An Exploration of Lauric Acid
Last Updated: April 10, 2019 | First Published: July 23, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.
What Is Lauric Acid & How Might It Benefit Your Body?
Lauric acid, a form of saturated fat, has recently received an increasing amount of attention. The primary source for this fat is usually coconut oil. Commercial cooking products have been introduced containing this saturated fat and have been proven to be a healthier alternative to standard cooking oils. Lauric acid also holds medicinal properties that are useful in the treatment of certain ailments.
When the body digests lauric acid, a potent compound known as Monolaurin is derived. Monolaurin is a powerful supplement and may hold antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Read more about Monolaurin in the comprehensive Essential Guide to Monolaurin.
What Does Lauric Acid Do For The Body?
Lauric acid has been scientifically studied and results suggest it possesses several medicinal properties and health benefits (Ref #1). The fat is often used in the treatment of health conditions such as influenza, the common cold, bronchitis, yeast infections, gonorrhea, ringworm, Giardia lamblia, and even for chlamydia. Several studies have also proven the benefits of lauric acid in the treatment of bacterial infections.
Is Lauric Acid Good For Your Skin?
The use of lauric acid goes far beyond only the internal body. One study (Red #2) that was conducted by the University of California, among others, found that this saturated fat is useful in the treatment of Acne Vulgaris. The scientists found the use of the substance to be beneficial for killing off the bacteria that causes Acne Vulgaris, as well as for reducing the inflammation that the condition causes. Lauric acid is also often used to treat fever blisters that develop on the skin, as well as cold sores and warts – including genital warts.
Is Lauric Acid Good For Your Hair?
The use of products containing lauric acid on the hair may also be beneficial. One particular study (Ref #3) explains that the molecular weight and the fact that the chain has a straight linear shape means it is easier for lauric acid to enter the hair shaft. This, in turn, makes lauric acid a compound that may benefit the hair from the inside.
Which Foods Are High In Lauric Acid?
Two of the most common foods that are known to be high in lauric acid include coconut oil and palm kernel oil. Coconut oil, however, is the preferred source amongst these two as palm kernel oil contains a very large amount of saturated fats.
How Can I Increase My Intake of Lauric Acid?
Coconut oil is not the only coconut-derived source of lauric acid. People can also opt for coconut water, coconut flour, grated coconut, and coconut milk if they wish to increase their intake of lauric acid. Swapping standard cooking oil with coconut oil, adding a few bottles of coconut water to the freezer and switching unhealthy potato chip snacks for healthier coconut-based snacks are all great ways to start adding more lauric acid to your diet.
Nakatsuji, T., Kao, M. C., Fang, J.-Y., Zouboulis, C. C., Zhang, L., Gallo, R. L., & Huang, C.-M. (2009). Antimicrobial Property of Lauric Acid Against Propionibacterium acnes: Its Therapeutic Potential for Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 129(10), 2480–2488. http://doi.org/10.1038/jid.2009.93
Rele A.S., Mohile R.B. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. The Journal of Costmetic Science. 2003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12715094