Have GI Problems? Then You HAVE To Try This – It’s Super Easy

By on December 4, 2015
So there’s a fungal pathogen in your stomach threatening to kill you–what do you reach for?

One study says it has the answer: Coconut oil.

It’s only been proven to work for mice thus far, however. A study reported earlier this week found that treating mice infected with C. albicans, a type of fungal pathogen, reduced it by more than 90 percent, working just as well as antifungal drugs. They tested other concoctions but they didn’t succeed quite as well–so coconut oil works, at least if you’re a mouse.

Details of the study are published in the journal mSphere.

“Food can be a powerful ally in reducing the risk of disease,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “This study marks a first step in understanding how life-threatening yeast infections in susceptible individuals might be reduced through the short-term and targeted use of a specific type of fat.”

The Research

The research, which was led by microbiologist Carol Kumamoto, tested out three different types of dietary fats on C. albicans pathogens which had infected the guts of laboratory mice. One mice group was set aside as the control group, given no treatment for their condition. Other groups of mice were fed a different type of fat, however, such as beef tallow, soybean oil, or coconut oil. Previous studies had discovered that coconut oil possessed antifungal properties.

So what worked best?

According to their findings, coconut oil reigned supreme, reducing the amount of C. albicans in the stomach by more than 90 percent. The other fats, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have an effect on this pathogen.

For researchers, this is an important discovery, as antifungal drugs can have a host of serious side effect. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is perfectly safe–aside from making you gain a few pounds if you overindulge, that is.

“We want to give clinicians a treatment option that might limit the need for antifungal drugs,” says Kearney Gunsalus, Ph.D., an Institutional Research and Academic Career Development postdoctoral fellow at the Sackler School, who helped write the study. “If we can use coconut oil as a safe, dietary alternative, we could decrease the amount of antifungal drugs used, reserving antifungal drugs for critical situations.”

It will probably be a long time before coconut oil is used in lieu of antifungal drugs, however, warn researchers. More clinical trials are necessary to see how it specifically affects fungal pathogens in humans, something which will take years to carry out.

Still, there’s hope, say researchers.

“Extrapolating to humans, these findings suggest that coconut oil could become the first dietary intervention to reduce C. albicans GI colonization,” write researchers in mSphere.

Readers: Do you think it’s a good idea to find natural alternatives to drugs? Why or why not?

Coconut Oil Can Control Overgrowth of a Fungal Pathogen in GI Tract, Study in Mice
Manipulation of Host Diet to Reduce Gastrointestinal Colonization by the Opportunistic Pathogen C. Albicans (Study)

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