Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coconut Not Only Protects Your Liver From Alcohol -- But From a Diet Deficient in Meat and Eggs Too!

by Chris Masterjohn

As I pointed out in a previous blog, saturated fats like palm oil, beef tallow, cocoa butter, and MCT oil (a derivative of coconut oil) protect against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease in animals, whereas polyunsaturated oils like corn oil and fish oil promote it. In fact, animals can consume nearly 30 percent of their calories as alcohol without developing liver damage if they consume 40% of their calories as cocoa butter, whereas they develop massive liver damage if they consume 40% of their calories as corn oil.

In the same blog, I pointed out that high-fat feeding alone can induce fatty liver disease when the fat is provided as corn oil, but not when the fat is butter or coconut oil.

You can read that blog here:

Maternal Intake of "Saturated Fat" Causes Liver Disease -- You Know, the Unsaturated Kind of Saturated Fat

A brand new study published several days go in the journal BMC Gastroenterology showed that a diet rich in coconut oil dramatically protected mice against fatty liver disease induced by a methionine and choline-deficient diet when compared to corn oil.

Methionine is an amino acid found in all foods but found particularly abundantly in meat. Choline, likewise, is ubiquitous, but is found primarily in liver and eggs. Deficiencies of these two nutrients in and of themselves are sufficient to cause fatty liver disease in animals.

When compared to the mice fed corn oil, however, the mice fed coconut oil had half the fatty infiltration of their livers, half the inflammation, and more than four times fewer dead liver cells.

Of course, even the mice fed coconut oil still had some damage to their livers from the deficiencies of methionine and choline. So we should be sure not only to avoid corn oil like the plague and incorporate coconut oil into our diet, but should make sure we eat our meat, eggs, and liver too.

Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, here.


  1. I wonder if it's ok to eat red meat every day. I hope so. Every morning I have grass fed yogurt and raw milk, sometimes pastured eggs. I don't eat lunch because I'm not very hungry, but for dinner I eat a grass fed steak (rare) every night. Sometimes I'll add some shrimp, a potato or a salad. I've been doing this for a year and have excellent health.

  2. Chris,

    Since liver is loaded with a bounty of nutrients, is there a general range you recommend in terms of weekly consumption? I typically eat it 1x, and occasionally 2x, per week. My renewed interest in eating liver came from a desire to seek out a quality source of copper, and that led to my choice of cinsuming it once or twice a week.

    Back in time I suppose this would have been self-regulating, since there were only so many animal livers to go around at any given time. But these days, it is obviously much easier to come by, which is what lead me to wonder if there's a "sweet spot," so to speak, in terms of weekly consumption, so as to enjoy the benefits without overloading on any particular nutrient.

  3. Zach,

    I've never seen any convincing evidence that it is not ok to eat red meat every day.

    Deadlysting, I also like to go with 1-2x/week is good. Liver is very high in vitamin A and copper (and many other things!) so I think zinc and vitamin D are the main nutrients to make sure you are getting plenty of from other sources for balance.


  4. I'm sure it's super healthy, but I think of the liver as a filter and that it tastes bad for a reason (at least for me its yucky!)

    Is Organic Extra Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut oil the preferred form, or are they all about the same?

  5. Very interesting data, Chris! I've a question about heterocyclic amines. An entry from Wikipedia suggests that cooked meats, especially well-done and burnt ones, generate heterocyclic amines which may pose human cancer risk. What do you think of it? Should we eat raw meats instead? Thanks.

  6. No matter how much protection you get against alcohol, though, prevention is the best cure. Nothing beats alcoholism better than not drinking alcohol.

  7. hi! how about AGEs in coconut oil? Is there such a big difference from fresh coconut flesh to raw coconut oil in a glas? I like to use it but I heard it would contain massive amount of AGEs but was not able to find any sources about that.

  8. hi my mother in law has liver cancer takes chemo is it ok for her to take coconut oil.

  9. How much desiccated liver powder is equivalent of a quarter pound of liver assuming full fat desiccated liver? It's much more convenient for me to get desiccated liver powder and I can eat it raw.


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