Caprylic acid comes from breast milk, coconut or palm oil. It is a substance that helps to control the bacteria from the body while preserving the intestinal flora.
- 1. What is caprylic acid?
- 2. What are the sources of caprylic acid?
- 3. Properties of caprylic acid
- 4. Benefits of caprylic acid
- 5. Caprylic acid, natural treatment against candida yeast
- 6. Side effects of caprylic acid
- 7. Interactions of caprylic acid
- 8. How to take caprylic acid
- 9. Combining caprylic acid
- 10. Bibliography
- 11. Related Entries:
What is caprylic acid?
It is made up by carbon and hydrogen chains and its name will change depending on the number of the first molecules.
One of this possible combinations is caprylic acid, also known as octanoic acid (since it is made up by eight carbon atoms). This scale is made up by saturated acids. This feature makes them quite different from mono and poly-unsaturated acids (oleic, linoleic, linolenic) in terms of physical, chemical and nutritional characteristics.
However, the presence of these compounds in food as such, that is, as free fatty acids, is due to an alteration. Usually, they undergo lipid or fat rancidification, since it is not common for them to make up part of their chemical composition.
What are the sources of caprylic acid?
Although most of the caprylic acid from nature is in these sources, we could also mention other less important ones: palm oil and hemp seeds.
For its use in the pharmaceutical industry, where it is quite relevant, it is obtained by hydrolyzing coconut or palm oil. Afterwards, it undergoes a fractionated distillation process.
Properties of caprylic acid
We will start by mentioning the opinion from the Health Sciences Institute in Maryland (United States). This institution recognizes the multiple benefits of caprilic acid for human health. However, before going further, we want to mention a couple of physical properties of caprylic acid. First of all, it is partially water soluble and it produces a particular smell, intense and rancid.
On the other hand, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cataloged caprylic acid as a GRAS substance (Generally Recognized as Safe”). Therefore, we are dealing with a substance that is easily absorbed by the body, easy to digest and practically non-toxic. This last feature is possible due to the fact that it oxidizes in the mitochondria and other compartments inside the cell cytoplasm. Therefore, the liver, which is the detox organ par excellence, will have less work to do.
Benefits of caprylic acid
The stomach seems to be the organ that benefits the most from this element. First of all, caprylic acid regulates its acidity, whose pH needs to be as constant as possible for the proper functioning of the immune system. Consequently, a caprylic acid indigestion is a practice that improves the gastric environment.
But these are not the only therapeutic applications of this compound. According to the Physicians Desk Reference Guide to Nutritional Supplements, apart from dealing with bacterial and fungal infections, caprylic acid also has a positive effect on hypertension. This is very important, since this problem can trigger many other pathologies.
Moreover, caprylic acid could be useful for treating Crohn’s disease. A team of Japanese researchers conducted studies on human cells that revealed how caprylic acid could support the treatment of this inflammatory bowel diseases. In fact, it works on the root of the problem, no other than the release of IL-8 or interleukin 8. This protein triggers inflammation, but caprylic acid would block it during its synthesis so that the disease does not even take place.
Supplementation and benefits
There are not enough scientific studies to support a systematic supplementation with caprylic acid.
There is concluding evidence in a study publish in the journal Los lípidos hace unos pocos años. In it, the researchers anticipated some of its effects on reducing the abdominal fat and regulating the cholesterol levels.
Caprylic acid has also been used in treatments to dissolve kidney stones or to shorten the recovery after a surgery.
Lately, the scientists have considered its use for epilepsy, (it is a reliable alternative against convulsions that do not respond to conventional treatments). Moreover, it can also be injected to those patients who cannot digest or absorb fats properly.
Apart from these uses, it is also used to disinfect the equipment designed for food processing. For example, they are used in beer and wine factories to prevent or combat bacterial, fungal or seaweed contamination.
Caprylic acid, natural treatment against candida yeast
But, without any doubt, its greatest benefit is its ability to control a type of yeast, candida albicans, that tends to settle in the large bowel.
