(From top left, clockwise) Dr. Imelda Agdeppa, Agricultural Attaché Dr. Josyline Javelosa, and Dr. Fabian Dayrit

24 June 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In celebration of National Coconut Day in the United States, the Philippine Embassy hosted the inaugural Science Explores webinar for, highlighting the uses and effects of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) in the time of COVID-19. 

The webinar, “Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) in the time of COVID – Initial Findings Journal of Functional Foods 83 (2021)”, featured a presentation by Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa (Director, Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute) and Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit (Vice President, National Academy of Science and Technology; Professor Emeritus, Ateneo De Manila University – Department of Chemistry).

“This science webinar is our Embassy’s modest contribution in honoring National Coconut Day in the USA as we work on helping steward the promotion of facts about coconut oil and coconut products, and its benefits. Coconut, also known as the “tree of life,” continues to be one of the most important crops of the Philippines. Coconut products remain to be a major export product of the country and the country continues to be a top producer and exporter of coconut products worldwide,” said Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez as he opened the virtual event.

Focusing on using VCO as an adjunctive supplement for COVID-19 patients, Dr. Angeles-Agdeppa shared their studies, “Immediate effects of the VCO intervention were observed among 5 of 29 patients in the VCO Group who experienced decreasing signs of symptoms of COVID-19 as early as Day 2, while only 1 patient from the Control Group showed similar improvement…The VCO enhanced the immune system of patients and can greatly help in our fight against COVID-19 while aiding the recovery of the Philippine’s economy and coconut industry.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Dayrit emphasized on the properties of VCO saying, “The lauric acid of the VCO completely disintegrates the envelope and viral particles of the coronavirus…since VCO does not depend on the viral protein, the hypothesis here is that VCO effectivity here is not affected by virus mutations.” He further stated that “VCO is a multi-functional food as evidenced from literature proving that VCO acts as an anti-viral, boosts immune systems, and is effective as an anti-inflammatory food.”

Although both speakers mentioned that further studies are still required, initial findings have shown positive results. (Note: Information in these presentations is intended for educational and scientific purposes only. It is not intended as medical or nutritional advice for treatment or prevention of disease. For medical advice, please consult your healthcare professional.)

The “Science Explores” series was jointly organized by the Philippine Embassy, through the Office of the Agriculture Attaché, the Economic Section, and the Public Diplomacy Section. The event was moderated by Philippine Agricultural Attaché to the United States and the Americas Dr. Josyline Javelosa.

You may watch a recording of the webinar through our Facebook page