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Coconut Oil for Yeast Infections: Does it Really Work?

Updated 1/05/2021

Medically reviewed by Dr. Atmika Paudel, PhD - Written by Dan Jackowiak Nc, HHP and Dr. Vibhuti Rana, PhD

Dr. Atmika Paudel, PhD says... The information described in this article about coconut oil for yeast infections and its safety issues is medically correct.

Cold pressed coconut oil, whether in whole form or capsules, is a medically proven candida yeast killer. The fats in the oil are also easily digested by the human body; the body does not store these fats but quickly converts them to be used as energy. These fats are very good for your heart and brain, which actually prefers fat for fuel.

A landmark study titled, "In Vitro Killing of Candida Albicans by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides" was done in 2001 by Microbiologist Bergsson and Associates at the Institute of Biology, University of Iceland, Department of Anatomy, University of Iceland Medical School, and Department of Microbiology, National University Hospital, Iceland  was published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. They found that the capric acid found in cold pressed coconut oil for yeast infections caused the quickest killing of three strains of Candida. Lauric acid was found to work on a slower time period but was the most effective killing agent. The oils exploded the plasma membranes and nucleus of the Candida yeast cell.

coconut oil

The link below takes you to a picture of the Candida cell and coconut oils effects. Panel A is a normal Candida yeast cell, in Panel B you can see that the inside of the cell has been literally scattered by coconut oil and is quite dead.

Another study  in June 2007 at the Department of Medical Microbiology & Parasitology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria by Ogbolu and Associates, tested coconut oil verses 17 different isolates of Candida albicans, 9 isolates of Candida glabrata, 7 isolates of Candida tropicalis, 7 isolates of Candida parapsilosis, 6 isolates of Candida stellatoidea, and 6 isolates of Candida krusei.

They found that Candida albicans infections had the highest susceptibility to coconut oil for yeast infections(100%).

Candida krusei showed the highest resistance to coconut oil with a MIC of 100% (undiluted), while fluconazole had a MIC of > 128 ug/mL. Candida krusei is actually more resistant to fluconazole than it is coconut oil.

It is noteworthy that coconut oil was active against all species of Candida at 100% concentration compared to fluconazole. Therefore, coconut oil should be used in the treatment of fungal infections in view of emerging drug-resistant Candida species.

The other species fell somewhere in the middle as far as being susceptible to coconut oils fungal killing ability.

In "The Yeast Connection Handbook", coconut oil is recommended by the author, William Crook M.D.

This reference is an excellent but very long read.

"Health and Nutritional Benefits from Coconut Oil". Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Health Journal 20:1:1-6. Enig, Mary G, PhD (1998).

Many natural health practitioners will prescribe caprylic acid for yeast infection treatment but as the studies indicate, you’re much better off with all the active ingredients rather than just the one. So always take the whole form of coconut oil and not the extracts and make sure it is a virgin cold pressed natural organic oil.

Dr. Vibhuti Rana, PhD says...

The above section has pointed to some very relevant studies which support the use of virgin coconut oil to treat fungal infections caused by Candida species. The studies performed by Ogbolu et al describe how 100% pure coconut oil is effective against Candida species in comparison to the most commonly used antifungal fluconazole (1). Another study demonstrates how lauroylglycerol and monoacylglycerol derived from coconut oil reduce the radial growth and spore germination of Aspergillus niger, a fungus whose mycotoxins are is responsible for contamination of food products. In specific, monoacylglycerols showed a significant antifungal property (2).

