Doctor's Note

The "shouted from every mountain top" argument is not entirely convincing. For example, we've known for decades that our #1 killer is preventable and reversible (see Resuscitating MedicareOur Number One Killer Can Be Stopped, and China Study on Sudden Cardiac Death), yet the medical community continues to rely more on drugs and surgery. Why? Well they likely weren't taught clinical nutrition in medical school (Medical School Nutrition Education), or after medical school (California Medical Association Tries to Kill Nutrition Bill), and the medical establishment has shown a disturbing inertia even when presented with convincing evidence (see The Tomato Effect). The difference is that coconut oil doesn't have the data to back it up. What's the potential downside of giving coconut oil a try? Find out in my next video Does Coconut Oil Clog Arteries?

Please be sure to check out my associated blog post for more context:  Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    Getting a bit “Test-e” I see about the whole Coconut Oil rave.


  • Jeff K

    I like to go with the evidence and avoid the rumors and internet adds. Yet, my girlfriend was suffering from hypothyroidism and the prescriptions were just messing her up. Too little T3 and she was groggy all day and gained weight but at the next highest dose she was anxious, lost weight and couldn’t sleep. I watched her suffer for several months and then impulsively suggested she try a tablespoon of coconut oil each day instead of the drugs- even though I got this advice from the rumor mill. I figured, “What the heck, it’s only 100 extra calories. Can’t do any worse than the meds.” Guess what? It worked for her- even if it won’t for anyone else. Within a couple of months the doctor confirmed that her TSH levels were for the first time in the normal range without her meds, and she hasn’t had any complaints of a lack of energy or weight gain since. I’ve started taking the equivalent amount of whole coconut (about 2-3 square inches) each day myself.

    • d1stewart

      Now, two months later, still working?

      By the way, 100 extra calories a day is over 10 pounds of weight gain in a year.

      • Bart

        In theory that is. Calories from coconut oil can’t be directly translated to weight gain. Besides, the classic calorie dogma truly isn’t legit anymore…

  • Guest

    Mongolian gerbils natural diet consist of High Sat Fat coconut oil? No so don’t say that our human testes will shrink from consuming it. I’m surprised he didn’t list off reasons why the high saturated fat in coco oil was causing heart disease. Oh wait he didn’t because there isn’t any data for it.

    • Thea

      Guest: I don’t think you understood the point that Dr. Greger was making. Anyway, if you are interested in the heart disease connection, consider checking out next Monday’s video. Good luck.

  • Thea

    This information is desperately needed. There are so many people pushing coconut oil. I hear all the time about how people have heard about how good it is for you. Once a rumor like this gets started (like dairy is good for your bones), it is SO hard to stop it. Thanks for giving us a review and perspective on the science. MUCH appreciated!

    • Peter

      I really appreciate what I am learning from Dr Greger but have some reservations about his take on cholesterol and coconut oil.
      If cholesterol is a cause rather than just a correlation of CVD and coconut oil causes high cholesterol (as Dr Greger asserts) why is it that Dr Joseph Mercola can make this statement:
      “Did you know that multiple studies on Pacific Island populations, who
      get 30-60% of their total caloric intact from fully saturated coconut
      oil, have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease?” He then backs it with a raft of study references?

      • MacSmiley

        Dr. Mercola makes a lot of unsubstantiated claims, some of which he has received cease and desist letters for from the FDA.

        There is a world of difference between natives eating whole coconut and Westerners downing tablespoonsful of extracted oil.…which he just happens to sell.

        At any rate, Plant Positive has a video considering the evidence on these islanders:

        • Toxins

          Dr. Mercola indeed has made some wild claims, some of which include not showering with soap and only with water for adequate vitamin d absorption.

          • Ben Williams

            What is so radical about that? I do it, as soap is not good for your skin and the beneficial bacteria on your skin.

            All you need to do is use baking soda and vinegar on your arm pits, groin, and feet. You can even deodorize with salt.

            Personally, I view the cease and desist letters from the FDA as proof that he is correct. I HARDLY trust anything the FDA says now with the serious conflict of interest they have.

          • Toxins

            If someone is to make health claims, they must use an honest, evidence based approach. Dr. Mercola is another Dr. Oz, believing in fads and showing poor studies to prove it despite the evidence to the contrary.

          • Hollywood Resident

            I think most people give instant credibility to anyone with the Dr. prefix before their name, instead of realizing that anyone can be wacky or corrupted in the pursuit of money and fame. What’s great about this site is Dr. Greger & team are drawing all their information from STUDIES that have been done, in combination with specific medical knowledge to create new ways to see the studies in context with what delivers the most benefit since we can no longer escape exposure to toxins in modern life. But if I had to work next to a dude who only scrubs his nads with salt and vinegar, I’m pretty sure I’d show him the real meaning of the word radical.

