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Is Coconut Oil Really a Thyroid Cure?
Dr. Bruce Fife’s Reply to Dr. Ken Woliner

by Bruce Fife, ND, CN

A Note from Mary Shomon: The May 20, 2003 issue of the weekly newsstand publication, Woman’s World, featured a cover story "The New Thyroid Cure." Since that article hit the newsstand, I was deluged with emails from people who want to know if what the article seems to claim is true: Can coconut oil "cure" your hypothyroidism and ensure rapid weight loss? In May, I asked holistic physician Dr. Ken Woliner to respond to this question, which he did in his article, Is Coconut Oil Really a Thyroid Cure? A Holistic Physician Looks at the Question. There are some practitioners and experts who believe that coconut oil is extremely beneficial for the thyroid, and Dr. Bruce Fife is one of the more well-known figures who has spoken out in favor of coconut oil. Dr. Woliner discusses Dr. Fife in his article, and here Dr. Fife offers his thoughts on coconut oil for the thyroid, and a rebuttal to Dr. Woliner’s position.

July, 2003 -- In May of this year, Woman’s World published a cover story titled "The New Thyroid Cure."It described how protein and coconut oil can help improve thyroid function. In response to this article many people started asking if coconut oil can really improve thyroid function and promote weight loss. Mary Shomon published an article written by Ken Woliner, MD to answer this question. Although I’m sure Dr. Woliner is a competent physician with a great deal of experience treating thyroid problems, this doesn’t make him an expert on coconut oil. Judging from his article, he apparently knows little about the relationship between coconut oil and thyroid function, and frankly, few people do. Unfortunately, his article contained many inaccurate and misleading statements.

Many readers of recognized the faults in Dr. Woliner’s article and asked me to write a response to clear up any confusion his article may have caused and to answer the question: is coconut oil really a thyroid cure?

To keep this article brief, I’m going to direct my remarks specifically to the statements made by Dr. Woliner in relation to coconut oil and thyroid function. Let start by saying that I agree with Dr. Woliner in his recommendation not to take what you read in Woman’s World as medical advice. Woman’s World is a weekly newspaper. As with any newspaper, articles are written by reporters. They report news. The coconut oil thyroid connection is news. The problem is that reporters don’t always report the news accurately, especially when it comes to medicine. The Woman’s World article, as Dr. Woliner pointed out, made it sound like if you simply added coconut oil to your diet it would cure hypothyroidism. This is not true.

Low thyroid function has many causes and no one therapy can cure all thyroid related diseases. Coconut oil is just part of the solution. For some people coconut oil may be of little help. However, when used properly and in conjunction with other things it can have a very significant effect on the most common forms of hypothyroidism.

Dr. Woliner seems to favor the use of medication in treating hypothyroidism. Like a true allopathic physician bent on suppressing natural approaches to medicine, he criticizes coconut oil and me personally to support his position. He infers that my sole purpose is to profit off coconut oil sales. I have never met the man, yet he claims to know all about my financial affairs, stating that I derive all my income from the coconut oil industry. Where he got that idea I don’t know, but it’s false. I do not work for the coconut oil industry nor am I paid by or associated with any coconut oil company. All of my income is derived from writing and speaking.

Why Dr. Woliner would make up statements like this rather than stick to the facts makes me wonder about his intentions. It appears that he deliberately tried to mislead readers. This is clearly evident with another statement he made. He repeats a statement I made in the Woman’s World article saying that my recommendation to “give up thyroid medications and simply use coconut oil instead” was improper. This quote, as he presents it, gives the impression that I am telling people to give up medication and just use coconut oil. This sounds very irresponsible on my part. However, Dr. Woliner purposely misquoted me, taking the statement out of context and changing its intended meaning. What I really said, as quoted from the Woman’s World article, was “I’m now doing studies to determine if it’s safe to give up thyroid medications and simply use coconut oil instead.” Do you see the difference? He deliberately deleted the first half of my sentence to twist my words.

Statements such as these, cause me to suspect the credibility of everything in Dr. Woliner’s article. I am not going to waste time going point by point over every other statement he made. But I will try to answer the question that led to his article in the first place, namely: is coconut oil really a thyroid cure?

As I stated previously, coconut oil by itself is not a thyroid cure. But when used as part of a thyroid-enhancing program is can be invaluable in improving some forms of hypothyroidism and even bring about complete recovery.

I have developed a drugless thyroid program based on diet and lifestyle. While coconut oil is a primary feature of this program, it is defiantly not the only factor involved. I do recommend that those people who are on thyroid medication when they start the program, to continue with it under the close supervision of their doctors. Some people have reported that using thyroid medication while on my program makes their thyroid function too good and they become hyperthyroid. So a doctor must monitor the medication and gradually reduce it. This is what I’m seeing. People report that they have more energy, they lose weight, and they are able to reduce and even completely get off thyroid medication. They no longer need it.

One lady, for example, had been hypothyroid for over 20 years. She had been using Armour thyroid with partial improvement. Her body temperature averaged 1 to 2 degrees below normal. After going through my program. Her daily average body temperature shot up to 98.6 degrees. She has much more energy now, doesn’t need 10 hours of sleep every night or need a nap in the afternoon, and she now tolerates cold better than her husband who has normal thyroid function. She no longer needs medication; her thyroid is functioning normally for the first time in decades. She doesn’t need to depend on coconut oil either. She’s gone without coconut oil for as long as a month with no noticeable drop in thyroid function. Her improved condition appears to be permanent.

I have a drawer full of testimonials of people telling me how they lost 10, 20, 60 pounds of excess fat with coconut oil and how my program is helping their metabolism and overall health. Just recently I received a letter from a lady who followed the recommendations in my book and began using coconut oil. She lost 56 pounds. As you can imagine, she was overjoyed!

Testimonials aren’t the only evidence behind coconut oil. There are plenty of published studies on the relationship of coconut oil with metabolism and weight loss. My books The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil and Eat Fat, Look Thin contain references to numerous studies. Research shows that coconut oil contains a unique form of fatty acid that stimulates metabolism, gives you more energy, and promotes weight loss, among other things. Researchers are recommending it as a means to prevent and even treat obesity. An excellent study that reviewed all previous studies on this topic was published last year in the Journal of Nutrition (Vol. 132, pages 329-332). This study was conducted by researchers at McGill University. They reported that several different studies have shown weight loss equivalent to 12 – 36 pounds a year simply by changing the types of oils used in everyday cooking and food preparation.

My book Eat Fat, Look Thin explains how I discovered the relationship between coconut oil and improved thyroid health. It explains how to use coconut oil and incorporate it into a sensible diet. It provides most, but not all, of the details of my current thyroid program. I am still working on the program, but expect to publish my results next year. Readers who are interested in learning about the program can contact me at the address below and I will send them information when it is available.

Is coconut oil a thyroid cure? Not by itself. Can it help people with low thyroid function? Yes, because it stimulates metabolism and boosts energy. For this reason, coconut oil has been a blessing to many people. In combination with other factors it has the potential to greatly improve thyroid system function. The program I am currently working on shows promise for not only improving thyroid health, but possibly, helping many people end their dependence on thyroid medication.

Dr. Bruce Fife is a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician. He is the author of several books including The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil and Eat Fat, Look Thin. He can be reached at P.O. Box 25203, Colorado Springs, CO 80936 or email

What Does Dr. Woliner Have to Say About Dr. Fife's Perspective?
Dr. Woliner Responds to Dr. Fife re: Coconut Oil: "I remain underwhelmed..." says Dr. Woliner

Article © 2003,

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