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Breast Milk & Monolaurin

Last Updated: February 22, 2019 | First Published: February 18, 2019
Reviewed by: Dr. Jennifer Meza, M.D.

Breastfeeding, Lauric Acid, and Monolaurin

Breast milk contains 6.2% Lauric Acid - the medium chain fatty acid which makes Monolaurin

Breast milk contains 6.2% Lauric Acid - the medium chain fatty acid which makes Monolaurin

Lauric Acid – the Foundation of Monolaurin

Monolaurin is made from Lauric Acid – either when combined with glycerol to form a product for food production or supplements, or when ingested in the body from a source like palm kernel or coconut oil.

Lauric acid occurs naturally in coconut and palm kernel oil (approximately 49% of coconut oil 48% of palm kernel oil), making these oils a great source for producing monolaurin.

Human breast milk is on average 6.2% lauric acid, and breastfeeding provides infants their first introduction to monolaurin.

Beyond Nutrition – Immune benefits of Breast Milk and Lauric Acid

Breastfeeding provides infants with nutrients for growth and development as well as immune protection to compensate for the immature and inexperienced defense mechanisms at mucosal surfaces [10]. Breast milk not only provides excellent nutritional value, it also plays a very important role in protecting and supporting the immune function of infants though its healthy fat content [12].

Breast milk is a source of immunoglobulins which play an important role in protecting mucosal surfaces from infection. [13] Infants who are breastfed have been found to have:

  • Lower incidence of gastrointestinal infections compared to infants fed formula or cow’s milk [14]

  • Lower incidences of infection in low birthweight infants compared to infants fed formula [15]

  • Better protective factors which in the initial defense against infection [16]

Human Breast Milk Studies

There are numerous studies on Monolaurin and Lauric Acid as a derivative of coconut oil. However, the following studies explicitly explore the antibacterial and antimicrobial benefits of monolaurin from breast milk and potentially breastfeeding.

Gastroenteritis caused by Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli

Human breast milk was tested against two formula feeds in a study involving low birthweight infants. The breast milk showed antiviral and antibacterial properties against enveloped viruses and killed both Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli in the stomach of the infant. [18]

Amoebozoa infections (amoebiasis)

A study demonstrated the ability of human milk proteins such as apo-lactoferrin, sIgA and lysozyme were able to kill Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites, stressing the importance of feeding breast milk to newborns. [17]

Viral infections including Poxvirus and Vaccinia Virus

A study from the University of Cape Town explored the antiviral properties of human breast milk and demonstrated breast milk provided protection against microbes, viruses and toxins thus reducing the incidence of diarrhea, respiratory diseases, and otitis media. Specifically, the studies showed the efficacy of breast milk to inhibit poxvirus and vaccinia virus in the lab. [21]

Allergic / Atopic Disease

As observed through select studies, breastfeeding during the first months after birth seems to protect the infant against Allergic Disease, including atopic eczema [6], allergic rhinitis [7], asthma [8], and food allergies [9].

Lauric Acid (Monolaurin) Levels in Breast Milk

Lauric acid levels in breast milk can vary. Many factors may contribute to higher or lower lauric acid detected in breast milk, which may include:

  1. Age: Mothers younger than 30 years old had higher levels of lauric acid detected in their breast milk compared to older mothers [2]

  2. Diet: A high-carbohydrate diet could contribute to higher levels of lauric acid in breast milk [3, 19]. A low-fat diet may also contribute to higher levels of lauric acid [5]

  3. Nationality or Ethnicity: In a study of 50 breast milk samples from women in nine different countries, women from The Philippines had almost twice the amount of lauric acid present in their breast milk compared to women from Australia, Canada, China, Chile, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, or the United States [4]

  4. Supplementation of fatty acids: Eating oils high in lauric acid (like coconut oil) has been shown to increase the presence of that acid in breast milk within 6 hours of consuming and remain elevated for 10-24 hours [11]. Eating 40 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of coconut oil has been shown to increase lauric acid in the milk of a nursing mother from 3.9% to 9.6% after 14 hours. [11]

  5. Delivery: Levels of lauric acid and other acids including myristic, alpha-linolenic, arachidonic, and eicosapentaenoic acid were significantly lower in women who had caesarean deliveries versus vaginal deliveries [20]

Monolaurin and Breastfeeding

Available published research did not indicate if monolaurin supplementation was recommended or approved during nursing and breastfeeding. However, various studies looked at the levels of fatty acids in breast milk including lauric acid – the acid which forms monolaurin.

