The Glucose-Lowering Effects of Coconut Oil: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Samar Malaeb, Christopher Spoke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background. Coconut oil, a saturated fat comprised mostly of the medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid, has become increasingly popular over the past few decades due to its touted anti-inflammatory, metabolic, and lipid-lowering properties. There have been many studies with mixed results evaluating the effects of coconut oil consumption on lipid metabolism and cardiometabolic risk. However, the effects on glucose metabolism are less clear. There are few trials on the effects of coconut oil on glucose homeostasis but no case reports prior to the current one. Case. We present a case of a 66-year-old man with a history of type 2 diabetes managed with insulin who developed recurrent hypoglycemia and required reduction in insulin therapy quickly after consuming coconut oil supplementation. Conclusion. This is the first known case report of coconut oil supplementation in a diabetic patient on insulin resulting in hypoglycemia. Review of the literature shows that coconut oil supplementation can have a favorable effect on glycemic control, possibly through phenolic compounds mediating anti-inflammatory effects. This effect is inconsistent throughout the studies reviewed, likely due to variations in types of coconut oil supplementation and scarcity of trials. Further research is required both in animal models and in humans before coconut oil intake is widely advised and popularized. This is especially true in patients with diabetes, who are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and in whom reduction in saturated fat intake is advised.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8841781
JournalCase Reports in Endocrinology
StatePublished - 2020

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Samar Malaeb and Christopher Spoke.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Case Reports


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