Monolaurin Prevents COVID Mortality

January 02, 2022

COVID Metabolomics Finds Monolaurin as a Predictor of Mortality

We have referenced this before, metabolomics, and here it is again around COVID. It becomes more important to understand. With Omicron surging at 5-7 times infectivity rate, you may want to pay attention to this idea.

What is metabolomics? It is the study of everything in your "metabolome", or everything that your genes make in your blood. Your genome is the genes you have inherited. Your metabolome is the result of those genes in the environment you are living. When you activate genes, your DNA makes messenger RNA to manufacture new proteins. That you know. Your messenger RNA gets sent out all over your body in exosomes and to adjacent cells via pores so that individual cells communicate with their near neighbors and with distant cells. That makes for a coordinated, system-wide response to environmental challenges.

This method of science is actually a reversal of the usual method for studying disease. Instead of looking at COVID patients the old-fashioned way, trying one treatment after another based on prior experience, metabolomics looks at many patients with COVID and measures everything in their blood. Everything. Like the human genome project that measures every gene, and then looks at what genes are associated with what illnesses, metabolomics looks at every molecule made and present in the blood that represent a successful response to any given illness.

In this case, the illness being examined was COVID. In Italy, 51 health care workers at high risk for getting COVID had their blood examined by this method. As reported in Nature Magazine, health care workers are at high risk for developing COVID. They are real heroes. And in fact, of the 51, half-developed COVID within the month. This was at the beginning of the pandemic, prior to adequate PPE when everyone was scrambling, trying to discover just what it was that put folks at risk, and how to properly protect our precious health care workers.

Metabolomics is not an easy or inexpensive method. You aren't performing a "Chem 12", the standard blood test looking at traditional risk measures. A metabolomics test is essentially a "Chem 25,000", measuring everything in the blood. That takes huge computing power, and more importantly, it takes a lot of exploration to figure out what all those compounds are in the blood. This is the same process Goodenowe did in his cohort from Rush-Presbyterian with aging Catholic clergy. That takes time. The investigators found 322 "small molecules" that they went to work on to see what was helpful. (This did not look at much larger proteins, antibodies, and other complex compounds.)

But what popped out was monolaurin. Monolaurin is basically a product of coconut oil. It is known for having antiviral effects, but even WEB MD states that it "needs further study". Monolaurin blood levels were highly correlated in these health care workers with not getting sick from COVID. It is known to "dissolve" the viral membrane of viruses very effectively. N,N dimethylglycine, an amino acid, also popped out. Finally, higher levels of cholesterol appeared as a risk factor. This correlates with statins that also appear to be partially protective against COVID.

This study is the first to show the scientific process of metabolomics on COVID. It adds to a recent report in MedRxIV from Englandfollowing some 327,000 folks that people taking probiotics, Vitamin D, fish oil and multivitamins, did better against COVID. Now we can add monolaurin or just straight-up coconut oil. In fact, the authors suggest that the use of topical coconut oil may also confer some benefit.

www.What will Work for me? With the looming threat of a third wave of COVID, we are all a bit off balance. I am. I'm vaccinated three times and I wear a mask everywhere I go. But adding coconut oil to my regular cooking is pretty easy. I can order monolaurin as a supplement, and in fact, just did. I can take one more pill for a couple of months without choking to death from too many pills. I do have a small nostalgic moment for my childhood in India where, in my teenage desire to look cool like Americans, I greased my hair with coconut oil. Made my glasses fall down as is melted down behind my ears. I have no photos from the 60s with my glasses up. But at least my hair looked like Elvis...well, vaguely.

References: Nature, Jr Food Safety, MedRxIV, Med MD

Pop Quiz

1. What is monolaurin?                     Answer: part of coconut oil. It is basically a 12 carbon fatty acid attached to glycerol. Humans store energy as 16 carbon fatty acids.  It's in the medium chain fatty acid family, which may explain why it "dissolves" viral coat membranes.

2. What is my metabolome?                  Answer: the sum of all the products your body makes that is floating around in your blood outside of your cells.

3. How can you test it?                            Answer: If you read the paper in Nature, they took a mass spectrometer to find every product they could in 51 health care workers and ended up with 322 "small particles". It would have taken far longer to explore larger proteins, peptides, and hormones. But is there a blood test for monolaurin? No.

4. What else was associated with better survival with COVID?                                       Answer: N,N dimethyl glycine, an amino acid and lower cholesterol. (Those topics will have to wait for another day.)

5. Are there other supplements proven by population studies you can take that help COVID survival?                                  Answer: Yes. A review of 327,000+ British folks showed that Vitamin D, probiotics, omega-3 fats, and multivitamins all were associated with better survival. Sounds like a pretty good handbook.