One study looked at the consumption of different oils (including coconut oil) and the effect on the presence of lauric acid in breast milk. [11] The mothers were given a formula containing coconut oil and the results were observed suggesting there is a direct correlation with the oil consumed and the presence in breast milk a few hours later.

“Ingestion of the formula containing 40 g coconut oil increased the milk content of lauric acid over time (P < 0.001). Lauric acid increased from 3.9% of fatty acids at baseline to 9.2% at 10 hours and 9.6% at 14 hours”

Because lauric acid is converted to monolaurin in the small intestine, and because monolaurin has been researched for potential antibacterial and antiviral properties, some assumptions can be made about the benefits of ingestion via breast milk or breastfeeding.

One study explores the suggestion of replacing cow milk fats with vegetable fats (such as those from coconut oil) in baby formula due to the ability of medium chain fatty acids to inactivate various bacteria and viruses in studies. [1]

“Monoacylglycerols (MAGs) rich in monolaurin synthesized from coconut oil have also been shown to have antimicrobial activity against the dairy pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, in vitro. Coconut oil–derived MAGs have been found to be more listericidal than monolaurin itself, and more listericidal than bovine milk fat–derived MAGs. The aspirated stomach contents from infants fed formulas containing mixtures of bovine milk fat, medium-chain TAGs, corn oil, and coconut oil have been found to reduce titers of enveloped virus and to kill Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli.” [1]

Additional studies are required to fully understand the impact, efficacy, and safety of utilizing coconut oil or monolaurin during breastfeeding of infants.

Conclusion

Breastfeeding provides many benefits to the developing infant including nutrition and immune support via its natural fat content. Lauric acid which is naturally present in breast milk metabolizes into monolaurin, and has been studied for its various health benefits across scientific literature. Lauric acid levels in breast milk vary and may be influenced by factors within and outside the control of the nursing mother such as diet and nationality.

Additional research is required to assess the therapeutic benefits of altering lauric acid levels in breast milk, and if there is an effect on a nursing infant. Given the absence of these studies, a recommendation to use monolaurin or lauric acid modifying supplements (like coconut oil) during nursing cannot be provided. As with all supplements, monolaurin (and in this case coconut oil) should be taken under the supervision of a medical professional.

References:

  1. Berger, Alvin; Fleith, Mathilde; Crozier, Gayle. “Nutritional Implications of Replacing Bovine Milk Fat With Vegetable Oil in Infant Formulas”. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: February 2000 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 115-130

  2. Sinanoglou VJ, Cavouras D, Boutsikou T, et al. Factors affecting human colostrum fatty acid profile: A case study. PLoS One. 2017;12(4):e0175817. Published 2017 Apr 14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0175817

  3. Mohammad MA, Sunehag AL, Haymond MW. De novo synthesis of milk triglycerides in humans. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Apr 1; 306(7):E838-47.

  4. Rebecca Yuhas, Kathryn Pramuk, Eric L. Lien. Human milk fatty acid composition from nine countries varies most in DHA. Lipids. September 2006, Volume 41, Issue 9, pp 851–858

  5. Craig-Schmidt MC, Weete JD, Faircloth SA, Wickwire MA, Livant EJ. The effect of hydrogenated fat in the diet of nursing mothers on lipid composition and prostaglandin content of human milk. Am J Clin Nutr 1984;39:778–86.

  6. Gdalevich M, Mimouni D, David M, Mimouni M 2001 Breast-feeding and the onset of atopic dermatitis in childhood: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Am Acad Dermatol 45: 520–257

  7. Mimouni Bloch A, Mimouni D, Mimouni M, Gdalevich M 2002 Does breastfeeding protect against allergic rhinitis during childhood? A meta-analysis of prospective studies. Acta Paediatr 91: 275–279

  8. Gdalevich M, Mimouni D, Mimouni M 2001 Breast-feeding and the risk of bronchial asthma in childhood. A systematic review with meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Pediatr 139: 261–266

