If you’ve ever felt embarrassed because of toenail fungus, you’re not alone.

In North America, fungal nail infection affects 14 percent of the population [1].

For years, many have relied on antifungal drugs to treat toenail fungus.

However, due to the inefficacy of these medications on some fungal strains, more and more people are looking to natural alternatives, such as coconut oil.

Known as the “tree of life” or “the all giving tree” in places where it is abundant, the coconut tree is where you get the coconut fruit whose kernel and water contain nutrients and microminerals that are essential for health [2].

Coconut oil, one of the many products you can get from the coconut tree, offers plenty of health benefits, including the home remedy of toenail fungal infection.

In this article, you will learn:

  • Everything you need to know about toenail fungus, including causes and symptoms
  • The properties and general health benefits of coconut oil
  • The antifungal properties of coconut oil
  • How to use coconut oil for treating toenail fungus

RELATED: 21 Home Remedies for Foot Fungus, Nail Fungus & Athlete’s Foot

Toenail Fungus: Basic Information

Toenail fungus is an infection that often starts as a white or yellow speck on the nail bed or the skin beneath your toenail [3].

The condition can range from mild to severe, such as when the infection has spread to the different parts of the nail and has begun to cause pain and discomfort.

Also known as onychomycosis, nail fungus can spread to your other toenails, your skin, and even your fingernails [4].

While it can cause your nails to thicken, discolor, or become damaged, toenail fungus is not usually a cause for concern if you are healthy.

However, individuals who have diabetes or a weak immune system may need to see their doctor as soon as possible for treatment.

Toenail fungal infection can be caused by any of the following:

  • different types of fungi
  • yeasts
  • molds [5]

Fungi thrive in warm and damp places, and can easily spread from one person to another.

Sharing towels or nail clippers or walking barefoot in public pools or showers are some ways you can get toenail fungus.

The risk of getting toenail fungus is high if you have:

In addition, men are more prone to getting toenail fungus. So are older individuals.

What does a nail infected with toenail fungus look like?

  • white or yellow
  • thicker than a normal nail
  • crumbles and splits
  • may separate from the nail bed [5]

Furthermore, having a toenail fungal infection can make it difficult to walk or stand for a long time. It can also be painful to wear shoes. If not treated, the infection can leave permanent damage to the nail and the nail bed.

To diagnose a toenail fungal infection, your doctor will check the nail, inquire about your medical history, and ask about your symptoms. He or she may also require some tests to determine if there is a presence of fungi [6].

It’s not a good idea to leave a fungal toenail infection to resolve on its own because it won’t.

It could even become worse and affect the other toenails and even the surrounding skin.

There are several ways to treat toenail fungus from over-the-counter antifungal medicines to stronger prescription medications.

Unfortunately, these treatments don’t guarantee results.

There are also negative side effects that would require you to see your doctor for regular testing [6].

The good news is, coconut oil for nail fungus is a natural alternative to fight off infection.

RELATED: 12 Home Remedies for Nail Fungus that are Simple Yet Effective

Coconut Oil: Properties and General Health Benefits

Extracted from copra or dried coconut meat, coconut oil contains about 92percent saturated fat, which primarily consists of medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs.

Molecules of fat are made up of carbon atom chains. Long-chain fatty acids range from 16 to 24 carbons. These make up much of the Standard American Diet.

MCFAs, on the other hand, range from 4 to 14 carbon links, which make them much easier and faster for the body to digest.

The most vital fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, which makes up approximately 45-55 percent of the saturated fats in the oil.

Naturally found in breast milk, lauric acid is converted into monolaurin, which helps in boosting the body’s immunity and its ability to fight off diseases.

1. Coconut Oil is Good for the Brain

Compared to long-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs are quickly metabolized by the liver, making it easy to convert MCFAs into ketones.

Aside from being an important energy source of the brain, ketones have also shown potential in providing therapeutic effects on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss [7].

2. Coconut Oil is Good for the Heart

High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) correlate to coronary heart disease, which is why LDL is sometimes referred to as the bad cholesterol [8,9].

On the other hand, high levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol is associated with good heart health [8,9].

Coconut oil decreases the levels of LDL and increases the levels of HDL [8,9].

3. Coconut Oil is Good for the Skin

Coconut oil is also rich in vitamin E, which acts as a moisturizer and helps in the proper functioning of the organic system.

This makes vitamin E particularly beneficial for the hair and the skin.

Likewise, coconut oil has potent healing properties, as demonstrated by a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, which evaluated the effects of using coconut oil on burn wounds [10].

4. Coconut Oil is Good for the Hair

A 2003 study of the effects of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on preventing hair damage showed that coconut oil was the only oil that resulted to considerable reduction in hair protein loss [11].

Moreover, coconut oil is a natural anti-dandruff remedy and has been proven to improve xerosis, a condition characterized by dry, itchy, and rough skin [12].

5. Coconut Oil is Good for Weight Loss

Coconut oil is considered a “good fat,” especially if you want to lose weight because the body easily converts it to energy.

The increased metabolism translates to weight loss.

Furthermore, research on individuals who consumed MCFA oils were shown to have lower body weight and increased fat loss at the end of the study [13].

Another reason why coconut oil is good for weight loss is because it suppresses appetite.

While diets rich in long-chain fatty acids are linked to higher food intake, corresponding diets rich in medium-chain fatty acids are associated with lower food intake.

RELATED: 13 Essential Oils for Weight Loss That Actually Work

6. Coconut Oil is Good for Building Muscles

Coconut oil stimulates the production of insulin, a hormone that controls the blood sugar levels in the body and fills the muscles with nutrients.

