List of claims
Since there is no scientific correlation between coconut oil and novel coronavirus, the given claim that coconut oil is a cure or a preventive measure for COVID-19 is FALSE.
While lakhs of patients and healthcare workers continue to fight COVID-19, the debate on the possible cure to the novel coronavirus infection continues to be discussed and shared on social media. Case in point being if coconut oil, a product on our shelves might be a potential cure for COVID-19 pandemic, according to this Facebook post. Let us verify the claims in the post.
Source: Facebook post
Understanding the health benefits of Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a fatty oil derived from the flesh of the coconut fruit and is a unique vegetable oil. Given the claim, the general contention of using coconut oil for health benefits has its own merits to consider. The significance of coconut oil has entered the center of the medical debate since the 'Journal of Association of Physicians (JAPI)' has carried out a review on coconut oil and its potential benefits. The review clearly focuses on the mechanism of action of Coconut oil against pathogenic microbes and the immunomodulation benefits of coconut oil and its metabolites.
Excerpt from the post
According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the amount of lauric acid found in coconut oil ranges from 45-53% of total fatty acids along with the presence of monoglycerides that enable the antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiprotozoal characteristics of coconut oil. While the three modes of action of coconut oil including disintegration of the lipid membrane, inhibits pathogen maturation & prevents pathogen binding to host cell have been mentioned as it is in the JAPI review, the same is not effective against the novel coronavirus. Despite antiviral and immunomodulatory properties of coconut oil, there is no scientific evidence to prove that coconut oil is a cure for the novel coronavirus.
In fact, similar studies on coconut oil have been undertaken by other countries including Indonesia and Philippines. As per the ClinicalTrials.gov, a database of privately and publicly funded studies conducted around the world, the role of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) as an antivirus & potential adjuvant therapy to treat COVID-19 requires further studies. This study aims to investigate the effect of VCO on the clinical outcomes of COVID-19 patients in Indonesia. On the other hand, a recent study led by the Philippines Department of Science and Technology (DOST) revealed that when VCO was administered to suspected COVID-19 patients, they seem to have reduced symptoms and made a faster recovery. However, they have also published that the team is still working on publishing the clinical trial results and it must strictly be noted that VCO is not a cure, but an adjunct therapy that could prevent COVID-19 from becoming severe.
In fact, the direct application of coconut oil in the nose can be dangerous since the mucus would not allow the coated oil to remain in the nose and further if inhaled in excess quantity, it reaches the lungs and can block the alveoli in the lungs which in turn can restrict the oxygen supply.
Therefore, in summary, it can be concluded that coconut oil cannot protect, prevent or cure COVID-19 and there is no scientific evidence to date to prove the same. However, there are ongoing clinical trials by other countries such as the Philippines to use coconut oil in adjunct therapy that might prevent the severity of the coronavirus.