  9. Halken S, Host A 2001 Prevention. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 1: 229–236

  10. Kirsi Laiho, Anna-Maija Lampi, Mari Hämäläinen, Eeva Moilanen, Vieno Piironen, Taina Arvola, Stina Syrjänen & Erika Isolauri. Breast Milk Fatty Acids, Eicosanoids, and Cytokines in Mothers with and without Allergic Disease. Pediatric Research volume 53, pages 642–647 (2003)

  11. C A Francois S L Connor R C Wander W E Connor. Acute effects of dietary fatty acids on the fatty acids of human milk. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 67, Issue 2, 1 February 1998, Pages 301–308, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/67.2.301

  12. Margrit Hamosh, Jerry A. Peterson, Theresa R. Henderson, Ciaran D.Scallan, Radwin Kiwan, Roberto L.Ceriani, Martine Armand, Nifin R. Mehta, Paul Hamosh. Protective function of human milk: The milk fat globule. Seminars in Perinatology Volume 23, Issue 3, June 1999, Pages 242-249

  13. Charles E. Isaacs. The Antimicrobial Function of Milk Lipids. In: Woodward B., Draper H.H. (eds) Advances in Nutritional Research. Advances in Nutritional Research, 2001, vol 10. pp 271-285

  14. Larsen, S.A., Jr. and Homer, D.R. 1978. Relation of breast versus bottle feeding to hospitalization for gastroenteritis in a middle-class U.S. population. J. Pediatr.92:417–418

  15. Hylander, M.A., Strobino, D.M., and Dhanireddy, R. 1998 Human milk feeding and infection among very low birth weight infants.Pediatrics102(3):E38

  16. Welsh, J.K. and May, J.T. 1979. Anti-infective properties of breast milk. J. Pediatr. 94:1–9.

  17. Nidia León-Sicairos, Fernando López-Soto, Magda Reyes-López, Delfino Godínez-Vargas, Cynthia Ordaz-Pichardo, Mireya de la Garza. Amoebicidal Activity of Milk, Apo-lactoferrin, sIgA and Lysozyme. Clinical Medicine & Research June 1, 2006 vol. 4 no. 2 106-113

  18. Isaacs CE, Kashyap S, Heird WC, Thormar H. Antiviral and antibacterial lipids in human milk and infant formula feeds. Arch Dis Child. 1990 Aug;65(8):861-4.

  19. Nasser R, Stephen AM, Goh YK, Clandinin MT. The effect of a controlled manipulation of maternal dietary fat intake on medium and long chain fatty acids in human breast milk in Saskatoon, Canada. Int Breastfeed J. 2010;5: 3

  20. Sinanoglou VJ, Cavouras D, Boutsikou T, et al. Factors affecting human colostrum fatty acid profile: A case study. PLoS One. 2017;12(4):e0175817. Published 2017 Apr 14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0175817

  21. Habtom H. Habte, Girish J. Kotwal, Zoë E. Lotz. Marilyn G. Tyler. Melissa Abrahams. Jerry Rodriques. Delawir Kahn. Anwar S. Mall. Antiviral Activity of Purified Human Breast Milk Mucin. Neonatology, December 2006.

Monolaurin Die Off Symptoms - the Herxheimer (Herx) Reaction

Last Updated: March 27, 2019 | First Published: February 2, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Rosmy Barrios, M.D.

Can the rapid die-off of bacteria and viruses from Monolaurin make you feel ironically "sick" when you're actually getting better?

Can the rapid die-off of bacteria and viruses from Monolaurin make you feel ironically "sick" when you're actually getting better?

Monolaurin is a potentially powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial natural supplement derived from coconut.

Monolaurin has been the subject of laboratory studies and may be used to treat various infections, including herpes (cold sores and genital herpes), yeast infections (including candida albicans, thrush, and other yeast overgrowth), Lyme disease, Epstein Barr virus (EBV), Mono, and more.

Despite its potential beneficial results and relief from nagging symptoms, monolaurin may unintentionally produce a side effect ironically similar to a cold or flu. This side effect is known as the Herxheimer (Herx, sometimes Herxing) Reaction or "Die off" symptom.

