Background: The literature reports that the health benefits of vegetable oil can be deteriorated by repeated heating, which leads to lipid oxidation and the formation of free radicals. Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is emerging as a functional food oil and its health benefits are attributed to its potent polyphenolic compounds. We investigated the beneficial effect of VCO supplementation on lipid profile, liver and kidney markers in rats fed repeatedly heated palm kernel oil (HPO).
Methods: Rats were divided into four groups (n = 5). The control group rats were fed with a normal diet; group 2 rats were fed a 10% VCO supplemented diet; group 3 administered 10 ml HPO/kg b.w. orally; group 4 were fed 10% VCO + 10 ml HPO/kg for 28 days. Subsequently, serum markers of liver damage (ALT, AST, ALP and albumin), kidney damage (urea, creatinine and uric acid), lipid profile and lipid ratios as cardiovascular risk indices were evaluated.
Results: HPO induced a significant increase in serum markers of liver and kidney damage as well as con- comitant lipid abnormalities and a marked reduction in serum HDL-C. The lipid ratios evaluated for atherogenic and coronary risk indices in rats administered HPO only were remarkably higher than control. It was observed that VCO supplementation attenuated the biochemical alterations, including the indices of cardiovascular risks.
Conclusions: VCO supplementation demonstrates beneficial health effects against HPO-induced biochemical alterations in rats. VCO may serve to modulate the adverse effects associated with consumption of repeatedly heated palm kernel oil.
Keywords: atherogenic indices; hyperlipidemia; palm kernel oil; virgin coconut oil.