Last Updated: January 7, 2019 | First Published: July 30, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.
Is Monolaurin Effective In The Treatment Of Staph And MRSA?
Healthcare systems are challenged by the widespread prevalence of Staphylococcus Aureus related infections. This bacterium is considered pathogenic and causes different types of bacterial infections (Ref #1) in patients. Infections from this bacterium can be obtained in general community settings, as well as in hospitals.
Treatment remains a challenge due to the increased number of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections being reported, a strain of the bacteria that quickly becomes resistant to standard pharmaceutical protocols used to treat such infections.
The Impact Of Staphylococcus Aureus Infections
A paper (Ref #2) published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology Reviews estimates that up to 30% of the global human population may be colonized with the Staphylococcus Aureus bacterium which can cause MRSA. Upon a weakening of the immune system, the bacterium can multiply and cause infection. The population is exposed to these pathogenic bacterial microorganisms through different means. One study (Ref #3) in the Journal of Infection and Public Health found that up this bacterium may be present in up to 16.4% of meat products found in local stores, and the Methicillin-Resistant (MRSA) strains in up to 1.2% of these meat products.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can cause (Ref #4) skin infections and pneumonia and contributes to infections related to food poisoning. The bacterium has also been linked to bacteremia, as well as toxic shock syndrome.
Monolaurin: A Potential Antimicrobial Agent Against Staph and MRSA Infections
Monolaurin has presented the potential to be used as an antimicrobial agent in patients with infections related to the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium. One study (Ref #5) explains that glycerol monolaurate, another name for monolaurin, contains an active compound known as lauric acid. Even though the bacteria cause glycerol monolaurate to be hydrolyzed, the lauric acid content seems to inhibit the activity of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Additionally, it has also been noted that monolaurin may be effective in preventing the bacteria from becoming resistant to a common drug used to treat such bacterial infections, known as Vancomycin.
A study (Ref #6) conducted on mice also found that monolaurin is an effective antimicrobial agent. The study compared the effects of this substance to the use of Origanum oil. The bacteria killed all untreated mice in seven days. More than 60% of the mice that were treated with a combination of origanum oil and monolaurin survived the bacterial infection. The combination of monolaurin and Vancomycin also proved as an effective approach to the treatment of the infection.
Taylor TA, Unakal CG. Staphylococcus Aureus. [Updated 2017 Oct 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2018 Jan-. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441868/
Tong, S. Y. C., Davis, J. S., Eichenberger, E., Holland, T. L., & Fowler, V. G. (2015). Staphylococcus aureus Infections: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Clinical Manifestations, and Management. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 28(3), 603–661. http://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.00134-14
Hanson BM, Dressler AE, Harper AL, Scheibel RP, Wardyn SE, Roberts LK, Kroeger JS, Smith TC. “Prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on retail meat in Iowa.” J Infect Public Health. 2011 Sep;4(4):169-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2011.06.001. Epub 2011 Jul 19.
Ruzin A, Novick RP. “Equivalence of lauric acid and glycerol monolaurate as inhibitors of signal transduction in Staphylococcus aureus.” J Bacteriol. 2000 May;182(9):2668-71.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10762277
Preuss HG, Echard B, Dadgar A, Talpur N, Manohar V, Enig M, Bagchi D, Ingram C. “Effects of Essential Oils and Monolaurin on Staphylococcus aureus: In Vitro and In Vivo Studies.” Toxicol Mech Methods. 2005;15(4):279-85. doi: 10.1080/15376520590968833.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20021093