What Is It?
Caprylic acid is a fatty acid that has antifungal properties. It is produced by the body in small quantities and can be extracted from plant fats, such as coconut oil and palm oil. Nutritionally oriented doctors commonly recommend taking caprylic acid in supplement form for Candida overgrowth syndrome.
Candida is a yeast that naturally resides in relatively small numbers within the gastrointestinal tract, along with various bacteria. Problems can arise, however, when the balance between this yeast and the bacteria gets upset by the use of antibiotics, a condition that nutritionally oriented doctors call Candida overgrowth syndrome. Bloating, gas, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, depression, and repeated vaginal yeast infections are some of the symptoms of Candida overgrowth.
Restoring a normal balance of microorganisms in the body involves eliminating excess Candida and making dietary changes that encourage healthy microflora within the digestive tract. Somewhat dated but intriguing research studies have found that caprylic acid interferes with Candida’s growth and replication. However, there are no recent data or clinical trials to support this finding.
Since caprylic acid is so quickly absorbed through the intestines and delivered into the bloodstream, it’s best to take a timed-release or enteric-coated form of the supplement. Doing this enables the active ingredient to be released gradually, so it can do its work throughout the entire length of the intestinal tract.
A three-to-four month course of caprylic acid is typical. The usual recommended dosage is 1,000 to 2,000 mg three times a day with meals. However, most nutritionally oriented physicians suggest that you start with a smaller dose (500 mg once or twice a day) and then slowly increase your dose by adding one capsule every two to three days until you reach the full recommended dose. This is to prevent symptoms of “yeast die-off,” a harmless but uncomfortable flulike sensation that can occur when large amounts of Candida are eliminated at one time.
Caprylic acid supplements can be used with other natural or prescription antifungal medicines.
There are no known drug or nutrient interactions with caprylic acid.
Avoid caprylic acid if you have an inflammatory bowel condition such as ulcerative colitis.
Side effects are rare, but reports of mild stomach upset and headaches have been associated with caprylic acid. To avoid these reactions, take caprylic acid with meals.
David Edelberg, MD