Why don’t I use Monolaurin for EBV? The answer is simple. It has benefits, but it did not make it to the top of my list. Of course, if it has worked for you (or your patient), continue using it under supervision of your medical team. And because I will be going deep into details and dosages later, let me add a disclaimer that the content below is for educational purposes only. Do not stop any medication or change your health regimen based on this article without discussing this with your medical provider first!
Our love affair with coconut oil
Monolaurin is a very popular but mostly frustrating supplement for EBV. If you have EBV or treat your patients for it, you most likely have either read about it or used it. Since monolaurin is derived from coconut oil, let’s talk about that first.
Some people dislike supplements and prefer to use therapeutic dosages of particular constituents from food (e.g. selenium from Brazil nuts). When you are already dealing with a serious chronic condition like EBV and its complications, this approach will not match the therapeutic needs your body has at that point. The same goes for monolaurin. Using coconut oil in order to get the desired therapeutic effect of monolaurin is not recommended due to the amount of saturated fat you would be consuming. Excess fat of any kind in chronic EBV will backfire.
In fact, I have a bone to pick with functional medicine circles for making coconut oil the holy grail of oils. I have watched with horror practitioners embracing it to the point of using it as their main cooking oil and taking it orally for health without regard to common sense and recommending the same to their patients. Critical thinking and common sense are lost to so many.
Coconut oil is still a fully saturated oil and meta analyses prove it raises the detrimental LDL cholesterol (Neelakantan et al., 2020). And yes, that LDL will self regulate when coconut oil is stopped. I have certainly seen this in our community and I would not recommend relying on coconut oil for all your daily cooking. In fact, I even had a case of a person with EBV developing high LDL as a result of consuming meals from a meal delivery company that used coconut oil for all their cooking needs in their prepared meals!
In terms of the EBV community in particular, EBV itself can increase LDL (Apostolou et al., 2010), and a diet high in fat (e.g. ketogenic diet) is practically one of the worst diets to pick for a person with this chronic virus. You do not need coconut oil to add to that LDL.
The liver is already overburdened by oxidative stress caused by EBV. No matter how healthy a fat may be, excess of it will tax your gallbladder too. The liver ensures proper gallbladder function, so keep in mind that when you have excess fat, it puts strain on both the liver and the gallbladder and both can become sluggish. In some cases, CAEBV can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver and cause elevated liver enzymes ALT and/or AST. And then, of course, there is autoimmune hepatitis, in which EBV targets the liver.
Here, I said it. The unprecedented trust I have seen in coconut oil has bothered me for a long time.
With that, let’s dive into Monolaurin itself.
What is Monolaurin?
As you already know, monolaurin is derived from coconut oil. It is a 12-carbon long fatty acid, made into a mono-ester of lauric acid. If there is a single therapeutic supplement “go to” for EBV that functional medicine doctors and well-educated people with EBV reach out for, it is monolaurin (or a product branded as Lauricidin). FDA recognizes monolaurin as generally safe (GRAS). However, we lack safety data on long term use, especially at high therapeutic doses needed for EBV.
Why is Monolaurin so popular for EBV?
Lauric acid can target viruses that contain an envelope. It interacts with the viral envelope lipids and phospholipids, weakening or damaging those viruses (Lieberman et al., 2006). In other words, monolaurin has the ability to break down the fat-containing envelope of pathogens that contain it. When you puncture a cell, you effectively kill it. In fact, monolaurin had 99.9% effectiveness against all the enveloped RNA and DNA viruses (Hierholzer et al., 1982).
By targeting the protective envelope, monolaurin causes its disintegration and also makes the virus more susceptible to degradation by host defenses, ultraviolet light, heat, etc. It may also inhibit viral replication by interrupting the communication and binding of viruses to host cells. It sounds really good. In fact, when I looked at the studies while writing the book, I was quite impressed with what monolaurin had to offer for EBV.
Understandably, many functional medical doctors that treat patients with EBV resort to Monolaurin (or Lauricidin). I know that there are those that hone in on it with great results, and that is wonderful, but the physicians that reach out to me for help are generally frustrated with it. I look for patterns and predictability, for what works in 80% of the cases or more. Monoalurin does not make the cut.
Other pathogens that Monolaurin can target
EBV is not the only lipid-coated (enveloped) virus. Here are other ones:
- HIV-1, influenza virus
- rubeola virus
- bronchitis virus
- and the other members of EBV’s herpes family of viruses: cytomegalovirus, herpes zoster (shingles), varicella (chickenpox), and herpes type I and II.