A very interesting study conducted in 2016 in children with dental caries (ECC; early childhood caries) showed that Candida albicans isolated from the caries showed significant susceptibility to chlorhexidine and coconut oil (among various tested parameters like chlorhexidine, coconut oil, probiotics, Lactobacillus and ketoconazole), which could be compared to ketoconazole. This study also suggests the significant antifungal nature of coconut oil (3). Coconut oil is quite highly recommended when there is a complaint of oral candidiasis or denture stomatitis. In such cases, edible virgin coconut oil exerts an antifungal effect on C. albicans, displaying a potential therapeutic value (4, 5). Edible oil pulling with virgin coconut oil is another means of reducing microbial count in the mouth equivalent to chlorhexidine mouthwash. Therefore, I believe that all these studies favor the antimicrobial nature of coconut oil and are coherent with the given information here.

Finally, a study on Malaysian breast cancer patients revealed that virgin coconut oil helped the patients undergoing chemotherapy to have a better quality of life and cope up with chemo side effects in a much more efficient manner. So, it is a ray of hope for cancer patients too.

1. Ogbolu DO, Oni AA, Daini OA, Oloko AP. In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):384-7. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2006.1209. PMID: 17651080.


3. Shino B, Peedikayil FC, Jaiprakash SR, Ahmed Bijapur G, Kottayi S, Jose D. Comparison of Antimicrobial Activity of Chlorhexidine, Coconut Oil, Probiotics, and Ketoconazole on Candida albicans Isolated in Children with Early Childhood Caries: An In Vitro Study. Scientifica (Cairo). 2016;2016:7061587. doi: 10.1155/2016/7061587. Epub 2016 Mar 14. PMID: 27051559; PMCID: PMC4808662.


5. Kumar PS. 42. Comparative evaluation of efficacy of anti fungal activity of activity of azadirachta indica, melaleuca oil and cocos nucifera oil against candida albicans incorporated in soft relining materials”. J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2018;18(Suppl 2):S69. doi:10.4103/0972-4052.246653


Is Coconut Oil for Yeast Safe to Take?

It depends upon who you talk to!

WebMD says;

"Regularly eating meals containing coconut oil can increase levels of "bad" low-density lipoprotein cholesterol".

Healthline says;

"Coconut oil contains natural saturated fats that increase the good HDL cholesterol in your body. They may also help turn the bad LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form.

By increasing HDL, many experts believe that coconut oil could be good for heart health compared to many other fats.

In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil (15).

Another study in 116 patients showed that a dietary program that included coconut oil raised levels of the good HDL cholesterol (16)."

However, it is my understanding that the benefits only come from cold pressed virgin coconut oil. If it is not cold pressed virgin, then coconut oil can actually be bad for you.

In addition, coconut oil for yeast contains 86% healthy saturated fat and contains 66% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can help you lose weight. It has a cooking flashpoint of 350 degrees which makes it a pretty good cooking oil.

Dr. Vibhuti Rana, PhD says...

According to Mayo Clinic, though coconut oil is safe to take in moderate amounts, excessive use increases both good and bad lipoproteins and raise cholesterol levels at a higher rate compared to olive or canola oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids (1).

Moreover, coconut oil is made of more than 90% saturated fat, which raises LDL. This is not good for heart health, especially in heart patients who have undergone surgeries or angioplasty (2). Heart patients are recommended to have a cholesterol range of 70-80 mg/dl, which would be very difficult to maintain if the patient is consuming a coconut oil (even if it is virgin coconut oil) based diet (2).



Medical Review by Dr. Atmika Paudel, PhD

Coconut has been routinely consumed in daily life as food or cosmetic, especially in Asia, and coconut oil has been a subject of many scientific studies. Coconut oil is rich in saturated fatty acids, predominantly lauric acid (47.5%), which is a medium-chain fatty acid, and myristic acid (18%) (1). It also contains other medium-chain fatty acids such as caprylic acid, caproic acid, and capric acid(2). Due to the presence of medium-chain fatty acids, which are quickly absorbed, and utilized for energy production, coconut oil has been reported to have properties that are different from other saturated fatty acid-rich plant oils. However, the content of coconut oil varies depending upon their method of preparation. The fat content of coconut oil prepared by different methods are basically the same, however, the tocopherol and phenolic compounds contents were present only in the virgin cold pressed coconut oil, and these phenolic compounds are responsible for the antioxidant activity (3).

