Learn How to Detox with a Coconut Oil Cleanse



What in the world is a coconut oil detox?

The idea of a coconut oil cleanse seems a little crazy at first.

I’m not big on fad cleanses personally. I’ve never been good at subjecting myself to an insanely restricted diet (aside from my milk diet, but what can I say? I love milk), especially one that required heavy duty fasting.

I know now this is probably because my stress levels have been too high for a few years, and fasting can generally stress even further (can we say mood swings, anyone?).

So it’s with some reserve that I talk about a coconut oil detox as a way to cleanse without using complicated formulas or living off nothing but water for days on end.
Coconut oil is a powerful cleansing food. I know this from personal experience.
When I first added a couple tablespoons of coconut oil to my diet, I went through some noticeable die-off symptoms like headaches and chills for about 2-3 days. Considering I hadn’t changed much else in my diet I was pretty impressed.


Coconut oil is also a great source of energy.
It’s largely comprised of medium-chain fatty acids, which are sent directly to the liver for energy rather than storage. This type of fat is ideal for a cleanse, since it can provide the energy needed at a time when less food is being consumed.
It’s also supposed to give digestion somewhat of a break during this time, which is an important benefit of fasting because this allows the body to process and eliminate general toxic buildup.

These same medium-chain fatty acids play a crucial role in cleansing the body from toxins. Coconut oil is heralded as a natural healing food, and a coconut oil detox simply speeds up healing results by thoroughly flushing the entire body of toxins in a short time. Here is an example of four types of conditions coconut oil can combat during a detox:

Candida. In modern society, candida overgrowth is considered by some to be almost epidemic. More people are experiencing systemic candida (when the problem spreads throughout the body and causes a myriad of unpleasant side effects).

A coconut oil detox is completely void of sugar and other carbohydrates, which effectively starves off all candida in the system.

People who suffer from candida will notice many conditions improve or disappear after a coconut oil detox, including sugar cravings, fatigue, eczema, acne, repeat sinus infections and poor concentration.

Fungal infections. Often connected with candida, repeat fungal infections like ringworm and jock itch are linked to an imbalance of bacteria and fungal organisms in the body.

The lauric acid and caprylic acid in coconut oil are antifungal, so a coconut oil detox is an effective way to cleanse the entire system of fungal growth. Many people with fungal conditions report a complete recovery within the cleansing period.

Digestive conditions. A coconut oil detox can help banish digestive conditions like irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) and leaky gut syndrome by restoring health and balance to the digestive system.

Viruses. Lauric acid, which is found in abundance in coconut oil, is converted into monolaurin in the body, which has strong antiviral properties that can protect against and even destroy lipid-coated viruses like herpes and influenza.

How to Detox with a Coconut Oil Cleanse:

A coconut oil cleanse is a very simple detoxification method that replaces regular food with coconut oil, usually for about 3-7 days. Start your day with two tablespoons of coconut oil and take 1-2 tablespoons throughout the day as needed for up to 14 tablespoons total each day.

Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut

Take the coconut oil plain if you enjoy it that way, but those who can’t tolerate swallowing the oil straight can mix it with warm lemon water or plain organic yogurt if necessary.

You can use small amounts of stevia if you’d like to sweeten the lemon water or yogurt, but no sugar should be consumed during the cleanse.

In his book Coconut Cures, Dr. Bruce Fife adds that you can eat up to four ounces of fresh coconut meat daily while on the detox if needed.

The best kind of coconut oil to use to detoxify is organic, raw extra virgin coconut oil.

This type of oil should be completely unrefined, expeller- or cold-pressed, unbleached and not deodorized. This ensures you are getting the maximum natural benefits from your coconut oil.

But I wouldn’t say that refined coconut oil has no benefits, so if that is what you have on hand or if it’s easier for you to take, then it will probably work for the cleanse.

You can read my thoughts on refined vs unrefined coconut oil HERE.

*Warning: Work Up Slowly if You’re New to Coconut Oil*

If you have never taken coconut oil before, then you’ll want to let your body adjust by slowly incorporating it into your diet before trying a coconut oil detox. Start with 1/2-1 teaspoon three times per day.

