Last Updated: March 20, 2019 | First Published: June 12, 2016
Reviewed by: Dr. Rosmy Barrios, M.D.
Molluscum Contagiosum is a viral skin infection traditionally associated with small children, but more recently has been found in adults as an STI (sexually transmitted infection). Molluscum can affect any part of the body, and is commonly identified by its small uniform ,round, and often with an umbilication (dimpled center). In adults, it can affect the groin and upper thighs as it is typically sexually transmitted.
Molluscum is part of the pox family and is an encapsulated virus, just like influenza or herpes. This means there is a fatty envelope sheath which protects the DNA and RNA of the virus. Traditional therapies for Molluscum include:
Destructive - Such as Cryotherapy, which freezes the Molluscum with liquid nitrogen
Immunotherapy - immune stimulators like immiquimod
Time - simply letting the body identify the infection and clear it over time
Because Molluscum is an enveloped virus like Influenza and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), it may respond favorably to supplements like monolaurin. Monolaurin has been shown in laboratory studies to inactivate many encapsulated viruses - those viruses which have a fatty membrane around the DNA and RNA of the virus [Refs #1, 2, 3, 4]. The studies for molluscum and monolaurin are limited, but some select studies and public feedback are encouraging [Ref #7]. One Argentinean study explains:
“After treatment, 15 (54%) of the 28 patients in the monolaurin group showed complete resolution of lesions, compared to 5 (18%) in the vehicle group. The monolaurin group had a significantly higher number of lesions with complete resolution (4.75±2.46 vs. 2.46±1.97, p<0.05). Likewise, the percentage reduction in number and size of lesions were higher in the monolaurin group (72±34% and 71±33%, respectively) compared to the vehicle group (40±34% and 45±34%, respectively) at p<0.05. Adverse events were similar and insignificant in the two groups.” [Ref #7]
If you are looking for an alternative therapy to addressing Molluscum, you may consider trying monolaurin as a natural option. Monolaurin has been the subject of several laboratory studies which include Measles [Ref #3], Epstein-Bar [Ref #4], Chlamydia [Ref #5], HSV [Ref #6], and more. Monolaurin is tolerated at high doses and for extended periods without affecting drug resistance or "healthy" bacteria. [Ref #9] Monolaurin supplements come from natural sources such as coconut oil, and is included on the FDA's "Generally Regarded As Safe" (GRAS) list. [Ref #8]
If you're considering monolaurin for strengthening the immune system, start off with a smaller dose to see how your body responds (one or two 600mg capsules a day) and slowly increase the dosage to up to six 600mg capsules per day if there are no complications. For more detailed dosing instructions, see the Monolaurin Dosing Guide. As with any dietary supplement, it is best under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Projan SJ, Brown-Skrobot S, Schlievert PM, Vandenesch F, Novick RP. Glycerol monolaurate inhibits the production of beta-lactamase, toxic shock toxin-1, and other staphylococcal exoproteins by interfering with signal transduction. Journal of Bacteriology. 1994 Jul;176(14):4204-9.
Isaacs CE, Kim KS, Thormar H. Inactivation of enveloped viruses in human bodily fluids by purified lipids. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1994 Jun 6;724:457-64.
Lieberman S, Enig MG, Preuss HG. A Review of Monolaurin and Lauric Acid Natural Virucidal and Bactericidal Agents. Alternative & Complimentary Therapies, December 2006. 12(6): 310-314.
Thormar H, Isaacs CE, Brown HR, Barshatzky MR, Pessolano T. Inactivation of enveloped viruses and killing of cells by fatty acids and monoglycerides. AntimicrobialAgents and Chemotherapy. 1987 Jan;31(1):27-31.
Bergsson G, Arnfinnsson H, Karlsson SM, Steingrímsson O, Thormar H. In Vitro Inactivation of Chlamydia trachomatis by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides. American Society for Microbiology 9 February 1998
Sands J, Auperin D, Snipes W. Extreme sensitivity of enveloped viruses, including Herpes Simplex, to long chain unsaturated monoglycerides and alcohols. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 15; 1:67-73, 1979.
Chua E, Verallo-Rowell VM. Coconut Oil Extract (2% Monolaurin) Cream in the Treatment of Molluscum Contagiosum: A Randomized Double-Blind Vehicle-Controlled Trial. WCD, October 2007, Argentina
FDA : 21CFR184.1505 ; https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=184.1505
Fahmy ZH, Aly E, Shalsh I, Mohamed AH. The effect of medium chain saturated fatty acid (monolaurin) on levels of the cytokines on experimental animal in Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia infection. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. January 2014.