January 30, 2023

Results of the joint study of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), DOST-Calabarzon, Santa Rosa City, Laguna, and the Ateneo de Manila University have shown that virgin coconut oil (VCO) could be used as a supplement to probable and suspect cases of Covid-19.

The study showed that VCO mixed with meals could diminish symptoms in probable and suspect Covid-19 cases.

The team evaluated the effects of VCO given to suspect and probable cases isolated in a facility or hospital in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Investigators randomly assigned the volunteers into either the Intervention or VCO Group or the Control Group.

The Santa Rosa Community Isolation Unit and the Santa Rosa Community Hospital Isolation Unit Laguna were the study sites.

The study excluded suspect or probable cases who have a heart ailment and those taking medications for heart disease, those with high cholesterol levels, pregnant, and those who are asymptomatic.

There were 57 suspect and probable Covid-19 patients who participated and underwent the 28-day intervention period.

Participants in the Intervention or VCO Group were given standardized meals mixed with VCO developed by FNRI.

The Control Group also received the usual standardized meals but without VCO.

Meals were prepared by a catering service, while the precise amount of VCO was mixed on-site by registered nutritionists-dietitians hired for the study.

Meals were delivered in the isolation facilities during the participants’ confinement, and later at their homes after being already discharged.

There were 29 cases who were in the VCO Group and 28 in the Control Group. 

An initial dose of 0.6 milliliters of VCO per kilogram of body weight was mixed with the standard breakfast meals of the VCO Group on the first three days of the trial.

The dose was increased to 1.2 milliliters of VCO per kilogram of body weight mixed with the standard breakfast and lunch of the VCO Group from day 4 to 28.

Study participants in the VCO Group with reported VCO intolerance were given computed amounts of VCO per kilogram of body weight in their standard breakfast, lunch and dinner meals.

Symptoms, like cough, colds, body aches, headache, loss of taste and smell, and fever were monitored daily for 28 days.

Immediate effects of the VCO intervention were observed among five of the 29 patients in the VCO Group who experienced decreasing signs and symptoms of Covid-19 as early as day 2, while only one patient from the Control Group showed similar improvement.  

“More studies are recommended to determine the effectiveness of VCO as an adjunct or supportive therapy for Covid-19 patients and patients with other co-morbidities,” said study leader and Scientist II Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa of FNRI.

The VCO used in the study were analyzed by the Laboratory Services Division of the PCA to ensure product quality and compliance to Philippine National Standard.

The PCA requests VCO producers to have their VCO samples analyzed by PCA prior to promotion and marketing.

Currently, PCA is planning to develop the protocol in establishing the seal of quality for VCO. – Press release