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Coconut Oil

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by glitch4200, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    On the point of lauric acid. I had the pleasure of getting into a huge debate on Facebook tortoise group about the antimicrobial and antifungal properties of coconut oil.

    The argument was that unless the coconut oil is digested into monolauric acid which has shown to be a very excellent antimicrobial and antifungal inside the body. Her argument was that coconut oil offered 0 protection from any pathogens or bacteria/fungal growth. And thst topical application of this oil had absolutely no benefits like I claimed it did.

    So of course I dug through some stuff to make as plain and simple for her. Coconut oil has concentration levels of lauric acid up to around 40% according to some articles I read with the oil I am using. Lauric acid has been researched as a potential antimicrobial and antifungal for a very long time. And has been proven to be very effective against many strains of bacteria and fungus and live virus. Here is the reason in 2 pictures.
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    If you read those 2x pics, it clicks.. Being almost 98 saturated fats. In which almost 40% is a potent lauric acid a potent antimicrobial and antifungal, attaches itself by inserting right into the membrane disrupting cell function effectively killing the invasive pathogen. To me this is extremely clear. And the supporting documents behind these concepts are pretty darn cemented.

    This to me, in my opinion gives this oil the ability to be used as a possible medical treatment for topical fungus in tortoises and reptiles, to help rid of shell rot without using potent chemicals. Or even better as a Frontline prevention to fungus and shell rot? Thoughts on that?
    LRTortoises and RayRay like this.
  2. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    Well...
    This anti fungal / anti bacterial quality of Lauric acid is the primary reason I apply EVCO to my tortoises shells , even though they do not live under desiccating heat lamps - but outdoors.

    Here in south Florida we lose our wonderful high humidity about 4 months of the year. I belive it helps then keeping the caprice from getting too dry.
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  3. BeeBee*BeeLeaves

    BeeBee*BeeLeaves Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Wow, you guys. I have been away for awhile - you know, life happens - and I come back and there are 25! pages of dialogue on this. I will have to sit down and read but for now I will say, yay, yes, I do love me my extra virgin, organic coconut oil. It is the best, for so many reasons. All hail the coconut and its oil!
  4. Eggtort

    Eggtort New Member

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    When I first got my Russian tort, she looked really dry. She wasn't treated well at the start of her life, so when I got her I changed her food schedule, soaking schedule, etc. Even with soaks, her shell was incredibly dry and brittle. I dipped my finger into some organic coconut oil and then I gently massaged her shell with it. Since then, it's been looking great! It's been a week and it doesn't look nearly as dry and looks really healthy. I think using it once in a while is pretty good.
  5. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    *Picture update*

    Nibbles (almost 15 months coconut oil applications) applied up to 4x a week consistently.

    Diet: store bought greens rotated 3xish a week. With supplements toppers.
    Average humidity: 40% although I try to maintain 60% plus in hides .

    I have an open table top.
    1452381860868.jpg

    Average temp daytime: 85f
    Basking: 95f
    Humid hides daytime: 78f
    Lights off Temp: 67-71f

    Nibbles pictures as of this week.
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  6. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    Napebbles (13 months of coconut oil applications) up to 4x a week.

    Napebbles has grown considerably since I got her. December 3rd 2014 she was 10.9 Oz and 4 inches long as of today she is 1lb 4oz and 5.3 inches long..

    Her habitat right now.
    1452383151726.jpg

    Ambient temp: 85f
    Basking temp: 95f
    Humid hide temp: 78f
    Lights off temp: 67f-71f

    1452383270168.jpg
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    1452383344074.jpg
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  7. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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  8. Leah Woodward

    Leah Woodward New Member

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    I have a redfoot with a strange growth on his neck. I had applied once a week application of coconut oil to his head scales because they were incredibly dry. I didn't apply oil directly to the growth but it did get into his neck when he'd pull his head in. After four applications (once four timesr times), his scales are considerably better. But more amazingly, the growth it's completely gone.

    Note: the gal who originally rescued him had sent a sample out for testing and the test came back that it wasn't a fungus, but it was not determined what it was. Screenshot_2016-01-30-06-43-43.jpg Screenshot_2016-01-30-06-43-43.jpg 20160128_182730.jpg Screenshot_2016-01-30-06-43-43.jpg

    Attached Files:

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  9. Leah Woodward

    Leah Woodward New Member

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    20160128_182730.jpg This image is after four exposures of coconut oil.
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  10. Leah Woodward

    Leah Woodward New Member

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    received_1017984254926717.jpeg
    This image is the weird growth on his neck. There is a large one and smaller ones closer to shell..
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  11. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    Wow. Amazing. Another positive experience. Thank you for posting it on here. Very interesting to say the least. I hope they stay gone.
  12. ColleenT

    ColleenT Well-Known Member

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    So has anyone tried this from the start of this thread and had any negative effects on their tortoise or turtle? I am curious..
  13. Kelly71

    Kelly71 Active Member

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    Hi,
    Wow this stuff is amazing I think also. I put some on Sunnys sore/burn on his head with the oil only
    took a couple of days and it was gone! I LOVE the stuff and use it all the time after baths etc... Thanks
    so much for telling us about the stuff!
  14. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    So I have been thinking about the limitations of coconut oil and it's use in tortoises. Many unknowns seem to come to mind.. And I want to make them known. Because if your going to apply anything to your tortoise you should know the whole picture. Both good and bad.

