Caprylic acid: what is it and why is it important?

Caprylsäure: Was ist das und wofür ist es wichtig?

Caprylic acid is a substance that is obtained from coconut oil, among other things. Taking them in the form of dietary supplements brings a number of health benefits to the human body. Not only advocates of the keto diet like to use caprylic acid. Success can also be achieved with the intake of the frequently occurring problem of an infection with yeast fungi.

In our article on caprylic acid, we try to explain everything about the properties and tasks of this substance. We will first explain to you what caprylic acid is and then summarize all the important information about taking it.

the essentials in brief

  • The term caprylic acid refers to a fatty acid that is mainly obtained from coconut oil. However, it can also be found in some animal products.
  • It has a number of health benefits for humans and is therefore very popular in natural medicine. It is used, among other things, to combat fungal infections.
  • Caprylic acid is also used in the manufacture of soaps, dyes, fungicides and antiseptic drugs.

Background: What is caprylic acid?

In the following guide you will find all the important information about caprylic acid summarized in a compact way.

What is caprylic acid and what is it composed of?

Caprylic acid is also known by the terms octanoic acid and C8 MCT oil. It is a fatty acid of oily consistency found in combination with glycerin in milk fats, coconut oil and other palm kernel oils.

In addition, caprylic acid is one of the saturated and medium-chain fatty acids, MCT oil for short (medium-chain triglyceride). Medium-chain fatty acids have the advantage over long-chain fatty acids that they can be easily digested by the body and provide the body with energy quickly.

What foods is caprylic acid found in?

Caprylic acid is contained in some everyday foods, which we have listed below with their respective caprylic acid content:

caprylic acid supplier Milligrams of caprylic acid per 100 grams
coconut oil 7,500 to 9,500
Palm oil 4,800
goat milk 2,600 to 2,700
sheep milk 2,400 to 2,500
cow milk 1,300


As you can see, coconut oil has by far the highest caprylic acid content. But it is also found in small amounts in animal products.

What is the daily requirement of caprylic acid?

Since caprylic acid is not one of the essential fatty acids, it does not have to be ingested regularly through food. However, in some situations, taking them can produce extremely positive effects, which we will detail in the next section.

What is caprylic acid used for?

Taking caprylic acid has a number of positive effects for us humans, which we will explain to you in more detail below.

Candida infections

Many people today suffer from the disease-causing yeast Candida albicans. The colonization of the intestines with this fungus often leads to complaints such as chronic fatigue , headaches and a bloated stomach . The mucous membranes of the mouth and throat as well as the genital area can also be affected by the fungus.(2,3)

halved coconut

Coconut oil is considered to be the largest source of caprylic acid. (Image source: Unsplash/ Tirana Drndarski)

Here, taking caprylic acid can inhibit and prevent the growth and development of Candida albicans. This happens when the substance attacks the cell membrane of the yeast fungus, which then dies due to its instability. The caprylic acid also ensures that the mucus layer of the yeast fungus is destroyed so that it cannot settle there again (4,5,6,7)

energy supplier

Caprylic acid turns out to be the perfect alternative fuel as it works independently of insulin or sugar . Under normal circumstances, sugars in the form of carbohydrates serve as a source of energy for the body. With caprylic acid, however, the liver converts it into ketone bodies and releases them into the blood. The body then uses these ketone bodies instead of carbohydrates for energy.

The body does not need any insulin for this process of ketone formation. This is extremely positive, since a lot of insulin is needed to convert carbohydrates. The insulin level shoots up and supplies the body with energy for a short time. However, the insulin level then drops again and often leads to a drop in performance. This performance low is spared when taking caprylic acid as an energy supplier. (9.10)

ketogenic diet

Caprylic acid is also very popular as part of a ketogenic diet . It helps maximize the use of fat as energy. This is because taking caprylic acid speeds up the production of ketones in the body, which is the ultimate goal of keto advocates.

They do without carbohydrates for the most part in their diet and therefore have to obtain energy from other sources. With the help of caprylic acid, they can remain efficient and still reach the state of ketosis . (11,12,13)

How is caprylic acid taken?

True, caprylic acid is preserved in some foods. For a targeted fight against a Candida infection, however, it is recommended to take it in the form of preparations. Capsules are best for this, as they ensure that a large enough amount goes directly to the site of the problem, which in this case is the intestines. For good tolerability, the capsules should be taken with food and some liquid. (1)

When taking caprylic acid, it makes sense to gradually increase the dose to prevent initial aggravation. In the beginning, about 500 milligrams a day is enough. Over time, between 1000 and 2000 milligrams should be taken throughout the day. (1.8)

Woman in starting position of a sprint

Caprylic acid can be used as an energy source. (Image source: Unsplash/ Braden Collum)

On the other hand, on a keto diet, go with one oil and start with one teaspoon a day. You should increase the dose the more you eat keto. However, you should not take more than three tablespoons a day. (9)

What side effects can taking caprylic acid have?

If you pay attention to the recommended amount when taking caprylic acid, no negative side effects are to be expected. A significantly higher dose can lead to slight stomach irritation and nausea.

