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Monolaurin is a component of coconut oil. It boosts immunity and treats bacterial, viral and fungal infections.

We are all concerned about the rise in antibiotic resistance. Could monolaurin become a useful treatment option? Read on to discover other benefits and a few surprising drawbacks.

What Is Monolaurin?

Monolaurin is a naturally occurring fat present in both coconut fat and breast milk [R, R].

Monolaurin, also known as glyceryl monolaurate, glyceryl laurate, or 1-Lauroyl-glycerol, is a monoglyceride (a single molecule of glycerol attached to a fatty acid) [R].

Coconut oil is 48% lauric acid, which is valued for its use in the food and health supplement industries. Lauric acid is converted to monolaurin in the body [R, R].

Monolaurin is a promising antimicrobial due to its antibacterial and antiviral effects, safety and lack of toxicity [R].

Monolaurin Uses

  • Food production: It is used as a food additive, emulsifier, and as a preservative. It is used in the production of ice cream, margarine, and spaghetti [R, R, R, R].
  • Manufacturing: It is commonly used in deodorants, cosmetics, detergents, and insecticides and as equipment sanitizers in manufacturing [R, R, R, R].
  • Dietary supplement: Monolaurin is also taken as a dietary supplement for its potential health benefits [R].
  • Health: Monolaurin is used in treating bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. It can also treat skin conditions, strengthen the immune system, and balance bacteria in the gut [R, R, R, R].

Mechanisms

Monolaurin Antiviral Activity

Monolaurin kills any virus that has a fat (lipid) membrane on the outside [R, R].

Since monolaurin is the same size as the fat molecule of the virus, it absorbs into the cell’s fat layer. Since it does not have good binding power, the skin envelope breaks apart. This prevents the virus from attaching and entering host cells, stopping infection and replication [R, R].

Monolaurin also disrupts virus replication by blocking DNA replication signals [R, R].

When monolaurin binds to the viral envelope, it makes the virus more susceptible to the immune system [R].

Monolaurin Antibacterial Activity

Monolaurin incorporates itself into the cell membrane of gram-positive bacteria and destroys them by breaking down the cell membrane. This stops bacteria from replicating and spreading, making it easier for the immune system to destroy [R].

Monolaurin also stops the production of most Staphylococcal toxins and other proteins at the bacterial DNA level. It also blocks the production of beta-lactamases, which are responsible for resistance to penicillins, extended-spectrum cephalosporins, monobactams, and carbapenems [R, R, R].

Monolaurin stabilizes cell membranes and blocks DNA transcription, improving outcomes in bacterial toxin diseases [R].

Monolaurin Antiinflammatory Activity

It can decrease the gene expression of inflammatory cytokines, IL-1α and IL-1β [R].

Monolaurin Immunity Action

At concentrations below 10 micrograms/ml, monolaurin increases the number of T-cells, improving immunity. It does this by its action on the DNA signaling pathway controlling the release of IL-2, a cytokine necessary for T-cell proliferation [R].

Health Benefits of Monolaurin

1) Monolaurin Is Antibacterial

Monolaurin showed antibacterial effects against a range of bacteria including antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cells and mice [R, R, R, R].

Additionally, monolaurin can inhibit the activity of many gram-positive bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis [R].

However, monolaurin is not effective against most gram-negative bacteria like Salmonella, which has a different kind of outer cell membrane than gram-positive bacteria [R].

In contrast to this general finding, monolaurin was able to inhibit the growth of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in children’s skin [R].

Monolaurin is much more effective than lauric acid at killing viruses and bacteria [R].

Monolaurin Fights Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Many bacteria can develop drug resistance, but monolaurin is effective at treating antibiotic-resistant organisms [R].

A cell study compared monolaurin and 6 common antibiotics (including penicillin, oxacillin, and vancomycin) in the treatment of skin infections. Monolaurin showed similar effectiveness and less antibiotic resistance against a wide range of bacteria [R].

Monolaurin is a promising agent in the fight against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in human cells [R].

However, there are various super strains of vancomycinresistant Enterococcus (VRE) that have developed partial (up to 70%) resistance to monolaurin. Mutated Enterococcus bacteria had learned to tighten their cell walls, making it more difficult for monolaurin to get in [R].

Monolaurin reduces the toxicity of gram-positive infections and helps vancomycin work better against the resistant strains [R].

Additionally, monolaurin has no adverse effect on gut bacteria [R].

Monolaurin Stops Bacterial Toxin Production

Bacillus anthracis is a gram-positive bacteria that produce toxins and has potential use in bioterrorism. Monolaurin inhibits the genes (pagA, lef, and cya) that enable anthrax to generate toxins [R].

This mechanism of reducing toxicity from gram-positive infections applies to many organisms, so monolaurin is likely to help reduce the toxicity of any gram-positive infection by making it less severe. Healthy cells become stronger with monolaurin [R].

Monolaurin Prevents Toxic Shock Syndrome

Monolaurin (100 to 300 mg/mL) slowed or stopped bacterial growth in the laboratory and reduced the toxicity of Staphylococcus in 54 patients with toxic shock syndrome (TSS) [R, R, R].