Herxheimer (Herx) Reaction

Clinically known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, this complication is the result of a reaction to the release of endotoxin-like products in the body caused by the death of various virus, bacteria, yeast, and other microbes. When microbes are destroyed by antibiotics or antiviral supplements like Monolaurin, proteins and cytokines are released which the immune system may have an inflammatory response.

Monolaurin Herx Reaction

Why would Monolaurin cause a Herx (or Herxing) Reaction? If taken at high doses in a short period of time, Monolaurin may destroy more viruses and bacteria than your body can effectively filter. Monolaurin has been clinically studied for its ability to rapidly destroy various viruses, bacteria, yeast, and other microbes, and if done so in a short period of time it could cause a herx or die off reaction.

Monolaurin Die Off Symptoms

The symptoms of a Monolaurin die-off or herx reaction are strikingly similar to the flu. This is your body's immune response to what it thinks is an infection. A typical herxing reaction or die-off symptoms include body aches, muscle pain, sore throat, sweating, lethargy, chills, nausea, and other flu-like symptoms. If symptoms get worse, this is not necessarily a sign that the treatment is not working - in fact, it could be the opposite - the treatment may be so effective at killing the infection your body is unable to process all the microbial waste.

How long does the Herx reaction last?

Luckily, the Herx reaction is relatively short - from a few days to a few weeks. It will depend on the individual, type of infection, and amount of die off. If the symptoms last more than a few weeks or do not improve over time, you may need to discontinue or change the therapy.

What to do when you get a Herx or Die-Off Reaction

The first reaction by an individual when they start feeling the symptoms of a Herxing Reaction is to discontinue the supplement. However, because the reaction is an indication of the effectiveness of the treatment, many patients actually heal quicker the more severe the reaction is when treatment is continued. The best method is to avoid the herx reaction in the first place by adopting a "low and slow" method of introducing supplements into your routine. If experiencing a due off or herx reaction you should consider reducing or limiting the supplement until your body is able to better cope with the die off and drink plenty of fluids to aid in the removal of cytokines and proteins in the system.

Monolaurin Die Off Symptoms by Disease

  • Lyme - a very common contributor is of die off symptoms is Lyme disease. Lyme disease die off can be quite severe and cause fever, chills, body pain, headache, and other flu-like symptoms. If symptoms continue, you should lower or stop treatment.

  • Yeast and Fungi - depending on where the yeast overgrowth is, a herx reaction may be quite prevalent. If there is gastric distress, the herx reaction may be caused by a die off of yeast in the intestine. The rapid killing of yeast can cause nausea, swollen glands, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, sweating, and more.

  • Viruses - Monolaurin is used to fight carious viral infections (herpes, influenza, measles, Epstein Barr Virus, etc), and depending on the severity of the infection some individuals may experience a die off effect. Die off symptoms for increased viral loads are similar - body aches, fatigue, itchiness, chills, joint or muscle pain, etc.

Looking to Try Monolaurin, but Not Sure Where to Start?

There are many factors which should be considered when choosing a Monolaurin brand, which include:

  • What Monolaurin source is best - Coconut or Palm Kernel

  • What is the recommended way to take Monolaurin - Capsule or Pellet

  • What is an ‘excipient’, and why does it matter - Synthetic or Natural

  • What hat to look for to ensure manufacturing safety - Certifications and Location

All of these questions can be answered in the comprehensive Monolaurin Buying Guide

Monolaurin Dosing

Monolaurin dosing can be tricky. Many factors may come into consideration including (but not limited to) age, weight, infection, severity of symptoms, or personal sensitivity to supplements. Additional details on the recommended dosing of Monolaurin and guidance on different diseases can be found on the Monolaurin Dosing page. 

As with any nutritional supplement or medicine, it should be administered and monitored by a healthcare professional. 

Ways to buy:

References:

  1. Bryceson, A.D.M. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 133, Issue 6, 1 June 1976, Pages 696–704,https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/133.6.696

  2. Batovska, D.I., Todorova, I.T., Tsvetkova, I.V. and Najdenski, H.M. (2009) Antibacterial study of the medium chain fatty acids and their 1-monoglycerides: individual effects and synergistic relationships. Pol J Microbiol 58, 43–47.