Gradually work your way up to 1-2 tablespoons three times daily. It may take two weeks to work up to the full amount.

When you feel comfortable taking this much coconut oil, then you should be ready to start a coconut oil detox.

Some people will experience “die-off” symptoms when they begin a coconut oil detox.

These symptoms are often flu-like, including headaches, joint stiffness, dizziness and foggy-thinking.

It may not feel so good, but it’s a sign that your body is ridding itself of harmful toxins like fungal organisms.

Die-off symptoms usually only last for 3-5 days, but you can ease them by gradually introducing coconut oil to your diet before doing a detox.

Drink Your Water!

During a coconut oil detox, it’s important to drink plenty of filtered water to nourish the body and facilitate cleansing benefits. Here is a recipe for a delicious drink that can replenish you during a cleanse: 

1 cup pure lemon juice
6 cups filtered water
1 teaspoon high quality sea salt

The lemon juice has cleansing properties, and the sea salt replaces minerals that may be lost during a cleanse.
You can also add some liquid trace minerals for additional minerals if you’d like.
Add stevia for a sweeter taste, but do not sweeten with any kind of sugar.
Question: Is it safe to detox while breastfeeding?
I hear this question a lot, and I found a great post that addresses whether or not it’s recommended to detox while breastfeeding here.

*Remember, if you have medical conditions or if you are on prescription medications, it’s important to talk with your physician before trying a coconut oil cleanse or any other kind of cleanse.


This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade!

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  1. Great Info! My husband and I started oil pulling with coconut oil this week. My husband was amazed at how clean his mouth felt after the oil pulling. We use a lot of coconut oil (E.V. cold pressed) for most of our cooking, and we also use it as a moisturizer.

  2. Just a word of caution. I have seen warnings and heard of negative health outcomes in regards to killing off candida for people who have high levels of mercury in their systems. If a person has reason to believe they may have high levels of mercury (exposure to broken thermometers as a child, four or more “silver” fillings, other exposures, or any symptoms) it might be wise to proceed slowly with killing off candida. The candida actually binds with the mercury in the body, and when that candida dies off it causes the mercury to redistribute into organs and tissues (such as the brain). Mercury is much more damaging to and harder to remove from the brain than it is from the gut.

    • With this in mind, it would be advisable to take Spirulina or other green algae to bind with the mercury or other metals and move them out of the body. I had such fillings and when healing I took Spirulina for 6 months. My labs on blood showed no metals. My objective was to eliminate any causes like lead in my son for his AdHD. We had used the Spirulina (he and Ik0 for ADHD for it’s balance of amino acids. As a sideline learned of how Spirulina rids the body of metals through research on blue green algae. My research was focused on the amini-acids that are well alanced and digestible for ADHD.

  3. Thanks! This is great info. I’m trying to cleanse out the toxins in my body through eating whole foods, but this might help the process along. I think I’ll start introducing coconut oil into my diet slowly and then cleanse eventually.

      • Can you do coconut butter or “manna” along with coconut oil or does it have to be strictly coconut oil? You said you can eat the meat too so since the coconut butter is only oil and the meat blended together it should be fine correct?
        Also, none of the coconut water shouled be consumed since it has sugars?
        thank you :)

        • You can definitely be flexible with this, it’s very strict and I don’t necessarily endorse it. I’m just leaving the post up for informational purposes. Coconut water is pretty awesome, so I won’t argue with you using it. 😉

    • I am still confused, do you eat anything during this cleanse? I saw no foods listed in the article so for how many days do you do this with no food?

      • You can eat some plain yogurt in addition to the coconut oil. It’s a (kind of ridiculously) strict cleanse, so I wouldn’t recommend following this for a more than a few days at maximum.

  4. I would be interested in any thoughts you have about the following.

    After having smoothies w/coconut oil (1 T) in them (either dairy or coconut milk) – my husband has diarrhea. But he doesn’t seem to have the problem other times – this AM we had coconut pancakes & he had 1.5 T of coconut oil in the pancakes – but no reaction. I have tried smoothies w/o coconut oil & he is OK.

    This is so odd – any thoughts?

