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How Does Caprylic Acid Kill Yeast?

author image Lisa Thompson
Lisa Thompson has been writing since 2008, when she began writing for the Prevention website. She is a holistic health practitioner, nationally certified massage therapist and National Council on Strength and Fitness-certified personal trainer. Thompson also holds certificates in nutrition and herbology from the Natural Healing Institute, as well as a Master of Education from California State University.


While a certain amount of Candida yeast is present in a healthy individual, this yeast can cause medical problems when it becomes present in large amounts. The most common problems caused by an excess of this yeast are vaginal infections, mouth thrush and nail fungus. While the symptoms of each of these problems can be treated with products such as fungal creams, it is also important to treat the overgrowth of yeast within the entire body to prevent a recurrence of these problems. One product that may be beneficial in fighting this overgrowth is caprylic acid.


Caprylic acid is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in coconut oil and breast milk. It is fat soluble, which means it dissolves in fat, but not in water. Because caprylic acid is an antifungal, it is thought to kill candida yeast, which is a fungal infection.

How It Works

While the exact reason caprylic acid works as an antifungal is not known, according to Fungus Focus it is thought to assist in the elimination of yeast from the body for two reasons. First, it is possible that caprylic acid breaks down the membrane of the candida cell. Second, caprylic acid is not water soluble. The mucosal membranes in which many candida cells are imbedded are wet. For this reason, caprylic acid can reach candida cells that are deep within these membranes. (See Reference 1) Many of the other supplements used to treat candida are water soluble, and are therefore dissolved in this wet environment and excreted from the body before reaching these deeply imbedded candida cells.


Caprylic acid can be purchased in liquid or tablet form, and is also an ingredient in many supplements produced to fight yeast infections. According to Phyllis Balch, a proper dose of caprylic acid would be 1000 to 2000 mg per day. (See Reference 2) It is best taken with meals to help absorption. According to Elson M. Haas, M.D., caprylic acid must be used for two or three months to work effectively. (See Reference 3)


Caprylic acid works best when it is used in combination with a candida diet, in which sugar, dairy and yeast are typically avoided. It is often used with other natural supplements, such as the herb pau d’arco and probiotics.

You should always consult a physician before taking any natural supplements, as they can often interfere with prescription and over the counter medications.

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