Diarrhea, Candida die-off, acne breakout, throat irritation, heart palpitations, insomnia and night sweats... these are the so-called side effects of coconut oil. If you're having any of these adverse reactions while eating or using coconut oil, no sweat. I'll show you how to get around them easily so that you reap just the benefits from coconut oil without suffering its "negative" side effects.
Of all side effects of coconut oil, diarrhea is the most taxing, tiring and sometimes, embarrassing. Why does coconut oil adversely trigger diarrhea in the first place?
Its medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) stimulate intestinal muscle contractions and relaxations while glycerols soften stool. Together, they induce bowel movement.
But that doesn't mean eating coconut oil will always cause diarrhea. It all depends on the way you consume the oil.
1.1 Two tactics to help you avoid diarrhea side effect when eating coconut oil
As just said, coconut oil is good at stimulating bowel movement via its laxative properties – MCFAs and glycerols. So, if you ingest too much coconut oil (like 2 tablespoons) in one go, it'll probably trigger diarrhea.
Another situation that almost always trigger diarrhea side effect is when you take coconut oil straight on an empty stomach.
When there's nothing in your stomach to slow the digestion of coconut oil into its laxative compounds, you're in for a stronger and faster "side effect".
But before the runs, you may have to suffer stomach ache or cramp when a sudden increase of gas is trapped in your intestines. Gas is normally released by stool as stool moves or softens due to coconut oil trigger.
Therefore, you should always take coconut oil internally with preferably, high-fiber food to slow its digestion.
On top of that, spread out its amount. For example, if you plan to consume 3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily for health benefits, then you should add a tablespoon each to your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you think 3 tablespoons are too much for you as a newbie, then start off with 3 teaspoons per day. And likewise, split up over your meals.
This way of eating coconut oil should help you keep the diarrhea side effect at bay or at least, less miserable.
2. Candida die-off
Are you having nausea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, swollen glands, joint or muscle pain, stomach upset, chills, hives or rashes, or skin breakouts etc after ingesting coconut oil?
These are signs of Candida die-off, especially if you have a few of them at the same time. They're often mistaken as the side effects of coconut oil.
But unlike the previous diarrhea side effect, coconut oil does not directly trigger them. What do I mean?
Look, coconut oil is chock-full of antimicrobial (including anti-fungal) properties. When coconut oil enters your gut, its antimicrobials kill the yeast, stopping the overgrowth and restoring their balance in your gut.
But it doesn't end there. When Candida bugs die (in response to the anti-fungal effect of coconut oil), they discharge as much as 80 different toxins. These toxins can get absorbed into your system and cause the die-off symptoms I mentioned earlier.
Because of these toxins, you may feel even worse than before taking coconut oil.
2.1 Two tips to alleviate Candida die-off symptoms
If you want to make the Candida die-off symptoms more bearable, you have to do these two things together.
First, reduce your sugar (or carbohydrate) intake. I know you have sugar cravings and it's difficult to overcome. But keep this in mind, sugar cravings are mostly triggered by the yeast, not by your needs. They want you to feed them so they can continue to grow and expand their territories.
Think about this, when they overgrow, they can take down your entire system and give you hell.
So, don't let them have their ways. Starve them by forcefully cutting back on your intake of sugar or carbohydrate.
And now, you have less yeast in your gut, consume coconut oil to get rid of them once and for all.
With lesser yeast, you'll have lesser toxins unleashed and hence, lesser die-off symptoms. This translates to having lesser side effects from consuming coconut oil.
What you might not know is, coconut oil is detoxifying. So, it can help cleanse your body of the toxins too. So, lesser toxins from the dead yeast also means that you get to recover from Candida attack sooner.
3. Acne breakout
No matter how miserable the Candida die-off symptoms are or how torturous the diarrhea side effect is, acne breakout is always the last side effect most would want to experience from using coconut oil. Why?
Because it affects your appearance!
But this bad effect of coconut oil is a little different from the previous two. It manifests on your skin. And you don't get it by eating too much coconut oil. You get it by putting coconut oil on your skin.
For example, if you don't have pimples on your face, you probably will have a few whiteheads pop up as coconut oil detoxifies your skin.
How coconut oil detoxifies is it'll draw toxins up to the surface from underneath your skin.
Things get tricky when you're already suffering from an acne flare and you're trying to treat your acne with coconut oil.