  3. Goc, A., Niedzwiecki, A. and Rath, M. (2015), In vitro evaluation of antibacterial activity of phytochemicals and micronutrients against Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia garinii. J Appl Microbiol, 119: 1561–1572. doi:10.1111/jam.12970

  4. Shaw, W. Biological Treatments for Autism and PPD, Third Edition. Chapter 4 Yeats and Fungi: How to Control Them. 2008

  5. Goc, A., Niedzwiecki, A. and Rath, M. (2017), Reciprocal cooperation of phytochemicals and micronutrients against typical and atypical forms of Borrelia sp.. J Appl Microbiol, 123: 637–650. doi:10.1111/jam.13523

Coconut Oil and Its Therapeutic Properties

Last Updated: January 8, 2019 | First Published: August 2, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.

Understanding How Coconut May Benefit The Human Body

Coconut Oil is a natural source of Capric, Caprylic, and Lauric Acids - all with unique and intriguing benefits.

Coconut Oil is a natural source of Capric, Caprylic, and Lauric Acids - all with unique and intriguing benefits.

For decades, the consumption of saturated fats was considered bad for the human body. More recent studies have proven this to be wrong, and instead provided evidence that the consumption of unprocessed types of saturated fats seems to play an important role in the maintenance of an overall healthy body. These studies have contributed to a large number of publications and further studies focusing on the benefits that coconut oil has to offer the body.

Healing Properties of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains a number of compounds that have now been shown beneficial. Medium chain fatty acids found in the oil is often the primary focus of studies, but the lauric acid and capric acid contents in coconut oil also possess potent medicinal properties that can be used for a number of different purposes.

These compounds have been shown to help the body fight against infections, to boost the immune system, to improve energy levels, to help regulate healthier blood sugar levels, and to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil also improves the skin’s texture and may even be used as an anti-aging regimen – it has been found that this oil can reduce the appearance of age spots, wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Capric and Caprylic Fatty Acids

Medium chain triglycerides are converted to medium-chain fatty acids, including capric fatty acids and caprylic fatty acids. Medium chain triglycerides, a substance contained in coconut oil, is the result of laboratory processing of coconut into an oil. The compound is sometimes used as medicine for celiac disease, steatorrhea, digestion problems, and absorption issues. Many people have started to cook with coconut oil to increase their intake of medium chain triglycerides due to the potential health benefits associated with this compound. The substance is known to aid in weight loss and may also be useful in boosting physical and sports performance.

Medium chain triglycerides contain fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides, and the body is able to absorb this compound easier. The liver mainly processes these triglycerides.

Lauric Acid

Lauric acid (Ref #1) is another important compound found in coconut oil that is known to possess potent antimicrobial properties, which is why this compound is often used to assist with the treatment of bacterial infections (Ref #2), as well as antibiotic resistance.

Side-Effects of Coconut Oil

While numerous benefits have been associated with the consumption of coconut oil, it is important to recognize that certain side-effects may also develop. The medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil have been linked to side-effects (Ref #3) like stomach discomfort, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal gas.

References

  1. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-915/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts

  2. Laruic Acid. PubChem Open Chemistry Database. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/lauric_acid

  3. 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

Can You Take Too Much Monolaurin?

Last Updated: January 8, 2019 | First Published: May 14, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Razak Nohri, Pharm.D, M.Phil, MBA

The health benefits of Monolaurin are well documented, but what's the right dose?

The health benefits of Monolaurin are well documented, but what's the right dose?

Many people ask, what is the safe dosage for Monolaurin? Here we explore some dosing considerations for Monolaurin as a therapeutic supplement. As with any dietary supplement, Monolaurin should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional, and the views expressed in this article are not the views of a doctor and are not meant to be prescriptive or directional.

How much Monolaurin should I take?

The amount of Monolaurin an individual may need to take before seeing a positive response will depend on a number of factors including age, weight, viral load / intensity of infection, and general sensitivity to supplements. Some people see a benefit from a single 600mg capsule per day, while others may take upwards of 3-5 grams. The type of infection (bacterial, viral, etc) may also impact the amount of Monolaurin to be taken. Starting with a low dose and gradually increasing until positive effects are realized is the recommended dosing protocol.

Is Monolaurin safe at high doses?

Monolaurin may be taken at high levels for short periods of time. Some literature goes as far as suggesting a dosage of 3-9 grams per day is needed, which equates to upwards of 15 capsules (Ref #1). While this may not be necessary or common, it should not be harmful. We do not recommend these elevated doses for extended periods of time. Everything should be in moderation.

