Glycerol monolaurate inhibits Candida and Gardnerella vaginalis in vitro and in vivo but not Lactobacillus

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Feb;54(2):597-601. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01151-09. Epub 2009 Dec 14.


We investigated the effects of glycerol monolaurate (GML) on Lactobacillus, Candida, and Gardnerella vaginalis human vaginal microflora. Our previous work demonstrated that 6 months of GML treatment vaginally does not alter lactobacillus counts in monkeys. Candida and G. vaginalis are commonly associated with vaginal infections in women, many becoming chronic or recurrent. In vitro growth inhibition studies determined the effects of GML (0 to 500 microg/ml) against multiple Candida species and G. vaginalis. A randomized, double-blind study investigated the effects of GML on vaginal microflora Lactobacillus, Candida, and G. vaginalis in colonized or infected women (n=36). Women self-administered intravaginal gels containing 0% (n=14), 0.5% (n=13), or 5% (n=9) GML every 12 h for 2 days. Vaginal swabs were collected before and immediately after the first gel administration and 12 h after the final gel administration. Swabs were tested for Lactobacillus, Candida, G. vaginalis, and GML. In vitro GML concentrations of 500 microg/ml were candicidal for all species tested, while a concentration of 10 microg/ml was bactericidal for G. vaginalis. Control and GML gels applied vaginally in women did not alter vaginal pH or Lactobacillus counts. Control gels reduced G. vaginalis counts but not Candida counts, whereas GML gels reduced both Candida and G. vaginalis. No adverse events were reported by participating women. GML is antimicrobial for Candida and G. vaginalis in vitro. Vaginal GML gels in women do not affect Lactobacillus negatively but significantly reduce Candida and G. vaginalis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravaginal
  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Candida / physiology
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / drug effects*
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / drug effects*
  • Lactobacillus / physiology
  • Laurates / pharmacology*
  • Laurates / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Monoglycerides / pharmacology*
  • Monoglycerides / therapeutic use*
  • Vagina / microbiology
  • Vaginal Creams, Foams, and Jellies / pharmacology
  • Vaginal Creams, Foams, and Jellies / therapeutic use
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Laurates
  • Monoglycerides
  • Vaginal Creams, Foams, and Jellies
  • monolaurin