Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 18 2015

Why I Love Coconut Oil (Plus a Free Jar for You!)

By Mark Sisson
79 Comments

How would you like a free jar of organic coconut oil? Lucky for you, Thrive Market is offering all first-time members a FREE sample box—including a full-size jar of Nutiva organic virgin coconut oil. This sample box—valued at $25—includes some of the online shopping club’s best healthy products. You can claim your free jar and sample box here. (This giveaway expires on June 24. The rest of the details are at the bottom of this post.)

I’m a big fan of coconut oil myself, and I’ve written quite a lot about coconut oil over the years: here, here, here and here. Since you’ll likely have a jar of the stuff in the mail to you shortly, let’s spend some time revisiting what’s so great about this remarkable oil.

Remember the days when coconut oil was maligned for being high in saturated fat and thus a high-risk oil for heart disease? It seems that rumor is finally being put to rest. Sure, coconut oil is high in saturated fat, but it’s not the traditional saturated fat made up of long chain fatty acids. The structure of fat in coconut oil is unique—65% of its makeup are specialized fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that, when broken down in the liver, contribute to efficient energy (and fat) burning. It’s more difficult for our bodies to convert MCTs into stored fat.

Lauric acid is a specific type of MCT in coconut oil that has been shown to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the blood. HDL is the beneficial type of cholesterol that mops up excess cholesterol in your blood and transports it to the liver for processing. The higher your HDL, the lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) …you know, the kind of cholesterol that is implicated in heart disease. Lauric acid lowers cholesterol by encouraging its conversion to a hormone called pregnenolone, which is a precursor hormone to many other hormones in our bodies and is thought to regulate hormone levels according to your body’s needs.

It gets better. A 2009 randomized clinical trial made up of 40 women showed that coconut oil not only boosted HDL levels in the blood, but also decreased abdominal fat. The women consumed either 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or 2 tablespoons of soybean oil once a week for 12 weeks. The soybean oil group had increased LDL cholesterol and decreased HDL cholesterol (major heart disease factors), while the coconut oil group enjoyed increased HDL levels (a heart healthy measure). As for weight gain, the women on the coconut oil diet had none, and even lowered abdominal fat—the kind of fat that is ridiculously hard to lose and contributes to heart disease.

Coconut oil has been show to defend against viruses, bacteria, fungus, and candida. And there’s some evidence to suggest that it can help improve the body’s response to insulin and assist in regulating our blood sugar levels.

There appears to be no end to what you can do with coconut oil. Because it is heat stable, it’s a great oil for cooking. In the kitchen, I like to use it…

And outside of the kitchen, it can be used:

  • As a moisturizer
  • As a leave-in conditioner
  • As lip balm
  • To soothe itchy skin or bug bites
  • As a natural treatment for lice
  • To relieve the pain of a sore throat
  • In a DIY body butter
  • As a makeup remover

But careful—not all coconut oil is what it’s cracked up to be. Partially hydrogenated coconut oil has just as harmful an effect on your health as those nasty processed oils full of trans fats. And refined coconut oil is made from chemically bleached and deodorized coconut meat. No thank you.

You want the good stuff—organic virgin coconut oil. And that’s exactly what Thrive Market is giving away this week. So get your free jar here while supplies last and before time runs out.

If you’ve registered with Thrive Market in the past but never made a purchase, you’re also still eligible to redeem this gift. If you’ve registered and have already placed an order in the past, you won’t receive the coconut oil gift, but don’t let that stop you from sautéing with some coconut oil today!

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79 thoughts on “Why I Love Coconut Oil (Plus a Free Jar for You!)”

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  1. Great post and great reminder. I also use coconut oil to made deodorant, which works far better than anything store bought.

    Would love a recipe for the raw coconut chocolate bar 😉

    Finally, would the jar have to say if it was hydrogenated? I use Trader Joe’s Organic CO and don’t think it’s been hydrogenated.

    Thanks!

    1. I have tried using coconut oil (plus baking soda) for deodorant. It works well enough for odor, but it also ruined three of my shirts! Any tips on avoiding big, circular oil stains?

      1. The fewer carbs you eat, the less smell you produce smell–hence, no need for deodorant of any sort. Zero carbs = zero smell (unless you’re at the gym).

        1. ?!?I never noticed a difference in this regard between high-carb and low-carb eating..

      2. I used to have a slight problem with that, but not lately. It may be that I ran out of Baking Soda and used Corn Starch instead. This combo gave me drier results and so far no staining at all! Admittedly, I don’t sweat as much as most men (I’m a woman) and mostly wear t-shirts which help with “breathability” as well.

      3. Try primal pit, great stuff and will not stain your clothes. Use it every third day I find that I don’t smell as much

        1. I really like Crystal brand deodorant. It’s not as barebones as using just coconut oil, et al. but I find it works relatively well.

          Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Potassium Alum (Natural Mineral Salts) Cellulose (plant derived), Sodium Bicarbonate, Benzoic Acid (natural preservative), Zinc Gluconate (natural preservative)

        1. My husband and I use the crystal mineral stone. Works great and doesn’t stain.

      4. I mix coconut oil, cornstarch and baking soda together and don’t have any issues with my clothing. Works way better that any deodorant I have used.

  2. Haven’t had coconut oil in the house for a while…not because I don’t like it, mind you. Been sticking with olive oil and butter lately, but I might have to get a jar pretty soon for some stir fry meals.

    1. Have you checked out Mark’s Fat Mash a combo of Ghee and CO? Some folks like that much better than straight CO.

  3. It would have been interesting if they had a 3rd control group in that study of 40 women that didn’t consume either or a 4th group that consumed grass fed butter. I could go on and on as it would be nice to call out some of the canola/vegetable oil group

  4. Has this offer already expired? In just a few hours? I tried to click on the “claim” button on their site but the message said something like “selected item not available”. The “selected item” being the “claim free gift” offer.

    1. I tried with a different browser and this time got a popup asking for my email address. But after I entered it got the same error

    2. Apologies! There was a glitch on the site. But the promo is up and working now! So just click on the link again and grab that jar of coconut oil! 🙂

    3. So sorry about the glitch! We had a bit of technical difficulties this morning. But things should be up and running now. Go ahead and grab some of that coconut oil now! 🙂

    1. Not a scam, just a glitch. So sorry about the confusion! We had some technical difficulties this morning. But things should be up and running now. Go ahead and grab some of that coconut oil if you’d like! 🙂

  5. I have the same problem…. didn’t work for me either. Required Options Not Selected or something. 🙁

    1. The offer didn’t work for me, either. “Selected items not available” or something like that. Got that error immediately after entering my email address.

    2. So sorry about the glitch! We had some technical difficulties this morning. But things should be up and running now. Go ahead and grab some of that coconut oil! 🙂

    3. Sorry for the inconvenience! The link is now fixed. So go ahead and grab some of that coconut oil! 🙂

    4. Sorry for the glitch! The promo is up and working now! So just click on the link again and grab that jar of coconut oil! 🙂

  6. I got the same error message – required options not available.

    1. The link is now fixed. So go ahead and grab some of that coconut oil! 🙂

    1. The link is now fixed. So go ahead and grab some of that coconut oil! 🙂

  7. Coconut oil has one downside: salicylates–not good for tinnitus sufferers. It affects you whether you eat it, or rub it into your skin. This is the only thing I have against coconut oil.

    1. Some of us could be allergic to coconuts. In addition to not really liking the taste, coconut oil gives me GI upsets and has made chapped lips worse the times I’ve used it. I’ve often wondered if anyone else has had to give up on it.

    2. OMG – I am so glad you posted this. Since I have been oil pulling with coconut oil my ears have been ringing like crazy! This only happened to me once before when I took too much aspirin for headaches. I’ve also been making fat bombs with coconut oil. I think I need to revisit all this!

    3. I looked that up, and olive oil is just as high in silicylates as coconut oil! You will be hard pressed to get the nutrients you need on a diet low in silicylates.

  8. Question for Carrie: Details on how she uses the coconut oil as a leave in hair conditioner and moisturizer. Does she just put a little bit on the ends? Does she put it on wet hair? Dry hair? I tried putting it in my hair to help with dry scalp and left it on for a while before a shower – I didn’t like the greasy feeling.

    1. On the skin side, I use a combo of coconut oil and baking soda (equal parts) to exfoliate my skin (so far just on my face, and on a sunburn that had begun to peal). I just use my hands and a little warm water and rub it all over my face, sometimes giving a little more attention to problem areas like where I (used to!) have pimples and acne. Rinse off the baking soda and pat your face dry–the coconut oil stays on your face and acts as a moisturizer. I also just use a little coconut oil morning and night to moisturize. Like Mark said, make sure it’s virgin and/or cold pressed. It can feel a little oily, but just give it a minute and it’ll absorb into your skin pretty nicely. I’ve thrown out ALL of my old skin care products and will be using this from now on.

  9. Totally agree with others.. this appears to be a scam. Mark can you check on this and help us out here??

    1. So sorry for the glitch! It’s not a scam–but we ran into some technical difficulties with the link this morning. But everything should work fine now! Go ahead and try the link and grab that coconut oil! 🙂

    1. Sorry for the delay! The link is now fixed. So go ahead and grab some of that coconut oil! 🙂

  10. The claim link did not work for me either. Tried on multiple browsers.

    1. Sorry for the inconvenience! The link is now fixed. 🙂

  11. In my house coconut oil is mostly used as a daily moisturizer. We usually only cook with it when we are using the fryer (tastes wonderful with sweet potatoes:). I occasionally grab a spoonful when I am transferring the coconut oil into a plastic container to take up to the bathroom but it’s mostly used externally. Is there any evidence to show the oil is absorbed deeper than the skin in order to get all the benefits?

