Coconut oil fights deadly yeast infections

Coconut oil fights deadly yeast infections

Coconut oil fights deadly yeast infections, according to a new and exciting study from researchers at Tufts University.

The study focused on Candida albicans, which is the most common pathogen in human, with a 40% mortality rate when systemic infections occur.

The study abstract provided the following study details:

Candida albicans, the most common human fungal pathogen, can cause systemic infections with a mortality rate of ~40%. Infections arise from colonization of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, where C. albicans is part of the normal microflora. Reducing colonization in at-risk patients using antifungal drugs prevents C. albicans-associated mortalities. C. albicans provides a clinically relevant system for studying the relationship between diet and the microbiota as it relates to commensalism and pathogenicity. As a first step toward a dietary intervention to reduce C. albicans GI colonization, we investigated the impact of dietary lipids on murine colonization by C. albicans. Coconut oil and its constituent fatty acids have antifungal activity in vitro; we hypothesized that dietary coconut oil would reduce GI colonization by C. albicans. Colonization was lower in mice fed a coconut oil-rich diet than in mice fed diets rich in beef tallow or soybean oil. Switching beef tallow-fed mice to a coconut oil diet reduced preexisting colonization. Coconut oil reduced colonization even when the diet also contained beef tallow. Dietary coconut oil also altered the metabolic program of colonizing C. albicans cells. Long-chain fatty acids were less abundant in the cecal contents of coconut oil-fed mice than in the cecal contents of beef tallow-fed mice; the expression of genes involved in fatty acid utilization was lower in C. albicans from coconut oil-fed mice than in C. albicans from beef tallow-fed mice. Extrapolating to humans, these findings suggest that coconut oil could become the first dietary intervention to reduce C. albicans GI colonization.

To simplify, the researchers found that using coconut oil in mice to treat yeast infections was more effective than a beef tallow or soy-rich diet. The coconut oil treatment reduced C. albicans in the intestines by up to 90 percent when compared to a beef tallow diet.

Coconut oil even reduced fungal colonization when mice were switched from beef tallow to coconut oil, or when mice were fed both beef tallow and coconut oil at the same time. These findings suggest that adding coconut oil to a patient’s existing diet might control the growth of C. albicans in the gut, and possibly decrease the risk of fungal infections caused by C. albicans,” said Kumamoto, Ph.D., a professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine and member of the molecular microbiology and genetics program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.

The study showing that coconut oil fights deadly yeast infections was published in the journal mSphere.

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1. “Coconut Oil Fights Deadly Yeast Infections, Study Suggests.”, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.
2. “Manipulation of Host Diet To Reduce Gastrointestinal Colonization by the Opportunistic Pathogen Candida Albicans.” MSphere. American Society for Microbiology, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.
3. “Study in Mice Suggests Coconut Oil Can Control Overgrowth of a Fungal Pathogen in GI Tract.” Tufts Now. Tufts University, 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.

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