Capric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid found in saturated fats. Small amounts are present in cow’s milk and goat’s milk, but it is abundant in tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil. Capric acid, together with other medium-chain triglycerides, is responsible for the health benefits attributed to coconut oil.
Lactating mothers who include virgin coconut oil in their diet have higher amounts of capric acid in their milk, according to study results published in 1998 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Capric acid — together with lauric acid and caprylic acid, other medium-chain fatty acids — helps to increase levels of high-density lipoproteins — HDL, the “good” cholesterol — relative to low-density lipoproteins — LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. HDL helps protect children from infections and toxins. Researchers at the University of California-Davis found Infections in children to be accompanied by high levels of LDL relative to HDL, they note in a study published in 2004 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”