(Some excerpts courtesy of Dr. Kabara’s research on monolaurin.
This will be much more accurate than most information on the net.)
Technical information on Ultimate Monolaurin
For some people, it is important to know what a monoglyceride like Monolaurin is. A monoglyceride is composed of glycerin and one fatty acid joined together. As such, sn would represents the glycerol carbon position, n the length and R the kind of fatty acid attached to glycerol.
A monoglyceride (MG) lipid of which are two kinds, will have only one fatty acid attached to the sn1(3)- or the sn2- position of glycerol. The fatty acids in the sn1 and sn3 positions are similar since they occupy a position at either end of the glycerol molecule. The fatty acid can occupy the end position (sn1(3) of glycerol or the middle sn2 position. Their structural differences need to be emphasized. It is important therefore to remember these structural sn designations since they reflect the different biological metabolism of the two monoglycerides. Where there are two fatty acids attached to glycerin, the lipid is now known as a diglyceride (DG). If three fattyacids are attached the lipid is known as a triglyceride (TG) or simply as a fat.
The antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal properties of lauric acid and monolaurin have been recognized for nearly three decades by only a small number of researchers. Their work, however, has resulted in 100 or more research papers and numerous U.S. and foreign patents. Prof. Dr. Jon J. Kabara performed the original seminal research in this area of fat research. Kabara (1968) first patented certain fatty acids (FAs) and their derivatives (e.g., monoglycerides (MGs) that can have adverse effects on various microorganisms. While nontoxic and approved as a direct food additive by the FDA, monolaurin adversely affects bacteria, yeast, fungi, protozoa, and envelope viruses.
Dr. Kabara found that the properties that determine the anti-infective action of lipids are related to their structure: e.g., free fatty acids & monoglycerides. While the monoglycerides are active; diglycerides and triglycerides (fats) are inactive. Of the saturated fatty acids, lauric acid has greater antiviral activity, for most bacteria, than caprylic acid (C-8), capric acid (C-10), or myristic acid (C-14) – (though better results for certain bacteria were found for others, such as capric acid).
Fatty acids and monoglycerides produce their killing/inactivating effects by several mechanisms. An early postulated mechanism was the perturbing of the plasma membrane lipid bilayer. The antiviral action attributed to monolaurin is that of fluidizing the structure in the envelope of the virus, causing the disintegration of the microbial membrane. More recent studies, indicate that one antimicrobial effect in bacteria is related to monolaurin’s interference with signal transduction/toxin formation (Projan et al 1994). Another antimicrobial effect in viruses is due to lauric acid’s interference with virus assembly and viral maturation (Hornung et al 1994). The third mode of action may be on the immune system itself (Witcher et al, 1993).
The Problem of Antibiotics
The phenomenal rate of prescriptions dispensed for antibiotic use, and to a lesser extent, antiviral has grown exponentially in the past several decades. Antibiotic has limited specificity and generally does not recognize “good” bacteria (often referred to as probiotics or for life) from “bad” bacteria (meaning those bacteria that may cause disease.) Antibiotics try to destroy all bacteria and are usually unsuccessful.
More antibiotic therapy may start perpetuating a chronic illness. The cycle of antibiotic therapy may go on for months and months, and repetitious indiscriminate use of antibiotics destroys weak bacteria and sets up the stage for the more virulent bacteria to survive (as in survival of the fittest). The new, stronger, pathogenic bacteria are now “resistant” to the established antibiotic and another antibiotic must be found to fight the new pathogen. We are rapidly approaching that point in history of having super bacteria: disease causing bacteria that are unaffected by any antibiotic. In its failure, antibiotic therapy has taken with it the health of those same individuals it strives to help.
In light of this, it becomes even more important to utilize the special defenses that nature, itself, has provided to us!
For more information see Monolaurin in the A-Z Index – Monolaurin.