Monolaurin’s effectiveness goes beyond viruses too. For example, H. pylori is a bacterium that is very hard to treat (triple antibiotic therapy is common and even that does not ensure eradication) and it is extremely sensitive to monolaurin (Preuss et al., 2005), and studies suggest that monolaurin also helps break down the biofilm of Candida albicans (Seleem et al., 2016). In addition, Monolaurin may also be effective for gram-positive bacteria (Staph, Strep). For your information, it will not work on gram-negative bacteria (e.g. Klebsiella, etc.), except H. Pylori that I just mentioned.
Why I do not use it in my EBV recovery protocol
Monolaurin kills, especially Lauricidin, which seems to be more aggressive. If your only goal is to kill as much of EBV as you can, then this is a supplement of choice. However, it does not build you up while creating havoc in your body. It kills EBV cells. It will also potentially do the same with other pathogens you may harbor and not even be aware of. As a result, you induce a very dangerous process called the Herxheimer reaction, which you probably know as die-off.
Herxheimer is NOT a healing crisis you want a badge of honor for.
It is a crisis and you need to avoid it.
In my nearly 2 decades in clinical practice, dealing with severe chronic conditions of all kinds and of course now EBV, I have learned to be brutally strategic with supplements. As a result, to get a person to a full recovery from EBV, so they have their life back and full functionality, I use only what works the best, has highest safety margins, can be used aggressively without disrupting the microbiome and overpowering the body with toxic load, is sustainable….My goal is not to just kill the virus. That is not what long term sustainable recovery from EBV is to me. Here are my clinical goals for our EBV community:
- Turn EBV down and off, disabling it from doing any more damage, without creating havoc with dead toxic debris.
- Build up the body with multitasking nutrients that are also anti-EBV that will ensure that your own immune system is now able to tackle the virus as it does for other people who have not developed chronic EBV.
- Use only the supplements that have multitasking capacities and excel in medical studies (and then have proved their high performance in my clinical practice). Here is the strategy I use that provides successful and predictable recovery results for our community.
In order to make it to my protocol, the supplement has to demonstrate these 3 functions. They have to be:
– key nutrients
– key proven anti-EBV agents
– formidable anti-oxidants.
The only notable exception to this is licorice.
Monolaurin simply did not make the cut. As it kills, it creates a crisis and puts more burden on the already compromised body that is struggling with the insult of oxidation and toxicity caused by EBV. It is too much to ask of your body – as it struggles keeping up with the clean up from EBV. You also cannot expect to kill all EBV off. 90-95% of the global population has EBV. But not everyone is sick.
EBV is an opportunist and takes advantage of your vulnerabilities
(stress, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, mold exposure etc.).
Your goal is to build your body up with key nutrients and antioxidants so the immune system has the nutrients to do its job and to clean up the environmental and emotional toxins to lessen the toxic load so that it is more manageable for your body to detoxify.
I am happy to report that this has been a winning approach and our EBV community is thriving.
Do I ever use Monolaurin?
Yes, there are situations when I may use Monolaurin or Lauricidin, depending on the person. These would be the cases when we are dealing with H. pylori – it is part of the protocol but it is ONLY a small part of it. I would not rely on it alone for this tough bacterium. I may also use it for Candida albicans colonization – this is often the case as a result of mold exposure. There is no guessing. If you suspect candida or H. pylori please do not use Monolaurin unless you have tested positive.
Preferred test for H. pylori: GI Map stool test (+zonulin) by Diagnostic Solutions Lab. Preferred tests for Candida albicans: IgG antibodies to it from blood test and Organic Acid Test (OAT) – the best one is from Great Plains Labs and the marker you are looking for is Arabinose. Just so that you know: a stool test is NOT a reliable test for Candida. In other words, if you do a stool test and your Candida albicans is negative, it does NOT mean you do not have Candida colonization.
If you have been using Monolaurin or Lauricidin successfully under your doctor’s supervision, of course continue on it. I have seen a few cases of people relying on Monolaurin or Lauricidin to keep EBV in check successfully, but then having to be on it in perpetuity in order to function. In other words, if they get off it, a full blown EBV returns. This is rare but happens. I am not sure that this is a success because you have not built up your immune system back and you are not sustainable.
If you must use Monolaurin or Lauricidin, here is how to do it safely:
With all that said, as you can see, there may be a time to incorporate Monolaurin into your therapeutic protocol, as long as you do it safely and work with an experienced functional medicine practitioner. In order to help you do this safely, I want to share with you all you need to know about the proper, safe, and therapeutic use of Monolaurin/Lauricidin that I train my community in.
- Ensure you move two bowel movements a day. And that you are hydrated enough. You need 3 things to do that: fiber from diet, water, and healthy motility. Otherwise, do not use Monolaurin. You will re-toxify and get much sicker. You are producing a LOT of dead toxic debris and that has to be put into the stool and taken out of the body in a timely manner. This is very toxic stuff, even though the virus debris is dead. In addition, you may be killing off other pathogens you did not know you had like other enveloped viruses, H. pylori, or Candida albicans -now, we’re talking some serious toxic overload.
