Should virgin coconut oil be used in the adjunctive treatment of COVID-19?

  • Carol Stephanie C. Tan-Lim
  • Corinna Victoria Martinez
Keywords: covid-19, philippines



There is currently no evidence to support the use of virgin coconut oil in the adjunctive treatment of COVID-19.

• Virgin coconut oil is naturally extracted from fresh coconut kernel and is rich in medium chain triglycerides, with lauric acid as the predominant fatty acid.
• Virgin coconut oil is currently explored as an adjunctive treatment for patients with COVID-19 due to its antiviral and immunomodulatory properties.
• In vitro studies show that lauric acid or its derivative exert inhibitory activities against viruses with similar structure to coronavirus (enveloped ssRNA virus) such as Junin virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), and Semliki Forest virus.
• Animal studies demonstrate antiviral activity of monolaurin, the pharmacologically active metabolite of lauric acid, on avian influenza virus and Simean immunodeficiency virus, which are both enveloped ssRNA viruses.
• Clinical trials among patients with HIV report that virgin coconut oil can increase CD4+ T lymphocyte counts and reduce viral load.
• In vitro and animal studies demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties of virgin coconut oil.
• At present, there are no studies that investigate the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil in the adjunctive treatment of COVID-19 infection.
• There is currently one ongoing clinical trial in the Philippines evaluating the use of virgin coconut oil in the adjunctive treatment of COVID-19.
• Nausea, vomiting, mild diarrhea, and abdominal pain have been reported, but no serious adverse events have been identified with the use of virgin coconut oil.
• To date, there are no guidelines that mention virgin coconut oil as an option for the adjunctive treatment of COVID-19.