Can Coconut Oil Cure Herpes Outbreaks?
Can you really use coconut oil to treat herpes?
Research shows that coconut oil contains a specific fatty acid that has some anti-viral properties. In the lab, this fatty acid has been found to be effective against certain types of virus, bacteria and fungi.
However, the big question is can you use coconut oil to fight or prevent herpes infections and outbreaks?
Traditional remedies used to treat herpes include antiviral medications (such as Acyclovir) and over-the counter creams and lotions.
While many of these products can effectively reduce outbreaks, some medications may cause unwanted side effects, including nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal effects and headaches.
The connection between coconut oil and herpes actually came about due to some research on these anti-microbial ingredients in coconut oil called monoglycerides. Scientists discovered that these ‘fatty molecules’ had the ability to destroy the cell membranes of certain virus, bacteria and fungi, thus killing off these nasty pathogens.
Now while this theory may have been proven effective in the lab, there’s debate among researchers whether this coconut oil herpes treatment will actually help you treat outbreaks and infections.
What is Herpes?
A fact sheet on herpes from the World Health Organization shares that it’s an infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV).
It’s a common virus and you could be infected without knowing as most infections can go unrecognized and un-diagnosed.
HSV is a family of viruses that includes Epstein-Barr Virus and Varicella-Zoster Virus.
Epstein-Barr causes Mononucleosis, also known as ‘kissing disease’, and Varicella-Zoster can cause Shingles and Chicken Pox.
There are actually variations of the virus and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) cause the majority of infections.
Herpes Simplex Type 1 typically causes oral lesions and Herpes Simplex Type 2 causes genital lesions. However, these viruses are not typically unique with regards to symptoms and some individuals with Herpes Simplex Simplex 1 may also exhibit genital sores.
Unfortunately, these sores can be quite painful and embarrassing. However, once the virus enters a ‘dormant stage’ there may be no symptoms or lesions showing on your body.
The virus is easily spread from person-to-person during an active outbreak and you can even spread the virus a few days before an outbreak. Most people with herpes may not show any symptoms yet it’s possible to infect another person; this stage is called ‘Asymptomatic Shedding’.
People that exhibit recurrent lesions and skin eruptions may need to go on long-term antiviral medications such as Zovirax (Acyclovir) and Valtrex (Valacyclovir).
These medications have been proven effective for destroying the herpes virus and suppressing outbreaks. Side effects (although rare) may include seizures, diarrhea, headaches and nausea.
Recent studies have shown coconut oil contains a fatty acid that can help destroy the lipid membrane of the herpes virus, thus neutralizing the virus and lessening herpes lesions and outbreaks.
Crack the Virus Code with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an excellent source of the medium chain triglycerides, Lauric and Capric acid.
Research on lauric acid shows it forms the building blocks of ingredients that have powerful antimicrobial properties. These ingredients have been proven to destroy certain virus, bacteria and fungi.
Depending on the type of coconut oils you buy, you can get up to 40 – 50% lauric acid and 8 – 10 % capric acid. When properly metabolized, both lauric acid and capric acid change into monoglycerides (a glycerol molecule) called Monolaurin and Monocaprin.
Research on lauric acid and monolaurin proves they are potent antivirals. Scientists discovered they kill lipid-coated viruses (such as Herpes, HIV, and Cytomegalovirus) by destroying the lipid membrane of the viruses, causing them to disintegrate.
The unique properties of monoglycerides have opened the door to an interesting field of research on lauric acid and scientists are currently trying to harness the antimicrobial powers of these powerful fatty acids.
But Can You Really Use Coconut Oil for Herpes?
It’s a proven fact that lauric acid kills lipid-coated viruses, such as herpes and HIV. But there’s a few factors affecting how well this coconut oil herpes treatment may work:
How much coconut oil do you need to achieve therapeutic amounts of lauric acid in your body.
