Nutrition

Caprylic Acid: The Extraordinary Saturated Fatty Acid That Heals Rather Than Harms

Date: 20 September, 2007

Its hardly headline news that certain types of fat are vital to your health and well-being, such as those found in oily fish, avocadoes and nuts, while others such as saturated fats found in butter and lard can be detrimental.

Yet, believe it or not, even certain types of saturated fatty acids can help maintain good health when eaten in moderation. One example is caprylic acid, also known as octanoic acid, which is present in butter, palm oil and coconut oil.

Caprylic acid has been found to possess numerous therapeutic properties, including an ability to help treat infections such as candidiasis, ringworm, gastroenteritis and salmonella.

However, increasing your levels of caprylic acid by consuming large amounts of coconut or palm oil, for instance, is not advisable, as theres no getting away from the fact that they contain high amounts of saturated fats and LDL (bad) cholesterol. For this reason, it makes sense to take it in supplement form, which provides you with all the benefits of pure caprylic acid without any of the risks normally associated with saturated fats.

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Caprylic acid helps stop Candida in its tracks

One of the most well-known benefits linked to caprylic acid is its ability to treat fungal infections such as ringworm and candidiasis an overgrowth of a type of parasitic yeast-like fungus called candida that lives in your gut, which can cause a range of debilitating problems including chronic fatigue, thrush, abdominal bloating, depression and, if left unchecked, can also result in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

In terms of the latter, caprylic acid supplements can be particularly helpful when used alongside other established candidiasis remedies such as acidophilus (try and choose a product that guarantees at least 2 billion viable organisms per capsule), and following a diet low in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

While its not clear exactly how caprylic acid works against fungal infections like these, it appears to be able to restore and maintain a healthy balance of yeast. Some scientists believe that its fatty structure helps to break down the outside protective structure of the fungi making it vulnerable to attack by your own immune system.

Reporting on a study conducted at Niigata University School of Medicine back in 1961, the Japanese Journal of Microbiology stated:…the fungicidal effect of Caprylic acid on Candida Albicans was exceedingly powerful. Caprylic acid exhibits the most remarkable fungiastatic and fungicidal properties of all the normal saturated fatty acids with even numbered carbon atoms studied.

Its infection-fighting properties dont end there

Caprylic acid has also been found to be effective against bacterial infections, and has been used by doctors to help dissolve gallstones.

In an animal study conducted by US scientists at the Department of Animal Science, University of Connecticut, caprylic acid was found to be effective against E.coli an infectious bug that causes the bowel infection gastroenteritis, which results in diarrhoea and vomiting. Encouragingly, the results showed that treatment with caprylic acid was able to completely inactivate and wipe out all traces of E.coli.

Another animal study revealed that caprylic acid is effective against salmonella a type of bacteria found in infected eggs and other poultry products that causes severe diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pains, fever and dehydration.

In a separate study, scientists from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, in Belgium, gave various medium-chain fatty acids, including caprylic acid, to chickens infected with the salmonella bug. They found that all of the fatty acids tested were able to block the growth of salmonella. They also discovered that caprylic acid forced the salmonella bug to pass directly into the stool, which prevented it from entering the body through the bowel wall and causing infection.

Helps speed up your recovery time following an operation or chronic illness

Research has revealed that caprylic acid is able to activate a protein called ghrelin, which in turn stimulates the hunger centre in your brain and increases appetite. This may prove to be particularly useful for patients with poor appetites, which can occur following an operation or chronic illness for instance.

Caprylic acid has the added bonus of being able to boost energy levels in weak patients, because it can enter the mitochondria very easily. The mitochondria are small organs within your cells that are responsible for producing all the energy needed by your tissues.

Because of its unique chemical structure caprylic acid is able to seep through the outside shell of the mitochondria where it can then be broken down to release energy. In this way your overall energy levels are increased, which helps aid recovery.

What to take for best results

The recommended dosage for caprylic acid is 1,000mg a day, or as otherwise recommended on the product label.

Contraindications: You should not take caprylic acid if you suffer from ulcerative colitis.  There are no side effects linked to caprylic acid although in rare cases it can cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort and headaches. If you are taking caprylic acid to fight candidiasis you should be prepared for some worsening of your symptoms, headaches or nausea, for a day or two this is a good sign, as it means your body is successfully eliminating large quantities of dead yeast cells and their toxins from your body, and that youre on the road to recovery. Supplementing with milk thistle will help your liver break down these toxins, as will drinking plenty of water (drink at least two litres a day). Youll soon notice your symptoms disappearing leaving you free to enjoy all that extra energy!

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Sources:

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985; 19:708-713

J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2248-52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70(6):3582-7

Am J Physiol. 1998;274(3 Pt 1):E510-5

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Comments

  1. dave madden Posted November 2, 2009

    Yes, I agree good atricle, but one acception , you left out Herxhiemer Effect, that is caused due to the yeast die off, from mycotoxins or mytotoxins,produced from the yeast being killed. Bad stuff, makes you very ill.

  2. cyan irwin Posted October 1, 2008

    Hello,
    Good article with both sides of the medical divide. I’ll be opting for the alternative side first before the Flagyl. It made me feel so ill before it is not worth it.
    thank you.

    Cyan Irwin

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