    • I had a similar experience a little over a week ago, only for me it’s constipation. I had smoothies 3 days in a row with 1 Tbsp. coconut oil…I did not feel good. I wonder if it was too much at once or if it’s something about how coconut oil reacts with another ingrdient…maybe the yogurt? I haven’t tried another smoothie since then. But I’m sure I will at some point. I wonder if it would happen again.

      • Candida die off can cause constipation (or diarrhea). You might want to start off with less, or spread it out throughout the day, like a tsp. with breakfast, one with lunch, and if you still feel okay, one with dinner. It’s best to detox gently and not further stress your body more by overdoing it.

      • RE: your constipation. That is interesting because I went ot the ER last holiday after being super constipated for two weeks after being on coconut oil that my ayurvedic doctor prescribed. When I went back to her, she said that basically my liver couldn’t keep up with the detox of it which is why I was constipated. Even the triphala which normally works didn’t. She makes me keep drinking the cumin, coriander, fennel tea and it seems to work along with enemas.

    • Hmm, that is interesting. Hard to tell what the cause is if he doesn’t have the same reaction when coconut oil is with ither foods. It may have to do with the rate of digestion. Smoothies are digested very quickly. But it’s hard to know for sure–though if that’s his reaction I would definitely use less coconut oil in the smoothies and just use it somewhere else instead.

  5. Hey, Jessie. It’s common to have problems digesting saturated fat if you aren’t used to having it in your diet. It has to do with the gallbladder losing it’s ability to produce bile as needed. Coconut oil is supposed to be easiest to digest because it is mostly medium chain fatty acids, but I know of some people who still have problems with it in the beginning. There are several steps you can take to build up digestion of saturated fats. The sidebar at the bottom of this article from the Weston Price website has detailed info for a few ways to do that. Hope it helps!


  6. Could I drink it unsweetened herbal tea (no caffeine)? That’s how I take my coconut oil a lot of times, and I think it would be a lot easier for me to get it in with tea.

  7. Do you know if the coconut oil detox can be done using coconut oil capsules? I know a lot of capsules would have to be swallowed, but that might work better for me. Thanks.

    • I suppose technically this could be done, but as you said it would take a whole lot of capsules (I’m talking in the realm of 200+/day). Plus I would have some concerns about sending all of those capsules through the digestive system. The body really wasn’t made to break down that sort of thing.

  8. I want to caution people about “die-off” which is often due to mercury recirculating in the blood stream. Candida binds with mercury to sequester it out of circulation. When we kill off candida faster than the body can effectively excrete the excess circulating mercury, it redeposits into brain, organs, gut, fetus and breastmilk. (headaches, insomnia, irritability, nausea, malaise, weakness, dizziness are symptoms of excess circulating toxins)

    Detox shouldn’t hurt.

    It is necessary to have adequate nutrients to effectively excrete toxins from the body. I strongly recommend against a coconut oil only diet or “cleanse” as magnesium, zinc, folate, vit c, selenium, B3, B6, B12, molybdenum, sulfate are all necessary to open the detoxification pathways. These are all available in whole foods: bone broths, nettle infusions, beans, greens, legumes, liver, Brazil nuts, green smoothies, etc. And Epsom salt baths help with detox reactions.

    Pat Robinson

  9. I stopped taking coconut oil because someone told me it was just like intaking another toxin unless the coconut oil was raw.

    • I personally think this is a myth. The benefits of coconut oil are still available even if it’s not raw. The fatty acids in coconut oil are the most beneficial part, and those are extremely heat stable and resistant to oxidation.

  10. I love coconut oil and I use it for cooking everything. I am from Mexico and I am used to it. I feel it’s good for my body. I have been fighting candida for about 2 years, of course using different herbs like pau d’arc and a change in diet and it’s working fine. I’ve lost weight especially in the belly and waist. The results have been very good and I have gained a lot of energy, the osteoarthritis symptoms are almost gone. I would like to try de coconut detox as eating coconut meat is satisfying and it helps you feel good while detoxifying. Yes, I have had bad days with symptoms I think have to do with the detox, sometimes very bad but I help myself with energy healing and I continue with the cleansing. I think coconut is an incredible addition to our health. Good site, thank you

    • This is an older article, but I was curious…is this a good cleanse for losing weight?  Coconut oil is so high in calories that I wasn’t sure if it’d be good for weight loss. 