Virgin cold pressed coconut oil is prepared from fresh coconut without chemical refining, and it has immunomodulatory activity (4) (5). In a clinical trial, use of extra virgin coconut oil increased the high density lipoprotein (the `good’ fat) (6). A review and meta-analysis showed that extra-virgin or virgin coconut oil were associated with increase in high-density lipoprotein, with simultaneous increase in low density lipoprotein in a study. Other studies which showed increase in low density lipoprotein by coconut oil did not use extra-virgin or virgin coconut oil as reviewed in Nutrition Reviews(7). However, the American Heart Association released an advisory where they mention that coconut oil is bad for your heart health (8). Yet another review mentioned that majority of the randomized controlled trials showed that coconut oil increases both the low and high density lipoprotein (9). In another study, regular consumption of virgin coconut oil was not associated with coronary heart disease (10).

Coconut oil has been reported to have antifungal activities (11) (12). Other activities such as hepatoprotective, antioxidant, wound healing effect etc. have been reviewed in a study (13).

The beneficial properties of coconut oil is controversial and depends upon how the oil has been prepared. I am not endorsing the product but the article mentions some beneficial aspects of coconut oil. I think a person should not disregard the possible negative effects from coconut oil which has also been backed up with available literatures.

1. Renan da Silva Lima, Jane Mara Block, Coconut oil: what do we really know about it so far?, Food Quality and Safety, Volume 3, Issue 2, May 2019, Pages 61–72
2. Virgin Coconut Oil and Its Potential Cardioprotective Effects ARTICLE in POSTGRADUATE MEDICINE · NOVEMBER 2014 
3.  A. M. Marina, Y. B. Che man, S. A. H. Nazimah & I. Amin (2009) Antioxidant capacity and phenolic acids of virgin coconut oil, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 60:sup2, 114-123, DOI: 10.1080/09637480802549127
4. Virgin coconut oil supplementation in diet modulates immunity mediated through survival signaling pathways in rats. Published Online: 2019-09-18 | DOI:
5. HAYATI Journal of Biosciences Volume 15, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 135-139. Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) Enriched with Zn as Immunostimulator for Vaginal Candidiasis Patient
6. Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women. BMJ March 2018
7. Impact of coconut oil consumption on cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition Reviews, nuz074, Published: 20 September 2019
8. Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease. A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. 2017
9. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases. Volume 62, Issue 5, September–October 2019, Pages 436-443. Coconut oil intake and its effects on the cardiometabolic profile – A structured literature review.
10. I A Prior, F Davidson, C E Salmond, Z Czochanska, Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau Island studies, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 34, Issue 8, August 1981, Pages 1552–1561.
11. Antifungal Activity of Some Natural Essential Oils against Candida Species Isolated from Blood Stream Infection
12. Comparison of Antimicrobial Activity of Chlorhexidine, Coconut Oil, Probiotics, and Ketoconazole on Candida albicans Isolated in Children with Early Childhood Caries: An In Vitro Study. Scientifica, Volume 2016, Article ID 7061587, 5 pages.
13. COCONUT OIL – A REVIEW OF POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS. Shijna Kappally, Arun Shirwaikar and Annie Shirwaikar*Hygeia.J.D.Med. October 2015 –March 2016 ISSN 2229 3590 Hygeia:: Journal for Drugs and Medicines

Our preferred virgin organic cold pressed coconut oil resources.

Coconut Oil Liquid for Yeast Infections

Coconut Oil Capsules

If you prefer, you can take straight caprylic acid but I do suggest you get a sustained release formula such as this one. Doses should be 4000mgs per day.

Back to Herbal Yeast Infection Remedies

Any questions or concerns about coconut oil for yeast infections please feel free to contact us or talk to your doctor.

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