Some of them are beneficial and they do not cause problems. In fact, they are used in the food industry to make bread or beer. However, there are other pathogens, like candida, which can cause serious diseases.
The so called systemic candidiasis is an infectious problem that tends to have serious consequences. Actually, its symptoms tend to last several months or years, until it becomes a chronic issue. Conventional medicine does not easily detect this process, which is why many patients look for alternative therapies. The diagnosis is so difficult mainly because it shares some symptoms with different disorders such as fibromyalgia, hypoglycemia and hypothyroidism.
The origin of this disease takes place in the large bowel due to a candida colony. This circumstance tends to occur due to the excessive permeability of the intestinal mucosa. Said process deteriorates the intestinal walls, and they become less resistant against external elements. Then, candida produce toxins and its antigens are absorbed and they enter the bloodstream, becoming a threat to the immune system.
It is still uncertain how this acid works against fungi. However, the most convincing thesis is that it attacks the structure of the cell membrane. Consequently, it almost dissolves it, altering its permeability which ends up triggering its death. In addition, the remarkable lipotropic properties of caprylic acid are efficient against candida that is hidden inside the epithelium.
For other yeasts
A very interesting aspect is its ability to break down the biofilms that some fungi develop in some parts of the body. These are ultra thin membranes made up by a fungi colony, mostly from the aspergillus genus (a type of environmental fungi), that invades entire tissues.
In order to survive, the fungus inhibits some proteins, specially immunoglobulins or antibodies. To do this, they release a type of special enzymes called endonuclease, which break down specialized antibodies known as IgA. Therefore, the affected tissue becomes vulnerable to the infection.
Studies and research
Its antimycotic effect started to be tested decades ago in laboratory animals and in vitro, using a pH between 2.5 and 8.5 to test its efficacy.
Actually, there are other situations that can result in a skin infection caused by yeasts. Moreover, women can also suffer vaginal candidiasis, which triggers an inflammation of the mucosa from this conduct, a vaginitis. For both cases, a caprylic acid treatment provides excellent results.
Side effects of caprylic acid
In the beginning, the patient can experience dizziness, nausea and joint pain and discomfort, but it is just part of the process. It is known as herxheimer reaction and it is due to the progressive destruction of candida cells. Consequently, this releases waste substances that cause toxicity until our body excretes them.
When the yeast cells die, they pour a lot of toxins, cells remains and antigens to the intracellular liquid. This process can lasts up to two weeks, but it usually lasts just one. However, we should not blame caprylic acid for this, in fact, it is a positive sign rather than a side effect.
However, if we exceed the recommended dose, we will experience stomach irritation and nausea. We can easily prevent this if we take some food with that overdose.
These side effects should be compared to those of other fatty acids that are less tolerated. In fact, they usually trigger abdominal swelling and pain, vomits and diarrhea with different intensities.
But we should mention those who follow ketogenic diets and who want to control epilepsy. They have reported hypocalcemia, acidosis, drowsiness and kidney stones, although these effects are not directly connected to caprylic acid. However, there might be some interaction with those who suffer some kind of kidney problem.
Those who should not take it
At the same time, those who suffer hypotension, hepatic insufficiency or similar problems should not take this substance, as well as those with a very specific problem: a deficiency of medium chain acetyl-CoA dehydrogenase enzyme, which participates in the metabolism of this acid.
There are few studies regarding the safety of a prolonged and systematic use of caprylic acid supplements. However, the scientists suspect that it could trigger some side effects like the ones from taking high doses of fatty acids. That is, it could trigger nausea, constipation/diarrhea, gastric acidity and bad digestions.
Interactions of caprylic acid
Caprylic acid could alter our ability to detoxify and eliminate an insecticide called carbaryl although it has not been seriously tested on people. This substance belongs to the carbamate group, which tends to appear in common insecticides.
Although we still need further research, caprylic acid could also interact with inotropic substances (those that support muscle contraction), anticoagulants like warfarin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like indometacin or phenylbutazone.