  12. Apparently, the folks at Thrive don’t believe that Alaska is deserving of free coconut oil. Trust me, our skin is dry and it’s super hard (not to mention expensive) for us to find healthy, fresh, primal foods. We could use the coconut oil. Disappointed.

    1. Not sure where you are, Frances, but if you’re close to Anchorage pick up some coconut oil at CostCo–the one they sell is cold pressed and it’s a great deal! There are also lots of other options at Natural Pantry on 36th. and C St.

      1. Right now? I’m in Deadhorse, Alaska for work. But I live in Anchorage. Yes, I get my coconut oil from Costco and the natural food section at Fred Meye… it’s just a pet peeve when my state is treated like it’s not part of the United States!! Glad they are changing that!

  13. Sadly, Thrive are not international but I wish we had something similar in the UK where everything is expensive.

    1. Try googling real food source uk (sorry can’t remember email, prices are comparable if not cheaper than thrive market, really great products, try the dried cranberries!

  14. This might be TMI but coconut oil makes a great personal lube! Although I was laughing w/my husband that with the coconut smell it’s a little like doing it inside an almond joy bar, haha.

    1. Maybe you could use the refined stuff for this, since you’re not going to be eating it…well… not much of it.

  15. That NYT article was actually published over 4 years ago, FYI. However, I am given pause over this line, “Sure, coconut oil is high in saturated fat, but it’s not the traditional saturated fat made up of long chain fatty acids.”– am I to infer that “regular” saturated fat is INDEED something to be leery of? In the Primal world, since when has something that is “high in saturated fat” that wasn’t of the MCT nature been something to avoid? What did I miss here?

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing. I think the author(s) simply made a mistake and worded it wrong. I bet they were merely trying to emphasize coconut oil’s uniqueness and accidentally made a statement where one could infer that other saturated fats are unhealthy. But Mark has always been known to advocate ”traditional” saturated fats, especially from healthy animal sources.

  16. Coconut oil also makes a great paint remover for those of us that tend to wear paint when trying to paint something else.

  17. What is the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter? Does the butter confer the same benefits as the oil?

    1. Coconut butter is the meat of the coconut ground up into, well, butter. There is coconut oil in the butter, just like you get oil from peanuts and almonds in their respective butters. I wouldn’t use coconut butter in the same ways I use just coconut oil, except they both do well in smoothies. Coconut oil is JUST the oil, and coconut butter is a combination of the oil and coconut meat.

  18. I want to try using Thrive Market because it seems to be a great, ethical company, but the membership cost and prices make it so much more expensive than Vitacost, where everything I usually buy is significantly cheaper (with no membership fee).

    1. Well LDL-C does not seem to be correlated with heart disease but high LDL-P is definitely a risk factor. Of course, not all labs will measure your LDL-P (and many will compute, rather than measure, LDL-C but that’s another story), so what you should be interested in (besides your triglyceride/HDL ratio) is your ApoB/ApoA1 ratio. (ApoB is apparently a good proxy for LDL-P.)

  19. I buy refined coconut oil that claims to be processed without chemicals. Apparently some companies are using steam and/or diatomaceous earth to deodorize it now.

    Seems legit to me.

  20. Coconut oil seems to bother my tummy and make my throat itch. I prefer butter!

  21. “Because it is heat stable, it’s a great oil for cooking.”
    Does this remark apply to unrefined (virgin) coconut oil too? Doesn’t it have all sorts of solids in it that burn when subjected to heat?

    1. I use virgin coconut oil all the time for frying and other cooking uses and have found it to be very heat tolerant with no sign of any burning solids.

  22. Just be aware – Thrive will charge your credit card the membership fee in 30 days.

  23. Coconut oil is just the best. I’ve been adding it to everything I can this year- my tea, stir fry dishes, meat. Makes a huge difference, particularly in how much more mental energy I have now.

  24. I love coconut oil, and so does my dog! She’s 9 now and going strong. I’m convinced it’s the tablespoon of coconut oil I give her daily. It helps her just as much as it helps me!

  25. I tried to sign up for this (several days ago), but it didn’t work–not sure if it was technical issues or what. I contacted the company and even followed up, but received no response.

    They probably have some nice stuff, but I don’t have time to do business with companies that don’t get their customer service right.

  26. I would love to sign up with Thrive but they need to open up to APO addresses. The market here is huge and tons of paleo folks

  27. Excellent post! I’ve been a lover of coconut (with all its kind. Oil, water, shredded flakes, milk) and one thing I can say, this fruit is very healthy and delicious! I often incorporated them with my recipes. And thank you for this promo alert! Will definitely avail that one.