How much lauric acid actually converts into monolaurin for an effective anti-viral response?
The Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to our diets, suggests infected individuals eat as much coconut oil as possible to maximize lauric acid levels in the body.
Other health food advocates recommend starting with 2 – 3 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil per day and then slowly increasing the dosages until symptoms subside.
From the research I’ve looked at, it appears that results are mixed….Lara from Rhode Island claims that coconut oil is the best treatment for herpes cold sores, whereas other users found no significant reduction in symptoms.
I think the wide range of results may be due to how frequently you eat coconut oil, the type of coconut oil used and most importantly, the actual amount of lauric acid you’re getting in the coconut oil and how effectively your body digests and converts the lauric acid to monolaurin.
Doctor Disagrees with Coconut Oil Herpes Treatment
Research by Dr. Jon Kabara (credited with discovering the antimicrobial effects of monoglycerides), believes it’s pointless using virgin coconut oil on herpes.
Dr. Kabara’s research on lauric acid showed our bodies convert only a small amount of the fatty acid into monolaurin, which isn’t enough for a therapeutic response.
Dr. Kabara claims the human body needs at least 3 – 9 grams/day of monolaurin to have an antiviral effect in the body. So this works out to eating 300 to 900 ml of coconut oil a day and I think most people would feel sick trying to eat that much coconut oil on a daily basis.
So it appears that the best way to get an effective amount of monolaurin and monocaprin is by taking it in supplement form.
Based on his research, Dr. Kabara created a monolaurin supplement called Lauricidin Pure Monolaurin.
One dose of Lauricidin has been shown to be equivalent to consuming many tablespoons of coconut oil per day.
Dr. Kabara’s recommended dosage to suppress herpes outbreaks is 1/2 to 1 scoop per day. Many people will start with a single dose and slowly increase it to gauge its effectiveness.
Apparently, this product seems to be effective. A number of testimonials from people who’ve used this product claim it effectively reduced their herpes outbreaks and some even claim it’s effective for candida and yeast infections.
Some people have reported no further herpes flare-ups since starting a regimen of Lauricidin.
You may need to take Monolaurin supplements every day in order to maintain its effectiveness and there have been no reported side effects from long term use.
Editorial Comments on the Coconut Oil Herpes Treatment:
While some people have made claims about using coconut oil for treating herpes, there’s no scientific studies to support that ingesting the oil will lessen your symptoms.
There is current research showing that ingredients found in oregano oil may have anti-viral effects against the herpes virus.
And there are anecdotal reports from people claiming to have success using tea tree oil on herpes.
Other people have reduced or alleviated their symptoms by optimizing their diet and making positive lifestyle changes to enhance their immune systems.
While there’s no cure for herpes right now, there are many treatments available that may help suppress your outbreaks and reduce symptoms.
Some natural products, such as Lysine and Monolaurin supplements, may help lessen ongoing symptoms and provide relief.
Following these suggestions may help you gain control your herpes and reduce symptoms.
Fatty Acids and Derivatives as Antimicrobial Agents Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2(l):23-28 (1972) Kabara. J.J.. Conley. A J.- Swieczkowski. D M. Ismail, I.A . Lie Ken Jie and Gunstone, F D Antimicrobial Action of Isomeric Fatty Acids on Group A Streptococcus Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 16:1060-1063 (1973).
Antimicrobial Lipids: Natural and Synthetic Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides. Kabara. J.J., Vrable, R. and Lie Ken Jie, M.S.F Lipids 12:753759 (1977).
Toxicological, Bactericidal and Fungicidal Properties of Fatty Acids and Some Derivatives Kabara, J.J. JAOCS 56:760-767
Lauric oils as antimicrobial agents: theory of effect, scientific rationale, and dietary applications as adjunct nutritional support for HIV-infected individuals in Nutrients and Foods in AIDS (RR Watson, ed) CRC Press, Boca Raton, 1998, pp. 81-97. Enig, MG