As coconut oil detoxifies, the inflamed zone on your skin that has no pimple yet will break out. Plus, your already manifested pimples will become larger. But don't freak out on this side effect just yet. I have a solution for you.
3.1 Two ways to prevent acne breakout when treating acne with coconut oil
Diet has a pronounced impact on skin. Looking back on your diet, you must've taken a lot of meat, dairy and refined food, right?
These foods are acne-causing.
Needless to say, you must improve your diet. More fruits and vegetables can help you flush toxins out of your body. Less toxins in your body means less toxins will get stored in your skin.
So, when you dab coconut oil on your skin, you won't likely suffer the breakout side effect.
And don't just use coconut oil topically, ingest it as well. When inside your body, coconut oil can help to improve the regulation of your sebum production. Excessive secretion of sebum is one of the causes of acne flare.
4. Throat irritation
When you drink coconut oil raw by itself, you may feel scratchy in your throat. This throat irritation tickles at times and can induce a gagging cough.
It may seem like you're having a strep throat. But actually, it's just a side effect from swallowing coconut oil this way.
Why does coconut oil have such a side effect?
A tiny quantity of free fatty acids are what make coconut oil slightly acidic and cause the side effect.
Because of such mild acidic characteristic, it grazes your delicate throat tissue when you drink coconut oil. But this mildly grazed tissue will heal and the scratchy sensation will vanish in an hour or so. Hence, no big deal.
Another situation that causes irritation to your throat is when you're doing oil-pulling with coconut oil.
The scratchy sensation may appear a little bit more intense. This is because coconut oil will release more free fatty acids upon reacting with the fat-digesting enzymes in saliva.
4.1 How to evade throat irritation when consuming coconut oil
Don't drink coconut oil by itself. Take it down with some beverages like juice, smoothie, soy milk etc. You should also mix coconut oil with food and then eat it.
These can greatly mitigate the irritation caused to your throat by the mildly acidic property of coconut oil.
4.2 How to reduce scratchy throat when doing oil-pulling with coconut oil
When you do oil-pulling, try to swish coconut oil in a way that avoids direct contact with the back of your throat.
Also, keep your oil-pulling duration within 15 minutes. The longer you oil-pull, the more free fatty acids coconut oil will release. This increases the odds of your throat irritation caused by the free fatty acids.
5. Heart palpitations
Coconut oil may trigger heart palpitations. But that usually occurs to people who are taking low thyroid medication as well.
Look, the drug is meant to drive up your metabolism to compensate for the slow metabolic rate caused by hypothyroidism. And we all know that coconut oil boosts metabolism.
So, when you consume coconut oil during the course of medication, you tend to overdrive your metabolism. This overdrive increases your heart rate.
However, that doesn't mean coconut oil is bad for heart health. It's just an accidental side effect caused by the synergistic interaction between coconut oil and the low thyroid drug.
For people with a normal thyroid like me, I've never experienced any elevated heart rate with coconut oil. Likewise to people around me who take coconut oil regularly.
5.1 How to eliminate heart palpitations when eating coconut oil
If you want to gain health benefits from eating coconut oil but yet you're on some low thyroid drugs at the same time, speak to your doctor about adjusting your drug dosage. This will ensure you don't overdrive your metabolism till your heart throbs.
However, if you don't have any low thyroid problem but yet ingesting coconut oil causes your heart rate to increase, this shows that your body requires a bit more time to adapt to the metabolism-boosting effect of coconut oil.
In that case, cut back on the amount of coconut oil.
For example, if one tablespoon of coconut oil per day gives you an elevated heart rate, then reduce the amount to ½ tablespoon or even 1 teaspoon per day. Keep to this amount for a couple of weeks before you try increasing it to reap more health benefits.
Coconut oil may affect your sleep in two ways. One, it reacts with caffeine to create a bulletproof coffee effect. Have you felt that before? Don't try if you haven't. It may be too powerful for you to subdue.
I, for many years didn't realize that sometimes my insomnia was caused by that bulletproof coffee effect. This is because I don't drink coffee in the morning. I don't drink tea as well. Simply put, I don't take caffeinated beverages. I just don't have that kind of habit.
However, I forgot one very crucial habit of mine that leads to sleep disorder pretty often.
