The Benefits of Monolaurin

Health Benefits, Uses, and More

Coconut oil
Monolaurin is sourced from coconuts. Henrik Sorensen/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Monolaurin is a substance derived from lauric acid (a type of saturated fat found in coconut oil and in human breast milk). Available in dietary supplement form, monolaurin is said to offer a number of health benefits.

Also a type of food additive, monolaurin is used as an ingredient in cosmetics and detergents as well.

Uses for Monolaurin

Monolaurin is said to aid in the treatment of the following health problems:

In addition, proponents claim that monolaurin can boost the immune system and knock out bacteria and viruses.

Health Benefits of Monolaurin

Although clinical trials testing the health effects of monolaurin are currently lacking, some preliminary research suggests that monolaurin may offer certain health benefits.

For example, a study published in Clinical Infectious Disease in 2009 found that monolaurin may help protect against menstrual toxic shock syndrome. (A condition linked to tampon use, menstrual toxic shock syndrome results from exposure to a toxin produced by certain types of Staphylococcus bacteria.) In an experiment involving 225 women, the authors of the study determined that tampons containing monolaurin helped decrease production of the toxin that causes menstrual toxic shock syndrome.

In addition, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that monolaurin may help shield children from skin conditions caused by bacteria.


Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term use of monolaurin.

Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. 

It's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with monolaurin and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

If you're considering the use of monolaurin in treatment of a chronic condition, consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen.

Learn more about using dietary supplements safely.

Alternatives To Monolaurin

Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend monolaurin for any condition. Several natural remedies may offer health effects similar to the purported benefits of monolaurin. For example, there's some evidence that capsaicin cream and proteolytic enzymes (such as bromelain) may help treat shingles. Additionally, natural remedies like lysine, lemon balm, and reishi may help treat cold sores (a condition caused by the herpes simplex virus).

If you're seeking a natural treatment for colds and flu, there's some evidence that taking herbs like echinacea and astragalus at the first sign of symptoms may reduce the duration and severity of your sickness.

For help in strengthening your immune system, make sure to follow a diet high in immune-boosting foods, get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, and manage your stress levels.

In addition, increasing your consumption of garlic, ginger, and omega-3 fatty acids could enhance immune function. Some studies also indicate that taking supplements containing probiotics (a type of beneficial bacteria) may help stimulate the immune system.

Where To Find Monolaurin

Available for purchase online, supplements containing monolaurin are sold in some natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements. 


Carpo BG, Verallo-Rowell VM, Kabara J. "Novel antibacterial activity of monolaurin compared with conventional antibiotics against organisms from skin infections: an in vitro study." J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Oct;6(10):991-8.

Holland KT, Taylor D, Farrell AM. "The effect of glycerol monolaurate on growth of, and production of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 and lipase by, Staphylococcus aureus." J Antimicrob Chemother. 1994 Jan;33(1):41-55.

Strandberg KL, Peterson ML, Schaefers MM, Case LC, Pack MC, Chase DJ, Schlievert PM. "Reduction in Staphylococcus aureus growth and exotoxin production and in vaginal interleukin 8 levels due to glycerol monolaurate in tampons." Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Dec 1;49(11):1711-7.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

Continue Reading