- You must take B complex vitamins – this is not optional. They are required for proper daily detoxification and are used up fast in stress, so they have to be repleted. You have much higher needs for these vitamins with Monolaurin/Lauricidin. My choice of B complex – this is what I personally use every day
- Support your liver. As I already explained, the liver is already under a heavy burden from EBV. Now, we are adding a toxic avalanche to the mix. This is my favorite liver support, Hepatocleanse and if you have a budget for it, instead, invest in this Detoxification Kit, which includes Hepatocleanse but also key anti-EBV multitaskers, including the EBV Superstar Selenium.
- Avoid die-off (the Herxheimer reaction) at all costs. Start with the lowest dose. Increase slowly, watching for die-off reactions, and step down on the dose to keep that from happening. Avoid these reactions please.
Here are two forms of Monolaurin to choose from:
Monolaurin is available in capsules. It is better tolerated by many than Lauricidin but, based on my experience, while it is gentler, it may also be less effective. Click here for the product I recommend.
Monolaurin typically comes in 500mg increments in capsules. Start with 500m 2-3x day for 1 week; then try 1000mg 2-3x day; then up to 3000 mg 3x day; see if either of these doses helps you feel better and is tolerated; if both are tolerated, your acute dose can be as high as 6000-9000 mg 3x a day, short term: you must work with your functional physician at high doses.
Lauricidin pallets – Lauricidin is a pure sn-1 monolaurin (glycerol monolaurate) derived from coconut oil (95% monolaurin). This is a brand name product and comes with tiny pallets, which you definitely do not want to crush as the taste is not pleasant. Some people just cannot tolerate the texture and the aftertaste and move to Monolaurin capsules. Here is the link to the company that manufactures it (this is an affiliate link).
This product comes with a dosing scoop equaling 3g of Lauricidin. As mentioned above, it may be more effective than Monolaurin, but it causes more die-off effects and makes people sick almost universally.
Start 750mg (1/4 scoop) or less 2-3x a day for a week. Then you can increase to 1500 mg (1/2 scoop) 2-3 times daily thereafter.
Long term use of Monolaurin or Lauricidin:
For EBV, use the highest dose you can without die off for 4-5 months; 3000mg a day can be your maintenance dose for optimal health, up to 2-3x day, long term.
Flu-like and mono-like symptoms (body and muscle aches, sore throat, sweating, lethargy, chills, nausea, etc.), which are symptoms of die-off, re-toxing, so it is important to take it with food and start low and build slowly. Prevent these symptoms: you are killing more than the body can clean up! Re-toxing symptoms mean that instead of being eliminated in the stool, the toxic dead debris is being reabsorbed into the bloodstream and now the blood is delivering it to all your organs and glands. Everywhere. This is the worst-case scenario. Die-off is not just painful. It is plain dangerous. I know I keep repeating myself but you are already so compromised!
- Take with food but not with hot liquids. Do not chew pallets.
- Caution is advised when using more than 6000 mg a day.
- If you have an allergy to coconut, you should not take this supplement.
- In animal studies, monolaurin attacked myelin sheath and worsened multiple sclerosis, so it should not be used in this condition. We need more studies. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm if this is correct as at this time as I can no longer locate the study that discusses it.
- There are no safety studies on long term use and high dose therapeutic use so far.
- No known symptoms or interactions with medications have been reported.
- It may cause elevated liver enzymes and/or LDL cholesterol, which will self regulate upon cessation of the supplement.
Where to get Monolaurin
Which supplements did make it to my TOP EBV list?
If you’d like to know which supplements made the cut and are included in my core protocol for EBV, visit our online supplement store and take a look at the EBV Jumpstart Bundles.
Medical Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. Do not stop any medication and discuss this information with your medical provider before making any changes to your health regimen. This article does not claim to be treating any disease and is not medical advice.
Preuss, H. G., Echard, B., Enig, M., Brook, I., & Elliott, T. B. (2005). Minimum inhibitory concentrations of herbal essential oils and monolaurin for gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Mol Cell Biochem, 272(1-2), 29-34. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16010969
Neelakantan, N., Seah, J. Y. H., & van Dam, R. M. (2020). The Effect of Coconut Oil Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Circulation, 141(10), 803-814. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.043052
Apostolou, F., Gazi, I. F., Lagos, K., Tellis, C. C., Tselepis, A. D., Liberopoulos, E. N., & Elisaf, M. (2010). Acute infection with Epstein-Barr virus is associated with atherogenic lipid changes. Atherosclerosis, 212(2), 607-613. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2010.06.006