Coconut Kernel Protein Modifies the Effect of Coconut Oil on Serum Lipids

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1999;53(2):133-44. doi: 10.1023/a:1008078103299.


Feeding coconut kernel along with coconut oil in human volunteers has been found to reduce serum total and LDL cholesterol when compared to feeding coconut oil alone. This effect of the kernel was also observed in rats. Since many plant proteins have been reported to exert a cholesterol lowering effect, a study was carried out on the effect of isolated kernel protein in rats. Feeding kernel protein resulted in lower levels of cholesterol, phospholipids and triglycerides in the serum and most tissues when compared to casein fed animals. Rats fed kernel protein had (1) increased hepatic degradation of cholesterol to bile acids, (2) increased hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis, and (3) decreased esterification of free cholesterol. In the intestine, however, cholesterogenesis was decreased. The kernel protein also caused decreased lipogenesis in the liver and intestine. This beneficial effect of the kernel protein is attributed to its very low lysine/arginine ratio 2.13% lysine and 24.5% arginine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / metabolism
  • Arginine / analysis
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol / biosynthesis
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Cholesterol Esters / metabolism
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cocos / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Liver / anatomy & histology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Lysine / analysis
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Phospholipids / blood
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Plant Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Cholesterol Esters
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Lipids
  • Phospholipids
  • Plant Oils
  • Plant Proteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Arginine
  • Cholesterol
  • Lysine
  • Coconut Oil