Search results for the phrase only produce results from sources akin to Natural News. Can coconut oil seriously kill HIV and other viruses?


2 Answers 2


There is a paper titled "Coconut Oil in Health and Disease: Its and Monolaurin’s Potential as Cure for HIV/AIDS" by Conrado S. Dayrit, an Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology University of the Philippines.

The paper describes a pilot study of 15 HIV patients who are split into three groups that are given coconut oil, low, and high doses of monolaurin over a period of 6 months.

In summary, the study is very poorly designed:

  1. No control group
  2. Small sample size (15 participants)
  3. Study period is too short (6 months) and too little measurements are taken (baseline, +3 months, +6 months)
  4. Effects are not very distinct, especially since the markers used in the study (i.e. Viral load, CD4, and CD8) naturally varies anyway
  5. There are a number of participants who developed AIDS during the study, one who takes coconut oil actually died shortly after the study finished
  6. One of the participant doesn't even appear to actually have HIV, at least during the study period
  7. The paper is too short, it doesn't describe the controls used in the study or the amount of time the patients have had HIV.
  • 1
    Why the "sic"? The sentence is correct. Though the capitals are unnecessary. Anyway, your summary is spot on. Mar 11, 2017 at 12:13
  • 1
    @KonradRudolph: I added "sic" because I believe the usage of "its" there is in an extremely awkward position because it is separated from the noun over the "and". If you think that the title sentence looks fine, I'll take it out.
    – Lie Ryan
    Mar 11, 2017 at 13:59

A review paper published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine in 2011 shows antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects of coconut oil.

Manisha DebMandal et al./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine (2011)241-247 245

5.9. Antibacterial activity

The most abundant and potent MCFA (medium chain saturated fatty acids) in coconut is lauric acid, which comprises nearly 50% of coconut’s fat content. The MCFAs and their derivatives e.g., MGs found in coconut are effective in destroying a wide assortment of lipid-coated bacteria by disintegrating their lipid membrane. For instance, they can be effective against bacteria that can lead to stomach ulcers, sinusitis, dental cavities, food poisoning, and urinary tract infections. Monoglycerides, especially Monolaurin, has been used to protect intravenously administrable oil-in-water emulsion compositions against growth of Escherechia coli (E. coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Candida albicans (C. albicans). The compositions can be medicaments containing lipophilic drugs, especially Propofol, and/or total intravenous nutritional compositions[22]. [ ... ] Thus, like many other important medicinal plants having antibacterial property[26,27], C. nucifera is also excellent against different pathogenic bacteria causing several life-threatening infection to humans[28].

5.12. Antiviral effect

Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of viruses that are lipid-coated such as visna virus, CMV, Epsteinbarr virus, influenza virus, leukemia virus, pneumono virus, hepatitis C virus. The MCFA in coconut oil primarily destroy these organisms by disrupting their membranes, interfering virus assembly and maturation [36], [13]. [...]

5.13. Antifungal effect

The antimicrobial spectrum of monolaurin is broad including fungal species such as Aspergillus sp., Penicillium sp., Cladosporium sp., Fusarium sp., Alternaria sp., C. albicans, Fonsecaea pedrosoi and Cryptococcus neoformans[18]. [...] They can also help combat yeast overgrowth, such as candida and thrush. [...]

[13]: Enig, M.G. - Coconut: In support of good health in the 21st Century, 2004:

approximately 6-7% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are capric acid. Capric acid is another medium chain fatty acid, which has a similar beneficial function when it is formed into monocaprin in the human or animal body. Monocaprin has also been shown to have antiviral effects against HIV and is being tested for antiviral effects against herpes simplex and antibacterial effects against chlamydia and other sexually transmitted bacteria. (Reuters, London June 29, 1999)

  • 1
    Most of this answer doesn't address the question. The part about antiviral properties only has two references to support it - one is broken link to a non-peer reviewed article. The other is very low quality. This is poor evidence.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 13, 2017 at 2:12
  • @Oddthinking: good points. Did some digging, please see the edit. Mar 13, 2017 at 4:32
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    Thank you for fixing the broken link. That is clearly an unpeer-reviewed source with a strong conflict of interest. I can't see there any reference to an actual trial where they testing eating coconut against a virus. It isn't uncommon to claim that a substance is antiviral without testing its effects in vivo.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 13, 2017 at 5:07

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