Research findings that suggest beneficial health effects of dietary supplementation with virgin coconut oil (VCO) are limited in the published literature. This study investigated the in vivo effects of a 5-week VCO-supplemented diet on lipid profile, hepatic antioxidant status, hepatorenal function, and cardiovascular risk indices in normal rats. Rats were randomly divided into 3 groups: 1 control and 2 treatment groups (10% and 15% VCO-supplemented diets) for 5 weeks. Serum and homogenate samples were used to analyze lipid profile, hepatorenal function markers, hepatic activities of antioxidant enzymes, and malondialdehyde level. Lipid profile of animals fed VCO diets showed significant reduction in total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level increased significantly (p < .05) compared to control; and there were beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk indices. The level of malondialdehyde (MDA), a lipid peroxidation marker, remarkably reduced and activities of hepatic antioxidant enzymes-superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx)-were markedly increased in VCO diet-fed rats. The VCO diet significantly modulated creatinine, sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl-), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) compared to control. The findings suggest a beneficial effect of VCO on lipid profile, renal status, hepatic antioxidant defense system, and cardiovascular risk indices in rats.
Keywords: antioxidants; atherogenic index; cardiovascular indices; electrolytes; lipid profile; virgin coconut oil.