Coconut oil is a must in natural beauty as well as health regimens. Natural health websites and countless blogs has claimed it as a miracle product which is able to soothe cracked skin and reverse cavities. Lauric acid is a medium length long chain fatty acid which makes about half of fatty acids in coconut oil. It is a powerful substance which is extracted from coconut for developing monolaurin (an antimicrobial agent that counteract viruses, bacteria, other pathogens and yeasts). As lauric acid could not be ingested alone, it could be obtained in form of coconut oil and fresh coconuts.
Also known as dodecanoic acid, Lauric acid is a saturated fatty acid having 12 carbon atom chain with many properties of medium chain fatty acid. It is a bright white and powdery solid having faint odor of soap or bay oil. Esters and salts of lauric acid are called laurates. Lauric acid is used to manufacture soaps and other cosmetics. It is used to examine molar mass of unknown substances by freezing point depression. Lauric acid is used in manufacturing of soaps and other cosmetics. It is a white crystalline powder insoluble in water having melting point 44-44.2 °C and reported as 48 °C and boiling point at 225 °C.
Food Sources of Lauric Acid
|Food name||Weight (g)||Lauric acid (g)|
|Ucuhuba butter oil||13.6||1.659|
|Nutmeg butter oil||13.6||0.422|
Health Benefits of Lauric acid
Let’s discuss on health benefits of Lauric acid:
- Cardiovascular health
Study was conducted on group consuming 63 percent and 34 percent of diet from coconut respectively. It refers that they are consuming lot of coconut and lots of saturated fats in form of lauric acid and other MCTs. Despite of high intake of saturated fats, heart disease is uncommon in both groups. The review shows that intake of coconut oil promotes high density lipoprotein and lowers total cholesterol ratio resulting in low chances of cardiovascular diseases. Evidence shows that saturated fats derived from foods containing lauric acid and MCT’s is a beneficial part of diets.
- Weight gain
Research shows that lauric acid or medium chain fatty acids which are metabolized quickly by liver to make them less contribute to accumulation of fat than long chain fatty acids. Study was conducted on 40 women with abdominal obesity to intake low calorie diet with one ounce of soybean oil or one ounce of coconut oil per day for 12 weeks. Both groups lost similar amount of weight over 12 weeks. At the end of study, those who intake soybean oil has increase in waist circumference while those who intake coconut oil noticed decrease in waist circumference.
- Anti-microbial activity
Lauric acid and its derivative monolaurin feature antimicrobial properties against gram-positive bacteria as well as some viruses and fungi. Basically this means, they are ace in hole when it comes to lowering the chances of contracting certain diseases including inflammatory acne, candida and MRSA.