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Monolaurin and Food-Borne Bacterial Pathogens

Last Updated: January 7, 2019 | First Published: July 27, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.

The Potential Effectiveness Of Monolaurin In The Elimination Of Foodborne Bacterium Species

Can Monolaurin help combat foodborne illness caused by mishandling of meat or exposure during international travel?

Can Monolaurin help combat foodborne illness caused by mishandling of meat or exposure during international travel?

Monolaurin, a compound found in coconut oil and considered a healthy by-product of the fats found in coconut, is gaining momentum in scientific studies and healthcare systems recently. The compound has now been associated with a number of potential health benefits, including improvements in immune system function and to assist in the treatment of certain skin-related conditions.

Studies are now turning their focus to the antimicrobial properties of monolaurin – not only to assist in treating bacterial and viral infections among patients but also as a solution to inhibit the growth and eliminate the presence of live pathogenic microorganisms in contaminated food products.

Foodborne Infections – A Global Concern

Foodborne diseases are becoming a threat in several countries. Several bacterial species have been identified to contaminate food and, when ingested, cause infection in the human body. Pathogenic microorganisms (Ref #1) like Clostridium botulinum, Y. Pseudotuberculosis, Escherichia coli, Vibrio spp, Enterococcus spp, and Listeria monocytogenes, are all of concern. These bacterium species can cause deadly bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections, endocarditis, the E. coli infection, and even meningitis.

These microorganisms can contaminate food without a person knowing it. When proper hygiene practices are not implemented at home or at a butchery, for example, bacteria may find their way into food.

When traveling to a new destination, food can also be contaminated with new species that are not commonly found in the traveler’s country. Outdoor activities like camping, picnicking, visiting street markets, etc. may also increase the risk of food being contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms.

Monolaurin In The Elimination Of Pathogenic Microorganisms

Monolaurin has been shown to be an effective compound used in the fight against both bacterial and viral infections. The compound may also help to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance in patients being treated with pharmaceutical antimicrobial agents, and may also be a useful option for treating antibiotic resistance in patients who do not seem to respond well to such pharmaceutical drugs.

A paper by the Institute of Food Technologies (Ref #2) has  provided evidence that the use of Monolaurin as a coconut oil extraction may be a good option for fighting against the global concerns surrounding bacterial contamination in food products.

The study explains that monolaurin holds powerful antimicrobial actions that can help to eliminate the presence of certain bacterium strains in food that may be contaminated. Monolaurin seems to be effective against the bacterium species Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli (E. coli) when the compound is combined with another substance known as EDTA, or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid.

E. Coli is a gram-negative bacteria commonly associated with foodborne illness and food poisoning. 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.

Additional studies revealed that a mixture of Monolaurin and antimicrobial nisin might be an appropriate option for the treatment of food products contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, another bacteria which can be spread with the mishandling of food. (Ref #5)

A further study looked at the antimicrobial effects of Monolaurin against Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica) and Giardia lamblia (G. lamblia), which are common causes of diarrhea and malabsorption in humans. You can get Giardia lamblia from eating contmainted food or drinking contaminated water. The research suggests that monolaurin was effective in eliminating Giardia after infection, but even more interestingly helped prevent infection in the first place (Ref #6). 

References

  1. Ortega, Y. R. (2008). Foodborne Diseases. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 14(7), 1181. http://doi.org/10.3201/eid1407.080346

  2. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/199350/9789241565165_eng.pdf?sequence=1

  3. Beuchat LA. Comparison of antiviral activities of potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate and glycerol and sucrose esters of fatty acids. Appi. Environ. Microbiol. 39:1178, 1980http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/pmcc/articles/PMC291503/

  4. Kabara JJ. The Pharmacological Effect of Lipids. Champaign, Ill, USA: American Oil Chemist’s Society; 1978. Page 92 https://goo.gl/1CcpaV

  5. Zhang H, Wei H, Cui Y, Zhao G, Feng F. Antibacterial interactions of monolaurin with commonly used antimicrobials and food components. J Food Sci. 2009 Sep;74(7):M418-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01300.x.

  6. Fahmy ZH, Aly E, Shalsh I, Mohamed AH. The effect of medium chain saturated fatty acid (monolaurin) on levels of the cytokines on experimental animal in Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia infection. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. January 2014.

