caprylic acid (generic name)
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CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Alpha-hydroxy caprylic acid, medium-chain fatty acid, medium chain triglyceride (MCT), monocaprylin, octanoic acid, suberic acid.
Caprylic acid is an eight-carbon fatty acid naturally found in palm and coconut oil, and in the milk of humans and bovines (cows). Caprylic acid is classified as a medium-chain fatty acid and chemically known as octanoic acid. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved caprylic acid with generally recognizable as safe (GRAS) status. It is used as parenteral nutrition in patients who require nutrition supplementation, as well as in some drugs, foods, and cosmetics.
Nutritionists often recommend caprylic acid for use in treating candidiasis (yeast infection) and bacterial infections. However, there is insufficient clinical data available to support the used of caprylic acid for any claimed therapeutic uses.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Some forms of epilepsy respond to diets that are high in fat and low in carbohydrates. Currently, the effects of caprylic acid alone to treat epilepsy in children are not well studied. Additional study is needed in this area.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antibacterial, antifungal, chylothorax, dialysis (hypoalbuminemia in maintenance hemodialysis), digestive disorders (dysbiosis), malabsorption (lipid), nutrition supplementation.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for caprylic acid. In general, 300-1,200 milligrams daily, preferably 30 minutes before meals, has been ingested.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for caprylic acid, and use in children is not recommended.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to caprylic acid and its derivatives, such as caprylate salts.
Side Effects and Warnings
The most common side effects associated with high fatty acid intake are nausea, bloating, constipation, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These side effects can range from mild to severe. Patients taking large amounts of triglycerides may also experience belching, heartburn, and indigestion. Otherwise, caprylic acid appears well tolerated at doses appropriate for nutritional supplementation. It is also possibly safe when used under the guidance of a physician for intractable seizures.
Although not well studied in humans, caprylic acid may increase susceptibility to carbaryl exposure and decrease the body's ability to clear carbaryl, a highly toxic insecticide.
Hypocalcemia (low calcium blood level), drowsiness, lethargy, kidney stones, hypouricemia (low uric acid), acidosis, growth retardation and increased rate of infection has been reported in human studies using a ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy. The effects of caprylic acid alone are not well understood in this diet. Avoid in patients with kidney stones or a tendency of developing kidney stones. Use cautiously in infants, children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and those prone to get an upset stomach.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Caprylic acid is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.