  11. I am learning so much about coconut oil I, have read all your comments, and I’m wondering if those of you that have constipation and/or diarrhea, have considered food allergies, like cow milk. I ask this because I made myself a smoothie everyday for a year using skim milk and yogurt, and 7 other non-dairy ingredients. I was constipated for the entire time, then I started throwing up the smoothies every time I drank one, I knew I’d had problems with milk but I discovered I had become extremely allergic to milk. I switched to almond milk, I’ve had great success, I only have it with cereal so far, I haven’t made a smoothie yet but I’m going to start making them again and use a Tbl spoon of virgin coconut oil.

  12. Thanks for this post! I will have to work on increasing my coconut oil consumption first, but I hope to try this. I’m already up to about 1 tbsp a day on average. Great stuff!

  13. I clicked on a post that directed me to instructions for making coconut body-scrub…when I found more information on the uses of coconut oil. I really enjoyed reading and learning all the amazing ways to use coconut oil. I’m now a follower! Thanks for sharing such valuable information.

  14. I’ve been using coconut oil for the past month or so. I put a teaspoon in with my morning coffee. The next day of doing this, I was very I’ll feeling, but went away afterwards. My question is, I’ve had a headache for 10 days now and my body is very sore (neck, shoulders, upper back and carpal tunnel has been hurting more than usual). Are these symptoms my body detoxing from the coconut oil? I normally get migraines, but not of these great magnitude and painful. Thanks for your suggestions.

    • I am not sure that could be connected to a small amount of coconut oil. I’ve heard of some issues, but usually it’s from starting with way too much all at once. I would see if the issues stop if you stop the coconut oil.

  15. How about freezing the coconut oil in in small ice cube tdays to assist getting it down?? as a big struggle when i previously tried the detox was actually consuming it due to the texture really not agreeing with me, melted or solid. Going to try today

  16. wondering your thoughts for my 18 year old, would benefit from this detox, but struggles to keep weight on at the best of times. Perhaps organic veges etc for only 2 days? Appreciate your thoughts! Xx

    • Doing anything extreme for a couple of days is going to do nothing but make weight issues and food issues worth, in my opinion. I would work toward healthy day-to-day habits and not focus on fad diets.

  17. Hi, Where do I buy the coconut oil & how do I know I if it is safe regards the Mercury (thermometers)?t That sounds a little scarey.

    • I can’t give medical advice, but from what I understand the fats in coconut oil are digested by the liver, so in that sense they are supposed to be safe to eat even without a gallbladder. However, I’m not sure eating so much coconut oil as would be necessary for this cleanse would be recommended.

  18. Thank you for sharing such a great article on coconut oil and the benefits of a coconut oil cleanse! You’re right, yeast overgrowth is almost at epidemic proportions! I’ve done a milk fast before but never a coconut oil cleanse. I’m definitely going to try it! :)

    This post would be a great fit for our Wildcrafting Wednesday series on MindBodyandSoleOnline.com. Wildcrafting Wednesday is a weekly link up to share posts on herbs, home remedies, self-sufficiency, and holistic living. I hope you’ll stop by and join us!

    Thanks! :)

  19. Hi, I would love to read your post, because I want to know about possible side effects, but the social sharing buttons cover the beginning of every line, and so it’s not easy…

  20. After you start using coconut oil in your diet to get use to consuming coconut oil and your ready to begin the detox what are you suppose to eat during the detox ? Are you only suppose to eat just the coconut oil and nothing else during the detox ?

  21. Just came across this the other week and finally have some down time to start today! My question is, how safe is it to work out during this cleanse? Other than just walking and easy exercises?