    Here are what I feel are first few limitation and possible detriments of coconut oil in its application In tortoises. After almost 16 months of coconut oil applications on average of 3x a week, I feel I have observed enough of this to put it out.

    When you apply coconut oil on the skin on the legs, what begins to happen is a build up of gunk. I think the substrate along with decomposed oil is building up in the scutes of the deep creviced legs. This poses a few issues for me.

    #1. It can very hard to remove.
    #2. Can be stressful to the tort to remove.
    #3. It can potentially block access for the sunlight to access the basal layer of the alpha keratin thus limiting some uv absorption in the leg crevices. .
    #4. It also seems to build up in the scute hinge regions, but it will come off with a light scrub. But it seems to only happen after many applications without brushing. Again can be unnecessary stressful.
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    As I said I will be the first to point out the possible good benefits and possible detriments of doing this. I applied to nibbles legs at least a few times a week and never brushed them when I soaked and their is build up now. But this build up is completely absent in napebbles scutes anywhere, but has also received a few months less applications then nibbles. I scrubbed her the exact same as nibbles too.

    So I guess I must make it a very important note if your applying coconut oil a light brush scrub is necessary a couple time a week or every soak.. A soft sponge works well too.

    My issue is that the effect of unfiltered infrared to the very fragile alpha keratin the skin is damaging in many common housing scenarios. If they bask with their legs out to absorb those uvb Ray's with let's say an mercury vapor bulb which also emits huge amounts of dehydrating unfiltered infrared emissions, they are subject to the proliferation (rebuild and shedding) of the keratin as a countermeasure to preventing the alpha keratin from structural destabilization.

    To kinda recap how alpha keratin is structured in tortoises:

    1456162385807.jpg
    Hydrogen is a stabilizing molecule in the alpha keratin protein folding coil structure that makes up the skin and lower layer of the scute scutes in tortoise shells. If you heat the alpha keratin coil structure enough with lamps it either proliferates to help protect the fragile structure.. Or it begins to break downs and begins to shed prematurely. If I read the articles right I believe they call it random coiling in the protein folding process .
    As the hydrogen breaks away from the coil it rearranges in order to fold into one another to properly make the alpha keratin framework. so any missing hydrogen molecules in the helical formations of thst framework will screw up the framework by destabilizing the helical structure of bound proteins. If that makes any sense... It does to me..

    Coconut oil (in theory) will help slow down the proliferation by actually protecting the proteins from hydrogen loss and by helping to seal in the moisture at a molecular level. I have shown in past posts that coconut oil has spectral properties that can lessen the effect of certain wavelengths particularly those wavelengths that interact with water.

    On the flip side of my condensed theory above.. Another possible limitation is too many oil applications overlapped too close together can possible rob the protein structure from necessary equilibrium of obtaining the environmental hydration needed to keep the balance. I highly doubt the water present in the oil which is very small amount can supplement excellent relative humidity in the air in well Hydrated habitsts. So over exposure to the oil can possible cause imbalance to the shell. But again this is not fully defined just a concern.



    The very important question becomes how much water is taken from lamps daily across different style of heating lamps. I personally have been compiling equipment to test this. And have been doing preliminary experiments with my 2 open table table top habitats. So far my habitat with 2x heat lamps (100w & 40w) and 1 uvb lamp, seems to evaporate about 2ish quarts of water a day in 12 hours on average depending on a few other variables. I am doing this to give more of a empirical understanding as to how much attention needs to be placed on external hydration in indoor habitats that use artifical lighting.

    I also only use coconut oil 2x to 3x a week now max. I discontinued 4x a week permanently. It is too much. The decomposition rate to application rate seems to be unbalanced when I look at the numbers between them. One of the things I haven't established is exactly how long coconut oil protects from unfiltered infrared. As the oil decomposes at which point of decomposition does the oil become useless to protect against these unfiltered Rays? I don't know. That is why I don't want to over due it's application at 4x a week.
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  15. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    *Pictures update*

    Nibbles: *almost 17 months*
    As of this week

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    Napebbles: *almost 15 months*
    As of this week

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  16. DPtortiose

    DPtortiose Member

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    Interesting posts, very curious what kind of effects you'll observe.

    I recently reread the following article: http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/pyramiding.html Based on the effects of microorganisms described in this article, the antibacterial effects of coconut oil might not be that beneficial. A health skin has loads of different bacteria and needs them to function properly. I'm not sure it's a good thing to remove healthy bacteria populations this frequently by applying the oil.

    So I'm very curious how this develops.
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  17. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    OK. To counter your older 2010 article.. I present this brand new 2015 research on pyramiding and it's causes.
  18. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    This is brand new research on pyramiding in tortoises in captivity.
    From this journal.
    1457535112715.jpg

    This is the article title.
    1457535139797.jpg

    This is the link to that article.

    http://www.exoticpetmedicine.com/article/S1557-5063(15)00185-8/fulltext

    This is huge research in my opinion. And should be known by all.
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  19. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. I read the article. Gleaned from it the conclusion that artificial heat applied 24/7 contributed to pyramiding , and that it is best to allow for cooler temps at night.

