Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, comprising of a chain of 12 carbon atoms.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat. Unlike the saturated fats in animal fats, which is a long chain fatty acid (LCFA) comprising of up to 24 carbon atoms, coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), mainly lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid.
Saturated fats are made of single carbon bonds, which means that the oil if stable and not prone to oxidation or free-radical formation. Coconut oil does not need to be refrigerated and has shown no signs of rancidity even after three years of storage.
The Lauric acid in coconut oil is converted into monoglyceride monolaurin by the body, which supports healthy immune response to foreign microbes. Lauric acid is also found in abundance in breast milk, so it has similar nutritive effects.
The MCFAs are broken down and used for energy production and seldom end up as body fat or as deposits in arteries. Coconut oil supports healthy metabolism, provides a higher level of energy, and supports healthy cellular function. In dogs, the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil support healthy thyroid function, promoting healthy weight management.
Coconut oil has an anti-inflammatory effect and supports healthy brain and nervous system function. Coconut oil supports skin and coat health. Medium chain fatty acids do not have a negative effect on blood cholesterol and help protect against heart disease.