Is there a maximum dosage of Monolaurin?

According to some literature sources, there is no defined upper limit of Monolaurin. Monolaurin is found naturally in coconut and palm oil, which has been used in personal and commercial food preparation and production. Monolaurin has been approved as "Generally Regarded As Safe" by the FDA (Ref #2), stating "In accordance with 184.1(b)(1), the ingredient is used in food with no limitation other than current good manufacturing practice. The affirmation of this ingredient as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a direct human food ingredient…" However, the FDA does not elaborate on any daily maximums. We do not recommend exceeding 6-9 grams / day for any length of time.

What is the safe dosage for Monolaurin?

A safe dosage is one which you are comfortable with. You should not take so much monolaurin that you feel physically unwell or experience a Herxheimer reaction (as detailed in this article: http://www.naturalcurelabs.com/insights/2018/2/2/monolaurin-die-off-symptoms-the-herxheimer-herx-reaction). If you feel any unwanted side effects from monolaurin, immediately discontinue use of the product and consult a healthcare professional.

Should I take Monolaurin with or without food?

You can take monolaurin with or without food and with any liquid, without impact to efficacy or absorption.  You can take monolaurin on an empty stomach, however those with sensitive stomachs should take monolaurin with food as the supplement has a natural "soapy" taste which may be unpleasant to some.

Can you overdose on Monolaurin?

You should not take so much Monolaurin that you feel unwell (upset stomach, diarrhea, headache, etc.). Monolaurin can be taken at modest levels (around 3 grams/ day) with little or no side effects, but caution should be exercised when doses exceed 6 grams / day. A staged, gradual increase of Monolaurin until benefits are realized can be an effective approach. If a change in state is not realized even at 6-9 grams, you should consult a healthcare professional before increasing dosage.

Comprehensive Dosage Guide:

Additional detailed information on the recommended dosage of Monolaurin based on various inputs and ailments is available on the dedicated Dosing page: http://www.naturalcurelabs.com/monolaurin-dosage/

 

Reference:

  1. Kabara JJ. Pharmacological effects of coconut oil vs. monoglycerides. Inform June 2005; Volume 16 p386-7. http://aocs.files.cms-plus.com/inform/2005/6/p386-387.pdf

  2. FDA : 21CFR184.1505 ; https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=184.1505

Monolaurin Supplement Delivery Options - Which is Best?

Last Updated: January 8, 2019 | First Published: June 5, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Felix Boakye-Agyeman, M.D., Ph.D


Monolaurin is a dietary supplement metabolized from lauric acid. Lauric acid can be found in coconut oil and palm kernel oil, in addition to other natural sources. When taking Monolaurin as a dietary supplement, there are a few options and formats to select from. Here we explore some of the considerations when choosing how to take Monolaurin as a dietary supplement.

1. Pure Coconut Oil

Raw coconut oil contains 49% Lauric Acid, but how much of that is converted into Monolaurin in the body is unknown

Raw coconut oil contains 49% Lauric Acid, but how much of that is converted into Monolaurin in the body is unknown

  • Coconut oil contains around 49% lauric acid. Since lauric acid is converted into Monolaurin in the human body, you might assume you can get Monolaurin through coconut oil without taking a supplement. Unfortunately, it is difficult to estimate just how much of the Lauric Acid from coconut oil is converted to monolaurin, but one article suggests that it is less than 6%. Given a therapeutic dose of monolaurin can reach upwards of 3 to 9 grams of Monolaurin, one would need to consume an unrealistic 100 - 300 mL of coconut oil per day (Ref #1).

2. Monolaurin Pellets (Ex: Lauricidin)

Monolaurin Pellets may have some undesirable side effects

Monolaurin Pellets may have some undesirable side effects

  • Monolaurin in pellet form is popular amongst some brands such as Lauricidin, Inspired Nutrition, Tick Recovery, and others. Monolaurin in pellet form can deliver impressive volumes of monolaurin per dose, but may face some unwanted challenges. Some customers report finding undissolved pellets in their stool, suggesting that not all of the product is absorbed in the intestines after ingestion. Additionally, the delivery of the pellet is via a teardrop-shaped pellet which is made of glycerol. Glycerol may have adverse reactions with some individuals which includes stomach pain, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea. (Ref #2) Some individuals have found travelling or daily routines with monolaurin pellets inconvenient, as they do not fit into pill organizers, purses, bags, etc.

