Herpes Family Viruses and Monolaurin
Last Updated: July 2, 2019 | First Published: June 28, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.
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.
Monolaurin and Herpes
Monolaurin is one of the newest organic compounds that researchers are looking into tapping to support immune function. 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 may help regulate immune response in the presence of herpes simplex and herpes zoster viruses by:
Disintegrating viral membranes (Ref #4). Research shows monolaurin may possess the ability to prevent 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 (Ref #4).
Inhibiting growth and toxin production. For genital herpes, scientists are exploring the capability of stopping growth and protecting the host cell membrane. An in-vivo study suggests as a topical treatment monolaurin may help prevent sexual transmission (Ref #5).
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 the fat coating of viruses making them susceptible against the immune system or other anti-viral treatments. (Ref #4)
There is no known cure for herpes, and a lot of research is still being undertaken to fully understand monolaurin’s immune supporting functions. A healthcare professional should always supervise any use of dietary supplements.
“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.
“Herpes Simplex: Herpes Type 1 and 2.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/genital-herpes/pain-management-herpes#1.
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
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/
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/