of physiology and common sense are really what are holding us back from seeing and understanding the benefits that coconut oil provides for hypothyroidism.

Sometimes you have to look beyond the direct effect on the thyroid gland itself and look at the bigger picture.

Most of the benefits of coconut oil for thyroid health have more to do with its ability to help regulate and correct your physiology to prevent other external influences from suppressing your thyroid.

Here are a few examples of how coconut oil directly or indirectly improves thyroid function.

1. Coconut oil displaces PUFAs and their direct harmful thyroid suppressive effects.

As I mentioned above, these so called “heart healthy” polyunsaturated fats that are being promoted are well known to suppress your thyroid on multiple levels: at your gland, in your bloodstream, and at your cells.

By simply eating more coconut oil, you are effectively increasing the ratio of saturated fatty acids to unsaturated fatty acids and therefore displacing the PUFAs in your body which directly improves your thyroid function on all levels.

2. Coconut oil helps regulate blood sugar and stress hormones which suppress thyroid function.

PUFAs are also very effective at lowering blood sugar, and by replacing PUFAs in your body with the saturated fat from coconut oil, it helps to regulate blood sugar and therefore suppress stress hormones.Stress hormones can directly inhibit the thyroid gland by suppressing TSH.

They suppress thyroid hormone conversion in the liver.They also increase Reverse T3 production.

In general, hypothyroidism sufferers overproduce stress hormones.

Many people experience a greater sense of satiety and improved blood sugar control after replacing PUFAs with coconut oil in their diet.

3. Coconut oil protects cell mitochondria against stress and injury, both of which suppress thyroid function.

I talk a lot about the health of your thyroid being largely dictated by your cells ability to utilize thyroid hormone.

PUFAs cause cell damage and alter metabolism on many levels.

free-radicalsFor starters, I’ve already mentioned that they cause oxidative cell damage which directly damages the cell mitochondria and inhibits your cells ability to utilize thyroid hormone properly.

This is why everyone is so gung-ho on antioxidants today.

Everyone is unknowingly pumping their bodies full of bad oils that are causing the very oxidative damage that these antioxidants are trying to protect against.

Coconut oil acts as a potent antioxidant by helping to offset the pro-oxidative effects of the PUFAs, which in turn improves mitochondria and cell health, and promotes the healthy use of thyroid hormone by your cells.

Fractions of coconut oil are now even being used by medicine in the treatment of many kinds of cancers, which in itself goes to show you that coconut oil does play a direct role in improving cellular energy production and therefore improving thyroid function.

What’s the Best  Kind of Coconut Oil for Thyroid Health?

As with most health foods, as they become increasing popular, more and more low quality products begin to hit the market.

Coconut oil is no different.

This is why it’s important to get coconut oil from a reputable source, since the chemical processing often negates the benefits of the oil itself and introduces other potential harmful components.

tropical-traditions-coconut-oilThis is what has driven most people to rely on unrefined virgin coconut oil, but even this isn’t ideal for most people since unrefined coconut oil still contains coconut particulate which can irritate the digestive tract and increase estrogen and stress hormone production.

This is why oftentimes a properly refined (expeller pressed) coconut oil can be a much better option.

Plus it doesn’t have the coconut smell or taste that many people are concerned about.

Click the image above to see the specific type of coconut oil that I myself use and that I recommend to all of my clients.

About the Author:

Tom Brimeyer is the founder of Forefront Health and the creator of the popular Hypothyroidism Revolution program series. Specializing in thyroid and metabolism disorders, Tom's work has impacted over 50,000 people spanning more than 60 countries. Tom is also a highly sought after practitioner who runs a successful health consulting practice where he continues to help clients across the globe to take back control of their lives from their devastating health conditions.

30 Comments

  1. Alissa Garcia July 23, 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Tom, so you are saying eating raw coconut is bad for the thyroid? Uh oh, I love it and like to make fresh coconut milk with my Vitamix. Coconut ice cream too. So I have to avoid coconut flesh completely and stick to just the refined oil?

  2. Sandy October 26, 2015 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Same question. I buy tropical traditions unrefined by the gallon pale cuz I also use it for oil pulling. My hypothyroid was around years before I started using my tropical traditions. I have been doing the iodine treatment and it has been a very slow process but I started with losing my iodine patch at bout 2 hours. Am I self defeating myself?