      • Ingal

        My understanding is that even though there may be an increase in cholesterol from coconut oil, the “good” cholesterol is what increases–which essentially lowers your risk of heart disease–or at least does not increase it. Do check this out…but as has been pointed out, populations which use coconut oil a lot don’t have nearly the level of heart disease as we do in the U.S. The lauric acid in coconut oil seems to have many positive health benefits. So if you take something other than virgin coconut oil, be sure it hasn’t had the lauric acid removed. Some “coconut oil” contains a number of medium chain triglycerides (also called medium chain fatty-acids), but may NOT contain LAURIC acid. Be sure your coconut oil hasn’t been tampered with!!! BTW, breast milk is also relatively high in lauric acid and is credited with providing some of the antimicrobial benefits to newborns.

  • abeleehane

    Thanks for the always rational thinking in your videos. Sometimes I feel that vegans prefer to opt for crackpot theories instead of science based facts. Hopefully this bit of sanity will steer us towards reflecting at decisions made from our wishful thinking.

    • MacSmiley

      Vegans and vegetarians do not have a monopoly on pseudoscientific beliefs and practices. Omnivores are in the majority in this regard, just as they are the majority in the general population.

  • B

    I love making decisions on good evidence-based research. Sometimes we stretch the research and generalize to the well-being of the whole organism based on favorable effects and data, ie. When certain foods or extracts zap cancer cells in the petri dish. So I’m wondering…if I just assume there are some good chemicals in coconut oil…whether or not there is solid evidence-based research and testing on humans…are those substances found in other whole foods as well? Perhaps ones with less fat. Or is there just something really special and unique about coconut oil?

  • Deane Alban

    You may think that treating Alzheimer’s with coconut oil sounds like a bunch of bunk, but the drug companies don’t. One company has come up with a prescription-only “medical food” called Axona that provides ketones, similar to those in coconut oil.

    Alzheimer’s Weekly ran a cost comparison — a month’s supply of Axona costs $120 while a month’s supply of coconut oil costs $6.60. You can bet if there is money to be made the drug companies will be all over it.

    Dr. Mary Newport has written a detailed account of her husband’s treatment with coconut oil and his progress in Alzheimer’s Disease — What if There Was a Cure? It was very exciting and encouraging for me to see her husband’s progress with this home remedy.

    As a neonatal physician, Dr. Newport is familiar with the use of MCTs with newborns. They’re administered to premature babies because the oil is easily utilized even by babies with no digestive enzymes. MCTs are also added to all infant formulas.

    So I wouldn’t write coconut oil off, yet!

    • MacSmiley

      Anecdotes are not science, however compelling.

      • MrLs

        No, but with as many as there are, it should make us stop and question why they exist.

        • MacSmiley

          Which is why Dr. Newport should have published a documented case studies of her husband and others rather than publishing unsubstantiated claims in the popular press.

    • MacSmiley
  • iVegan, CPT

    I think it’s pretty obvious now that there are no cure-all foods or products. Coconut is certainly one that companies have been trying to over-sell because of the versatility of the product. Although it may not cure alzheimers its definitly a healthy and delicious way to high cooked foods. Mushrooms sautéed in coconut oil mmmm.

  • chris

    usualy, I agree with your videos , thistime not :I gave my 88year old mother her first coconut oil pot , 1 year ago….. the difference is AMAZING , she was in early stage ALZHEIMER , she regained clarity in 1month using 3 tablespoons per day ! her whole personality changed , vivid, joyfull, talking, energique…my old mam IS BACK…… so sorry that science does not back this up ….. I believe wath I SEE ( she still uses it, instead of other fat)

  • rachel

    I see nothing wrong with TRYING raw coconut oil in someone’s diet
    who has alzheimers or dementia to see if there is a positive effect.
    Most people consume poor sources of fat and at the very least
    coconut is healthier than lard, butter, margarine, olive oil (?),
    canola (the rapeseed hybrid–ugh!) and the awful oils listed in many processed food ingredients.
    namaste’, rachel

    • Toxins

      It is 91% saturated fat, this exceeds all percentages of saturated fat in lard, and butter.

      • Ben Williams

        Maybe our recommended daily doses of Saturated fat are wrong…

        I eat eggs, butter, and coconut oil and milk everyday. I have no cholesterol problems, and I am very healthy.

        Sugar and grains are the real enemy of your heart.

        • Toxins

          There is literally no evidence to justify your claims. Fad bloggers and appealing books are not considered evidence, and this is where the idea of “carbs are bad” comes from. If your cholesterol is in the normal target range, that is not exactly normal, as over 70% of heart attacks occur in the optimal range. This does not mean cholesterol is negligible, it means that the optimal recommendations are set too high. Having LDL below 70 and total below 150 is truly optimal. The foods you eat have more far reaching implications than raising your cholesterol, and I encourage you to explore this website further.

          • Ben Williams




            “Cholesterol is needed for life. It’s the parent molecule for all the major sex hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. It’s needed for the immune system, and it’s needed for the brain. (In fact, one of the most serious side effects of cholesterol-lowering medication is memory loss.)”

          • Toxins

            Articles to mercola, and other websites are not scientific primary sources. Please share studies, I typically have no interest in see these web pages unless you have a primary source.

