Benefits of coconut oil for cats
There are many benefits of coconut oil for cats – Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid that converts in the body to monolaurin, a monoglyceride compound with numerous beneficial properties, including anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-protozoal. Lauric acid actually destroys lipid-coated bacteria, fungus and viruses such as herpes, the measles, influenza, hepatitis C and HIV, ringworm and athlete’s foot.
In addition, studies show that MCTs such as those found in coconut oil provide a wide range of health benefits, including:
• Help with weight loss (MCTs increase metabolism, send signals of satiety and cannot be stored as fat).
• Improve digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
• Benefit the skin and coat.
• Provide a rapid form of non-carbohydrate energy.
Coconut Oil Benefits: the new “brain food”
Coconut oil is scientifically proven to improve brain function in older dogs and cats – findings that have important implications for people and animals.
In one study, 24 senior Beagles fed a diet supplemented with 5.5% MCTs showed significant improvement in cognitive ability within just one month. The study’s authors concluded that the MCTs (as contained in coconut oil) provided an alternative source of brain energy for the senior dogs.
As the body’s “supercomputer”, the brain requires a lot of energy, most of which is satisfied when our bodies metabolise glucose from the foods we eat. However, as we age, we metabolise glucose less efficiently, leaving a “gap” in the brain’s energy requirement. When this occurs, alternative sources of fuel become important to fill this gap and provide much-needed energy to the brain. This is where MCTs such as those contained in coconut oil can help save the day:
- Unlike regular fats (which the body metabolises slowly), MCTs break down and absorb rapidly into the bloodstream, providing a quick source of non-carbohydrate energy.
- MCTs readily cross the blood-brain barrier, supplying up to 20% of a normal brain’s energy requirement.
- MCTs are important for ketone production, which serve as an additional source of “brain food”.
- MCTs help the body use omega-3 fatty acids more efficiently and increase omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in the brain (a good reason to give your dog both omega-3s and coconut oil)
When purchasing coconut oil, opt for unrefined, cold-pressed varieties. If possible, choose organic brands to avoid potential contamination from pesticides. Coconut oil does not need to be stored in the refrigerator, but since it is light sensitive (like all oils), it’s best to keep it in a dark cupboard. Dark glass containers are excellent storage choices, as they protect the oil from light while also ensuring that no BPAs (harmful chemicals found in many plastic containers), leach into the product.
Studies show that coconut oil fed as 10% or less of your cat’s diet poses no digestive or other health issues. However, since too much coconut oil can cause diarrhea, I advise exercising common sense and introducing it to your pet slowly.