Coconut products and heartburn

by (510) Updated September 03, 2013 at 4:30 AM Created August 03, 2011 at 8:15 PM

I feel almost silly asking this...but does anyone else have trouble with heartburn after consuming coconut products? I keep trying to use coconut oil and/or coconut butter--I'm not wild about it, but am trying to avoid dairy. I've also made some "crutch" coconut flour bread, and I seem to get the heartburn with it, too. Maybe it is the increase in fat--but other fats don't seem to bother me as much. Just curious if I was alone with this issue with coconut.


(edited to put the "t" in heartburn)

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13 Replies

55320 · August 03, 2011 at 9:56 PM

Have you been tested for h. pylori antibodies? Coconut oil can be anti-bacterial and while h. pylori has a bad rap, if it's been there a while it's probably moderating the acid content of the stomach for you. Just a theory though.

3317 · August 03, 2011 at 8:56 PM

I've been using coconut milk consistently for years without any problems, but ever since I started eating coconut butter (the last two weeks) I've had persistent heartburn too. It's the only thing I've changed in my diet. It absolutely must be the culprit.

11071 · August 03, 2011 at 10:06 PM

It sounds like you're sensitive to coconut. It's not unusual, I would avoid them if I were you...there are a lot of other wonderful food choices out there that don't give you heartburn!

77338 · August 03, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Get the refined type, expeller pressed, rather than Extra-virgin. All the benefits, minus the allergic reaction.

18236 · August 03, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Interesting. I developed heartburn right after going low carb last year, but I could also make the following true statement: I developed heart burn right after I began using coconut oil last year. Since everybody and their mother believe coconut oil is the miracle oil, I never really considered that it could be that so I've never stopped using it for any kind of extended period of time. I'm curious to hear some more responses on this.

10 · December 15, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Coconut products gives me heartburt. All of them, even raw dried coconut. Since I have acid reflux problems I can taste my stomach acid (!) and actually nothing ever tastes as bad as when I eat coconut, it tastes like poison and hurts in my mouth in a really strange way (normal stomach acid hurts in a normal way ;-). Eating other fat food gives me acid problems but not the extreme, bad tasting coconut thing.

I've been having a hard time accepting this since I love asian food but I simply have to give in and stop eating it.

60 · August 03, 2011 at 10:01 PM

You all need to heal your guts with proper multiprobiotics!! My favorite is Original Medicine - MultiProbiotic. With the proper flora in your gut you will not have issues like this. For some it takes longer to heal (a number of months) and for others it's a snap (a few weeks). BUT GET ON A GOOD MULTIPROBIOTIC. WE must have these bugs, and our food supply doesn't give it to us like it should and our soils are deplete in the first place.

6849 · August 03, 2011 at 9:43 PM

I didn't have a problem using it for years, and then when I started to get sick from gluten one of the first things I noticed was that coconut milk gave me reflux. Now, I can't tell you if it was because my digestive system was already destroyed from the gluten or because of the coconut milk itself, so take that for what it's worth. I hope to try it again once my intestines calm down a little more because I do love me some coconut curry!

24412 · August 03, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I did at first when I was taking the oil by itself or eating it with fruit, but now no problems when I take it at the beginning of meals.

0 · September 03, 2013 at 4:30 AM

Just started on coconut oil and now I get heartburn. Noticed if I had it early in the day it is worse. I need to have at night not to get heartburn. Why does it cause heartburn, never had this before

16858 · December 16, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I've had quite a bit of reflux (past tense), but never had trouble with coconut. Perhaps it's an allergic reaction, perhaps there's not enough bile to process the non MCT-half?

If you have issues with it, by all means avoid it, or try to find out the cause, fix it, and retry. A month after switching to paleo, I had trouble digesting eggs, but another month later, and I no longer did. Possibly, the right balance of minerals wasn't there, but curing the damage from leaky gut fixed it? Getting the right amount of potassium, magnesium, is critical.

I did notice when I first started that I couldn't eat too much coconut oil at once, maybe a teaspoon or two. Now, I crave the stuff and can do several tablespoons a day without issue. We adapt.

0 · October 02, 2011 at 8:50 PM

I do suspect the guar gum being the actal culprit too. Pity though it is often not declared. Be suspicious if your milk is very creamy.. it wouldn't be without added emulsifiers and/ or stabilizers (i.e. starches->carbs). Never trust ingredients listed on imported foods! But why do people get a reflux from oil? Is this only because of sphincter relaxation?

4337 · August 04, 2011 at 2:05 AM

Fat causes lower esophageal sphincter relaxations. Coconut oil/milk is fatty. Hence...

If you limit FODMAPs (google it) from your diet, you will likely have many fewer esophageal relaxations and, thus, coconut may stop causing heartburn.

Also, eating it with protein should help since protein prevents LES relaxations.

I speak from personal experience (coconut used to give me caustic reflux all the time), augmented with a lot of research. Now I can eat coconut without any problem.

For what it is worth, lactose and inulin (onions, leeks, bread, etc) are the worst FODMAPs for me and I got the most mileage from just cutting those. Lastly, I'd advise you to avoid the guar gum they put in the water part of canned coconut milk (just spill out the water that separates when you chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge). Guar gum is almost 100% FODMAPs.

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