Research Outline

Coconut Oil for IBS


To identify the benefits, patient experiences, and caveats/side effects of using coconut oil to treat IBS.

Early Findings

  • According to Reversing IBS, there are multiple benefits of coconut oil for IBS patients. Coconut oil helps kill the bad bacteria, virus and fungus. It is a healthy saturated fat that helps to ease digestive system problems, which is helpful for IBS sufferers with mild or severe symptoms.
  • It also states that coconut kefir, a form of fermented milk "is made up of many healthy bacteria and is often the most compatible type of milk for those suffering from IBS. This alternative form of milk is quite helpful in combination with the coconut oil in tackling IBS."
  • An article from Very Well Health states that according to Monash University research, a serving size of 1 tablespoon of coconut oil is considered low-FODMAP, since coconut oil is a fat and not a carbohydrate (however, too much fat can strengthen intestinal contractions).
  • The article further states that "some people say they get constipation relief by ingesting coconut oil on a daily basis. However, there is no research to support or contradict this. Coconut oil appears to be a good source of healthy fat that in moderation should not make your IBS worse."
  • A report from the Gastroparesis and Dysmotilities Association states that coconut oil has been found to alleviate IBS-D (IBS with increased diarrhea). "The fat found in coconuts is primarily made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). Interestingly, there have been a few studies looking at the impact of MCT on gut motility. Interdigestive motility patterns (the motility activity that takes place between meals) were shortened in length, therefore dampening gut motor activity."
  • Medline Plus states that while "one study in children found that incorporating coconut oil into the diet can reduce the length of diarrhea, but another study found that it was no more effective than a cow milk-based diet. The effect of coconut oil alone is not clear." It states that overall, there is insufficient evidence to rate the effectiveness of coconut oil for IBS.