Can Coconut Oil Cause Diarrhea?

By Soon Chai

If you experience symptoms similar to diarrhea and feel a little nauseous after eating coconut oil, odds are, you have taken a bit too much especially when you're just getting started with this health-promoting superfood or your body has yet to get used to its bowel-loosening effect.

Coconut oil (particularly the virgin type) contains lots of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which are not only good at protecting you against diseases and harmful microorganisms, but are also effective in softening stools and loosening bowels.

In other words, coconut oil is a powerful cure for constipation besides its health benefits.

I've had people telling me that coconut oil causes an increase in their bowel movements and gives their body a good detox.

However, taking 2 or even 3 tablespoons of the oil per day can cause diarrhea-like symptoms particularly for coconut oil starters. Even people with serious constipation issues will have very loose stools if they suddenly consume the oil in excess.

This is one of the side effects resulting from eating too much coconut oil in one sitting.

I've experienced that before. But at least, I didn't feel as exhausted and weak as having the real diarrhea because real diarrhea will make you lose lots of water and nutrients whereas the "side effects" that coconut oil causes does not seem to make me lose much water and nutrients. Also, real diarrhea will cause gassy and painful stomach but the "diarrhea" that coconut oil causes won't make you feel gassy and uncomfortable. That's the difference.

Anyway, you can reduce or even avoid the runs if you administer the dosage carefully.

As we all may react differently to the effect of fatty acids in coconut oil, it's best to take just one tablespoon of the oil daily for 5-7 days in such manner: half tablespoon in the morning and the other half in the evening.

That way your body will have ample time to adapt itself to the oil's effect. And once you feel ready for the next increment, increase to one tablespoon in the morning and one in the evening for the next 2-3 weeks so that you have double health protection from coconut oil.

After that, you should be able to increase the intake further and take your health to the next level.

You can cook your food with coconut oil, add it raw into your meals or eat it on its own, whichever way you deem fit. But don't try to eat it on its own when you're just starting out. My mother and nephew have told me that they got the diarrhea-like side effects appear faster than when they include the oil in their meals. I believe many people have had the same experience. That's because coconut oil digests slower with food.

So, please take note of that. However, if you feel you're better off eating the oil on its own, by all means.

Whichever way you choose to eat coconut oil, always keep in mind that you should progressively increase the amount to avoid adverse effects. I suggest a max of 3-4 tablespoons daily for adults and 1-2 tablespoons daily for children. But you should only do that when you have become seasoned with coconut oil.

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