Top 5 Benefits Of Caprylic Acid + Critical Side Effects

Reviewed by Alexandra Dusenberry, MS, RDN
Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health

Coconut oil is long considered beneficial to health, but this largely comes from its abundance of fatty acids, such as caprylic acid. Caprylic acid benefits range from boosting your well-being to enhancing your complexion. In addition, this fatty acid promotes gut and heart health and has powerful antifungal properties. This article examines caprylic acid’s benefits and side effects, including its sources and recommended dosage. Take a look.

In This Article

What Is Caprylic Acid?

Caprylic acid is one of the three fatty acids in coconut oil (the other two are capric acid and lauric acid). Recent studies have shown caprylic acid to particularly benefit the digestive and reproductive systems. The acid also has potent antifungal properties and helps fight infections like candida.

There are other ways this acid can make your life better. Let’s check them out now.

What Are The Benefits Of Caprylic Acid?

1. Offers Antifungal And Antimicrobial Benefits

Caprylic acid works great in treating candida and yeast infections. Some of these infections include oral thrush, nail fungus, ringworm, and vaginal yeast infections.

A 2011 study tells us how caprylic acid can be far more effective than Diflucan (an antifungal medication) in treating fungal infections (1).

Experts believe that caprylic acid can achieve this by breaking down the membranes of candida cells. The fatty acid inserts itself into the fungal membranes and disturbs the membrane – thereby increasing its fluidity and leading to its eventual death (2).

Caprylic acid, when taken orally, also reduces the yeast growth in the digestive tract. It also helps the beneficial bacteria to thrive at the same time. And as it is natural, the acid doesn’t pose any risk or cause any side effects as other synthetic antibiotics.

Studies also show how caprylic acid can offer antibacterial benefits. The acid inactivates harmful bacteria by creating an acidic environment around it (3).

2. Can Boost Skin Health

The antimicrobial properties of caprylic acid help treat skin infections. One such infection is dermatophilosis, a bacterial infection resulting in painful and dry scabs. Thanks to the antimicrobial properties of the acid, it can kill the bacteria living in the skin and help treat the condition.

Caprylic acid can also help combat acne. A Taiwanese study shows how the antimicrobial properties of the acid can help fight acne (4).

3. Promotes Digestive Health

Cantaloupe benefits for digestion


The anti-inflammatory properties of caprylic acid can help treat inflammatory bowel disorder, a painful digestive disease (5). This condition typically involves internal inflammation and bacterial infections – both of which can be treated with caprylic acid.

Studies also suggest that medium-chain fatty acids, like caprylic acid, suppress the secretion of inflammatory enzymes. This helps treat severe digestive ailments like Crohn’s disease, bloating, and bleeding (6).

The medium-chain fatty acids also protect the epithelium, which is the gut’s first line of defense.

4. May Reduce Weight And Cholesterol Levels

More research is warranted here – in terms of weight loss. Existing studies state that caprylic acid can reduce serum ghrelin levels (ghrelin is a hormone secreted in the stomach that is responsible for an increased appetite) (7).

And given that caprylic acid is a medium-chain fatty acid, it can help lower total cholesterol. A 2006 study found that intake of medium-chain triglyceride oils had comparatively lower cholesterol levels (8). This can lead to a lowered risk of aortic accumulation of cholesterol, thereby preventing heart disease.

5. Cuts The Risk Of Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem – where the microbe resists the antibiotic medication that was once treating the microbe successfully. Caprylic acid can cut the risk of antibiotic resistance. In a study, the acid could reduce five different types of bacteria in contaminated milk, including the dangerous E.coli (9).

These are the ways caprylic acid can optimize your health. So, what foods contain this acid? Coconut oil is one of them. Any other foods?

What Other Foods Contain Caprylic Acid?

Apart from coconut oil, other sources of caprylic acid include full-fat cow’s milk, palm fruit milk, peanut butter, and even human breast milk. But we recommend coconut oil for caprylic acid as it is the richest source.

The best way to take caprylic acid is by ingesting coconut oil or applying it to the skin. You can start by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil (or less) to your diet. You may also want to add it to other recipes.

Or you can go for caprylic acid supplements.

Caprylic Acid Supplements – What’s The Dosage?

Check with your health care provider. Sources suggest that caprylic acid can be far more effective in capsules than in the liquid form. This is because the capsules slowly release the acid into the bloodstream so that they reach the intestinal tract without any side effects.

Talking about the dosage, no recommended daily intake has been established. But experts recommend taking 500 to 1,000 milligrams, a total of three times a day in capsule form, for best results. In case you are just starting off, you can take 500 milligrams of caprylic acid two times a day. You can then increase the dosage gradually as you feel comfortable.

But hold on – there are a few considerations. If taken in excess, caprylic acid may have a few side effects.

What Are The Side Effects Of Caprylic Acid?

  • Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Not enough is known in this regard. Hence, please stay safe and avoid use.

  • Liver Disease

If you have any form of liver disease, stay away from caprylic acid. The acid is broken down by the liver. But in people with liver disease, this may not happen as efficiently – leading to the build-up of the acid in the blood. This can be fatal.

  • Excessively Low Blood Pressure

Caprylic acid can lower blood pressure. But if you are someone prone to low blood pressure or are already on blood pressure medications, steer clear of the acid.

  • Mcad Deficiency

Also called medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, this makes it hard for people to break down caprylic acid. Please avoid this acid as its intake can increase blood levels of caprylic acid – and even lead to coma in severe cases.

Caprylic acid is a fatty acid found in coconut oil. The many benefits of caprylic acid can be attributed to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal effects. It may help boost skin health, promote digestive system functioning, reduce bad cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss, and minimize the risk of antibiotic resistance. It is available in supplement form. However, an overdose of caprylic acid may cause liver disease, reduce blood pressure levels way too much, and lead to issues during pregnancy. Hence, use it in the recommended dosage levels to avoid the side effects. Consult your doctor in case of emergencies.


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  2. Antifungal free fatty acids”. Science against microbial pathogens, University of the Free State, South Africa.
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  4. Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory…”. Journal of dermatological science, US National Library of Medicine.
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Alexandra Dusenberry

Alexandra Dusenberry is registered dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer based in San Diego, California. She works with clients around... more