The type of fat in coconut is called a medium chain triglyceride (MCT). These MCT’s are digested and absorbed quickly without the normally required digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas.
Therefore, there is less strain on the pancreas and digestive system. This is an important consideration for pets who suffer from digestive and metabolic problems, as well as for overall well being for pets.
Lipase, a digestive enzyme, is normally required to break most fats into smaller units. They are then absorbed into the intestinal wall and packaged into bundles of fat (lipid) and protein called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are then circulated into the bloodstream, and further throughout the body.
As the lipoproteins circulate in the blood, their fatty components are distributed to all the tissues of the body. The lipoproteins get smaller and smaller, until they are mostly dissipated. At this time they are picked up by the liver, and used to produce energy or, if needed, repackaged into other lipoproteins and sent back into the bloodstream to be distributed throughout the body.
Although coconut oil is a saturated fat, there are many different kinds of these fats. Fats are typically described as short chain, medium chain, or long chain. Coconut Oil is a Medium Chain Triglyceride, and unlike other fatty acids, MCT’s are absorbed directly from the intestines. In contrast, MCT’s are not packaged into lipoproteins but go directly to the liver where they are converted into energy. Ordinarily they are not stored to any significant degree as body fat. MCT’s produce energy. Other dietary fats produce body fat. This is very useful for dogs that suffer from pancreatitis as coconut oil is not processed through the pancreas to convert it into energy. So a low fat food that also uses cocunut oil (like NOW FRESH Senior recipes) can be very helpful for pancreatitis sufferers.
Nearly 50% of the fatty acid in natural coconut oil is lauric acid. Lauric acid has adverse effects on a variety of undesirable microorganisms including bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped viruses.
The NOW Fresh range of grain free dog and cat foods use coconut oil and several of the GO! Solutions range also use coconut oil.