Virgin coconut oil is effective to treat metabolic and inflammatory dysfunction induced by high refined carbohydrate-containing diet in mice

J Nutr Biochem. 2019 Jan;63:117-128. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.08.013. Epub 2018 Sep 1.


The global rise in obesity rates is alarming since this condition is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and secondary comorbidities as glucose intolerance, cardiovascular disease and liver damage. Therefore, a lot of dietary approaches are proposed to prevent and to treat obesity and its associated disorders. Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is well known as a functional food due to its significant amounts of medium-chain triglycerides. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of VCO on adiposity, metabolic and inflammatory dysfunctions induced by a high-refined carbohydrate-containing (HC) diet in mice. Male BALB/c mice were divided into two groups and fed with control (C) or HC diet to induce obesity for eight weeks. At the 9th week mice fed with HC diet were randomly regrouped into four groups, and were kept this way until the 12th week, as following: (i) HC diet alone or HC diet supplemented with three different VCO doses (ii) 1000 mg/kg, (iii) 3000 mg/kg and (iv) 9000 mg/kg. Regardless of the concentration used, VCO supplementation promoted lower adiposity and also improvement in glucose tolerance, lower serum glucose and lipid levels and decreased hepatic steatosis. Moreover, VCO intake induced a lower inflammatory response due to decreased number of leukocytes and TNF-α and IL-6 concentrations in adipose tissue, as well as reduced counts of total leukocytes, mononuclear and polymorphonuclear circulating cells. Our data showed that VCO can be considered as an interesting potential dietary approach to attenuate obesity and its metabolic and inflammatory alterations.

Keywords: Dietary approach; Inflammation; Medium-chain triglycerides; Metabolism; Obesity; Virgin coconut oil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Adipokines / blood
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Animals
  • Coconut Oil / pharmacology*
  • Diet, Carbohydrate Loading / adverse effects
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Panniculitis / diet therapy


  • Adipokines
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase
  • Glucose
  • Coconut Oil