Is virgin coconut oil acidic or alkaline?

It's easy to find out for yourself whether cold-pressed virgin coconut oil is acidic or alkaline. Just scoop up a spoonful of your store-bought virgin coconut oil and drink it down. If you feel a mild scratchy sensation in your throat after swallowing it raw, it means your virgin coconut oil is mildly acidic.

In fact, many brands of cold-pressed virgin coconut oil are mildly acidic. I've tried them and they never fail to "bite" the back of my throat. Being cold-pressed doesn't make virgin coconut oil alkaline.

Note
Take a whiff of your virgin coconut oil before ingesting it by itself. If it smells like fresh coconut, you're good to go. If it emits a light pungent smell amid the coconut scent, this coconut oil has got more free fatty acids released. Which means, it has turned more acidic. Try not to take it by itself. It may scorch the tissue of your throat. If you add this to your food, your food will taste pungently odd. It's still good to use on skin though.

Also, the coconut fruit itself is alkaline due to the presence of minerals, but a truly pure virgin coconut oil doesn't have those minerals. That's why pure virgin coconut oil can never be alkaline. If some brands say their virgin coconut oil is alkaline, be warned.

1. How acidic is virgin coconut oil?

As this cold-pressed coconut oil is not water soluble, we cannot use pH-meter or universal indicator that works only on aqueous solution. We have to use manual titration method or spectroscopy that involves expensive equipment to determine the pH (acid-alkaline) level of virgin coconut oil.

But the problem is, I don't have those lab resources and equipment. So, what I did was I simulated the scratchy sensation in my throat using my store-bought apple cider vinegar (ACV).

Here's how. I pour some ACV out and test with a strip of universal indicator paper. It shows a pH 4. I taste this ACV (without dilution) and it "bites" my throat even more than my store-bought virgin coconut oil. (Please do not try this at home as your ACV could be more acidic and corrosive than mine.)

I then dilute this ACV with water until I find the similar scratchy sensation I got from drinking virgin coconut oil raw from the jar. I dip a strip of universal indicator paper in this ACV and its color shows somewhere near pH 5 (mildly acidic).

Simple pH scale

I've chosen a high-graded extra-virgin olive oil for the test as well. The scratchy sensation is very similar.

Well, this way of determining the pH (acid-alkaline) level of virgin coconut oil is not accurate. But it does give me a rough idea of how acidic or alkaline a virgin coconut oil can be.

2. Why is cold-pressed virgin coconut oil acidic?

Pure virgin coconut oil is solely made up of triglycerides (fats). And each triglyceride composes of 3 fatty acids that are bonded to a glycerol molecule.

When you extract the oil from coconut meat, a small fraction of fatty acids will inevitably "escape" from the bonding in the triglyceride structures. These free fatty acids are what make coconut oil acidic. The more fatty acids are freed, the more acidic the coconut oil will be.

Of course, you can use a very good technique for extracting virgin coconut oil to reduce its acidity. Even in a perfect condition whereby the cold-pressed coconut oil doesn't have a single free fatty acid at all, it is at best as neutral (ph 7) as water. You can never bring the coconut oil up to an alkaline level (pH > 7).

But as far as my experience goes, I've not come across a coconut oil that has a neutral pH. I've tasted RB coconut oil, RBD coconut oil, even fractionated coconut oil like MCT oil and liquid coconut oil, they all leave a similar scratchy sensation in my throat.

If you happen to come across a coconut oil that claims it is alkaline, this is definitely not a pure coconut oil. A pure coconut oil carries only triglycerides plus probably trace amount of some fat-soluble vitamins. And that's all there is to it.

In a nutshell, all pure coconut oils are mildly acidic.

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  3. Can we heat virgin coconut oil?