Monolaurin and UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections)
Last Updated: March 28, 2019 | First Published: September 2, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Jennifer Meza, M.D.
What are Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections are caused by bacteria and can occur on both men and women, but is more common in women. Lower urinary tract infections are the most common, which effect the bladder and urethra. However, untreated UTIs can progress and move up the urinary system to impact the kidneys. UTIs should be diagnosed and treated to prevent spreading further complications or recurrences.
Symptoms of a UTI or Bladder Infection:
UTIs and bladder infections can cause a burning sensation during urination, an intense or sudden urge to urinate, pain in the abdomen, or cloudy / dark urine. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's best to see your doctor and seek treatment.
Traditional UTI Treatment Options:
Common treatments options for UTIs include antibiotics, which can help kill the bacteria contributing to the infection, but at the same time may destroy friendly gut flora. Regular use of antibiotics can also contribute to antibiotic resistance - an increasing concern amongst the medical community. Some homeopathic methods suggest taking cranberry juice or capsules may help treat or prevent a UTI, but the research is not conclusive. One research study which included 319 women with acute UTIs indicated that taking cranberry juice twice daily did not have a decrease in UTIs over six months (Ref #1).
Potential UTI Treatment with Monolaurin:
Monolaurin is a natural supplement derived from coconut oil and has been shown in laboratory studies to express antibacterial properties. Since urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria, eliminating the bacteria may help eliminate the infection. Read more about monolaurin benefits in the Essential Guide to Monolaurin.
Common types of bacterial which may cause a UTI or bladder infection include:
Monolaurin may have the ability to eliminate these types of bacteria based on published laboratory research:
1. E. Coli (Escherichia coli)
E. Coli is a gram-negative bacteria commonly associated with foodborne illness and food poisoning. This bacteria can be found in the large intestine and enter the urinary tract causing a UTI. Research suggests that monolaurin is effective in killing gram-negative bacteria and E. Coli (Ref #3). Monlolauin may enter the cell membrane of E. Coli, thus disintegrating and killing the bacteria. (Ref # 4) Monolaurin my help with digestive problems caused by E. Coli, as well as urinary tract infections. Learn more about Monolaurin and E. Coli via the Insights article on Foodborne Bacteria.
2. Candida albicans
Candida albicans is a yeast which can cause yeast infections in women. It can also contribute to UTI and bladder infections. Multiple research studies have demonstrated Monolaurin's ability to kill Candida in the laboratory (Ref #5). Monolaurin demonstrated impressive efficacy of destroying Candida in the lab - killing off over 90% of Candida within 15 minutes and completely eliminating the candida in 120 minutes (Ref #6). One study suggests that Monolaurin may be helpful in preventing infections caused by Candida (Ref #7). Learn more about Candida and Monolaurin via the Insights article titled Natural Support for Candida and Yeast Infections.
3. Enterococcus faecalis
Enterococcus faecalis is found in most healthy individuals, but can cause urinary tract infections (in addition to other infections like meningitis). Monolaurin has shown the ability in studies to inhibit the growth and production of E. faecalis biofilms (Ref #8) and even overcome vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis strains (Ref #9). Monolaurin has been shown to not cause drug resistance, and can be used to treat infections where traditional antibiotics may fail.
Urinary tract infections impact millions of people around the world, with many of these infections developing into chronic and recurring issues. The well documented antibacterial and antifungal properties of Monolaurin may be an alternative to overcoming these infections in a more natural and safe way. Monolaurin has been shown in the lab to kill three of the most common bacteria and yeasts which can contribute to UTIs, can overcome antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, and can do so without harming healthy gut bacteria or contributing to antibiotic resistance.
Barbosa-Cesnik C, Brown MB, Buxton M, Zhang L, DeBusscher J, Foxman B. Cranberry juice fails to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection: results from a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Jan 1;52(1):23-30. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciq073
Ortega YR. Foodborne Diseases. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2008;14(7):1181. doi:10.3201/eid1407.080346.
Beuchat LA. Comparison of antiviral activities of potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate and glycerol and sucrose esters of fatty acids. Appi. Environ. Microbiol. 39:1178, 1980
Kabara JJ. The Pharmacological Effect of Lipids. Champaign, Ill, USA: American Oil Chemist’s Society; 1978. Page 92 https://goo.gl/1CcpaV
Bergsson G, Arnfinnsson J, Steingrímsson O, and Thormar H. In Vitro Killing of Candida albicans by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 2001 November; 45(11): 3209–3212
Zhang H, Xu Y, Wu L, Zheng X, Zhu S, Feng F, Shen L. Anti-yeast activity of a food-grade dilution-stable microemulsion. Applied Microbiology andBiotechnology. 2010 July;87(3):1101-8
Preuss HG, Echard B, Zonosi RR. The potential for developing natural antibiotics: Examining oregano and monolaurin. Original Internist 2005;12:119–124
Hess DJ, Henry-Stanley MJ, Wells CL. The Natural Surfactant Glycerol Monolaurate Significantly Reduces Development of Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis Biofilms. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2015 Oct;16(5):538-42. doi: 10.1089/sur.2014.162. Epub 2015 Jun 25.
Ruzin A, Novick RP. Glycerol monolaurate inhibits induction of vancomycin resistance in Enterococcus faecalis. Journal of Bacteriology. 1998 Jan; 180(1):182-5