How Coconut Oil Affects Your Thyroid Health!
The positive effects of coconut oil have been widely documented when it comes to health, yet there is still a prevalence of the use of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) in the typical diet. Due to the nature of the chemical composition of these fatty acid chains, a reaction known as oxidation occurs when consumed. When oxidation takes place, toxic byproducts are released into the body, undoubtedly causing negative effects on health. One such aspect negatively impacted by PUFAs is thyroid health. Replacing PUFAs with coconut oil is linked to optimal thyroid health. With better understanding of the physiology behind coconut oil’s inner workings in the body, it can be hoped that the trend of coconut oil will be adopted by those looking to better their thyroid health.
Studies have demonstrated that PUFAs suppress thyroid function by inhibiting thyroid hormones from binding to their receptors. When these hormones do not bind properly in the body, the stage for hypothyroidism is set. Coconut oil on a molecular level performs quite oppositely than PUFAs. Since it is a saturated fat and not a polyunsaturated fat, it facilitates rather than prevents the binding of thyroid hormones to receptors, thus keeping the thyroid’s delicate balance in check.
Coconut oil also optimizes thyroid function by regulating blood glucose levels and stress hormones. When glucose levels spike, the stress hormone known as cortisol is released. This process causes undue stress on the adrenal glands, which directly interferes with the thyroid’s function through the body’s natural pathways. With coconut oil’s ability to regulate blood sugar, this cycle can be avoided, and thyroid function will remain stable.
On a cellular level, coconut oil protects the very powerhouses of the cells: the mitochondria. One of the most vital roles of the mitochondria is to prevent oxidation in the cell. This preventative measure can be easily disrupted if the mitochondria undergo stress and injury. The PUFAs in the standard American diet can act as primers for damaging mitochondria and impairing their function. While in this oxidative state, the communication between the cells and the brain is inhibited, and affects the thyroid’s function in the process. Therefore, substituting PUFAs for coconut oil to obtain its protective nature would prove to be a wise decision to keep the body in its homeostatic state.
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Now, what type of coconut oil should the consumer buy? A walk down any cooking aisle will show a wide assortment of coconut oils. They all vary in their ability to regulate thyroid hormones, blood sugar, stress hormones, and preventing oxidation. Choose a coconut oil that has “cold-pressed, organic, virgin, and unrefined” on the label. This will ensure that the coconut oil was grown without pesticides, was sourced naturally, and was minimally processed at a low temperature. The resulting product will be a coconut oil in its most natural consumable state and chock-full of all its glorious potential.
Now, sit back, take a spoonful, and pretend like you are on a tropical vacation as this stuff works its magic on your thyroid health!