Virgin coconut oil reverses hepatic steatosis by restoring redox homeostasis and lipid metabolism in male Wistar rats

J Sci Food Agric. 2018 Mar;98(5):1757-1764. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8650. Epub 2017 Oct 12.


Background: Hepatosteatosis, a form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is being increasingly recognized as a major health burden worldwide. Insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and imbalances in adipokine/cytokine interplay are reported to be involved in the onset and progression of this disease. Use of dietary nutraceuticals in prevention and treatment of NAFLD is emerging. Virgin coconut oil (VCO), a fermented product of fresh coconut kernel, has been shown to impede the development of hepatosteatosis in rats. This study analyzes the potential of VCO to reverse the already developed hepatosteatosis condition.

Results: Hyperglycemia, reduced glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia, and hepatic macrovesicles in high-fructose-diet-fed rats (4 weeks) confirmed the development of hepatosteatosis. Natural reversion in these parameters was observed upon shifting to normal diet in untreated control animals. Administration of VCO, however, increased this natural reversion by improving high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (53.5%) and reducing hepatic and serum triacylglycerols (78.0 and 51.7%). Increased hepatic glutathione level (P < 0.01), antioxidant enzyme activities (P < 0.05) and reduced lipid peroxidation were also noticed in these animals. These observations were in concordance with reduced liver enzyme activities (P < 0.01) and restoration of altered hepatic architecture.

Conclusion: The study indicates that VCO can be used as a nutraceutical against hepatosteatosis. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: dyslipidemia; hepatosteatosis; high-fructose diet; hyperglycemia; oxidative stress; virgin coconut oil.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coconut Oil / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diet therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Triglycerides
  • Coconut Oil