Safety assessment of widely used fermented virgin coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) in Malaysia: Chronic toxicity studies and SAR analysis of the active components

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016 Nov;81:457-467. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2016.10.004. Epub 2016 Oct 15.

Abstract

Fermented Virgin Coconut Oil (FVCO) is widely used in the Southeast Asia as food and traditional medicine. The objective of the present study is the evaluation of chronic safety of the commercialized FVCO of Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. A single dose of 5000 mg/kg of FVCO was administered orally in rats (each group, n = 5) for the acute toxicity study and 175, 550 and 2000 mg/kg for sub-chronic and chronic studies (each group, n = 10), respectively. The behavior, mortality, and body weight of the rats were assessed to determine the toxic effects of FVCO. The haematology, biochemistry and histopathology of the treated rats were evaluated. The treated rats were safe with the dose of 5000 mg/kg in acute, sub-chronic and chronic indication. Abnormal clinical signs and morphology (gross necroscopy), changes of organ weight, anomalous haematology and biochemistry indexes were not found in comparison with the control (p > 0.05). In general, food and water intake were higher in the treated rats related to control. It was concluded that the presence of the antioxidant active compounds of FVCO might be the reason of safety. The structure activity relationship (SAR) provides a comprehensive mechanism to determine the safety that is the presence of the electron donating phenolic groups, carbonyl groups, and carboxylic acid in the ortho and meta position of the aromatic rings. The SAR showed the antioxidant properties of myristic acid and lauric acid determined by GC-MS analysis. This result suggests the safety of FVCO for chronic use, nutritional activity that FVCO formulation complies the requirements of regulatory agencies.

Keywords: Fermented virgin coconut oil; SAR; Safety; Southeast Asia; Toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Coconut Oil
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fermentation*
  • Food Safety*
  • Malaysia
  • Male
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Plant Oils / toxicity*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley

Substances

  • Plant Oils
  • Coconut Oil