MCT Oil / Coconut and heart palpitations

by (10) Updated May 15, 2014 at 5:24 PM Created April 03, 2013 at 11:56 PM

There are a couple discussions about this online, but none of them answer my questions. I've noticed since I started adding coconut oil and MCT into my diet, I've been experiencing heart palpitations. My best analogy regarding how it feels is the bubbling you feel in your lungs when you're sick with a cold and need to cough. Sometimes it's a flutter and sometimes it's a bubbly feeling. I value the benefits that both could add to my diet and so I'm curious to know if others have experienced this and if it was only temporary.

I thought maybe it was the ketones, but my strips read "negative" or "trace". I thought it might be a potassium deficiency, but I eat quite a bit of avocado every day. It's certainly not the carb drop because I did Atkins for 2 weeks before switching to Paleo and this is my 2nd or 3rd week on Paleo. Also, I occasionally take Magnesium to help me sleep and I don't take Omega 3s when I take MCT oil. Well, save for the Omega 3s that are in grass-fed butter, considering I usually have the oil with food and I love me some butter!

I feel fantastic on Paleo, I have a lot more energy, and I like the benefits that I get from coconut products. MCT oil helps me get into study mode for exams. Basically, what I'm hoping for is a common consensus that this is temporary and nothing to worry about. However, if this is not the case, then I will go see my doctor. Thank you for your input.

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4 Replies

0 · May 15, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that MCT oil is dreadfully high in saturated fat (as in, 70% of your daily allowance in 1 tablespoon). This may have health benefits, but heart health is not one of them. If you have a history of family heart disease like me, MCT is the worst thing for you. You're basically clogging your arteries with sat fats, raising your blood pressure, triglyceride counts, etc.

599 · August 27, 2013 at 4:28 PM

My question would be: How much coconut/MCT oil are you eating?

It could be simply a matter of dose. A racing heart/heart palpitations and nausea is not that uncommon after sudden, high doses of coconut or especially MCT oil.

Decrease your dose (start with maybe 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or 1 tablespoon of MCT oil per day, maybe even only half that). Do that for a week and if you don't have problems, you can try to increase the dose. But you might find that there is a threshold you can't go over without having hear palpitations. Also, try spreading the intake of the oils over a longer time. You can try mixing them with coffee or tea and drinking them over a couple of hours.

Also, make sure your salt intake is adequate. I am not sure how that works when you just increase ketones through coconut/MCT oil, but in ketosis an certain amount of salt is necessary to protect yourself from potassium deficiency, because you body will use potassium instead of sodium, if its not available and your kidneys will start to dump salt. Therefore, 2g-3g of added salt a day seems to be a good idea in ketosis.

Also, try if it makes a difference whether you take the oil with or without food. You might find that you tolerate more if you take it with food, but that might just be because of a decreased speed of absorption.

Of course, there are a lot of other possibilities (it might have to do with some kind of dysfunction (thyroid, adrenals, kidneys, ...), or genetic or ... or .... But I think dialing in your dose, spreading it over some time and then maybe trying to add a little salt are the first things you should try, because they are so easy, cheap and benign to try.

4544 · August 27, 2013 at 7:19 AM

I've noticed since I started adding coconut oil and MCT into my diet, I've been experiencing heart palpitations.

One reason why this might happen is that you have a fatty acid oxidation disorder such as MCADD. With MCADD, your body cannot metabolize medium chain triglycerides (MCT) properly because it lacks a certain enzyme.

These disorders are not especially uncommon (1 out of 4000 Germans have MCADD).

If you do have such a disorder you might want to be cautious because they can be life-threatening.

0 · August 27, 2013 at 6:11 AM

I had the same thing happen, no information on this phenomena

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