It also reduced TSS-related deaths in rabbits [R].

Monolaurin Kills H. Pylori

Monolaurin is effective at killing the common intestinal bacteria Helicobacter pylori [R]. H pylori is a gram-negative bacteria. Unlike other gram-negative bacteria H. pylori is extremely sensitive to monolaurin. However, the mechanisms have not been identified yet [R].

Monolaurin can kill H. pylori, regardless of stomach pH [R, R].

Taking monolaurin, alone or combined with antibiotics, may prove beneficial in the prevention and treatment of stomach ulcers, especially those that are difficult to treat and/or are antibiotic resistant [R].

Monolaurin May Prevent and Treat Staph Infections

In bacteria, monolaurin combined with monocaprin, lauric acid, or monomyristin had better results against Staphylococcus aureus [R].

Untreated mice injected with Staphylococcus aureus died within a week. However, 50% of mice treated daily with vancomycin and monolaurin survived for 30 days [R].

Additionally, over 60% of mice survived when receiving a daily combination of origanum oil and monolaurin [R].

In another mice study, the groups receiving vancomycin, monolaurin, or a combination of both showed some protection against S. aureus (50 to 70% survival rate) [R].

Monolaurin May Treat Lyme Disease

Monolaurin kills the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes Lyme disease. Lyme disease is difficult to treat, as hidden forms of the bacteria can cause the disease to relapse. Monolaurin treatment may be beneficial in enhancing current treatment or in providing a new option in recurrent Lyme disease [R, R].

2) Monolaurin Is Antiviral

Monolaurin inhibits several fat-coated viruses that infect humans and animals. Fat-coated viruses can live in your body fat for years and interfere with your metabolism. Monolaurin weakens or disintegrates viruses’ fat coatings and kill them [R].

Monolaurin kills the following viruses, which have fat envelopes [R]:

  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • HIV-1, HIV+
  • Measles virus
  • Herpes simplex virus-1 and 2
  • Herpesviridae (all)
  • Human lymphotropic viruses (type 1)
  • Vesicular stomatitis virus
  • Visna virus
  • Influenza virus
  • Pneumovirus
  • Sarcoma virus
  • Syncytial virus

Monolaurin Fights Herpes

Monolaurin is effective against Herpes viruses, which cause cold sores and genital herpes [R].

It may also be effective against Herpes varicella-zoster virus (causing chickenpox and reactivating to cause shingles) as it has a fat envelope. However, no human trials are available [R].

In animals, monolaurin shows antiviral activity and low resistance rate against Herpes simplex virus (which causes cold sores) [R].

However, monolaurin (5% glycerol monolaurate in warming jelly or salt water) greatly increased genital herpes transmission in mice [R].

Monolaurin May Kill Other Viruses

There are many anecdotal reports of monolaurin helping combat the flu. Monolaurin from human breast milk was effective against cytomegalovirus but was not effective against the flu causing virus, rhinovirus [R].

In female monkeys, daily application of monolaurin vaginal gel reduced the risk of contracting SIV, the primate form of HIV [R, R].

Monolaurin and Swine Flu

In a review, monolaurin is mentioned as a possible agent against swine flu [R].

3) Monolaurin Is Antifungal

Monolaurin may inactivate or destroy various fungi and yeasts. These include several species of ringworm [R].

Monolaurin can kill Candida albicans present in the mouth, gut, and female reproductive system [R, R].

In a study (DB-RCT) of 36 women, monolaurin was effective against Candida albicans, which may help treat vaginal infections. It may also control the growth of Candida albicans in the gut and decrease the risk of fungal infections [R].

4) Monolaurin Is Antiparasitic

Monolaurin kills the parasite Giardia lamblia [R].

Animal research indicates that the intestinal parasites Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica show a good response to treatment with a combination of metronidazole (an anti-parasitic drug) and monolaurin [R].

5) Monolaurin Boosts the Immune System

Besides treating infections, monolaurin can be an immune booster.

Monolaurin improves T-cell function, which recognize and kill bacteria and viruses [R, R].

Laboratory studies show that monolaurin is effective in preventing and treating immunosuppressed cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy with C.albicans infection [R].

Monolaurin is one of many supplements users report to improve immune function in chronic fatigue syndrome. Monolaurin may be effective in killing several of the viruses responsible for infections in chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome [R].

6) Monolaurin May Help Treat Alzheimer’s

Monolaurin may be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, which has been linked to herpes infection [R].

In Alzheimer’s patients, the presence of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) in the brain people with the type 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene is positively associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s [R].

Medium-chain fatty acids, such as lauric acid, are present in coconut oil and convert into monolaurin in the body. The liver can convert them into ketones, which are an important alternative energy source for the brain. They may be beneficial to people with memory impairment [R].

7) Monolaurin Helps with Weight Control

Many fat-coated viruses can live in your body fat and disturb your metabolism, promoting obesity. Monolaurin may assist weight management by killing these stored viruses [R].

