Myristic Acid

Myristic acid can be found in both animal fats and plant oils - it being a fatty acid that is quite common. The name has been coined because of carbon molecules chain of 14 with CH3 group and COOH group at both respective ends.

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This myristic acid is fatty acid that is saturated. Thus except for COOH group all the links in the chain are hydrogen molecules saturated. Double bonds are not there. The molecule can also be designated as 14:0 thus indicating a chain length of carbon of 14 sans double bonds.

In 1841 Playfair L discovered myristic acid in a tropical tree (Myristica fragrans) seed - the nutmeg. From this tree the name has been coined. Three quarters of nutmeg butter comprises of trimyristin - derived from myristic acid. This compound's source is also in coconut oil, palm oil as well as butter fat. Myristic acid is seen as white powder that is crystalline in form; it cannot be dissolved in water. Myristate is this compound's salt.

There are many uses for myristic acid - soaps, ester synthesis for flavouring and perfumes, cosmetics and also as additives to food grades.

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Myristic acid is also surfactant; that helps in mixing water with dirt and oil enabling easy rinsing. The foaming is plentiful.

On top of this it is a good opacifying agent allowing reduction of the clear looks of cosmetics such as concealing agents that has been formulated for hiding blemishes.

For synthesizing organic matter and spices myristic acid acts as useful chemical agent.

It becomes useful in manufacturing emulsifiers, curing agents, waterproofing agents, plasticizers and PVC heat stabilizers. It is also a raw material for spices and pharmaceutical products.

Primarily myristic acid is used as a raw material for surfactant production for manufacturing fatty-acid esters of sorbitan, glycerol, ethylene and or propylene glycol. It comes in use for producing isopropyl myristate etc. Also it comes in handy for producing flavouring agents and defoamers.

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For preparation of this myristic acid it is required to obtain methyl ester of fatty acids that are mixed or fatty acid mixed methyl ester taken from palm oil kernels or coconut oil. These are subjected to vacuum fractionation for getting myristic acid. For lab preparation tetradecanoate or glycerol tris is subjected to saponification process with solution of sodium hydroxide (10%); further it is acidified with addition of hydrochloric acid to get myristic acid that is free. It may also be produced from tetradecanol.

Why this name fatty acid? It is because this group of acids is water soluble at one of its ends - the group named COOH; the opposite end (CH3 group) is oil-fats soluble. Naturally fatty acids that have been derived have a minimum of eight carbons in their chains. Fatty acids linked to myristic acid are inclusive of lauric acid (12:0), palmitic acid (16:0) plus stearic acid (18:0). These fatty acids that are saturated are all found in oil of the coconut.

Traditionally fatty acids that are saturated are thought to be not good for the dietary list; the charge is that these increase levels of cholesterol. Certain kind of high levels of cholesterol invite heart diseases. The liver manufactures cholesterol from too much of fatty acids that is saturated in food partaken even if the person refrains from consuming any cholesterol. Modern research shows that medium length fatty acids that are saturated found inside oil of coconut may not cause harm as fatty acids that are saturated having chains that are longer.

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Population data indicated that those who are habituated to eating coconut are not prone to having high levels of cholesterol in their blood serum; neither is numbers high of those suffering from coronary heart ailments. Adding unprocessed oil of coconut to a usual American diet has shown multiple results. Mostly no change in cholesterol levels has been noted in blood stream; sometimes though total cholesterol level has decreased.

Other studies indicate that myristic acid is specifically effective in helping the liver in synthesizing cholesterol. Research shows that consuming too much of acid that is fatty increases levels of cholesterol in blood of both humans and animals. Studying the impact of a dietary item on any individual and trying to read its overall health reaction is extremely complex. Considering these challenges it will require in depth research studies to completely comprehend the part myristic acid plays on human health.

Consumption of myristic acid significantly hikes levels of total cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol as compared with consumption of palmitic acid or carbohydrates. However it seems not impact on HDL cholesterol levels.

The effects of these are more powerful than palmitic acid. Yet myristic acid, in the same way as palmitic acid seems to step up of the levels of large LDL particles. Many of the scientists think that there is not much to be concerned about this.

Myristic acid - a comparatively rare acid that is fatty is not available in big doses in most items of food although some fats and oils do have reasonable doses of it.

Oil from coconut as well as palm kernel have comparatively high doses of myristic acid but also they have other kinds of fats that could be offsetting the impact of myristic acid on liquid profile of blood.

It has been proved that myristic acid is highly effective in dealing with problem of fat metabolism as well as loss of weight together with improving the quality of the brain and nerves. It also assists in checking ageing and comes in handy as a supplementary process. It is extremely useful if not taken in big quantities; overdoses of myristic acid could cause poisoning and other grave side effects.

Side effects and cautions

It is required to contact the physician prior to taking myristic acid informing him about the medications currently being consumed - the over-the-counter items like vitamins, herbal varieties and the like. Some health problems could make one more prone to the drug's side effects. Thus the intake should be as per the advice of the physician; alternatively the directions printed on the item should be followed. The dosage is related to the condition of the user. The doctor should be informed about either persistence or worsening of the condition.

Among the most common side effects reported from consumption of myristic acid are irritation of the skin and eyes.

The side-effects are probable but do not invariably occur. Some may be serious and rare. The doctor should be consulted if any of the listed effects are noted and more so if they persist.


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