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Virgin coconut oil supplemented diet increases the antioxidant status in rats

Nevin, K.G., Rajamohan, T.
Food chemistry 2006 v.99 no.2 pp. 260-266
peanut oil, polyphenols, coconut oil, fatty acid composition, ferric sulfate, polyunsaturated fatty acids, enzyme activity, lipid peroxidation, vitamin E, microsomes, saponification, animal models, antioxidant activity, rats, temperature, dietary supplements, antioxidants
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) directly extracted from fresh coconut meat at 50 °C temperature was tested for its effect on the activities of antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxidation levels in male Sprague-Dawley rats, compared to copra oil (CO) and groundnut oil (GO) as control. Oils were fed to rats for 45 days along with a semi-synthetic diet and after the experimental period various biochemical parameters were done. Individual fatty acid analyses of VCO and CO were done using gas chromatography. Effect of polyphenol fraction isolated from the oils was also tested for the ability to prevent in vitro microsomal lipid peroxidation induced by FeSO4. The results showed that GO, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, reduced the levels of antioxidant enzymes and increased lipid peroxidation, indicated by the very high MDA and conjugate diene content in the tissues. PF fraction from VCO was found to have more inhibitory effect on microsomal lipid peroxidation compared to that from the other two oils. VCO with more unsaponifiable components viz. vitamin E and polyphenols than CO exhibited increased levels of antioxidant enzymes and prevented the peroxidation of lipids in both in vitro and in vivo conditions. These results showed that VCO is superior in antioxidant action than CO and GO. This study has proved that VCO is beneficial as an antioxidant.