Caprylic acid is a fatty acid that has many helpful properties. It boosts the immune system and helps protect the brain and heart. Read more to find out all about its benefits.

What is Caprylic Acid?

Caprylic Acid is a type of fatty acid known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). It is typically found in edible oils like coconut and palm oil [1].

Caprylic acid has a wide range of benefits and almost none of the harms of typical dietary fats [1].

Health Benefits of Caprylic Acid:

1) Protects the Brain

Alzheimer’s disease can cause low brain energy metabolism and deteriorate neuron function, which leads to lower demand for glucose [2].

During the decline of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related diseases, cerebral glucose metabolism seems to suffer as mitochondria become less able to absorb and use glucose. Ketones from caprylic acid can act as a glucose substitute.

These ketones offer the necessary simple fuel for the dysfunctioning mitochondria in the brain cells to use for energy.

In mice, caprylic acid can cross the blood-brain barrier and has anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects [3].

Treatment with caprylic triglycerides slowed the progression of weakness and protected spinal cord motor neuron loss in some animals, significantly improving their brains’ performances [4].

2) Improves Immune System Function

Caprylic acid may influence T helper cell activity and increase antibody production [5].

3) Kills Bacteria

Caprylic acid can inactivate bacteria by creating an acidic environment or by a direct impact on the expression of virulence factors [6].

Caprylic acid can kill both viruses and bacteria by causing disintegration of their cellular envelopes [7].

The antimicrobial effect is also related to its interference with signal transduction in cell replication [7].

Caprylic acid is able to reduce the number of pathogens in milk. It penetrates and gets incorporated into the bacterial plasma membrane, alters membrane permeability and helps kill the bacteria [8].

Another method is that the short- and medium-chain fatty acids diffuse into bacterial cell walls in their undissociated form and dissociate within the bacteria, causing the bacteria to become acidic [8].

An acidic pH can lead to inactivation of intracellular enzymes, and inhibition of amino acid transport, reducing the bacteria’s ability to live and reproduce [8].

4) Caprylic Acid is Antifungal

The antifungal fatty acids insert themselves into the fungal membranes and physically disturb the membrane, resulting in increased fluidity of the membrane. This will cause changes in membrane proteins, cytoplasmic disorder, and eventually cell death [9].

They are proposed to have increased fungicidal activity due to their increased freedom inside the membrane [9].

N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) is essential for the growth and survival of several fungi and yeasts. Caprylic acid competes with the fungi to bind to NMT, resulting in disturbance of protein and cellular function [9].

5) Fights Against Viruses

Medium-chain free fatty acids have a broad spectrum of microbicidal activity against enveloped viruses [10].

The antiviral action liquidizes the lipids and phospholipids in the envelope of the virus, causing the disintegration of the microbial membrane [11].

It also interferes with virus assembly and viral maturation [11].

6) Improves Mouth Health

Acid-treated animals had suppressed the growth of fungus on the tongue surface. This suggests that caprylic acid has the potential for supporting anti-Candida treatment [12].

It enters the microbial cell across the plasma membrane and affects the biological function of the Candida fungus. Even at low concentrations, caprylic acid can prevent oral infections [12].

7) Relieves Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition [13].

IL-8 plays an important role in inflammatory bowel disease and is produced in areas with signs of inflammatory activity and mucosal destruction [14].

Caprylic acid suppresses IL-8 secretion by Caco-2 cells at the transcriptional level [15].

It also inhibits IL-8 promoter activation [15].

8) Protects the Heart

Fatty acids of coconut oil may offer protection from heart disease. In rats, it can protect the mitochondria in heart cells [16].

It can also improve blood circulation [17].

9) Benefits Gut Health

Caprylic acid decreases the stickiness of blood platelets, aids digestion by increasing motility (flow) of the stomach, reduces cholesterol in blood and liver, and increases the uptake of calcium [18].

Side Effects

Since Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressive disease, increased consumption of medium-chain triglyceride oil (which may consist of caprylic acid) may increase the risks for negative effects such as acidosis, high blood pressure, etc. [16].

It may create an acute burning sensation and also abdominal pain [19].

Dosage

Caprylic acid poses little or no risk from toxicity when consumed as a supplement in a balanced diet at levels up to 15% of the dietary calories or about 50% of the dietary fat.

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