If you’ve read or listened to the latest health news, you know the Zika virus is a hot button issue right now.
Certain parts of the world are scrambling to eradicate the virus, limit the spread of transmission and are attempting to deal with the repercussions – and in this case it’s the substantial increase in babies being born with detrimentally small heads that have been linked to their Zika-infected mothers while in utero.
A similar event scared the world into high-alert mode in 2015 as an Ebola virus outbreak spread through West Africa. To date, the viral outbreak caused over 11,000 deaths from over 28,000 reported cases.1
And the US goes through a cyclical event each fall with the arrival of cold and flu season. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mortality report from February of this year, flu viruses accounted for nearly 3,700 deaths in the US in 2013 (the latest year to receive a final report on mortality).2 That puts the flu as the 8th leading cause of death in the US!
As the threat of Zika starts to infiltrate the US borders with the arrival of Zika-infected mosquitos, our government is looking to funnel more money into attempts to thwart the disease before we see the effects in the babies set to be born in the near future.
And when the US government gets involved in disease prevention, it usually means vaccines and drugs with toxic components, and little afterthought into the potential side effects they cause.
What if, instead of the special relationships between our government, pharmaceutical companies and the nation’s medical professionals fueling the single goal of profits galore, all three sectors elected to improve public health by supporting proven treatment methods that are derived naturally and have no ill side effects?
Fat chance – it’s not profitable for Big Pharma. And that’s not the capitalist way.
But there is hope if you look outside the typical Western medicine model. Take, for instance, the coconut.
Lately the coconut is enjoying resurgent popularity with the novel ways of processing the fruit (or drupe to be more precise) for commercial use – coconut water for its natural electrolyte-rich properties, coconut milk as a lactose-free dairy substitute, coconut sugar and nectar for low glycemic index alternatives to real sugar and coconut flour for the gluten-free crowd.
You might say the coconut is the Betty White of the fruit world – flying under the radar for a long time, and then skyrocketing to popularity after we’ve realized its hidden talents.
Coconut is now recognized as a functional food, providing both energy (nutrients) and functional components when consumed. The high fat content in coconut is where the medicinal properties are concentrated. Of the fatty acid content in coconuts, approximately half is a substance called lauric acid. This medium chain fatty acid possesses antimicrobial properties. And when lauric acid enters the human body, the digestive tract transforms it into an even more effective antimicrobial monoglyceride called monolaurin.
Monolaurin has been found to destroy certain disease-causing viruses, bacteria and protozoa.
How does monolaurin work?
Some pathogenic organisms have a lipid (fatty) outer shell that shields them from harm caused by antibodies and acidic environments inside the body. Monolaurin binds to the protective coating and prevents the pathogen from attaching to and entering the host (that’s us) cells.3 Monolaurin disintegrates the protective shield causing damage and death to pathogenic cells, thus preventing replication of the disease-causing organism and further infection.
What pathogens can monolaurin kill?
Research has seen the proven effects of lauric acid and monolaurin on several disease-causing organisms.
Ground-breaking news, right? Not exactly. A small group of researchers recognized the healing potential of monolaurin and other fatty acids found in coconut back in the 1960s. The positive outlook has spawned several studies and even a few patents.
So why isn’t the medical community doing more to spread the word about monolaurin? Because pharmaceutical companies don’t foresee big returns on patented monolaurin products. The money lies in new, manmade drugs that are available through your doctor or pharmacist. The more selective the distribution, the more profit potential the drug has. And the pharmaceutical companies can offer incentives to practitioners and healthcare facilities to push their drug.
So every cold and flu season, every new STD patient and every new outbreak means dollar signs for everyone involved in the creation and distribution of new drugs – except the paying patient.
Our dependence and overuse of pharmaceutical drugs made the news again, as last month a woman in Pennsylvania was reported to have a drug resistant bacteria. This is just the latest case of drug resistant superbugs.
In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, admits to the overuse of antibiotics that fuel the progression of superbugs.4
“We know from reports of antibiotic prescribing practices in hospitals that 20 to 50 percent of the antibiotics that are prescribed are either inappropriate for the actual organism or absolutely unnecessary to treat it . . . and that in the out patient setting, about a third of the antibiotics are inappropriate or unnecessary because they’re treating viral infections . . . That breeds a lot of resistance in the bacteria community, and that is a huge problem,” says Dr. Emanuel.
The number of resistant pathogens has been growing since 1947, when Staphylococcus aureus could no longer be eradicated by penicillin. With the abundance of antibiotics being prescribed willy-nilly, drug resistance is found in Salmonella, Campylobacter, Streptococci, E. coli and STDs, just to name a few.5 When a pathogen becomes resistant to a certain drug, modern medicine's answer is to just treat it with another drug, until it too no longer works.
Meanwhile, drug resistant bugs are killing 100,000 people annually in the US, according to the Infectious Disease Society of America.
And when you've got a virus to contend with, no antibiotic is going to help you. Antivirals require a completely different destructive mechanism. And monolaurin has been proven to do just that. HIV, herpes simplex, influenza, and other lipid-coated viruses have been inactivated by monolaurin - and without side effects or harm to the beneficial probiotic flora in the gut (not the case with antibiotics).6
So could monolaurin be the answer to today’s viral outbreaks?
The virus that has the CDC and the World Health Organization up in arms – Zika – is one of those organisms enveloped in a lipid casing, as are other notable viruses that cause Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, West Nile Fever, SARS and Ebola.
While the FDA is unlikely to ever get behind natural treatment methods, like monolaurin, for pathogenic infections, you can’t ignore the research that has been done to prove its potential.
Is more testing with monolaurin called for, especially when it comes to pathogens causing a pandemic scare? Absolutely.
But it’s also worth considering this natural treatment when the Western medicine model doesn’t work for you, or if you just don’t want the synthetic poison pushed by mainstream healthcare.
Talk to a natural healthcare practitioner about incorporating non-prescription monolaurin supplements when you’re dealing with a cold or flu virus or a bacterial or fungal infection. You just might be surprised with the results.
You can also increase your consumption of coconut products (coconut oil and coconut milk are your best bet) when your feel an infection coming on, but only a small portion of the lauric acid is converted into monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin supplements will give you the most bang for your buck.
Pina colada, anyone?