Effects of a Virgin Coconut Oil-Supplemented Diet on a Streptozotocin-Challenged Rat Model

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry



First Advisor

Fabian M. Dayrit, PhD


In this study, the effects of virgin coconut oil (VCO) diet supplementation on biochemical parameters of male Sprague-Dawley rats challenged with the diabetogenic drug, streptozotocin (STZ), were assessed. The test rats, which were 10 weeks old at the start of the study, were divided into four groups of 10-12 rats each: (I) normal control group fed with rat chow only; (II) VCO control group fed with both rat chow and VCO daily; (III) STZ control group fed with rat chow only; and (IV) STZ-VCO group fed both rat chow and VCO daily. Groups II and IV were further divided into two sampling groups – 0 hr and 2 hr – with 5-6 rats each, to analyze for the effects on each plasma fatty acid before (0 hr) and after (2 hr) VCO feeding, with (II) or without (IV) STZ treatment. The experimental period was for 5 weeks after STZ injection, after which all rats were sacrificed. Blood plasma and whole brain were collected and assayed for various parameters, such as fasting blood glucose (FBG), blood plasma fatty acids, and an inflammatory biomarker (tumor necrosis factor alpha, TNF) and a biomarker for oxidative stress (malondialdehyde, MDA) in both blood plasma and whole brain. Results showed no differences in TNF and MDA levels among all four groups indicating that STZ treatment in this experiment was not sufficient to cause inflammation nor oxidative stress. Groups III and IV showed elevated FBG levels compared with groups I and II, respectively, showing that VCO was not able to mitigate the effects of STZ-induced hyperglycemia but was able to mitigate fasting hyperlipidemia. This work showed that reversal of elevated fasting lipid levels was most significant for the long-chain fatty acids and support the potential of VCO in treating lipid abnormalities.

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