Coconut oil has grown in popularity as a nutritious oil that can be used to improve skin health and condition dry hair. Along with being an excellent oil to cook with, this tropical plant oil contains one of the highest sources of a medium chain fatty acid called lauric acid.
Coconut oil may contain up to 40 – 50% of this active ingredient and research has shown it has powerful anti-microbial properties. But what are the health benefits of lauric acid and can you simply eat coconut oil to benefit from it’s germ-fighting properties?
Introducing the Doctor of Fats: Dr. Jon Kabara
Dr. Kabara was a Professor at both Universities of Detroit and Michigan and credited with discovering the antimicrobial properties of lauric acid.
His field of expertise was the drug-like effects of fatty acids. He actually was responsible for discovering the powerful immune boosting properties of fatty acids found in a mother’s breast milk. And it turns out that one of the main fatty acids found in mother’s milk is lauric acid.
This fatty acid is known in the pharmaceutical industries as an antimicrobial. You man have heard of its cousin, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate; it’s commonly used in soaps and shampoos for its ability to remove fats (grease) with water.
Dr. Kabara discovered that lauric acid converts into a mono-glyceride called Monolaurin,which is a powerful germ-fighter and is effective against many viruses, bacteria and protozoa.
Viruses inactivated by Monolaurin:
- Measles virus
- Herpes Simplex virus (HSV 1 and 2)
- Measles virus
- Herpes Simplex virus (HSV 1 and 2)
- Hepatitis C
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Bacteria affected by Monolaurin:
- Listeria Monocytogenes – This nasty bug causes Listeriosis, a serious infection you can get from eating contaminated food. It can be killed by pasteurizing or cooking food but you can still get it from eating contaminated, ready-to-eat foods like hot dogs and deli meats.
- Staphylococcus Aureus – This bacteria causes Toxic Shock Syndrome, cellulitis, boils, scalded skin syndrome, impetigo, and other infections. Most healthy people carry this bacteria in their noses. It can cause infections if it gets into an open wound or skin puncture. Hand-washing is one of the most important ways to avoid infections.
So just how does Monolaurin destroy virus and bacteria?
It actually liquifies the fatty membrane of the virus causing it to disintegrate, and it disrupts how bacteria form toxins which weakens their toxic effect. Studies also show that Monolaurin is effective against fungal infections, such as ringworm and yeast infections.
Can Eating Coconut Oil Actually Help Your Body Kill Germs?
It turns out that a good quality virgin coconut oil can contain up to 40-50% lauric acid. As previously mentioned, the only other natural source is found in mother’s milk.
So if you eat coconut oil, will you get the same immune-boosting effects that mothers pass onto their babies with breast milk?
Unfortunately, Dr. Kabara’s research showed that the immune-boosting effects of lauric acid in coconut oil is only seen when the lauric acid is broken down into monoglycerides before you digest them.
When a baby consumes mother’s milk, the milk contains an enzyme that breaks down the lauric acid into Monolaurin; this process provides the baby with the immune-boosting properties. Unfortunately, virgin coconut oil doesn’t have this specific enzyme available so when you eat coconut oil, you don’t get any immune-enhancing effect.
And to add insult to injury, further studies show your body can only get 1 – 6% Monolaurin from any available lauric acid in the coconut oil.
It turns out that the enzymatic conversion also depends on the total amount of lauric acid found in the coconut oil you’re eating. So eating lower quality coconut oils with reduced amounts of lauric acid will be even less effective.
Dr. Kabara believes you need at least 3 – 9 grams of Monolaurin per day for an effective antiviral and antimicrobial effects.
This means you would need to eat about 300 – 900 ml. of coconut oil per day. That’s a lot of coconut oil to digest and you’d probably get an upset stomach or diarrhea from eating this much oil.
So what’s the best way to optimize your intake of lauric acid?
The Best Way to Supplement with Lauric Acid
Fortunately, there are other food sources where you can get higher amounts of lauric acid; either through functional whole foods or specialized supplementation.
Jennies Macaroons is the #1 selling macaroon in the natural food market. Her macaroons contain a whopping 7 grams of lauric acid per 2 ounces! This product is lactose-free, gluten-free, sulphite-free, wheat-free and no trans fats. Not only do these coconut treats taste great, you also get a healthy dose of lauric acid.
Another effective source is through specialized nutritional supplements. Realizing the potential for Monolaurin, Dr. Kabara invented a supplement form called Lauricidin.
This cutting-edge product is a potent form of Monolaurin that’s easily digested and used by your body. It comes as tiny little pellets of lauric acid mixed with glycerin.
Lauricidin Pure Monolaurin has apparently been tested in universities, government and medical labs and it’s reportedly the purest and strongest form of Monolaurin available. Apparently it’s highly recommended by health care professionals for its effectiveness.
For more information on the research side of Lauric acid, visit Lauric.org. It provides the latest information on clinical research and studies using Lauric acid against Lipid Coated Viruses (LCVs) such as HIV, Measles virus, Herpes virus, and the Cytomegalovirus.