Caprylic Acid and Undecylenic Acid Combat Candida Biofilms and More

May 21, 2018 | Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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Caprylic Acid and Undecylenic Acid Combat Candida Biofilms and More
Caprylic acid and undecylenic acid have been used for decades, even centuries for immune system function and natural germ-killing support. These medium chain fatty acids work well by themselves or when combined separately provide protection for the intestinal tract, and work together synergistically. Caprylic acid and undecylenic acid work to improve digestive bacteria balance as well as support the immune system, brain health, mouth bacteria, respiratory health, bladder health, skin health and more. Here is a tale of two fatty acids.

Caprylic Acid


Caprylic acid is a healthy saturated fatty acid or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) found in coconut oil, palm oil and human and bovine breastmilk. Another name for caprylic acid is octanoic acid as it is an eight-carbon saturated fatty acid. Caprylic acid is widely used for gut dysbiosis to help with the overgrowth of yeast, like Candida albicans.

This fatty acid fights and destroys active biofilm forces, but also protects against food borne illness and germs common in hospital settings. Caprylic acid also provides other lesser known benefits for the brain and nervous system.

Breakdown of Biofilms and Germ Support


Caprylic acid helps breakdown stubborn biofilms that germs hide behind that often leads to treatment failure. In this age of increasing concerns of drug resistance and medication failure with antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we need as many tools fight the battle against germs. Several studies confirm its benefits.

An October 2017 cellular study demonstrated complete biofilm eradication of pathogenic biofilms within 60 minutes after it was exposed to caprylic acid and pectic acid (found as gelatin in fruits and vegetables). Biofilm breakdown occurred against several common germs (MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella enteritidis) known to cause foodborne and hospital infections. A March 2015 cellular study showed that a caprylic acid combination rapidly and completely destroyed treatment resistant Gram-positive, Gram-negative bacteria and fungal biofilms.

Other recent studies proved that caprylic acid and capric acid, a sister compound to caprylic acid also found in coconut oil, is able to stop the growth of yeast. Treatment with these compounds blocked Candida albicans from growing and spreading and it protected tissues against oxidative damage. Older studies show caprylic acid actively able to kill Candida albicans and “be useful treatment for infections caused by that pathogen or others that infect the skin and mucosa, possibly in conjunction with antibiotic therapy over a longer period of time.”

Capylic acid benefits more than just gut dysbiosis. It has a systemic effect able to help provide effective treatment for respiratory, urinary tract, bladder, vaginal, mouth/dental, and skin support for fighting germs.

Catheters, Dental Protection


In modern medicine and dentistry, there are numerous things used for treatment or therapy that can harbor germs and have high prevalence of biofilms. Dentures, dental braces and retainers, mouth guards, catheters, PICC lines, feeding tubes, etc. provide opportunistic hiding places for Candida and Staph infections. Recent research demonstrated that caprylic acid reduced biofilm viability safely without toxicity by nearly 100 percent after treatment after just 24 hours in catheter infections from Staph aureus.

Cancer Risk Reduction


Caprylic acid produces anticancer effects in the skin, colorectal, and breast cancer. Cancer cells treated with caprylic acid, capric acid and caproic acid short chain fatty acids decreased cancer cell viability by 70-90 percent. Anticancer genes that caused cancer cell death were upregulated and cell-cycle regulatory genes were down-regulated supporting its anticancer effects. A February 2018 study identified differences in caprylic acid and other short chain fatty acids in healthy patients versus those who had of skin cancer. Patients who had basal cell carcinoma had lower red blood cells levels of caprylic acid, capric acid and other healthy short chain fatty acids.

Caprylic Acid and Brain Health


The eradication of biofilms itself is remarkable, but caprylic acid has other interesting and desirable effects. Caprylic acid triglycerides can be easily broken down into ketone bodies which serves as alternative energy source for the body – especially nerve cells. This alternative energy metabolism helps mitochondria survive and function with less stress which is highly beneficial for the brain.

Scientists explored the effect of caprylic acid combined with a strict ketogenic diet in mice with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s disease). Mice with ALS treated with caprylic acid and ketogenic diet experienced improvement in motor neuron survival. This resulted in a slower progression of weakness and lower mortality rate.

A recent April 2018 study involved patients with postural and hand essential tremors. Patients were separated into a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study. Participants received either a placebo or treatment with caprylic acid which equated to about 275 mg per day for a 150 pound individual. Those treated with caprylic acid experienced a reduction in postural/central and peripheral/hand essential tremors.

Undecylenic Acid


Undecylenic acid is a fatty acid found naturally in the oily secretions of the skin and other food sources like castor bean oil. It has natural antifungal properties as it is able to inhibit the development and growth of Candida albicans within the digestive tract and vaginal flora. Undecylenic acid provides some of the best antifungal activity of the medium chain fatty acids. Undecylenic acid, like caprylic acid, is used in the food industry and over the counter medicines and creams for antifungal support with diaper rash, athletes foot and nail fungus.

Sinus, Herpes Simplex, Premature Aging and Wrinkles


Several studies support undecylenic acid’s roll as a powerful anti-Candida albicans agent. It has been shown helpful for chronic sinusitis which is often due to chronic fungal overgrowth. Other studies show it helpful for herpes simplex or genital herpes

Undecylenic acid has other benefits other than antifungal. It was found that undecylenic acid could be used to protect against premature aging and be an effective anti-wrinkle agent as it helps type one collagen synthesis. Undecylenic acid supports bone building and healthy bones too.

Alzheimer’s Disease


Like caprylic acid, but for different reasons, undecylenic acid is good for the brain. Undecylenic acid scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS), a toxic free radical that incites damage to nerve tissue and mitochondria. In a recent study, it was found that undecylenic acid inhibits μ-calpain which is involved with the build-up of tau protein and tangles in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. It helped reverse amyloid -beta induced nerve cell death. Study results suggested that “undecylenic acid provides good cell permeability and potent neuroprotective effect”.

Cancer Drug Augmentation


In order to find ways to increase drug penetration into tumor cells, researcher evaluated undecylenic acid as a carrier to bring cancer drugs deeper into tumor cells. They combined undecylenic acid with doxorubicin with much greater penetration into cancer cells than without. Strong anti-tumor effects and few side effects were seen in this study.

When undecylenic acid and caprylic acid are taken together, their effects are ramped up and broadened. In addition, when these fatty acids are attached with minerals like calcium and magnesium, it exponentially ramps up the antifungal activity. Caprylic acid and undecylenic acid may be used with other nutrients like probiotics, fiber, digestive enzymes to help the digestive tract. Germ gangs and biofilms hide in virtually any part of the body. Nerve cells get stressed, break down, and neurodegeneration develops. Cancer rates and treatment resistance have increased. However, we find that these two naturally occurring fatty acids provide a tale of positive health benefits across generations against difficult health challenges.

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