However, what can occur with successful therapy of a Candida infection is the so-called "Herxheimer reaction". This is an initial aggravation, which means that the patient only feels worse for a few days to weeks before there is a significant improvement in his or her health.

This effect is caused by the fact that the rapid death of Candida cells releases large amounts of toxins into the body. Discomfort in the form of headache, fever, exhaustion and nausea sets in. (1.9)

What should you look out for when buying caprylic acid?

With so many products, it's not always easy to find the right one for you. Therefore, we have put together three important criteria below that you should consider before buying your caprylic acid.

  • Dose : The dose indicated on the product indicates the potency. Since most yeast infections with Candida albicans are very stubborn, a high-dose product is recommended. Also make sure that the caprylic acid is not combined with other substances, as this usually indicates that there is only a small amount of caprylic acid in the product.
  • Purity: In general, when it comes to dietary supplements, you should always value the highest possible purity. This not only guarantees an optimal effect, but also protects you from unnecessary additives.
  • Dosage form: Note that you can take caprylic acid in the form of tablets, capsules or oil. While the oil has an immediate effect, you have to expect a slightly delayed effect with capsules, as they only dissolve in the stomach.

If you have checked your product for these three criteria, then you can count on a successful elimination of your problem.

How long should caprylic acid be taken?

In order to successfully fight a Candida infection, it is recommended to take it over a period of three to four months. This type of infection is often very persistent and therefore takes several months. (1)

If you are taking caprylic acid as part of a ketogenic diet or to increase performance in general, you can consume the oil daily to maintain the effect.


Caprylic acid is a fatty acid derived from coconut and palm oil and animal products such as cow and goat milk. It is a popular dietary supplement as it brings some benefits to the human body. In the case of a Candida infection of the intestinal tract or genital area, caprylic acid taken over a longer period of time can provide relief.

Apart from that, the acid is also highly sought after as an alternative source of energy and as part of a ketogenic diet. Since the body converts caprylic acid to ketones without insulin, you can benefit from high performance without insulin fluctuations. It also helps the body to reach the ketosis state faster.

Individual proofs(13)

  1. VitaminDoctor. Caprylic acid for a healthy intestinal flora - How caprylic acid works and inhibits the growth of the yeast Candida albicans. Source
  2. Wang Y. Looking into Candida albicans infection, host response, and antifungal strategies. Virulence. 2015;6(4):307-8. doi: 10.1080/21505594.2014.1000752. Epub 2015 Jan 15. PMID: 25590793; PMCID: PMC4601349. Source
  3. Poulain D. Candida albicans, plasticity and pathogenesis. Crit Rev Microbiol. 2015 Jun;41(2):208-17. doi: 10.3109/1040841X.2013.813904. Epub 2013 Aug 20. PMID: 23962107. Source
  4. Jadhav A, Mortale S, Halbandge S, Jangid P, Patil R, Gade W, Kharat K, Karuppayil SM. The Dietary Food Components Capric Acid and Caprylic Acid Inhibit Virulence Factors in Candida albicans Through Multitargeting. J Med Food. 2017 Nov;20(11):1083-1090. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.3971. Epub 2017 Sep 18. PMID: 28922057. Source
  5. Omura Y, O'Young B, Jones M, Pallos A, Duvvi H, Shimotsuura Y. Caprylic acid in the effective treatment of intractable medical problems of frequent urination, incontinence, chronic upper respiratory infection, root canalled tooth infection, ALS, etc. , caused by asbestos & mixed infections of Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori & cytomegalovirus with or without other microorganisms & mercury. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2011;36(1-2):19-64. doi: 10.3727/036012911803860886. PMID: 21830350. Source
  6. Arsenault, AB et al. (2019): Dietary Supplementation with Medium-Chain Triglycerides Reduces Candida Gastrointestinal Colonization in Preterm Infants. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2019 Feb; 38(2): 164-168. Source
  7. Bae, YS & Rhee, MS (2019): Short-Term Antifungal Treatments of Caprylic Acid with Carvacrol or Thymol Induce Synergistic 6-Log Reduction of Pathogenic Candida albicans by Cell Membrane Disruption and Efflux Pump Inhibition. Source
  8. Naturafoundation: caprylic acids. Source
  9. Brain-effect: CAPRYLIC ACID (C8) - ENERGY FROM KETONE BODIES. Friederike Kempf, March 22, 2017. Source
  10. Prince A, Zhang Y, Croniger C, Puchowicz M. Oxidative metabolism: glucose versus ketones. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;789:323-328. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-7411-1_43. PMID: 23852511. Source
  11. Keto Guide: All About MCT Oil. Source
  12. McGarry, JD, & Foster, DW (1971). The Regulation of Ketogenesis from Octanoic Acid The Role of the Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle and Fatty Acid Synthesis. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 246(4), 1149-1159. Source
  13. Miles, JM, Haymond, MW, Nissen, SL, & Gerich, JE (1983). Effects of free fatty acid availability, glucagon excess, and insulin deficiency on ketone production in postabsorptive man. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 71(6), 1554. Source
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