            In addition…

            “Given the capability of all tissues to synthesize sufficient amounts of cholesterol for their metabolic and structural needs, there is no evidence for a biological requirement for dietary cholesterol. Therefore, neither an Adequate Intake nor a Recommended Dietary Allowance is set for cholesterol. There is much evidence to indicate a positive linear trend between cholesterol intake and low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration, and therefore increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). A Tolerable Upper Intake Level is not set for cholesterol because any incremental increase in cholesterol intake increases CHD risk.”


          • Ben Williams

            Your source is almost 10 years old.. Seems a bit outdated if you ask me.

            And all except one of the articles I posted have sources of their own. I think you can take the time to verify their validity by clicking on the links provided within the articles themselves. I’m not so concerned about your opinion that I will force feed it to you.

          • Toxins

            My source is the national academy of sciences current recommendations, the year the page was printed has no bearing on the quality of the source.

            And I have little interest investigating each source from the shared articles, the fact that they come from random websites including mercola’s quackery is enough of a red flag for me

  • Don

    I wonder, really, really wonder what Dr. (sic) Mary Newport is really selling here? Does “snake oil” ring a bell. While there is a lot of BS cures out there, there is absolutely “no real” cure or treatment or Alzheimer’s at this time. True story: A friend; who believed something about a cure that a friend of her’s told her about, asked me and roughly 100 plus other folks about the cure and they all (including me) all told her NO, it’s total hog wash. Upon asking the 126th person, she received a positive response to her cure question. The next day I received a phone call as well as an e-mail: See, I told you that it works. IF we really, really believe something, we can believe. Coconut oil is good for you. I use it almost daily but not to cure anything. It’s great on “toast”, in the “frying pan”, on “popcorn” etc.

  • R Ian Flett

    What makes this topic so difficult is the fact that both coconut oil and red palm oil are consumed in high quantities by certain ethnic groups in the Pacific and Africa without any of the adverse consequences associated with saturated fat consumption in Western societies.

    It could be that these fats are only harmful in the presence of inflammation, but there are other theories also, such as the protective effects of high MCTs or gamma-tocopherols in these natural products.

    It badly needs more research aimed at solving this apparent epidemiological paradox.

  • tashi

    Hi. Thanks for your articles and effort. Letting you know, I had a problem with your links though. “Find out in my next video Does Coconut Oil Clog Arteries?.” results in “sorry, the page you are looking for no longer exists”.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      That’s the video that goes up on Monday–the link will be live then. Sorry for the cliffhanger!

  • Gerhardt Steinke

    Kudos on another great post! DOCTOR’S NOTE is GREAT.
    Dr. Greger’s Nutrition Facts web site is superbly organized!

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Thanks for your kind feedback. I only wish I started the whole Doctor’s Note thing from the very beginning! One of these days I hope to go back and add notes to the first few hundred videos.

  • Kaymao

    I love butter. Seeing as how it isn’t too healthy, I replace it with coconut oil for certain things. It certainly can’t be any worse than butter.

  • Jobuck

    What these tests fail to do is identify the kind of coconut oil being consumed and the remainder of the diet… Sure would like to trust these studies but we know most are bunk and will fall in favor of what is intended..

  • Martin Reaves

    I don’t agree or disagre with any of this…except one radically inane idea: That “if it worked” it would be shouted from the mountain top. WRONG. It has been scientifically proven–conclusively–that limiting animal protein in our diet absolutely inhibits and can even reverse some types of cancer growth. Who’s shouting that little nugget from a mountain top??? No one–the beef and poultry people wouldn’t allow it. And at last count cancer was far more prevalent and deadly than alzheimer’s. The outcome of any test or study is directly related to who stands to profit.

  • Greg Orme

    I was wondering if anyone had heard about using perispinal Etanercept for Alzheimer’s. As far as I can work out they think it is caused by inflammation which is why the Etanercept seems to work.

  • Jeff

    Results will always speak louder than any laboratory

  • tree

    do you have any helpf for MPS111 Sanfillipo syndrome children?

  • pupko

    On a related topic, i would appreciate a future video on utilizing the ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy. I do not know of any resources on how to go about this using a vegan diet. Perhaps coconut oil might find a useful place as part of that regimen.

    • mikke

      This video sucks ! big time ….Sugar , carbs and grains , wheat , factory man made food are the real enemy of your heart. not coconut oil ~ most Americans are becoming insulin resistant , the cause of most diseases ; Read the book called
      The Protein Power Lifeplan by Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades (Paperback)

  • Calvin Leman

    Coconuts don’t grow where I live in Idaho. Not a food for me for that reason.

    • oiler

      you can buy the oil in a supermarket

      • Calvin Leman

        I am more self-sufficient than buying at a supermarket.

  • GoingVeganUK
  • Malia

    And you totally crack me uP!! Hahaha! <3

  • Mikke

    This video sucks ! big time ….Sugar , carbs and grains , wheat , factory man made food are the real enemy of your heart. not coconut oil ~ most Americans are becoming insulin resistant , the cause of most diseases ; Read the book called
    The Protein Power Lifeplan by Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades (Paperback)