  22. My husband and I were trying to go low-carb for health issues, and as cereal is high carb, and we understood cinnamon to help combat blood sugar “spikes” and prevent hunger pangs, we developed a breakfast for us that is delicious and helps us get a tablespoon or two of raw virgin coconut oil down easily and deliciously in the morning. Our substitute for a cereal breakfast incorporating coconut oil: gently melt 1 T. to 2 T. coconut oil; stir in about 1/2 t. cinnamon. This way they mix easily together (seems cinnamon is not miscible in water). Stir together with about a handful of chopped raw organic nuts such as walnuts, almonds or brazil nuts. Stir in berries or chopped fruit, to taste, maybe about a cup. We vary it — blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or half an orange or half an apple per person. Try to be creative for variety. Always organic.

    Then we have a couple soft boiled eggs (organic, grass fed).

    A cup of organic coffee. (I add organic cream [for whipping] to taste).

    Keeps us satiated for hours, and we always look forward to this breakfast.

    For variety and for a treat, as a departure my husband cooks a more traditional breakfast on Sundays. But we keep with grass fed meat and eggs, organic fried potatoes.

    Hope this helps some people get their coconut oil down in a pleasant and effortless way. (Think how easily we can eat butter, and we don’t just try to eat it by the tablespoon alone; it works well with food. Same with coconut oil.)

    Sure appreciate everyone’s willingness to share their experiences. It’s helped us immensely. Thanks to all. God bless. -KB

  23. OMG! That’s why I’ve been having a weird headache today! I have yeast infection for 1,5 years and today I started taking 2 tea spoons of coconut oil in the morning. I had a medium headache with nausea. I ate my lunch (which I thought would improve the pain in my stomach, but it didn’t). But if it’s suposed to last for 2-3 days then that’s ok!

  24. I was consuming coconut oil (virgin) along with my dogs. I had been consuming about 1 tsp a day. I then read the proper dosage and slowly bumped it up. On one particular day I consumed perhaps double of what I normal took. 1 extra tbls. Well, after about 15 to 20 mins. I got all sweaty, then nauseated and I was sweating like never before. I had gotten diahreea too. I felt so sick. This lasted for a good 20 mins. After that I felt fine but ever since I stopped taking it and also stopped giving to my 3 GSD’s because I was afraid that could happen to them. What do you think caused that? I have three silver fillings and ADHD I take aderall for that.
    What are your thoughts?

    • I’ve experienced this before when I consuming too much coconut oil all at once. Part of it I believe is just my body having trouble digesting that much at once — the other part may be coconut oil’s effect on the thyroid.

  25. I have been doing a fairly strict coconut oil ‘fast’ and have experienced similar symptoms to a water only fast, with the exeption of feeling ‘full’. I have not had regular BMs in the three days that I have participated. Is this something to be concerned about? Having never participated in a strict cocnut oil cleanse before, I have horrible imaginations of the several tablespoons of oil plugging up my innards. In this light, should there be any concerns of passing this large amount of cocnut oil into the houses plumbing system. Sure, the oil at body temperature is probably liquid, but having seen the stuff at room temperature it concerns me. For instance, after popping corn with coconut oil with an aluminum kettle and a makeshift silicone cakepan as a lid. The next morning the oil had cooled to room temperature thus revealing the solidified white spots where it had splattered onto the silicone lid. If I am passing a 14oz. jars worth into my washroom’s plumbing (if you know what I mean) I can only imagine the solidification that takes place in the cold water and cold pipes of my Minnesota home. Could be a plumbing nightmare. Thank you.

  26. I’ve been using the coconut oil, raw honey, sea salt & water for sleeping for about 4 days. My stomach has been hurting so badly for about the same amount of time. I have gas that is unbelievable. Is this normal? Could you email me and let me know if the two could be related? I eat dairy free and gluten free. I don’t have celiac but doctor recommended this 7 years ago and I’ve seen great results. But this pain I have now is really bad.

    • It sounds like this is too extreme for your body, and probably too much coconut oil altogether (more is definitely not always better!). I would cut back on the oil and add in some other foods that normally agree with your stomach.

  27. So it’s only been a day and half on the cleanse with about8-10 tbsp/day and the lemon water (yum!). I did have about 1/2 c bone broth also. I feel great. No die off symptoms yet except maybe acne. When does the worst of it start?if I don’t have die off symptoms, did I actually have candida overgrowth? I’m amazed that I am not hungry and energy pretty good.

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