In a study of 9 healthy overweight men, consumption of medium-chain fatty acids increased calorie burning and fat breakdown (through oxidation), reducing fat storage [R].

8) Monolaurin Improves Skin Health

Monolaurin stops skin infections, so it may be of use for acne [R].

A study (DB-RCT) in two dermatology clinics showed that coconut oil, which contains monolaurin, is effective against Staphylococcus aureus infected eczema [R].

Monolaurin Side Effects and Risks

Is Monolaurin Safe?

Monolaurin is present in breast milk, one of the safest substances available.

Monolaurin is also in coconut oil, which is an edible, nontoxic and standard cooking oil. Coconut oil is safe unless you have a coconut allergy [R, R].

Monolaurin is safe for most people when used in small amounts (i.e in foods). Although it is not proven if it’s safe in medicinal amounts, thousands of studies report its therapeutic worth [R].

Side Effects

Some people report short-term side effects and caused by the “die-off” effect (Herxheimer reaction: when large numbers of infecting organisms die quickly, these microbes give off toxins as they die) [R].

The symptoms are temporary and may include:

You can avoid this die-off reaction by building up to a full dose gradually (over about 7 to 10 days). If adverse effects occur, simply stop taking the monolaurin for a day or two to give your body a little extra time to remove the dead organisms. Start again at a little lower dosage and gradually increase, until your body can handle it [R].

Monolaurin May Cause Inflammatory or Immune Issues

While monolaurin may be a beneficial substance in many instances, lauric acid causes T cells (immune cells) to increase inflammation [R].

In mice, it worsens multiple sclerosis, in which your immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body [R].

People with intestinal inflammation or risk of multiple sclerosis may need to limit their consumption of coconut and MCT oil, and, therefore monolaurin [R].

Limitations and Caveats

Do not use monolaurin if you have a coconut allergy.

We currently have no information for monolaurin interactions with other drugs.

Not enough is known about the use of monolaurin during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

There is limited evidence from human studies [R].

Monolaurin Forms and Dosage

Lauric acid is mainly found in [R]:

What Is the Best Way to Take Monolaurin?

The richest food source of lauric acid is coconut oil (50% lauric acid). It is also present in coconut milk, coconut water, and solid coconut. Your body can convert lauric acid into monolaurin. It is not known how much coconut must be consumed to receive enough monolaurin to treat or prevent certain illnesses [R].

Monolaurin is quite bitter. Supplements are available in capsule and powder. It is also available in a lip balm.

Monolaurin Dosage

Monolaurin has not been evaluated by the FDA for any medical condition, so there are no standard dosing guidelines [R].

A clinician suggests that people age 12 and older start with 750 mg of monolaurin 2 to 3 times daily and work their way up to 3000 mg, 2 to 3 times daily.

For those who feel as if they are coming down with a viral infection, doctors often recommend taking six 300-mg capsules with food. You can lessen the dose as symptoms improve. Some physicians also recommend a maintenance dose of 600 mg daily to treat Epstein-Barr Virus, Herpes 1 & 2, or other chronic viral conditions.

If someone is taking coconut oil as a source of lauric acid, the ideal dosage may also depend on the body’s genetic ability to convert the acid into monolaurin.

Natural products are not always safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow directions on product labels and consult your healthcare professional before using.

Monolaurin Drug Interactions

Monolaurin increases the effectiveness of some antibiotics (nisin, sodium dehydroacetate, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) [R].

The antibacterial effectiveness of monolaurin in the food industry may be reduced significantly in high-fat or low-starch food products, but is not affected by proteins [R].

Monolaurin vs. Lauricidin vs. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the edible oil harvested from the meat of mature coconuts (Cocos nucifera). Roughly 40 to 60% of coconut oil is comprised of lauric acid [R].

Monolaurin is the highly purified glycerol ester of lauric acid and is more biologically active than lauric acid [R].

Lauricidin is a commercially available product. It combines lauric acid from coconut oil with a plant-based glycerol (non-soy) creating the purified ester known as monolaurin [R].

While consuming coconut products will give health benefits, monolaurin and lauricidin are more potent and reliable for treating specific diseases.

User Reviews

User reviews are highly positive for effectiveness, ease of use, and satisfaction. Viral infections from herpes, parvo, and also candida infections also disappear or lessen within 2 to 3 months without side effects. Consistent continuous use also decreases the frequency of herpes breakouts.

One user reported that a painful herpes eye ulcer, which other conventional treatments could not treat, healed after taking monolaurin.

Many holistic doctors report that they see an amazing improvement in clients’ overall sense of well being. The improvement in energy is the most impressive.

However, users complained about its bad taste. Also, some people did not experience any health benefits from monolaurin supplementation.

Buy Monolaurin Supplements (Capsules)

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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3 COMMENTS

  • carol MILLER

    cant manage to print off this info something wrong with its presentation?

    1. Evguenia Alechine

      Hi Carol, we are working on it. Will be available soon! Thanks for your comment

  • Galya Campano

    This is great!
    My aunt suffers from a chronic infection in her lungs. Who knows? Maybe THIS is the stuff that will help her significantly!

    THANK YOU! And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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