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Coconut oil promises to be anti-viral agent 

Kavitha Venkatraman  
Chennai: Can coconut oil reduce the viral load of HIV patients? Initial trials have confirmed that coconut oil or monolaurin has an anti-viral effect that reduces the viral level in HIV-AIDS patients to undetectable levels, University of the Philippines,' Emeritus professor of pharmocology Conrato S Dayrit said.

A minimum of 50 ml of coconut oil would contain 20 to 25 grams of lauric acid, which indicates that the oil is metabolized in the body to release monolaurin which is an antibiotic and an antiviral agent. Among the saturated fatty acids, lauric acid has the maximum antiviral activity, he said. Based on this research, the first clinical trial using monolaurin as monotherapy on some of the HIV patients was conducted recently. Fifteen patients were given nearly 50 ml of coconut oil for a period of six months.

By the end of the first three months of trials viral levels of seven patients had gone down and by the sixth month viral counts in the others had gone down substantially, he said. These patients originally had viral levels ranging between 1960 to 1,190,000.

More and more therapies on monolaurins have to be designed and done before the definitive role of such coco products can be determined, he said. With such products the outlook for more efficacious and cheaper anti HIV therapy will be improved. These monolaurins also have profound use in cosmetics and is now appearing to be effective for dental cares, peptic ulcers, benign prostatic hyperplasia, genital herpes, and hepatitis C, said Dayrit. According to the Ayurvedic classics, coconut oil, nourishes the body and increases strength, Michigan State University professor Emeritius and consultant to private industries J Kabara said. The oil was also valued for its antimicrobial properties. Different preparations of this oil promote luxurious hair growth and protect the skin from bacterial, protozoal, and viral infections. Fresh lauric oil is wholesome to heart and relieves skin troubles.

He also clarified that the campaign against coconut oil was baseless as coconut oil does not lead to coronary heart disease in human beings. All evidences presented earlier were based on the researches done on various species of animals which were given coconut oil along with the necessary dose of essential fats.

On the contrary, the human epidemiologic evidence proves that coconut oil is safe.

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