Two Studies Show That Coconut Oil Prevents Bone Loss - Save Our Bones

Coconut oil is a versatile and bone-healthy food. Today we’ll look at two scientific studies that confirm the beneficial effects of coconut oil on bone health.

We’ll also examine the difference between virgin coconut oil and regular coconut oil. Although both are similar in appearance, they don’t offer all the same health benefits.

And you’ll also get two new recipes, both of which feature coconut oil, so you can start incorporating this powerful bone-building fruit oil into your daily diet.

Coconut Oil Protects Your Bones

Two recent studies have examined the effects of virgin coconut oil (VCO) on bone loss, and they arrived at the same conclusion: VCO protects your bones against oxidation and also helps to build your bones.1,2

Both studies were conducted on ovariectomized rats, which are a standard and widely accepted model for the study of osteoporosis and human bone remodeling. In each experiment, the rats in the VCO group received a diet of “rat chow” enhanced with 8% VCO. A control group received regular rat chow. After six weeks, the scientists compared the two groups.

The first study assessed the oxidative status of the rats’ bones by measuring the index of lipid peroxidation. That index consists of the malondialdehyde concentration and the levels of endogenous antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase in the tibia — the large bone located at the front of the leg, below the knee.

The authors found that virgin coconut oil can “prevent lipid peroxidation and increase the antioxidant enzymes in the osteoporotic rat model.” The antioxidants increased by the virgin coconut oil have been shown to reverse bone loss.1

The second study looked at the bone itself, assessing differences in bone volume and microarchitecture between the VCO group and the control.

Quoting from the study:

“To summarise our findings, virgin coconut oil effectively improved bone structure and prevented bone loss in osteoporosis animal model. The beneficial effects of VCO on bone microarchitecture may be due to the high polyphenols which exert antioxidant property. Virgin coconut oil could offer an interesting approach to prevent accelerated bone loss in osteoporosis especially in postmenopausal women.”2


Two recent studies show that virgin coconut oil improves bone structure and prevents bone loss.

Virgin Vs. Regular Coconut Oil

There are two types of coconut oil: regular and virgin. It’s important to know the difference.

Virgin coconut oil (the kind used in the research above) is extracted from the fresh milk of the coconut and is unrefined, untreated and unprocessed.

Whereas regular refined coconut oil is extracted from the dried coconut kernel, called copra. The copra is pressed to extract the oil, which is then refined, bleached and deodorized. This process involves chemicals that have a lasting impact on the makeup of the oil.

The two types look almost the same, so read the label carefully. Both contain the medium-chain fatty acids, including lauric acid, which fortifies your immune system and energy levels.3 These fats are different from the long-chain fatty acids found in animal products that can clog arteries and cause heart disease.

Virgin coconut oil contains more antioxidants than regular refined coconut oil. Antioxidants are the compounds that protect your bones from the cellular damage wrought by oxidative stress.

In the researchers own words:

“Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is obtained from fresh, mature coconut kernel without the use of heat and without undergoing refining process [11]. This retains the important biologically active components in the oil such as antioxidant vitamins and phenolic compounds.”1


Regular coconut oil goes through a refining process that robs it of antioxidants and exposes it to chemicals. Choose VCO, preferably organic, to get the bone-building results observed in the studies described above.

Coconut Oil Offers Many Health Benefits

When you incorporate coconut oil in your diet, you get significant bone-building benefits, but there are even more reasons to add it to your shopping list.

  • The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have been shown to improve memory recall in Alzheimer’s patients.4
  • A 2010 study found the oil had a positive effect on wound healing.5
  • The fats in coconut oil facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, allowing you to absorb more of the nutrients in the food you eat
  • Soothe dry skin by directly applying the oil to dry patches
  • Coconut oil increases your ability to burn off calories from fat6
  • The lauric acid in coconut oil kills harmful pathogens such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria7
  • Coconut oil is a non-toxic alternative to many beauty products, from makeup remover to conditioner, to mouthwash.

You can get all of the nutritional benefits of virgin coconut oil by including it in the foods you prepare. Here are two pH-balanced, gluten-free, no-bake recipes to get you started.

Fruity Bars

10 Servings


  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup vanilla whey protein powder
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk
  • ¼ cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or your favorite dried fruit
  • Directions:

    1. Combine the whey protein powder and coconut flour in a medium bowl.
    2. In another medium bowl mash the bananas, and mix in the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until smooth.
    3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water. Then mix in the cranberries or the dried fruit of your choice.
    4. Place the dough shaped into 10 bars inside a pan lined with wax paper. Freeze for at least 20 minutes and serve. It’s best to store these bars in the freezer.

No Cheese Chocolate “Cheese Cake”

8 Servings



  1. For the crust, pulse the almonds and coconut oil in food processor or blender until crumbly, then press on 7-inch pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. For the filling, pulse all the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, until smooth. Spread the filling over the almond crust.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the filling and freeze for at least 10 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

Make Coconut Oil A Part Of Your pH-Balanced Diet

Take advantage of the coconut’s bone-healthy properties by using virgin coconut oil to enrich your pH-balanced diet. The antioxidants it adds to your bones will protect them from oxidative stress and help increase your bone density. Pick up a jar of virgin coconut oil and start fortifying your bones.

