Coconut oil has recently become one of the hottest trends. It’s touted as a one-stop solution to everything. Although it’s commonly used for cooking, coconut oil has many everyday uses. It can be used to moisturize skin, remove makeup, repel bugs, and clean laundry. Coconut oil also has medicinal uses. For example, it’s used to treat yeast infections and help balance cholesterol levels.
Many of these benefits stem from the caprylic acid contained in coconut oil.
Caprylic acid is one of the three fatty acids found in coconut oil. It’s a medium-chain fatty acid with potent antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties make caprylic acid a helpful treatment for many conditions. It’s used to treat yeast infections, skin conditions, digestive disorders, and high cholesterol. It’s also used to lower the risk of antibiotic resistance. You can take caprylic acid orally or apply it to your skin.
Candida yeast infections are a common medical problem. Candida infections are fungal infections. They can cause vaginal yeast infections, nail fungus, and oral thrush. The antifungal properties of caprylic acid are thought to kill and reduce yeast.
A 2011 study found that caprylic acid was effective in treating some candida infections. Some scientists believe that caprylic acid is so effective because it can break down the membranes of candida cells. A procedure called oil pulling is sometimes used as a remedy for oral thrush. Oil pulling involves swishing coconut oil in the mouth for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Ingesting a tablespoon or two a day can also help combat yeast infections that occur within the body.
Just as caprylic acid can treat yeast infections, it can also help treat certain skin conditions. This is largely thanks to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. These help it kill off bacteria that live in the skin.
Dermatophilosis is a skin condition caused by a bacterial infection that can result in painful, dry scabs. One natural remedy involves applying coconut oil directly to the affect areas. This can help fight off the bacterial infection and soothe the dry skin.
Caprylic acid is also thought to help treat one of the most common skin conditions of all: acne. Coconut oil is often used as a homeopathic acne treatment. This is because it can fight the bacterial infections that sometimes cause acne. A 2014 study found that caprylic acid is effective at treating acne thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
Caprylic acid is sometimes also used as a natural remedy for conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
There is some evidence that caprylic acid can help patients who have certain digestive disorders. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of caprylic acid can help treat conditions like inflammatory bowel disorder or irritable bowel syndrome. Both of these conditions involve inflammation and sometimes bacterial infections in the digestive system. The antibacterial properties may also help patients with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
Consult your doctor before using caprylic acid or coconut oil to treat a digestive disorder. Both can sometimes cause stomach upset.
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem around the world. Caprylic acid can potentially help lower the risk of antibiotic resistance. Doctors may be able to avoid prescribing antibiotics by treating some bacterial infections with coconut oil or caprylic acid. This approach could help defeat bacteria without strengthening it through antibiotic exposure.
A 2005 study found that caprylic acid was successful in reducing five different types of bacteria in contaminated milk, including E. coli. The study recommended considering caprylic acid as an alternative treatment for bacterial infections.
Caprylic acid is a medium-chain fatty acid. These fatty acids have been proven to have a positive effect on lowering high cholesterol. A 2006 animal study found that the subjects that were fed structured triglyceride oils had lower blood cholesterol levels and lower aortic accumulation of cholesterol than those who were not.
A 2013 study supported these findings. Those given caprylic acid reported unaffected HDL, or “good” cholesterol levels. They also reported lower levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
How to get it
You can reap the benefits of caprylic acid by ingesting coconut oil or applying it to the skin. Start by adding one tablespoon or less of coconut oil to your diet a day to make sure you can tolerate it. People ingest coconut oil as is or melted. You can also add it to other foods. Try blending it into a smoothie! Working coconut oil into your diet is generally a safe way to help you reap the benefits of caprylic acid.
Coconut oil is one of the more popular ways to get your daily dose of caprylic acid. There are several other options. Palm oil and human breast milk both contain caprylic acid. Caprylic acid is also available in supplement form. It can be found in vitamin shops, some health food stores, or online.
Taking caprylic acid supplements is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Those with frequent stomach problems should also consider it carefully. Taking supplements can sometimes cause stomach upset. You should do an allergy check before applying it topically. This is especially important if you have a coconut allergy.
Start slowly when adding coconut oil to your diet. This can help your system adapt to it. It’s also important to note that coconut oil is still a type of oil. As such, it is high in fat. Just one tablespoon has over 13 grams of fat. Consult your doctor before adding a significant amount of fat to your diet.
Coconut oil and caprylic acid have no known drug interactions. Discuss adding supplements to your diet or making major dietary changes with your doctor.