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Herpes Family Viruses and Monolaurin

Last Updated: December 15, 2018 | First Published: June 28, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.

Herpes affects a huge part of the population. Could Monolaurin help alleviate the virus?

Herpes affects a huge part of the population. Could Monolaurin help alleviate the virus?

Herpes simplex viruses affect a huge part of the population. The World Health Organization estimates that at least three billion people have herpes (Ref #1) type 1 while around 400 million have herpes type 2.  Here are the herpes symptoms (Ref #2) that you need to look out for:

  • Herpes Type 1 or HSV1. Cold sores appear in the mouth and lips.

  • Herpes Type 2 or HSV2. This type of herpes simplex virus causes genital herpes. There is inflammation in the genital area which may itch or burn. Blisters also appear near the genitals.

HSV1 and HSV2 are usually transmitted through the oral or genital contact. But there is one form of herpes that you can contract in another way: herpes zoster or shingles. You can contract herpes zoster through the respiratory tract and via direct contact with the blisters.

Herpes is a chronic disease which unfortunately has no cure (Ref #3). Common medications used to treat herpes are antivirals like Denavir, Zovirax, and Famvir. These antivirals work by inhibiting the symptoms of the herpes simplex virus. Antivirals, however, can cause various side effects like recurring headaches, dizziness, nausea, and stomach pains.

Treatment of Herpes Using Monolaurin

Monolaurin is one of the newest organic compounds that researchers are looking into tapping to treat herpes. Since it is a naturally occurring chemical compound, the risks of complications are lesser compared to current medications. It is also more beneficial for patients who are immunosuppressed. Monolaurin combats herpes simplex and herpes zoster viruses by:

  • Disintegrating viral membranes (Ref #4). Monolaurin's antiviral capabilities stop viruses from enveloping its hosts. This process, in turn, causes protective viral cell membranes to disintegrate.

  • Destabilizing the viral layer. Monolaurin incorporates itself in the structure of viruses halting any replication.

  • Inhibiting growth and toxin production. For genital herpes, scientists are exploring its capability of stopping growth and protecting the host cell membrane. Monolaurin as a topical treatment may work to prevent sexual transmission (Ref #5). When monolaurin is inserted into the hydrogel, its antiviral properties inactivate most sexually transmitted viruses.

  • Weakening the fat-coating of viruses. Herpes viruses are known to integrate themselves with the body’s fat layer which can help explain their chronic nature. Monolaurin strips herpes’s fat coating making them susceptible against monolaurin’s anti-viral capabilities.

Conclusion

A lot of research is still being undertaken in the future uses of Monolaurin in treating and possibly curing herpes viruses. In the meantime, some doctors have prescribed Monolaurin as supplements. Considering it is FDA-approved and has no known side effects, it is definitely worth a try.

References                                                                                                   

  1. “Globally, an Estimated Two-Thirds of the Population under 50 Are Infected with Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/detail/28-10-2015-globally-an-estimated-two-thirds-of-the-population-under-50-are-infected-with-herpes-simplex-virus-type-1.

  2. “Herpes Simplex: Herpes Type 1 and 2.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/genital-herpes/pain-management-herpes#1.

  3. Ayoade, Folusakin O. “Herpes Simplex: Background, Microbiology, Pathophysiology.” Background, Pathophysiology, Etiology, 6 Apr. 2018, emedicine.medscape.com/article/218580-overview. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/218580-overview

  4. Thormar, H et al. “Inactivation of Enveloped Viruses and Killing of Cells by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 31.1 (1987): 27–31. Print.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC174645/

  5. Schlievert, Patrick M. et al. “Glycerol Monolaurate Does Not Alter Rhesus Macaque (Macaca Mulatta) Vaginal Lactobacilli and Is Safe for Chronic Use .” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 52.12 (2008): 4448–4454. PMC. Web. 17 June 2018.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2592867/

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