Thyroid Problems & Coconut Oil

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Can coconut oil boost thyroid health
Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Thyroid Problems & Coconut Oil

There has been a lot of buzz lately about thyroid problems and the potential of coconut oil to help improve them. Dr. Oz seems to be joining the bandwagon, and other doctors are mentioning the link as well.

So is there a connection and if so, what is it?

Coconut Oil and Thyroid Problems

While there seems to be at least a correlation between certain dietary changes and an increase in thyroid problems (correlation doesn’t necessarily equal cause), there is some debate about what is actually causing the increase in thyroid problems.

A source explains that the cause could be a variety of contributing sources:

“A sluggish thyroid may be triggered by many unseen causes, including…

  • MSG and bad fatty acids, so common in our diet, can weaken your thyroid.
  • A deficiency of iodine is on the rise, and without enough iodine, your thyroid won’t produce the hormones you need.
  • As you age, your risk of an unbalanced thyroid dramatically increases.
  • Popular prescription drugs for your heart, bones and blood sugar can lead to a sluggish thyroid.
  • Exposure to too much fluoride or chlorine in drinking water can interfere with normal thyroid function.
  • Menopause or pregnancy and treatments such as Estrogen Replacement Therapy can throw the thyroid out of whack.
  • A family history of thyroid concerns may cause thyroid dysfunction.
  • Autoimmune health problems can cause your thyroid to go haywire.”

Can Coconut Oil Help?

Unlike the polyunsaturated oils in many foods, coconut oil is high in (healthy) saturated fat, lauric acid, and medium chain fatty acids. It’s unique structure makes it a highly usable source of energy for the body and its particular fat balance is nourishing to the thyroid. As this article elaborates:

50 percent of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth!

Nigel Turner and Jiming Ye from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research compared fat metabolism and insulin resistance in mice fed coconut oil and lard based diets.

“The medium chain fatty acids like those found in coconut oil are interesting to us because they behave very differently to the fats normally found in our diets,” said study leader Turner.

“Unlike the long chain fatty acids contained in animal fats, medium chain fatty acids are small enough to enter mitochondria – the cells’ energy burning powerhouses – directly where they can then be converted to energy.

Coconut oil has a direct effect in suppressing inflammation and repairing tissue, and it may also contribute by inhibiting harmful intestinal microorganisms that cause chronic inflammation.

The medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found in coconut oil are the same as those in human mother’s milk, and they have extraordinary anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. By disrupting the lipid structures of microbes, they inactivate them. Lauric acid, its metabolite monolaurin and other fatty acids in coconut oil are known to protect against infection from bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and parasites. While not having any negative effect on beneficial gut bacteria, coconut oil inactivates undesirable microbes.

An excellent study from McGill University reviewed many previous studies on this topic was published in the Journal of Nutrition (Vol. 132, pages 329-332). Researchers reported that several different studies have shown weight loss equivalent to 12 – 36 pounds a year simply by changing the types of oils used in everyday cooking and food preparation.

Vegetable oils also have a negative effect on the thyroid. In fact, these polyunsaturated oils may be the worst villains in the spread of thyroid diseases.

The thyroid is small, yet one of the largest glands in the endocrine system. Endocrine system diseases are usually caused by inadequacy or excess of hormones or inappropriate response to hormones by tissues.

Is coconut oil a thyroid cure? Not by itself. Can it help people with low thyroid function? Yes, because it stimulates metabolism and boosts energy. For this reason, coconut oil has been a blessing to many people who have been able to abandon their medications with the right combination of exercise, removal of processed foods, and a balanced diet.”

What I Do

Thyroid problems and thyroid cancer run in my family so I want to be as proactive as possible in protecting my thyroid. Thankfully, I love coconut oil and use it for everything already, but I’ve made a special effort to use it in high amounts daily to nourish the thyroid. This is what I do:

  • Add up to 1/4 cup a day to hot teas and coffee (Here’s my favorite recipe)
  • Use up to 1/4 cup a day in cooking
  • Up to 1/4 cup a day added to smoothies

With all that saturated fat, have I gained a ton of weight? Quite the opposite, as this seems to help me lose weight and maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. It seems others have had similar experiences too.

At the very least, this regimen has helped me have enough energy to meet the daily demands of raising five little ones without the afternoon slump I used to get. It has also helped my skin stay clear and improved my sun tolerance, so I’m not complaining!

Cautions About Coconut Oil

Coconut oil works great for me, but it might not be the answer for everyone.

If you’re new to taking coconut oil, be sure to get your lipids checked regularly. Some people experience elevated triglycerides and total cholesterol when they take coconut oil. If your levels increase, I recommend that you stop taking coconut oil.