How to take caprylic acid
The therapeutic dose of caprylic acid is usually between 350 milligrams and two grams (the most common thing is not to exceed a gram).
We have to take this dose during the meals and distribute it throughout the day.
To avoid the herxheimer reaction that we mentioned previously, the best thing is to increase the dose progressively until we reach the daily dose. This is due to the fact that the treatment can last several months, specially if we talk about an intestinal infection when the yeasts hide in the colon walls.
Caprylic acid supplements
People usually take slow release formulas because the intestinal walls can absorb it easily. They usually come with a coating that makes them resistant to the gastric juices. Therefore, they are released in the large bowel, where most of the candida is. On the other hand, if caprylic acid blends with other fatty acids, it will lose part of its therapeutic effects. That is why we suggest taking gel capsules or coated capsules.
A good way of including this product in the diet would be adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your breakfast or dress salads with it.
It is available in capsules and tablets. Those who suffer candidiasis should not take tablets because they come from dairy products. We suggest taking caprylic acid with olive oil, seed oil or omega 3 fatty acids since it is very soluble in fats.
Combining caprylic acid
One of the things we need to take care of when dealing with candida is the diet. Otherwise, we may be unconsciously hindering the effects of caprylic acid due to the intake of substances that support the growth of the yeast. Moreover, we may not be taking some factors into account that can help us fix this problem:
- A vital measure is suppressing sugar because this germ feeds from it.
- Taking probiotics is a great way of fighting against candida. You can take them from foods rich in bifidobacteria, that will support the intestinal flora. Lactobacillus bacteria are also a good probiotic that works in synergy with the previous one.
- Moreover, it would also be useful to add foods rich in L-glutamine (barely cooked meat and fish, eggs, whole cereals). It is a very necessary amino acid when we need to enhance the immune response from the intestinal epithelium or when there is an excessive intestinal permeability.
- A basic supplementation with a multivitamin complex rich in vitamin C could also be good.
Even if it works on its own, caprylic acid works better when combined. In this way, the candida yeast will not become used to it. That is why we should combine it with other natural antimycotic elements like garlic, oregano oil or grapefruit seed extract. In fact, garlic extract is very interesting due to its anti-fungal and antiseptic effects. Actually, the Huntington College of Health Sciences conducted a study that proved that garlic had a specific effect against candida.
The best way of planning a treatment consists of taking two or three anti-fungal compounds simultaneously to make candida albicans less resistant. Alternatively, you can take different supplements containing caprylic acid as their main ingredients.
- Wang J, Huang N, Xiong J, Wei H, Jiang S, Peng J. Caprylic acid and nonanoic acid upregulate endogenous host defense peptides to enhance intestinal epithelial immunological barrier function via histone deacetylase inhibition. Int Immunopharmacol. 2018 Oct 17;65:303-311. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2018.10.022.
- De Keyser K, Dierick N, Kanto U, Hongsapak T, Buyens G, Kuterna L, Vanderbeke E. Medium-chain glycerides affect gut morphology, immune- and goblet cells in post-weaning piglets: In vitro fatty acid screening with Escherichia coli and in vivo consolidation with LPS challenge. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2018 Oct 2. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12998.
- Li Y. The application of caprylic acid in downstream processing of monoclonal antibodies. Protein Expr Purif. 2019 Jan;153:92-96. doi: 10.1016/j.pep.2018.09.003. Epub 2018 Sep 8.
- Kim HW, Rhee MS. Response surface modeling of reductions in uropathogenic Escherichia coli biofilms on silicone by cranberry extract, caprylic acid, and thymol. Biofouling. 2018 Sep 6:1-8. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2018.1488969.
- Lemarié F, Beauchamp E, Drouin G, Legrand P, Rioux V. Dietary caprylic acid and ghrelin O-acyltransferase activity to modulate octanoylated ghrelin functions: What is new in this nutritional field? Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2018 Aug;135:121-127. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2018.07.009.