Lauric acid is a good fat that is associated with several health benefits.
The main advantage of lauric acid is that it passes directly to the liver, where it is converted into energy instead of being stored as fat when ingested.
Compared to other saturated fats, lauric acid contributes the least to fat storage.
Read on to know the properties of lauric acid. – What is it for, and where is it found?
What is lauric acid?
Lauric acid is a medium chain saturated fatty acid, or lipid, that makes up about half of the fatty acids in coconut and palm oil.
It is called dodecanoic acid because it comprises a chain of 12 carbon atoms. In practice, it is a shiny solid with a slight soap odor.
Lauric acid is saturated fat found in many vegetable fats. It can be used as food or also for medicinal purposes.
Where is lauric acid found?
Lauric acid is part of the triglycerides of fatty foods.
You cannot ingest lauric acid alone because it is not found only in nature and is mildly irritating. You are more likely to get it from food.
What is it for? – Uses and benefits
Lauric acid has unique digestion and absorption characteristics associated with several health benefits. Research has confirmed that lauric acid can be used in obesity treatments to lose weight, as antibacterial, and improve skin health. (1,2,3)
In the food industry, lauric acid is used as shortening. In the cosmetic industry, lauric acid is used to make soap and shampoo.
The benefits and uses of lauric acid are:
- To fight viruses and bacteria
Lauric acid is used to treat viral infections, including various types of flu such as standard, swine, and avian.
It is also used as a treatment for cold and genital herpes caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and as a method of preventing the transmission of HIV from mothers to children. (3)
- For acne
Because lauric acid has antibacterial properties, it has been effectively fighting acne.
Studies found that lauric acid could reduce inflammation and the number of bacteria present on the skin. Lauric acid worked similarly to benzoyl peroxide, a standard treatment for more aggressive acne. (2)
- For dry skin and psoriasis
In addition, the use of coconut oil is often recommended as a treatment for dry skin and conditions such as psoriasis.
In this case, coconut oil is recommended, as it is very moisturizing and is considered safe to apply to the skin, which makes it beneficial for treating abnormally dry skin.
One study found that simply adding virgin coconut oil to an existing skin lotion increased both hydration and elasticity of the skin. (3)
- Less heart disease
One of the benefits of moderate lauric acid consumption is regulating triglycerides. A study has confirmed that triglyceride levels dropped significantly 8 hours after taking a shake containing lauric acid. (5)
Other uses for lauric acid are treating bronchitis, gonorrhea, yeast infections, chlamydia, and intestinal infections. Just as some research suggests, it can be used to lose weight and lower bad cholesterol. (2.5)
Side effects and contraindications
Lauric acid in the amounts found in food is safe. But there is still not enough information to know the long-term side effects when used as a medicine.
There is some concern about using lauric acid while breastfeeding because lauric acid passes into breast milk. Stay on the safe side and stick with food amounts if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Lauric acid in coconut oil
Although there are more and more uses for coconut oil, it is not yet identified which is the main responsible for its benefits.
Because coconut oil contains so much more than just lauric acid, it would be an overstatement to attribute all the benefits of coconut oil to it.
However, many are encouraged to claim that the benefits of coconut oil are directly related to lauric acid. They suggest that lauric acid could help you lose weight, fight bacteria viruses, and protect against cardiovascular disease.
How to use it?
To get the topical benefits of lauric acid, apply a thin layer of coconut oil directly to the skin. While this is not recommended for people with acne, it can help combat problems like skin hydration and psoriasis.
You can also include lauric acid in your meals. Frying in coconut oil or even adding lauric acid isolates like MCT oil could help increase their benefits for your body.
Coconut oil works well for sautéing vegetables, adding it to sauces or purees. It also goes well for making healthy cakes or pancakes.
Lauric acid is a compound that is part of the triglycerides or healthy fats in foods.
Its moderate consumption is associated with several health benefits. This is due to the particular way the body can metabolize it.