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Does Coconut Oil Help the Thyroid?

by
author image Kristeen Cherney
Kristeen Cherney began writing healthy lifestyle and education articles in 2008. Since then, her work has appeared in various online publications, including Healthline.com, Ideallhealth.com and FindCollegeInfo.com. Cherney holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Florida Gulf Coast University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in English.
Does Coconut Oil Help the Thyroid?
Coconut oil may help relieve hypothyroid symptoms. Photo Credit coconut image by citylights from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

An underactive thyroid gland, a condition known as hypothyroidism, is a growing epidemic in the United States, according to the Coconut Diet website. Conventional medical treatments can help reverse the effects of hypothyroidism, but long-term treatment is required. Coconut oil is a type of alternative treatment to help boost an underactive thyroid gland. The effects of Coconut oil on hypothyroidism are debatable. Medical doctors generally advocate the usage of medications while naturopathic doctors might advocate the usage of both. Please consult your physician before attempting any home treatment of a thyroid condition.

Effects

Coconut oil is a type of cooking oil that is composed of medium chain fatty acids, a healthier choice over trans fatty acids. According to The Coconut Diet website, vegetable oils damage cells in the thyroid gland over time. As a result, thyroid hormone production is hindered. Thyroid hormones help regulate your metabolism, body temperature, mood, heart rate and other body functions.

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Benefits

Thyroid-Info reports that coconut oil may minimize the effects of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and a slow metabolism. A boosted metabolism will help you lose weight quicker or help you maintain your current weight. Also, The Coconut Diet website explains that coconut oil helps raise your basal body temperature, reducing cold sensitivity. Cold sensitivity is another common symptom of an underactive thyroid gland.

Evidence

Although coconut oil may help relieve symptoms of an underactive thyroid, the Mayo Clinic reports that there is no scientific evidence supporting coconut oil as a cure for hypothyroidism. A slow metabolism is an effect of hypothyroidism, not a direct cause of the condition. The Mayo Clinic also states that coconut oil is not a proven method of thyroid hormone stimulation.

Prevention/Solution

If you suspect you have an underactive thyroid gland, see an endocrinologist for blood testing. In some cases, you may undergo a thyroid uptake scan to measure how well your thyroid absorbs iodine. Hypothyroidism is often a life-long condition that requires constant treatment and occasional testing. Treatment consists of thyroid hormone replacements such as Synthroid or Levothyroxine. Ask your doctor before taking coconut oil for the thyroid, as supplements may interfere with prescription hormone replacements.

Considerations

Thyroid-Info explains that users of coconut oil in conjunction with thyroid hormone replacement medications may actually get an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. You might experience rapid weight loss, fatigue, anxiety, heat sensitivity and insomnia. Therefore, Thyroid-Info recommends that you continue to receive regular blood tests to ensure that your thyroid is not over-stimulated by hormone replacements while using coconut oil.

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