3. Monolaurin Capsules

Monolaurin in Capsule form is the most popular - for good reason

Monolaurin in Capsule form is the most popular - for good reason

  • Monolaurin in encapsulated form is by far the most popular form of the supplement. It allows a precise amount of Monolaurin to be delivered, and the capsule itself ensures complete digestion in the stomach and intestine where the product can be most effective. There are some important considerations when it comes to Monolaurin in capsule form:

    1. Capsule Type: many capsules are made of animal gelatin (bovine or porcine) which may disagree with individuals on a vegetarian or vegan diet or those with religious considerations. Vegetarian (vegetable cellulose) capsules are available and availability varies by brand.

    2. Excipient: a common excipient (also known as a "flow agent" - an essential part of the encapsulation process) for many supplements is magnesium stearate. Unfortunately magnesium stearate, a synthetic lubricant used by many brands, may have negative side effects such as gastric distress and slowing of absorption of the supplement. Magnesium Stearate may also suppress T- cells, an essential part of the immune response system (Ref #4). A natural excipient such as organic rice power can offer the same manufacturing benefit without the potential harmful side effects.

    3. Additives: some brands of encapsulated Monolaurin may contain more than just Monolaurin. Some capsules may contain Inosine, Vitamin C, Silica, and other undesirable additives. These additives may interact with the principal ingredient or cause other unknown side effects. Purity of fill is the only way to avoid this.

4. Monolaurin Powder

Monolaurin Powder has a natural soapy taste, which makes taking it alone unplesant

Monolaurin Powder has a natural soapy taste, which makes taking it alone unplesant

  • Given the extremely soapy and bitter taste of Monolaurin, taking monolaurin powder is not typical or advised. If individuals have issues swallowing capsules or pellets, the power may be emptied into applesauce or another delivery mechanism (pudding, juice, etc). However, the strong soapy flavor will likely overwhelm the mouth depending on what is used. Consuming the straight powder is not recommended.

5. Monolaurin Tablets

Monolaurin in Tablet form doesn't really exist

Monolaurin in Tablet form doesn't really exist

  • In addition to its strong soapy taste, Monolaurin is naturally quite sticky. Therefore, it is not typically compressed into tablet format because most high speed encapsulation equipment would need to be stopped and cleaned multiple times per production run to ensure uniform tablets. Therefore, capsules have been widely accepted as the delivery mechanism of choice for Monolaurin.

Conclusion:

How to take Monolaurin is an individual preference and what works best for one individual may not be the right option for another. Regardless of which format you choose, all dietary supplements, including Monolaurin, should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional.


Looking to Try Monolaurin, but Not Sure Where to Start?

There are many factors which should be considered when choosing a Monolaurin brand, which include:

  • What Monolaurin source is best - Coconut or Palm Kernel

  • What is the recommended way to take Monolaurin - Capsule or Pellet

  • What is an Excipient, and why does it matter - Synthetic or Natural

  • What hat to look for to ensure manufacturing safety - Certifications and Location

All of these questions can be answered in the comprehensive Monolaurin Buying Guide


References

  1. Kabara JJ. Pharmacological effects of coconut oil vs. monoglycerides. Inform June 2005; Volume 16 p386-7.

  2. http://aocs.files.cms-plus.com/inform/2005/6/p386-387.pdf

  3. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-4/glycerol

  4. Magnesium Stearate: Does Your Supplement Contain This Potentially Hazardous Ingredient? https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/23/whole-food-supplement-dangers.aspx

An Exploration Of Lauric Acid - What Is Lauric Acid And How Might It Benefit Your Body?

Last Updated: January 7, 2019 | First Published: July 23, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.

Lauric Acid is converted to Monolaurin which may have impressive health benefits. What can you do to increase your intake of this impressive substance?

Lauric Acid is converted to Monolaurin which may have impressive health benefits. What can you do to increase your intake of this impressive substance?

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.

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.

 

References

  1. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1138/lauric-acid

  2. 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

  3. 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

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