As we head into colder months, supporting and maintaining a strong immune system becomes even more important. A return to travel, office parties, and social gatherings means a potential return to colds, flu, and other bugs common to this time of year.
In addition to your annual flu shot, there are other ways you can help protect yourself and loves ones this season – a supplement called monolaurin.
What is Monolaurin?
Monolaurin is a compound derived from lauric acid – a medium chain fatty acid found naturally in coconut oil. Monolaurin is currently used in several commercial industries including food production and cosmetics, but has recently gained popularity as a dietary supplement. Monolaurin has some outstanding research supporting its antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties (Ref #1), as demonstrated in lab conditions.
Cold and Flu: Seasonal respiratory viruses
Influenza (flu) and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by the influenza virus, while the common cold can be caused by a number of viruses including parainfluenza and seasonal coronaviruses (different than SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19) (Ref#2).
What is interesting to note about these viruses is most are “enveloped” viruses – a type of virus which has a fatty lipid shell called a capsid. This protective outer layer helps the genetic material (RNA or DNA) of the virus survive and protect other cells.
Interestingly, some studies have demonstrated that monolaurin is able to disintegrate this protective outer layer, therefor inactivating the virus. Monolaurin helps to disrupt the fatty outer layer of these enveloped viruses, causing the virus to die:
“it has been suggested that the fatty acids and their monoesters are incorporated into the lipid membrane, causing destabilization of the bylayer. A similar mechanism might lead to the complete disintegration of cell membranes and viral enveloped we observed” (Ref #3)
Another study goes on to demonstrate:
“Monolaurin … were tested for in vitro virucidal activity against 14 human RNA and DNA enveloped viruses in cell culture. At concentrations of 1% additive in the reaction mixture for 1 h at 23°C, all viruses were reduced in infectivity by >99.9%” (Ref #4)
The mechanism by which monolaurin helps disrupt these types of viruses has been researched since the 1980’s. Laboratory studies explore monolaurin’s ability to dissolve the protective envelope of these virus types, including influenza specifically.
“…Removing the M protein from the virus envelope resulted in loss of envelope integrity, which is essential for virus infectivity. …. As with influenza virus, the loss of envelope integrity results in loss of infectious virus titer.” (Ref #4)
The results of these studies offer a promising take on monolaurin as a potential supplement to supporting immune health during cold and flu season.
How Monolaurin can help during Flu Season
Several research studies proport monolaurin’s ability to inactivate different types of influenza (Ref #5), so a daily dose of monolaurin may help bolster your immune response during these periods of heightened stress.
There are a few ways to take monolaurin capsules.
If you’re new to monolaurin, you may consider taking monolaurin at low doses and gradually increasing the amount until you get to a therapeutic dose. This might be useful in avoiding the “Herxheimer Reaction” (or “die off” reaction). This reaction occurs when a pathogen like a bacteria or virus rapidly dies off releasing protein endotoxins into your system. Your body’s natural response is an inflammatory one, causing side effects similar to a cold or flu. To avoid this potential complication, taking a low dose of monolaurin and gradually increasing the dose over several days or weeks may help.
2. Maintenance during cold and flu season
Monolaurin can be taken daily just like another vitamin or mineral in your supplement routine. While dossing will depend on the individual, their weight, age, gender and other considerations, a common dose is 2 to 6 600mg capsules per day with food. Food may help increase the bioavailability of monolaurin and avoid an upset tummy.
3. Increased intake during times of stress
Feeling like you’re getting a scratchy throat or feeling run down? Just as you might increase your daily intake of Vitamin C or Zinc, you might choose to increase your daily intake of monolaurin to give your immune system the support it needs to fight off a bug.
What makes a good monolaurin?
Not all monolaurin is created equal – several factors should be considered when selecting a brand of monolaurin.
First is the source – does the monolaurin come from coconut or palm kernel? Some articles suggest that coconut is a better source and may not contribute to negative environmental impacts that palm kernel is associated with.
Second is the form factor – power, pellet, or capsule. Monolaurin powder is naturally extremely soapy and bitter, so pellet or capsule is preferred. Capsules are often preferred over pellets due to their better absorption, bioavailability, and convenience.
Finally, when it comes to quality and safety always look for a company who follows Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) and sends their products to accredited laboratories for testing. When it comes to supplements, quality, safety, and transparency is paramount.
What monolaurin to consider this holiday season
One brand of monolaurin stands apart from the rest: Palmara Health (formerly Natural Cure Labs). The company has been in continuous operation since 2015 and is the most awarded brand of monolaurin on the market.
All monolaurin products from Palmara Health / Natural Cure Labs line are vegan, non-GMO, gluten free, and manufactured in the USA in GMP-certified facilities. The brand produces several variants of monolaurin including their original Premium Monolaurin 600mg, Extra Strength Monolaurin 800mg, and the combination L-Lysine + Monolaurin products.
Looking to give it a try? Save 10% from the Palmara Health / Natural Cure Labs website:
Like all supplements, monolaurin should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
1. Lieberman S, Enig MG, Preuss HG. A Review of Monolaurin and Lauric Acid Natural Virucidal and Bactericidal Agents. Alternative & Complimentary Therapies, December 2006. 12(6): 310-314. 2. Cold Vs Flu, CDC – accessed November 2022 https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm
3. H Thormar, C E Isaacs, H R Brown, M R Barshatzky and T Pessolano. Inactivation of enveloped viruses and killing of cells by fatty acids and monoglycerides. Antimicrob. Agents Chemotherapy. January 1987 vol. 31 no. 1 27-31. doi: 10.1128/AAC.31.1.27
4. Hierholzer, J.C. and Kabara, J.J. In Vitro Effects of Monolaurin Compounds on Enveloped RNA and DNA Viruses. Journal of Food Safety 4:1-12 (1982)
5. Flu Season Is Coming – Can Monolaurin Help? Accessed November 2022 https://www.monolaurinandmore.com/articles/flu-season-is-coming-can-monolaurin-help