  3. Wapajea October 29, 2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Hi my thyroid gland is over active what should I do. I already have a diet that is 85% grain and vegetation. The only oil I have in my kitchen coconut, olive, and grape seed. And the only meat I at is bison , and venison. But thyroid still not working right

  4. Susan December 12, 2015 at 6:30 am - Reply

    Even when I was a child the doctors who examined me always seemed to notice the size of my thyroid gland. About 10 years ago a doctor tested me; not only was my system producing no thyroid hormone, but my brain was producing a hormone trying to get my thyroid to produce hormone. (I think that was the explanation I received.) I was put on synthroid (spelling), but didn’t like it because it made me very jittery, so I stopped taking it. A friend of my got me to do the iodine spot test and my body absorbed it very quickly. Since then, I’ve been taking kelp supplements. Growing up my mom used margarine, but I’ve been using butter for years. I’ve also been using olive oil for years and use vegetable oil only when I bake, which isn’t very often. You talk about using coconut oil to help the body use thyroid hormone, but what if there appears to be no thyroid hormone present in the body? How does it help? Also, I’m in complete menopause. I’ve been using the herbal “Estroven”. My daughters have also got me taking krill oil supplements. Will coconut oil really help or is only something else to spend money on?

    • Tom Brimeyer December 14, 2015 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      Estrogen dominance itself and PUFAs directly suppress your thyroid gland. So using PUFA oils and other supplements like Estroven to increase estrogen will only make matters worse. If T4 is typically low then we need to look at and address factors like these that can directly block the gland from releasing thyroid hormone.

  5. nad December 27, 2015 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Is it OK to put coconut oil in my morning coffee instead of cream or milk? Or may be both?

  6. Mary January 2, 2016 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    I know that coconut oil gelcaps are nowhere near as healthy as coconut oil,but since I have been supplementing with them,my levothyroxine dose that I was on for years actually dropped from 275ug to 125ug.I still swear its the coconut oil.My total cholesterol
    Went from 212 to 129.

    • Tom Brimeyer January 3, 2016 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Mary, a total cholesterol of 129 is extremely dangerous and research shows is associated with a much higher mortality risk of elevated cholesterol. In fact, a total cholesterol of 220 is optimal.

      • Kae August 18, 2016 at 9:01 pm - Reply

        I would like to know more about the hazards of low cholesterol. My last blood test put it at the low range of normal. I use butter and coconut oil, occassionally olive oil. I enjoy eggs, red meats. I am not overly strict with my carbs of any sort. My lab results were all really good last go, though yes, the cholestrol was dragging the bottom rung of normal.

        • Tom Brimeyer August 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm - Reply

          Hi Kae, it depends how low it is and what is causing it. With low cholesterol we see an increase risk of death from other causes, such as cancer. Even heart disease risk increases with low cholesterol, but that’s not something that you’ll hear from your doctor. Ideal cholesterol range for lowest overall cause mortality is 200 to 240.

  7. crystal January 18, 2016 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom

    I’m dealing with low energy & getting super cold or super hot every day . My Dr says my levels are fine but I still have no energy to want to do anything & I still get really cold or really hot easily. So how much coconut oil should we have in a day ? & does it matter how we take it ? Thank you for your time.

    Crystal ☺

  8. Gina April 19, 2016 at 12:09 am - Reply

    Does it work for Hasimoto’s

    • Tom Brimeyer April 19, 2016 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Gina, Hashimoto’s is hypothyroidism but with an immune component. And there are a few issues with Hashimoto’s that need to be addressed. There’s an issue of metabolic dysfunction that occurs with hypothyroidism where your cells end up taking up excessive calcium and estrogen becomes excessive. The estrogen blocks the proteolytic enzymes that allow the thyroid gland to release its thyroid hormone, driving the hypothyroid aspect. Estrogen and stress hormone are both well known for causing involution or damage to the thymus gland. The thymus gland sits right behind your breast bone and regulates your immune system. So, damage to the thymus gland affects immune function. Studies have also shown that elevated estrogen increases the production of autoimmune antibodies. Regulating estrogen and stress hormone are two big pieces of the puzzle, but there is more to it than just that. So, you will benefit from any and all of our trainings/protocols. But there’s a lot more that we do with Hashimoto’s as well, which is covered in our more comprehensive HR Program, which you can find more about here: http://www.forefronthealth.com/programs/

  9. Marie April 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I was wondering if it helps after having a thyroidectomy. Had cancer in 2008 and had a total removal of the thyroid. Parathyroids are still intact

  10. Cathy Edwards May 7, 2016 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom, thanks for the article. I have the same question as “nad” ( above). I used to have some coconut oil in with my morning lemon juice. I have started your protocol so wondering how to take the CO besides in cooking. Thanks in advance.

