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Could Coconut Oil Alleviate IBS Symptoms?

Updated on July 18, 2016

Cure-All or Hype?

Coconut oil is touted as a magic cure-all by some websites. But could there be some truth to the claims?

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann

I read an article one day about coconut macaroons and how helpful they are to combat IBS symptoms. I didn’t pay much attention until I had a particularly bad flare-up. And then I couldn’t find the specific macaroons mentioned in the article, so I bought a different brand from a local grocery store. I was desperate, and they seemed to help—even though they contained sugar.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find coconut macaroons every time I needed them, although the store did sell organic, virgin coconut oil. I picked up a bottle and tried a teaspoon of oil with breakfast and another with supper every day for about a week. Guess what. It helped. A lot.

I discovered that I could alleviate symptoms with about a half teaspoon twice daily. This was a better option than the alternative: anti-diarrheal medications.

It’s now part of my regular diet.

More Information about Coconuts and Coconut Oil:

• Coconut oil has a long shelf life and doesn’t require refrigeration.

• WebMD reports that it’s used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease as well as other conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

• Ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, gallbladder disease, and pancreatitis are also among the conditions purported to improve with consumption of coconut or coconut oil.

• Proponents claim that the fat (medium-chain triglycerides) in coconut is processed differently by the body than other types of saturated fat. Research to confirm this is preliminary as I write this.

• Some research indicates that coconut oil might increase levels of good (HDL) cholesterol while having minimal effect on bad (LDL) cholesterol.

• More research shows that the type of fat in coconut oil may help the body absorb nutrients more efficiently, while stifling yeast/candida infections.

• Good bacteria love fat, including the fat in coconut oil, which also soothes gut inflammation and kills bad bacteria that can exacerbate IBS.

• One tablespoon of coconut oil contains:
- 14 g fat
- 12 g saturated fat
- 120 calories
- 0 g cholesterol
- 0 g carbohydrates
- 0 g protein

In view of the high concentration of saturated fat, even though pundits say it’s safe, I keep my consumption to a minimum: just enough to control symptoms.

Not sure whether you’ll like the taste of coconut oil? If you go to and use their advanced search to look for coconut macaroon cookies, you should be able to find a recipe that contains IBS-friendly ingredients.


Have you tried coconut oil for irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal conditions and diseases? Your comments are appreciated.

Kathy has written two books about IBS:

The IBS Compass: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Tips, Information, Fiber Charts, and Recipes. Gather the information you need to help set a course to better health.

IBS-IBD Fiber Charts: Soluble & Insoluble Fibre Data for over 450 Items, Including Links to Internet Resources. Load it onto your smartphone and take a copy wherever you go.



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