The Role of Monolaurin in the Treatment of Bacterial Infections

Last Updated: December 14, 2018 | First Published: June 11, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.

There have been many laboratory studies on the Monolaurin and bacteria

There have been many laboratory studies on the Monolaurin and bacteria

Bacterial infections are relatively common today. While the use of antibiotics has been an effective approach to the treatment of these infections for many years, modern-day healthcare systems are recognizing the increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance. One study [Ref #1] explains that the widespread resistance against antibiotic drugs is caused by the misuse and the overuse of antibiotics. Untreated bacterial infections, even in the case of antibiotic resistance, can lead to fatal complications.

Different types of bacterial infections have been identified in human patients [Ref #2]. These infections can often be classified as primary or secondary, as well as either acute or chronic. A bacterial infection can also be localized, pyogenic or generalized. Infections can affect different parts of the body, including the lungs, the throat, the gums, stomach, and other areas.

Monolaurin In The Treatment Of Infection

The human body is a host to billions of microorganisms, including bacteria. While many of these organisms are beneficial for the human body, some of them can be pathogenic, which means they cause harm. The infestation of pathogenic bacteria species in the human body can lead to the development of an infection.
This calls for the scientists to start looking at alternative options for the treatment of bacterial infections. Many natural treatments have been suggested for the use against the presence of an infection caused by bacterium species in the human body, but only a few of these substances hold clinically significant data behind their effectiveness. Monolaurin is one particular substance that has been proven effective.

Monolaurin is a naturally-derived medium chain fatty acid that can be extracted from glycerin and lauric acid [Red#3]. The substance is also a coconut fat byproduct. While this substance has become quite popular in the preservation of food, recent studies have started to take a look at the use of Monolaurin in bacterial infections.

Numerous scientific studies have been conducted and proven the effectiveness of Monolaurin in the treatment of infections caused by specific types of bacterium species.

  • Straphylococcus Aureus – This bacteria can cause skin infections, pneumonia, endocarditis, sepsis, meningitis, osteomyelitis, and more. The species have also been associated with toxic shock syndrome. One study [Ref #4] found the extracts of Monolaurin from coconut oil, combined with an agent known as lactic acid, very effective in the treatment of bacterial infections caused by the Staphylococcus aureus species. The study explains that Monolaurin resulted in a loss of membranes and cytoplasm in Staphylococcus aureus bacteria cells.

  • Enteroccocus – A group of bacterium species that often causes wound infections, as well as infections in soft tissue within the human body. One study [Ref #5] found the use of Monolaurin extracts to be statistically significant when the effects of this extract were tested on Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter spp, Enterococcus spp, E. vulneris, and Streptococcus spp. All of the tests performed in these studies were performed on samples obtained from skin infections.

  • Escherichia Coli – Often referred to as E. coli, when pathogenic, these bacteria can cause infections to develop in the intestines, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort, pain and other accompanying symptoms. Studies have proven Monolaurin concentrations of 20mg/ml to be effective in reducing colony growth density in human subjects.

Conclusion

Infections caused by bacteria can cause life-threatening complications. Antibiotics are the conventional treatment option used to eliminate the presence of a bacterial infection, but with an increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance, the world is looking for alternative methods to help treat these infections. Monolaurin has the potential to assist with the elimination of infections caused by particular types of bacterium species.

Lean more about the bacterium Monolaurin has been researched to treat on the Research page

References

  1. C. L. Ventola. The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis. Journal of Pharmacy and Therapeutics. April 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378521/

  2. J.W. Peterson. Bacterial Pathogenesis. Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK8526/

  3. J. Seladi-Schulman. What Is Monolaurin? Healthline. 22 August 2017. https://www.healthline.com/health/monolaurin

  4. P. Tangwatcharin, P. Khopaibool. Activity of virgin coconut oil, lauric acid or monolaurin in combination with lactic acid against Staphylococcus aureus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. July 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23077821

  5. B.G. Carpo, V.M. Verallo-Rowell, J. Kabara. Novel antibacterial activity of monolaurin compared with conventional antibiotics against organisms from sin infections: an in vitro study. U.S. National Library of Medicine. October 2007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17966176

Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. Dr. Zayed is a contributing author for Natural Cure Labs.

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