“Dr. Coconut” (Dr. Bruce Fife of The Coconut Oil Miracle fame) offers a good summary of the benefits available from a full spectrum of monoglycerides from coconut oil. He explains that the fats and oils in our diet are all in the form of triglycerides.
When you eat coconut oil, the triglycerides are broken down. When a triglyceride loses two fatty acids it becomes a monoglyceride, that is a glycerol molecule attached to only one fatty acid.
The major fatty acids in coconut oil are three “medium chain fatty acids” (MCFA): lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. There are three monoglycerides formed during digestion:monolaurin, monocaprin, and monocaprylin.
All three possess antimicrobial properties!
In general, monolaurin has demonstrated the strongest effect in killing many bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Some of these producers claim that when coconut oil is digested, only a small amount of the oil is converted into monolaurin. Therefore, monolaurin is more effective than coconut oil as an antimicrobial agent. However, Dr. Fife says this is not true.
(We agree with Dr. Fife, Monolaurin is simply easier to take than a cup or two of coconut oil.)
Of the three, monolaurin has shown to be more effective than the other monoglycerides. However, there are certain organisms in which other monoglycerides work better! You would do better using monocaprin on some microorganisms than you would monolaurin. The same is true with all the other monoglycerides.
Monolaurin is a single ingredient whereas coconut oil is a combination of monoglycerides, all of which possess antimicrobial properties. Each one has its strengths and advantages!
When combined together they work synergistically
to enhance the effectiveness of the total.
Recently, Thormar reported that monocaprin, the monoglyceride of capric acid (C10) was effective in killing significant populations of C. jejuni. (Thormar, 2006)
Monocaprylin is a food-grade compound classified as GRASg(enerally recognized as safe) by the USFood and Drug Administration. Previously, caprylic acid was found effective in killing a variety of bacterial pathogens,including Salmonella Enteritidis,Escherichia coli 0157:H7,and Staphylococcus aureus. We recently demonstrated the prophylactic efficacy against C. jejunicarriage. In addition, supplementation of caprylic acid in feed for 72 h before necropsy showed therapeutic efficacy against Campylobacter. (Sprong, 2001; Solis de los Santos, 2008; Vasudevan, 2005)
Monocaprylin and caprylic acid had been reported to be effective in killing a variety of bacterial pathogens, including Campylobacterjejuni. They determine to study the therapeutic effect of caprylic acid on C. jejuni. Four trials were conducted using only 0.35% to 1.4% strengths. The supplementation of caprylic acid at 0.35 and 0.7% consistently decreased the colonization ofC. jejuni. Only 0.7% amounts were sufficient to decrease Campylobactercolonization. The results suggest that therapeutic supplementation can effectively decrease Campylobacter and consistently decreased cecalC. jejuni counts when compared with positive controls.
(A 2009 study at the U. of Arkansas, http://ps.fass.org/cgi/content/full/88/1/61)
The antichlamydial effects of several monoglycerides were studied by incubating Chlamydia trachomatis bacteriawith equal volumes of lipid solutions for 10 min and measuring the reduction in effectivity compared with that in a control solution without lipid. Monocaprylin (8:0),monolaurin (12:0), myristic acid (14:0) and others were tested. All found some effectiveness though the larger monoglycerides were negligible. (In this study monocaprin was the most active against C. trachomatis ata concentration of 5 mM for 5 min. The high levels of activity of capric and lauric acids and particularly that of monocaprinare notable and suggest that these lipids have specific antichlamydial effects.
(http://aac.asm.org/cgi/content/full/42/9/2290– 1998 U. Of Ireland study.)
In a more specific study, in general, monomyristin was effective againstC. botulinum 62A, C. sporogenes PA 3679 and B. cereus T. Monomyristin had the same activity on the three strains. Monolaurin (0.073 to 0.109 mM), monomyristin (0.331 to 0.497 mM), and monolinolenin (0.085 to 0.182 mM) affected germination and outgrowth.