    Is that what you got from it?

    I think we hobbiest are aware of the desiccating effects of overhead heat lamps. Mitigation of this is a constant challenge - especially on tortoise tables.

    The " just right " mix of humidity, water availability, food, exercise, sunlight & heat variability are factors we work on. Basic parameters can be argued & experimented with - and are.

    The age as well as type of tortoise makes a difference too, and must be a major deciding factor.

    As a hobbiest - I want the best information as well as feedback from others more experienced than me, and take it all into account.

    Much more research needs to be done.
  20. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    It has been 7 months since my last update... A lot has happened in that time. Lots of research done by me. Lots applications of coconut oil for both my tortoises.. I have made quite a few new observations. I also have discovered and observed some minor detrimental effects of coconut oil, if applied too much to often.

    I lost a huge chunk of my coconut oil research data when my computer crashed a few months ago. I also lost my very long, hard worked research paper on coconut oil.. I was so upset my computer crashed... Lost 24 research articles, and 13 pages of written work. So I have been in the very tedious process of finding all the scholarly articles I lost, and re starting my research paper..

    As of a few days ago. Nibbles reached 3 years in my care. For about 25 months now, I have applied coconut oil to nibbles. At first when I started I was applying coconut oil up too 4x a week. I did this for over a year. This was wayyyy to much. And it had some negative effect, that I am still observing now. This effect is build up of organic acids (from the decomposed coconut oil) in the crevices of the hinge regions of the scutes and when I did apply to the legs, in the crevices of the scutes in the legs. There is build up of this gunk (which consists of organic acids due to decomposition ). This build up occurred when I applied 4x a week. (well duh, that is a lot of applications) I only apply 2x a week now. But I still see where the buildup has a slowed proper alpha keratin production due to a too low level of pH. If the pH is too low the alpha keratin can not form properly due to the way the amino acid are arranged per the environment it is being arranged in. Which then if alpha keratin doesn't form correctly , beta keratin won't form correctly. Since one is precursor to the other. This is a potential issue with overuse of coconut oil.

    The important questions are.. How much is too much coconut oil? How many applications are too many applications? What is the long term effect of this?
    A lot of these questions, I have partial answers and evidence for.

    Many people would argue 0 applications would be best. And not even risk it the damage potential. But I see this oil has having great potential to help in certain circumstances, specifically indoors under unfiltered artificial lighting.

    So do the risks outweigh the benefit? Or do the benefits out way the risks? I think yes. Keeping a healthy hydrated environment within the molecular structure of the shell and skinn is so important to a tortoises growth and structure, that something with the proprietors that coconut oil has, may offer that extra protection against these harmful unfiltered lamps for tortoises housed indoors.

    The ideal way to fight these unfiltered lamps and the damage they cause is what almost everyone can agree on. Proper/ consistent humidity, moist substrate, humid hides, correct temp parameters, lighting schemes that demote intense localized heating on the shell (ie. Dual lighting schemes vs. Single lamp lighting schemes). Or just having a full time enclosure outside under the sun.

    I have also been working on a very research heavy explanation on the cause of pyramiding in tortoises in relation to these artificial lamps. How and why we see so many pyramided tortoises that are housed indoors. Which can directly related to these unfiltered artificial lamps and growth under too dehydrated conditions. Not all of pyramiding occurs from the external environment though it seems . Some tortoises pyramid because of improper diet and access to uvb, thus affecting bone growth and density severely.. I feel that this style of pyramiding is different then the pyramiding caused by artificial lighting.
    Where the external environment and light is driving water from the molecular biology of the tortoise, which in turn drives up mechanical stress on the shell as the increase of beta keratin tries to offset the damage done to the alpha keratin. (alpha keratin is the active precursor of beta keratin, and alpha keratin is stabilized by hydrogen through the amino acid sequences that make up the proteins just mentioned). And the damage is caused by the emissions from these unfiltered lamps, which "superheat" the shell which promotes a "heat stessor" gene expression in the Kerstin sequencing. This expression is what controls proliferation and the influences growth cycles in the biology of the scute and skin growth. And over stimulation of this gene expression leads to a high level of mechanical stress on the scute/bone structure. Add in a poor diet. And weak uvb. And you begin to have weak, pliable bone. Different forms of metabolic bone disease, lowers density of bones and makes them "soft". Once the bones are soft. The addition of the extra mechanical stress will easily bend and mold the bone accordingly. Which will give us a pyramided tortoise. The drier it is the worse it becomes.

    If the tortoise has a super appropriate diet and uvb access and the bones are strong. The shell proliferation can still overpower bone if to much is made.. Which then leads to slighly less pronounced pyramiding.

    All of this is sole opinion of shaun. But with a decent amount of grounded background scholarly research to support these claims.

    As of this week.
    Nibbles.
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    Napebbles
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Debatable Topics Is using coconut oil worth using ? May 31, 2015

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