    • Tom Brimeyer May 19, 2016 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Cathy, we typically just use CO in cooking.

  11. Sandy Taylor June 2, 2016 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom, I have been following your protocol for about 8 months now. I am feeling so much better. I was told that I have Hashimotos in June of 2015 via the peroxidase TPO test which was at that time 561. I just had it checked on May 27th, 2016 and it was down to 161. My cholesterol was up from last year by 22 points. The cholesterol total was 218 with my LDL at 132 and the HDL was 69. The nurse mentioned statins and I said no so suggested I take fish oil twice a day. What do you suggest as a safe supplement for reducing cholesterol.
    I only use coconut oil now for almost a year now. My T4 was 1.75 the TSH was 1.520 and the Triodothyronine free serum was 2.3.. All are showing in their normal range. Also is the hydronized gelatin power good for me to use. I just have purchased some at my local health food store. It is bovine. Thanks for all you do! Sandy

    • Tom Brimeyer June 3, 2016 at 11:03 am - Reply

      Hi Sandy, I’m happy to hear that. Your cholesterol is actually perfect. Mortality studies show ideal cholesterol to be 220, so don’t pay attention to the lab ranges and decline the toxic fish oil. Keep in mind that with Hashimoto’s the only way to truly diagnose it is through biopsy of the tissue. The presence of antibodies does not mean that they are infiltrating the gland.

  12. Cissy Iannino June 12, 2016 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Love reading that there is help for the thyroid other than lab made drugs! So…how do I take it? When is the best time? Thank you in advance!

  13. Carmo Andrade July 6, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

    My estrogen levels are within the recommended reference. What other reason could there be for my increased antibodies? They are coming down since I increased my selenium (through supplements I’m afraid (but also by following your program 🙂 ). But still need to bring them down further…

    Also another question…I’ve read somewhere that taking coconut oil may not be good if you have any breast issues…Is this true? I used it mostly to cook…

    Hope to hear from you about this.

    • Tom Brimeyer July 6, 2016 at 7:23 am - Reply

      Estrogen can’t be accurately measured through blood labs as it tends to accumulate in the tissue and not the blood.

  14. Jimalee McGee August 18, 2016 at 10:09 am - Reply

    My gallbladder was removed several years ago. Will coconut oil aggravate my system ?

    • Tom Brimeyer August 18, 2016 at 10:17 am - Reply

      Hi Jimalee, it’s generally tolerated better as it doesn’t require bile to be digested. But you should start slow and see how you respond.

  15. Marie August 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    why is fish oil toxic.???. my doctor said I should take it for elevated cholesterol of 209 Triglycerides 136 and HDL 43 non HDL Chol 166 and LDL CALC 139.. Lipid Profile.

  16. Katrina August 20, 2016 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom,
    I love the way I feel so much better when I eat for my Hashimoto’s as you have guided me, it really works. I travel a lot which makes it hard but always take my coconut oil and vitamin E and use as you suggested.
    By far the best diet tip you have given me is the 3 superfoods (organic orange juice with rock salt, coffee and butter + byo coconut oil) for Thyroid which are easy to get anywhere when travelling (have to study the OJ source but can always buy real oranges if there is only reconstituted juice).
    My daughter is 6 weeks pregnant and has just been diagnosed with under-active thyroid when she had full blood tests for pregnancy. The doctor put her on Thyroxin 110 mg immediately and told her she had a high chance of miscarriage with a thyroid condition.
    Can you please share some info about pregnancy and thyroid problems and anything that should or should not be done to help a safe healthy pregnancy please?

    • Tom Brimeyer August 22, 2016 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Katrina, I’m happy to hear about your success. As for pregnancy, adequate progesterone and regulating estrogen is very important. I’ve also written a bit about the necessity of fructose here: http://www.forefronthealth.com/you-need-fructose/

      Risk of miscarriage does increase with hypothyroidism, but I don’t think that should be the focus of medical intervention. Any added stress like that is going to hurt instead of help.

  17. Shasha April 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    I can’t use saturated fat/coconut oil and hardly olive out which clogs my blood vessels. When my thyroid was low even fish oil seemed to hurt me. I know my glands need saturated fat to work right. All my glands are not working well.

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