Lauric acid is a kind of medium chain fatty acid and it is constructed by 12-carbon atom chain with the name dodecanoic acid, white in colour, powdery solid with a faint odour of bay oil or soap. It is almost immiscible with water. It is a natural saturated fatty acid made by plants and animals as an energy reserve. Dietary sources include animal and human milk, dairy products, nuts, seeds and their oils also contains this acid. Like other saturated fatty acids, such as butyric and capric acids, lauric acid also possesses some special characteristic properties that are beneficial to the human beings health. Lauric acid works effectively in protecting our heart by reducing total cholesterol and enhancing HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol levels. It has some enhanced properties like long shelf life, non toxic and easy handling imparts its applications in many fields.
Many vegetable fats contain lauric acid but, coconut oil, laurel oil, and palm kernel oil comprises half of the fatty acid content in it. Unsurprisingly 6.2 % this compound is found in human breast milk, 2.9 % in cow’s milk and 3.1 % in goat’s milk and raises the total cholesterol level in milk.
It is mainly used for the production of soaps and cosmetics by neutralizing with a strong base like sodium hydroxide to give the soap sodium laurate.
It also have antimicrobial properties and this can be used for treating viral infections including influenza, swine flu, avian flu, the common cold, fever blisters, cold sores, and genital herpes and even for the treatment for HIV/AIDS. In most of the cases it is used for preventing the transmission of HIV from mothers to children. It is used to cure various deceases in medicinal fields which include bronchitis, gonorrhea, yeast infections, Chlamydia, intestinal infections and ringworm.
As an antibacterial agent it fights against deceases like Helicobacter pylori bacteria, stomach ulcer, stomach cancer and heart disease. It is the only saturated fatty acid compound shows bactericidal activity against H-pylori. Its derivatives can also used for this purpose.
Blocking the maturation and replication of the Junín virus is also exhibited by this compound reveals the antiviral activity of the compound. When increasing the triglyceride content in this acid reduces the virus’s ability to multiply.