Lauric Acid

  • Lauric acid, also properly known as dodecanoic acid, is a saturated fatty acid commonly found in coconut oil and palm oil, as well as in abundance in human breast milk. It converts to a substance called monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been shown to be useful in increasing immunity and fighting viruses and disease.
  • Infants consume it during breastfeeding, and children, teens and adults ingest it by eating the fruits and oils that contain it.
  • Common Sources: Dodecanoic acid is found naturally in a handful of sources, primarily plant oils and milk. Coconut Milk is probably the best-known source, as 45 – 57% of its fats are lauric. Palm kernel oil and laurel oil also have high concentrations of around 50%. Human breast milk has the next highest level at around 6%, followed by goat and cow’s milk, which both have around 3%.



  • Manufacturing: Companies frequently use lauric acid to make shampoo and soap — it is often paired with sodium hydroxide and typically is on product labels as sodium laurel sulfate. Its chemical composition lets it interact with fats, as well as polar solvents, which are substances that dissolve other things and which have a small electrical charge — water is an example. As a result, it can bond with the oils found on hair, after which a person can wash it away. Other common uses include the manufacturing of lauryl alcohol, insecticides and cosmetics.
  • Application in Cooking: Both palm oils and coconut oil, excellent sources of lauric acid, are acceptable for use in cooking. The first type is widely used in commercial food production, because it is relatively inexpensive. The second is prized for its sweet flavor and is often preferred for making particular types of seafood. The use of these options varies by region. In the United States and much of North America, for example, people rely more on vegetable oil, but many tropical countries still predominantly use coconut and palm versions.

Other Names

Acide Laurique, Acide N-dodécanoïque, Ácido Láurico, Coconut Oil Extract, Extrait d’Huile de Noix de Coco, N-dodecanoic Acid, N-alkanoic Acid.


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