What is Monolaurin?

Jennifer Long

Monolaurin, also called glyceryl laurate, is a lauric acid that is found naturally in breast milk, palm oil, and many other natural foods. For many years, lauric acid extract was combined with glycol and used as an anti-fungal and anti-viral agent. Its main use is to prevent viral and bacterial growth that causes food to spoil.

Breast milk contains monolaurin.
Breast milk contains monolaurin.

As a nutritional supplement, this coconut derivative is used to treat many common illnesses including influenza, colds, sinus infections, and fungal infections. Monolaurin works on a cellular level. When used as a virus treatment, it works by preventing the development of viral cells. If it is used as an anti-fungal or anti-bacterial treatment, the glyceryl laurate has properties that affect growth of new infected cells and destruction of cells already infected.

Palm oil is a natural source of monolaurin.
Palm oil is a natural source of monolaurin.

Dosage amounts will vary. Individual factors such as age, weight, and height will determine how much monolaurin should be taken. The form of the supplement will affect dosing as well, and doses for capsule and tablet forms are different than doses for liquid and powder forms. Specific types of the supplement will have an appropriate dosing recommended that considers all of these factors.

When starting a monolaurin supplement, it is important to start out with smaller doses and gradually increase to a regular maintenance dose. This allows the body to adjust to the supplement. With a slow introduction, side effects are less likely to occur and the few that may occur will be less bothersome.

A gradual increase in monolaurin is important not just for aiding in bodily adjustment and reducing the likelihood of experiencing side effects, but also to prevent a monolaurin overdose. Signs of an overdose of this supplement often include diarrhea and severe stomach cramping. These symptoms can be negated, but consult a physician immediately before trying any remedies if overdosing is suspected.

Common side effects of monolaurin often resemble symptoms of the flu. Body aches, fatigue, and a general sluggish feeling can occur. These symptoms are most noticeable when a gradual increase spread over three to six months is not done properly. If any of these side effects occur, they will often diminish as the supplementation is continued.

Immediate medical attention is required for more rare side effects. If signs of an allergic reaction appear, such as itching, trouble breathing, or a rash, emergency care is necessary. Additionally, if any other symptoms are noticed, contact a physician right away.

Monolaurin is a coconut derivative used to treat flu and colds.
Monolaurin is a coconut derivative used to treat flu and colds.

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