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Coconut products and heartburn

by (510)
Updated about 18 hours ago
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.

Thanks.

(edited to put the "t" in heartburn)

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20519 · October 03, 2011 at 6:15 PM

I can eat dried coconut and coconut milk but have to be careful with coconut oil. No heartburn but definitely bugs my stomach a bit and makes my mouth feel weird and metallic-y. I can use a bit in a dressing or a bit with cooking but can't do the tablespoons and cups everyone else seems to be able to do.

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18412 · August 04, 2011 at 2:26 AM

see when my heartburn was at it's worst was December, when I finally started eating 2 spoons of raw manuka honey active 16+ rating. It seemed to help instantly, within days of starting. i haven't had honey in a couple months, and haven't had manuka since like March. http://www.activemanukahoneyusa.com/Natural-H-Pylori-Treatment.htm

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510 · August 04, 2011 at 12:46 AM

My memory is fuzzy...but I seem to recall that I was treated with antibiotics about 15 years ago for H. pylori (?) I don't know if they tested for anitbodies, though--I think it was after an upper endoscopy that I was put on the antibiotics. I do have a diagnosis of GERD, but am not formally on any meds; however, I will admit to taking the OTC meds even though I know they are not what I need. I have vowed on more than one occasion that I will never purchase them again.

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56606 · August 04, 2011 at 12:36 AM

yeah, but once you have it, it is probably regulating things. H pylori does that because it wants a perfect niche, too low acid and other bacteria come in, too high and it can't survive. Perhaps it's worth getting rid of if you have it, esp since the Western strains have some bad genes.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
18412 · August 03, 2011 at 11:31 PM

so you are saying that coconut oil might mess up a happy h pylori setting, thereby causing heartburn? I could see this as possible. I had multiple discussions with Dr Ayers and Kresser about H pylori last year. But it was always more trying to combat it. That's very interesting.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
18412 · August 03, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Is it really all the benefits? What exactly does the refinement process remove that would remove the allergic reactions?

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78417 · August 03, 2011 at 9:00 PM

see my answer below. Not at all silly. Happens often.

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14 Answers

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
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56606 · 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.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
18412 · August 04, 2011 at 2:26 AM

see when my heartburn was at it's worst was December, when I finally started eating 2 spoons of raw manuka honey active 16+ rating. It seemed to help instantly, within days of starting. i haven't had honey in a couple months, and haven't had manuka since like March. http://www.activemanukahoneyusa.com/Natural-H-Pylori-Treatment.htm

24868bf5aa2c49e269392765932d9dc4
510 · August 04, 2011 at 12:46 AM

My memory is fuzzy...but I seem to recall that I was treated with antibiotics about 15 years ago for H. pylori (?) I don't know if they tested for anitbodies, though--I think it was after an upper endoscopy that I was put on the antibiotics. I do have a diagnosis of GERD, but am not formally on any meds; however, I will admit to taking the OTC meds even though I know they are not what I need. I have vowed on more than one occasion that I will never purchase them again.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56606 · August 04, 2011 at 12:36 AM

yeah, but once you have it, it is probably regulating things. H pylori does that because it wants a perfect niche, too low acid and other bacteria come in, too high and it can't survive. Perhaps it's worth getting rid of if you have it, esp since the Western strains have some bad genes.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
18412 · August 03, 2011 at 11:31 PM

so you are saying that coconut oil might mess up a happy h pylori setting, thereby causing heartburn? I could see this as possible. I had multiple discussions with Dr Ayers and Kresser about H pylori last year. But it was always more trying to combat it. That's very interesting.

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3315 · 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.

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11099 · 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!

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78417 · August 03, 2011 at 8:59 PM

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

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
18412 · August 03, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Is it really all the benefits? What exactly does the refinement process remove that would remove the allergic reactions?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
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18412 · 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.

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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.

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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.

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6889 · 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!

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24538 · 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.

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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

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1523 · March 15, 2013 at 12:39 AM

I very rarely get heartburn (like once a year if that). I've recently started drinking coconut milk and I started to notice heartburn. However, before you write off coconut consider it might have to do with the particular product. For example, when I was drinking Silk-brand original/vanilla coconut milk I didn't notice any heartburn. Recently I switched to using Fresh-and-Easy (A small US-based grocery store chain) unsweetened coconut milk and that is when I started noticing it. I can't say for sure that the brand is what caused it because it's possible I'm drinking more of it than before. I need to do an A-B test and switch back to the other brand to see if I notice a difference.

Also I have had coconut oil before with no problem although perhaps I was not eating enough to produce heartburn. When I eat coconut oil it is virgin organic. Finally I also eat Thai food with coconut milk and have not noticed problems with that either.

In summary, consider that it could be the particular product brand or the volume of product you are consuming.

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17103 · 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.

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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?

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4359 · 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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