Also, animal studies find that coconut oil can cause leaky gut and inflammation when in excess.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Terry Wahls, a clinical professor of medicine and clinical research and has published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific abstracts, posters, and papers. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Have you used coconut oil to help with thyroid issues? Has it helped? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


115 responses to “Thyroid Problems & Coconut Oil”

  1. Luxe Avatar

    For the past several years my TSH was around 6 consistently. I have not taken any meds for it and my most recent TSH was around 4.5. I’ve been eating better overall (avoiding processed foods and refined sugar) but I’ve also been eating a ‘fat bomb’ with coconut oil for about the past 6 months (my prior TSH of 6 was about 6 months ago). It could be a coincidence, but I have a feeling that the coconut oil is the reason my TSH finally went down.

  2. Nancy Gatiti Avatar
    Nancy Gatiti

    Hi Wellness Mama, i love the way you share information.
    My daughter was diagnosed with panic attacks after a viral flu episode. She is currently on Prophylaxis to prevent the non epileptic episodes ( she suffered 3). Kindly advise me on how we can help her recuperate as soon as possible. She is also moody.
    I found alcohol in her room and im still wondering how long she has been taking it.
    Kindest regards, Nancy

  3. Clare Francke Avatar
    Clare Francke

    I am being medicated for hypothyroidism, and have been for almost 30 years. My numbers have been steady on my dose for years. For my health, I started using more coconut oil and taking coconut oil/cinnamon/honey (TBSP) in my coffee every morning. Recently, I’m feeling overstimulated, and my numbers are indicating that I could significantly reduce my medication, or POSSIBLY go off. My wish is always to reduce RX reliance. This is incredible, as I have a very tiny thyroid gland…. could that little bit of coconut oil naturally stimulate my tiny thyroid!?! Amazing.


    i have goiter. I want ti know if takinf coconut helped decrease the swelling of goitet. Thanks

  5. Heath Watts Avatar
    Heath Watts

    Hi Katie,
    The soy information quoted from Ray Peat that you’ve presented he comes from the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAFP), which is in business to boost dairy sales, and is not a reputable source for science-based dietary advice. Unfortunately for those who awarded him a medical degree and continue to employ him, Dr. Oz is not a good source of evidence-based dietary science either. Coconut oil like butter and beef fat is a great source of saturated fat, which one should not consume very frequently.

    Here is a nice useful that gives peer-reviewed, evidence-based references about soy, which discredits the nonsense perpetuated by the WAPF.

    The WAPF is a terrible source of information about anything related to diet:

    I’ll note that I’m not a medical doctor or a medical researcher; however, I am a scientist (PhD, geochemistry). I am not a fan of those who spread pseudoscience and lies such as the WAPF, Ray Peat, and Dr. Oz.


  6. mildred pablo Avatar
    mildred pablo

    hi i have a hyperthyroid i think its a cancerous cos i have a lot of lymph nodule my head was ache i think its a migraine. and my ears was sometimes hurt in a seconds.. i want to know if its ok to eat a tablespoon of coconut oil everyday? cos my thyroid was active pls i need your help guys.. thanks

  7. Nishant Avatar

    Can I have fresh coconut meat instead of coconut oil for thyroid or is it like coconut oil more beneficial than raw coconut meat. Please reply.

  8. Carolyn Avatar

    In July 2014 I was having many health problems. I have PCOS and of course thyroid problems from fluoride (per my Dr years ago when first diagnosed). My Dr sent me for blood work. Got my blood work back a few weeks later. Liver enzymes were TERRIBLE, cholesterol not so good, Glucose not good, and Thyroid wasn’t even on the chart. I refused meds because I wanted to try oils and natural things. My Dr gave me till Nov to do what I wanted and then have it recheck. Recheck was perfect. Everything was normal. One liver enzymes was 1 pt high, but way better. Dr couldn’t believe the drastic change in such short time and no meds. And I was 15 weeks pregnant. This was a surprise baby. I don’t get pregnant this easily. I eat 1-2 spoonfuls of coconut cream from tropical traditions daily and use coconut oil for cooking. Two years later and just had bloodwork rechecked and thyroid is still looking good.
    I also did clove essential oil over the thyroid for the first few months, but haven’t used it since then.

  9. Helen Avatar

    Thank you Katie wellness mama for all the insightful info about coconut oil uses. I will definitely start using it, taking it, cooking with it. But wondering if safe and how much coconut oil to use for my 6 yo who has alopecia areata & beginnings of thyroid problems.

  10. Carol Avatar

    Just purchased coconut oil at Costco. Wondering if applying it to skin will allow it to be absorbed to provide health benefits. Do you replace other oils completely with coconut oil, or just add it to the one you already use for cooking. I love to cook with olive oil.
    Thanks in advance

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