Contraindications of Coconut Oil

Although coconut oil has been promoted for some time as a product with great benefits, the truth is that caution should be exercised in its consumption. Let's see why.
Contraindications of Coconut Oil
Franciele Rohor de Souza

Reviewed and approved by the pharmacist Franciele Rohor de Souza.

Written by Edith Sánchez

Last update: 17 May, 2023

Coconut is one of the most versatile products around. It can be used both in nutrition and in cosmetics. However, at the same time, science has begun to warn about the contraindications of coconut oil.

Regarding the properties and benefits of coconut oil there’s a sharp controversy that hasn’t yet been settled. The substance is composed of lauric, caprylic, and capric acid. This implies a high content of saturated fats, so its regular intake can be harmful.

Coconut oil and its properties

For many, coconut oil falls into the rank of the famous superfoods, thanks to its properties. It’s used as a moisturizer for skin and hair. Mixed with sugar, it’s a good exfoliant and can also be used as a substitute for conditioner and depilatory foam. In some cases, it’s also used as a makeup remover.

The point is that coconut oil is 100% fat, and between 80 and 90% is saturated fat. That’s why at room temperature or when cold it becomes compact.

However, there’s also coconut oil made from 100% medium-chain triglycerides. These are absorbed very quickly by the body, promote satiety, and prevent fat storage.

However, the coconut oils sold on the market don’t have the above formulation. They’re not made with medium-chain triglycerides, but with long-chain triglycerides. In this case, the effect is the opposite: slower absorption and increased fat storage.

Coconut oil.
The amount of saturated fat in coconut oil is high, which warns of possible health side effects.

Contraindications of coconut oil

There’s no conclusive data on the benefits and harms caused by coconut oil. A study conducted by Dr. Michael Mosley in 2018 showed that this product increased bad cholesterol, but also good cholesterol.

Scientists agree that more research is needed to reach a definite conclusion. In the meantime, doctors and nutritionists advise against the use of the product in the following cases.

In people with high cholesterol

People with high bad or LDL cholesterol should be considered among the main people who should never consume coconut oil. As already indicated, the available evidence is ambiguous in this regard. Until more information is available, it’s best to prevent possible damage.

Prone to indigestion

This type of oil isn’t exactly the easiest to digest. If someone has food sensitivities, it’s best not to consume this product, as it can irritate the intestinal mucosa.

Heart disease and hypertension

Saturated fats are deposited on the walls of the arteries. This causes blood flow to be obstructed. Under these conditions, concomitant high blood pressure may occur, increasing the risk of heart failure and heart attacks.


People with diabetes should stay away from coconut oil. Its continued use promotes a significant increase in blood glucose levels. Insulin sensitivity may also be affected.

Skin allergies

Coconut oil can cause an allergic reaction to the skin. The effects are inflammation, itching and hives. If the reaction is more severe, vomiting and even breathing problems may occur.

Coconut oil allergy.
Coconut oil on the skin, applied directly, can cause allergies. It’s preferable to test a limited area first.

Prefer extra virgin coconut oil

In any case, it’s advisable to opt for extra virgin coconut oil. Generally speaking, this type of oil should be avoided when it’s refined and hydrogenated. Unfortunately, they’re the most commonly found types in the supermarket and they’re the cheapest.

Extra virgin coconut oil is made by extracting coconut milk. It’s then left in its natural, unrefined state. Therefore, its appearance isn’t as white and shiny as traditional commercial coconut oil, but it is much healthier.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Mosley, M. (2018). Michael Mosley and Coconut Oil. Wisen Nutrition Coaching. Recuperado 25 de diciembre de 2021, de
  • Barbarroja-Escudero, J., de Mon Soto, M. Á., Antolín-Amérigo, D., & Sánchez-González, M. J. (2013). Reacciones alérgicas. Medicine-Programa de Formación Médica Continuada Acreditado, 11(29), 1769-1777.
  • Torres-González, M., Angulo-Guerrero, O., Oliart-Ros, R. M., & Medina-Juárez, L. A. (2009). Efecto de la refinación física sobre la calidad química y sensorial del aceite de coco. Grasas Aceites, 60, 96-101.
  • Khaw KT, Sharp SJ, Finikarides L, Afzal I, Lentjes M, Luben R, Forouhi NG. Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women. BMJ Open. 2018 Mar 6;8(3):e020167. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020167. PMID: 29511019; PMCID: PMC5855206.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.