Coconut's Role In Supporting Healthy Thyroid Function

  • Natasha Kaur Biomedical Science – Bachelors of Science, University of Lincoln, UK
  • Asma Hadjadj Master's degree, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kingston University, UK


The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the front of the neck. In General, its functions affect all your systems in some way. Thyroid-related diseases are the most common endocrine disorders.1 Men, women, and children all have the thyroid gland, which means that anyone can develop thyroid issues at any point in their lifetime.

Your thyroid gland is responsible for the production and release of hormones, which are the chemical messengers responsible for bodily effects. A healthy thyroid function is a key factor in good health and well-being.

Coconuts and thyroid? Never heard of it before? Coconut oils contain many good fats, many of which support natural hormone production in the body. These fats have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties that strengthen your immune system. Additionally, fatty acids present in coconut oil raise metabolic rates and contribute to brain development.2 All of these support healthy thyroid function.

In this article you can find out more about what these hormones are and how exactly they function with the gland itself. Below you will be able to find out much more about the role of coconuts in supporting thyroid health, an amazing fruit you may not have linked with thyroid health before reading this!

Understanding thyroid function

The hormones produced include tetraiodothyronine, better thyroxine or T4 hormone, and triiodothyronine or T3 hormone.3 In a healthy person, the thyroid gland produces 90% inactive thyroid hormone (T4) and 10% active hormone (T3). Not all of these 90% are lost - don’t worry, most of it is eventually converted to active thyroid hormone.4

One of the main functions of these hormones is to help regulate the body’s metabolism. That is the process in which food gets turned into the energy you need. hormones can’t exactly reach their destination site without communication aids, so what else is there?

  • Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

Alongside  T4 hormone, thyrotropin-releasing hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone work harmoniously together to create feedback mechanisms. They also help maintain homeostasis (regular conditions).3

What happens if your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough or even too much hormone?

There are two main thyroid disorders.

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) – a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone.

If you suffer from hyperthyroidism, you may experience these symptoms:5

  • Weight loss (hypermetabolism)
  • Anxiety/ nervousness
  • More sweating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Heat intolerance
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) – slightly different in name, but hypo- meaning under, so this is where your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone causing you to become deficient in it.

If you have hypothyroidism, you may experience these symptoms:5

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Dry skin
  • Cold intolerance
  • Voice change

Nutrients in coconuts and their impact on thyroid health

Coconuts and coconut oil are deemed to have great health benefits due to their being a healthy source of saturated fats and fibre and having antioxidant properties. Seeing saturated fats may be surprising. However, it is important to consider that 62-70% of the saturated fat content of coconut oil is medium-chain triglyceride.6 These types of saturated fats can be good for you, and here’s why.7

  • Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to contribute to decreasing metabolic syndrome and helping weight loss.
  • They also lower inflammation
  • Improves skeletal muscle function

Coconut water contains micronutrients (nutrients needed in small quantities), including antioxidants, which help the body’s antioxidant system.8

Antioxidants are substances which protect your cells against free radicals (potentially dangerous reactive species) by attaching part of themselves and making the free radical unreactive, therefore, non-dangerous.

In hyperthyroidism, hypermetabolism is a common symptom.

  • Hypermetabolism creates more free radicals in the body.8
  • Coconut water contains antioxidants, which are therefore beneficial for the lowering of free radicals and, subsequently, weight loss (or hypermetabolism) in hyperthyroidism.

Coconut meat (the raw white part) contains selenium and zinc alongside many other minerals that can be found on FoodData Central.

Selenium and zinc are Co-enzymes/co-factors that catalyse the removal of these dangerous free radicals.8

  • Again, as antioxidants, this is beneficial for hyperthyroidism, but also thyroid disorder as a whole – thyroid disease suppresses the immune system, but a reduction in free radicals strengthens the immune system.

