Can Coconut Oil Cause Diarrhea?

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 super food or your body has yet to get used to its bowel-loosening effect.

Coconut oil (particularly the virgin type) contains 64% 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 as one of its many health benefits.

However, taking 2 or even 3 tablespoons of the oil in one sitting especially on an empty stomach can cause diarrhea-like symptoms. Not only coconut oil starters, even seasoned coconut oil eaters (like me) or those who have serious constipation issues will have very loose stools if they consume the oil that way.

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

One thing worth mentioning is that the "side effects" that coconut oil causes does not seem to make me feel as exhausting and weak as a real diarrhea (due to food poisoning) that often causes massive loss of water and nutrients, and spans across several hours or even the entire day.

Also, real diarrhea will cause gassy and painful stomach but the "diarrhea" that coconut oil causes won't make you feel gassy, though you may feel a little discomfort or pain in the stomach.

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

As each of us 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 to your meals or eat it on its own, whichever way you deem fit. But don't try to eat it on its own on an empty stomach or when you're just starting out. You'll get the diarrhea-like side effects appear faster and more severe than when you include the oil in your meals. That's because coconut oil digests slower with food.

So, please take note of that.

If you do get the runs that trigger constantly, stop the intake of coconut oil and other food for the time being first to avoid further stimulating your bowels and triggering "diarrhea". If you feel hungry, take some bites and see how it goes.

The severe "diarrhea" effect should dramatically reduce in a couple of hours but it may take up to 12 hours to completely wear off.

In the meantime, you should also drink some salt water (sip by sip to avoid stimulating your bowels) to replenish the loss of sodium and water in your body in the process of frequent bowel movements. This will help you prevent hyponatremia (i.e. water poisoning).

Whichever way you choose to eat coconut oil, always keep in mind that you should never try to take too much in one sitting (especially on an empty stomach) and 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 your body is ready to take that amount.

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