Tropical islanders have long prized coconuts. The fruit, technically a drupe, provides an excellent source of liquid, electrolyte minerals and calories. However, those interested in natural health care have taken an interest in the caprylic acid content in the oil. This compound stands out as an excellent fungi fighter.
Coconuts remain an incomparable plant product. Growing from palm trees in a variety of tropical locations across the globe, the endosperm that surrounds the seed provides solids that islanders have eaten for centuries. Botanists also refer to this section as the coconut meat or the copra. Sixty percent of the weight of this copra comes from oil and, of this, three quarters from the medium chain fats.
Medium Chain Fats
Bruce Fife, a U.S. physician and the author of “The Coconut Oil Miracle,” explains how the medium chain fats take their name from the number of carbons in their backbone. Those that fit the criteria possess between eight and 14, whereas the length of the fat's backbone in other foods can vary from two to 22. Caprylic acid, an eight-carbon fatty acid, has captured attention for its capacity to fight fungal infections.
Caprylic acid plays an important role in the anti-fungal programs proposed by a number of practitioners. Fife says it is a useful compound for dealing with all yeast, candida and fungal infections because of its unique mechanism for killing off the organisms. Its shape allows it to diffuse into the cell membrane before dissolving it. Because of this method, resistance does not occur.
Research conducted in at the University of College Hospital in Nigeria demonstrated the potential of caprylic acid in combating candida infections. In research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2007, scientists looked at the effectiveness of both coconut oil and the prescription agent fluconazole against a range of candida species. They found that the coconut oil performed just as well as the drug.
Using Caprylic Acid
Rodger Murphree, a U.S. physician who has tailored anti-candida programs for a number of patients, said he regularly uses caprylic acid as part of his protocol. For best results, he also combines this with other anti-fungal compounds such as garlic, grapefruit seed extract and pau d'arco, and also recommends a low-carbohydrate diet to help starve the fungal population.