Caprylic acid is a medium-chain fatty acid that is naturally found in palm oil, coconut oil, and the milk of some mammals. Naturopathic application of caprylic acid include for digestive and skin disorders. It is also said to have strong anti-fungal and general anti-microbial qualities against disease causing microbes.
The antifungal properties of caprylic acid are thought to kill and reduce yeast which causes unpleasant symptoms associated with candida overgrowth. A study found caprylic acid, when taken orally or externally applied, rapidly reduced the symptoms significantly [i]. More recent research suggests that both capric and caprylic acid may be effective interventions for treating C. albicans yeast infections via disruption of the yeast cells [ii].
Many skin conditions may be helped by caprylic acid due to its strong antimicrobial properties to ward off skin infections. A study found that virgin coconut oil containing caprylic acid may help suppress inflammatory markers and enhance skin barrier function [iii].
The antibacterial properties may also be beneficial for people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. This action from caprylic acid may stabilise the microbiota in the gut and may help decrease the incidence of spontaneous colitis and protect against inflammation in the gut. Experimental studies have confirmed some of these disease associations and have begun to elaborate mechanisms of disease induction [iv].
studies are needed to better understand caprylic acid’s effect on cholesterol levels. However, early studies have shown promise of caprylic acid consumption resulting in significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol [v]. A recent review took into account human studies, whereby researchers looked at the impact of consuming coconut oil on heart health. It was found that consuming coconut oil was significantly associated with higher HDL (known as ‘good’) cholesterol. That said other evidence is conflicting and therefore leads to uncertainties in the use of caprylic acid for elevated cholesterol [vi].
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