I love taking dark chocolate. barkTHINS dark chocolate has been my favorite snack for many years. I snacked it usually between 3 and 6 PM. Even a few hours has passed after lunch, the metabolism-boosting effect from coconut oil still remains quite strong. What's worse is that I might take another piece after dinner sometimes when my mood is good.
And when this metabolism-boosting effect from coconut oil meets the caffeine in the dark chocolate, the bulletproof coffee side effect literally explodes in my body.
You can imagine me tossing and turning the entire night with a hyperactive mind that simply refused to rest. No matter how exhausted my body was, I just felt jittery and couldn't get to sleep.
It's worth noting that the bulletproof coffee effect doesn't need you to drink coffee (or other caffeinated food or beverages) and coconut oil together. As long as your caffeine effect hasn't worn off, and when you take coconut oil like a few hours later it can still amplify the caffeine effect and may pep you up all the way to the night.
The outcome is the same when you take coconut oil first and drink coffee or eat chocolate (like my case) later.
Another way coconut oil causes the side effect of insomnia is due solely to its hyper metabolism-boosting effect.
Our body temperature naturally drops at night to prepare us for sleep. But the heat generated by an elevated metabolism can disrupt our circadian rhythm and work against that sleep-inducing mechanism.
I loved adding one or two tablespoons of coconut oil raw to every main meal, even when the meal was already heavily cooked with coconut oil. Additionally, I took supper before bed most of the time and liked to spread rich layers of peanut butter (soaked in virgin coconut oil to prevent oxidation) on top of vegan butter-flavored coconut oil on bread.
The metabolism-boosting effect of eating coconut oil raw is a lot more potent than eating coconut oil cooked. Because of that, I literally transformed my body into a fat-burning furnace day and night.
Thinking of burning fat with coconut oil this way? Don't ever try. Not worth losing your sleep over losing fat.
6.1 How to sleep well at night while getting coconut oil to protect you even in your sleep
After suspecting those two causes of my insomnia, I started to cut my coconut oil intake at dinner down to ½ tablespoon or just 1 teaspoon. And when I need a supper, I'll omit coconut oil and simply dip my bread in oatmeal or cereal. Or I'll just spread a very thin layer of my favorite vegan butter-flavored coconut oil or peanut butter on the slice. Guess what?
I sleep better now.
I can't live without the coconut flavor in my meals, honestly. So, I'm taking more in the morning and afternoon now to keep myself protected against pathogenic microbes.
As for overcoming the bulletproof coffee side effect, instead of snacking the dark chocolate day and night as I wish, I make sure to do it only around noon. This way the bulletproof coffee side effect can easily wear off by the time I hit the sack.
In short, I have to watch my evening consumption of coconut oil to make sure it doesn't affect my sleep.
Oh, if you drink coffee together with coconut oil in the morning to pep you up, the bulletproof effect should wear off by bedtime. But make sure you don't drink coffee anymore in the afternoon as the metabolism-boosting effect of coconut oil may extend several hours before it subsides.
You might also need to reduce your intake of coconut oil at lunch and dinner after drinking your bulletproof coffee in the morning.
Of course, if you're not bothered by the bulletproof coffee effect OR taking one or two tablespoons of coconut oil at night and you can still sleep soundly like a bear and wake up refreshed the following morning, by all means.
7. Night Sweats
If for example you used to take 2 tablespoons of coconut oil during the day and one tablespoon at dinner and then suddenly you change to 2 tablespoons at dinner, the increase in metabolism can cause night sweats. I've experienced that.
Well, though it may not result in the more serious insomnia, it can affect your sleep quality too. Imagine waking up a few times in the middle of your sleep only to find the back of your head and shirt all wet.
7.1 How to curb night sweats caused by a sudden change in coconut oil consumption
If you want to add more coconut oil to your diet, add it gradually. Instead of adding a tablespoon, add a teaspoon first for a few days before you increase to 2 teaspoons and so on. This makes your metabolism increase in a gentle slope.
Also, try not to up and down your coconut oil intake like a roller coaster. Like today you take 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and tomorrow you feel like eating 3 tablespoons and then the day after just one tablespoon per day, and so on.
Your body will find it difficult to adapt to the frequent changes in metabolism. Night sweats may follow.
In a nutshell, if you're putting coconut oil into your meals, be consistent with the quantity. And if you need to change especially, increase the quantity, do it gradually and progressively.