4 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil is for Fungal Infections Treatment

Apart from its numerous health benefits, coconut oil has been proven to be helpful in the following:

1. Treating Early Childhood Caries

The high lauric acid content in coconut oil makes it effective in treating early childhood caries, according to a 2016 study conducted by Indian researchers [14].

Monolaurin and other medium chain monoglycerides have been shown to have the ability to change microbial cell walls, enter and disrupt cell membranes, and inhibit enzymes used in the production of energy and transfer of nutrients, which lead to the death of the bacteria.

The results of the study have also indicated that coconut oil is comparable to ketoconazole, a popular drug that inhibits the growth of fungus.

2. Controlling the Overgrowth of C. Albicans in the GI Tract

Candida albicans or C. albicans is a common fungal pathogen that is normally found in the gastrointestinal or GI tract. A healthy immune system keeps the growth of the pathogen in check.

In individuals whose immune system is compromised, however, the fungus can give rise to bloodstream infections, such as invasive candidiasis.

A study by Kumamoto and associates published in 2015 suggests that including coconut oil in the diet of at-risk individuals can prevent infections and subsequent deaths associated with the overgrowth of C. albicans in the GI tract [15].

3. Curing Vaginal Yeast Infection

Vaginal yeast infection or vaginal candidiasis is a fungal infection that causes irritation and intense itchiness of the vagina and the tissues at the vaginal opening, or the vulva [16].

Affecting about 75 percent of women at some point in their lives vaginal yeast infection is caused by the Candida fungus, usually C. albicans [16].

In one study, researchers who used coconut oil nanocapsules loaded with clotrimazole in treating vulvovaginal candidiasis found that it is a promising alternative in the treatment of vaginal yeast infections [17].

RELATED: 17 Practical Home Remedies for Vaginal Dryness & How to Use Them

4. Used in Place of Antifungal Drugs in Controlling Drug-Resistant Strains of Fungal Pathogen

While antifungal drugs are initially effective in controlling the growth of C. albicans and keeping it from spreading to the bloodstream, repeated use can lead to drug-resistant fungal pathogen strains.

The concern about antimicrobial resistance as well as the low number of antifungal agents available currently are what prompted a 2004 study of 52 Candida species to test their susceptibility to virgin coconut oil or VCO as an antifungal agent.

The most common species, which is C. albicans was found to be the most susceptible to VCO. This led the researchers to recommend the use of coconut oil in treating fungal infections, particularly drug-resistant strains [18].

Furthermore, along with antibiotic therapy, coconut oil may be effective in treating infections caused by C. albicans over a longer period of time [19].

RELATEDCan You Use Coconut Oil for Hemorrhoids?

6 Toenail Fungus Remedies with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil may be used in a number of ways to treat toenail fungus at home. You can use it by itself or you can mix it with essential oils that have the same antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

1. Coconut Oil RubCoconut oil for Keratosis Pilaris

Coconut oil on its own is an effective antifungal and antimicrobial treatment for toenail fungus.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Clean your feet and dry them thoroughly.
  2. Warm coconut oil in your hands.
  3. Rub oil on skin, nail bed and cuticle.
  4. Repeat the process two to three times daily.

2. Coconut Oil Bandage

Using a bandage is a good way for the coconut oil to soak into the nail, the nail bed, as well as the surrounding skin.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Bandage to wrap around the nail

Recommended Directions:

  1. Warm the coconut oil until it turns into liquid.
  2. Soak the bandage in the coconut liquid for a few minutes.
  3. Wrap the bandage around the infected nail but not too tightly.
  4. Allow the oil to dry naturally.
  5. Wear a sock over the bandage before going to bed.
  6. Replace the bandage daily.

3. Coconut Oil and Oregano OilOregano-Oil

Oregano oil is a powerful antifungal that works well with coconut oil. However, be sure not to use too much or it might sting.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of oregano oil
  • 5 tablespoons of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix the coconut oil and oregano oil thoroughly.
  2. Clean and dry your feet and nails.
  3. Apply a small amount of the oil mixture on your infected nail.
  4. Massage for a few minutes.
  5. Allow the oil to dry naturally.
  6. Repeat the process twice daily for at least two weeks.

4. Coconut Oil and Clove Oil

The antiseptic and antifungal properties of clove oil make it effective in killing the Candida yeast.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 2 to 4 drops of clove oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Melt the coconut oil and mix in the clove oil thoroughly.
  2. Apply mixture on the infected nail, making sure it reaches the nail bed.
  3. Repeat the process two to three times daily.

5. Coconut Oil and Lemongrass OilLemongrass-Oil

Lemongrass oil doesn’t just have a pleasant smell, it is also known to have antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemongrass oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix the two oils.
  2. Apply a small amount of infected nail.
  3. Massage for one to two minutes.
  4. Let the oil dry naturally.
  5. Repeat the process two times a day.

6. Coconut Oil, Fenugreek, and Camphor

Aside from being an antifungal, fenugreek is believed to have health-promoting and disease-preventing properties. Camphor, on the other hand, has been used in medicine for centuries as an antiseptic and disinfectant.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon camphor

Recommended Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, mix the coconut oil and fenugreek seeds.
  2. Boil the mixture for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the camphor and mix well.
  4. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly.
  5. As soon as you can bear the heat, apply on infected nail.
  6. Repeat thrice daily.
  7. Make sure to keep the remaining oil so you can reuse it.

Bottom Line

Using coconut oil for toenail fungus is surely one of the best natural ways to treat the problem.

Use it in combination with other herbs and oils for quicker results.

Let us know how you deal with toe nail fungus with the home remedies discussed above.

Write your feedback and queries in the comment section.

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