Thyroid hormone production may be lowered further in selenium deficiency as the function of proteins which are responsible for conversion of T4 to T3 are decreased.9

  • Selenium content in coconut ensures deficiency in the mineral does not occur, and thyroid hormone production isn’t reduced.
  • Like selenium, zinc is also necessary for preventing zinc deficiency, which could lead to decreased thyroid hormone levels.10

Coconut oil helps restore thyroid gland function. Medium chain fatty acids found in saturated fats within coconut:

  • Increases metabolism
  • Maintains blood sugar levels
  • Improves mitochondrial function (increasing energy produced and so your energy levels)11

Incorporating coconut into the diet  

There are many benefits of coconut to thyroid health as outlined, but how can you incorporate it into your daily meals?

  • Cooking with coconut oil. You may need to get used to the taste, but the change is worth it-   Adding coconut milk to recipes. Curries and sauces are so easy to make and so healthy.
  • Snacking on coconut-based products.

It is always necessary to take dietary requirements into consideration. Therefore, if you have or think you might have a coconut allergy, seek medical guidance first.

It is always important to remember that everything should be consumed in moderation. Excessive consumption of coconut oil raises low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C),12 which may be damaging to health.

  • Personal testimonial of the benefits of coconut on thyroid health: 

In a testimonial by Jessica Espinoza:

She states that for many years she’d heard of and also read about coconut oil improving thyroid function and also helping weight loss. “I think that these two things go hand-in-hand, because typically if you have a low-functioning thyroid, you will also find It incredibly hard to lose weight”.

Jessica Espinoza had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She had then been suffering from weight gain due to her low-functioning thyroid. She adds:

She increased her daily intake of coconut oil to 9-12 tablespoons per day “and then the weight started coming off. I began to steadily lose about 1 pound per week and am thrilled with that… To date, I have lost 17 additional pounds.”

Jessica is halfway to the weight she aims to be at and simply states “and there has been nothing difficult or frustrating… I just eat cleanly and enjoy my tea and coconut oil”.

She adds “I also feel like I have a little more energy throughout the day, and my energy levels are staying stable… getting plenty of fat is key to making that happen”.

Cautionary note

It is important to remember as with any article, this is informational guidance only and does not intend to be or replace medical or professional information.

Potential limitations and considerations

No known interactions have been found between coconut water and levothyroxine (thyroid medication), but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t exist. Please note that coconut-based approaches may interact with any other medication you may be taking alongside thyroid medication.

  • Coconut oil has been associated with a small increase in HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol)13 therefore, if you have cholesterol, a coconut approach may not be suitable. 

As a medication, there isn’t enough reliable information to decide on an appropriate dose of coconut, so it is important you self-monitor any changes.

Coconut may cause serious allergic reactions in people who are allergic to any components of coconut. Consult a medical professional should you develop any side effects from coconut.

A balanced diet is key, so make sure you eat a varied diet and that the substitutes you use are maintainable and safe.  


To summarise, making informed choices to better your thyroid function is all down to taking a holistic approach. Diet has a large impact on thyroid function, as does lifestyle, but it is important to note that, at present,  there is no cure for thyroid disease.

You can alleviate symptoms and live your life as normal if you have your thyroid under control. This is mainly via medication given by your doctor after consultations and blood tests.

Additional resources and references

You may want to do your own further research, here’s a list of reputable sources and references:

Health Effects of Coconut Oil-A Narrative Review of Current Evidence - PubMed (

Hypothyroidism diet: Can certain foods increase thyroid function? - Mayo Clinic

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) - NHS (

Thyroid health organisation

The British Thyroid Foundation (BTF) (

Keywords: coconut; coconut oil; thyroid; hypothyroidism; hypothyroidism; medium-chain fatty acid


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Natasha Kaur

Biomedical Science – Bachelors of Science, University of Lincoln, UK

Natasha is a dedicated full-time student with a significant background in all things health and biology related, acquired over several years, which is why sharing concise health-related knowledge to the public has developed into one of her strong passions. Her interest lies in cancer-related topics, including her final year degree dissertation project, and so educating people about the disease is of particular interest to her. She has established recent experience in medical writing with Klarity Health which has pointed her into a full-time writing career, post graduating. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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