The health benefits of monolaurin, when found in breast milk, include the ability to treat and prevent the common cold, influenza, swine flu, herpes and shingles, states WedMD. This natural chemical, when absorbed in breast milk, is used to fight infections and to build and boost the immune system.
Monolaurin is a naturally occurring chemical found in lauric acid, one of the main fatty acids in breast milk, according to ExpertNutrition.com. Known as nature’s first antibiotic, studies show this chemical can disrupt the outer coating of harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses, making it an important chemical for infants with developing immune systems. Studies have found that monolaurin from breast milk may also help shield children from certain skin conditions caused by bacteria. Other research has found that in addition to aiding in the development of the child’s immune system, monolaurin can help prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to children, according to WebMD.
Although it can be found in coconut oil, coconut milk and in manufactured dietary supplements, the largest natural source of monolaurin is human breast milk, according to WebMD. While safe for infants when in a mother’s breast milk, RXlist.com recommends that breastfeeding and pregnant women do not take monolaurin in supplement form.