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1 Mouna Abdelrahman Abujazia, et al. “The Effects of Virgin Coconut Oil on Bone Oxidative Status in Ovariectomised Rat.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 525079. Web.

2 Zil Hayatullina, et al. “Virgin Coconut Oil Supplementation Prevents Bone Loss in Osteoporosis Rat Model.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 237236. Web.

3 Gray, P., et al. “Fish oil supplementation augments post-exercise immune function in young males.” Brain, Behavior, Immunity. November 2012. 26(8): 265-72. Web.

4 Arun Swaminathan, Gregory A. Jicha. “Nutrition and prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia.”Front Aging Neurosci. 2014; 6: 282. Web.

5 Nevin KG1, Rajamohan T. “Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats.” Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2010;23(6):290-7. Web.

6 Dulloo AG1, et al. “Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996 Mar;50(3):152-8. Web.

6 Jon J. Kabara, et al. “Fatty Acids and Derivatives as Antimicrobial Agents.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1972 Jul; 2(1): 23–28. Web.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. bea mowry

    vivian what is your bone denisity suppose to be

  2. Patricia Richardson

    Dear Vivian,
    Thank you very much for all the wonderful advice you’ve given us over the past year and I wish you and yours a very happy and healthy New Year.
    Patricia Richardson x

  3. Rebecca

    Would refined coconut oil provide protection from osteoporosis?

  4. Azelle A Armijo

    Very informative Thank you. How do I become a part of your study?

  5. Azelle Armijo

    Thank you for this very wonderful information it is very intresting

  6. Joan

    Made fruity bars last night just wondering can I keep them in the freezer
    And do I defrost them for when I want to eat one
    Thanks Joan.

  7. Lorraine

    Incredible! I could mirror Debbie’s comments (age wise and length of time having been diagnosed with osteoporosis). And yes I have been using organic virgin coconut oil for simply ages. At least my GP does not try to talk me into taking drugs as he knows what my response would be.

    Keep up the good work Vivian

  8. shulamit sendowski

    Interesting information on coconut oil. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Shulamit!

  9. adah

    Is there any advantage to bone health in using coconut oil externally for dry skin, instead of lotion?

  10. Aileen

    Can you use the coconut oil topically? …..and if so would that increase the ldl ?

  11. Debbie

    I have been using Coconut Oil for about 4 years now, and back in June of this year, I was coerced into going to my doctor, who had me get a bone scan. They told me I have osteoporosis. BUT – I have been getting this diagnosis for at least 20 years! ! I have a very good diet incorporating MCT and coconut oil along with avocado oil, and I eat a LOT of greens from my garden. I also exercise and have a Jumpsport trampoline. Do you see any reason for me to be concerned, except for my age of 73? I am still active and do ALL my own cooking!

    • Diane

      Hi Debbie, I was diagnosed about 15 years ago, did 5 years of drugs then quit. The doctors have mentioned getting another scan but since I don’t plan to do the drugs again I don’t see why I should when they’ll just pressure me to go on more drugs and since I’ve never had a fracture I keep doing what I’m doing and don’t worry.

  12. Gini Hansen

    I didn’t find a mention of how much coconut oil was needed to make a difference in bone health.
    Is there a recommended amount?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      The general consensus is to consume between 1 and 2 tablespoons per day.

  13. Anita

    The last paragraph in the first 2012 NIH study referenced here states:
    “However, further studies are necessary in order to obtain a more complete evaluation of the therapeutic potential and safety profile of the oil.”
    Coconut oil contains saturated fat. It can raise your LDL levels and you can end up with worse problems than osteoporosis. If you have a problem already with cholesterol levels, consult a nutritionist.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      While MCTs can raise LDL levels, coconut oil (most likely because of its high lauric acid content) has also been shown to increase the size of the LDL and lead to higher HDL levels.

      This is the study:

      Another study has found that the ratio of total to LDL cholesterol is a better predictor of heart attacks than just the levels of LDL. Here’s the link:

      Of course, it makes sense to use coconut oil (and any oil) in moderation.

      • Anita

        So you are saying that people (even those at risk of cardiovascular disease) should go ahead and consume (how much?) coconut oil based on your interpretation of various incomplete studies instead of waiting for the scientific community to conduct further studies to determine safety?

  14. Blanaid Hoare

    Dr Adamo’s blood type diet specifies that blood group O may not use coconut products.
    Your comments will be appreciated

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Science has not yet confirmed sufficient evidence to validate the blood type diet. Here’s the link to a large systematic review study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013:

  15. Maryann

    Hi Vivian,

    I wonder if the same results would come from taking MCT oil. What are your thoughts on this?


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Good question, Maryann, since approximately 65% of the oils in coconut oil are MCTs. The studies were conducted using coconut oil, so we can’t provide you with the outcome using concentrated MCT oils. Coconut oil contains other beneficial components, and the researchers did not attempt to isolate which were the ones that provided the bone health benefits. Additionally, thanks to its pleasant flavor, coconut oil is easy to incorporate into a bone healthy diet.

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