Over the last decade things like coconut oil, avocado oil and sesame oil have taken the health world by storm, these alternatives are an optimal way to add healthy fats to our diets while offering a more pure ingredient to our health regiments. But just when you thought you were up to date on all the latest health fads here comes another…. MCT oil. Like the other oils we mentioned above, MCT Oil is a healthy saturated fatty acid that has a long list of health benefits from an increase in brain function to the support of weight loss and weight management.
What Does MCT Mean?
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides which is a type of saturated fatty acid, commonly MCT oil is made in a lab by combining the medium-chain triglycerides from both coconut oil and palm oil. More recently however most MCT oil is crafted using just coconut oil, this is due in large to the how palm oil sourced and the damage it does on the environment. Saturated fats all fall into the category of medium- or long-chain triglycerides, which points to the amount of carbons found in the chain. MCT oil has between 6-12 carbons in its chain making it a high concentrated dose of beneficial fatty acids. When created MCT high carbon count means that our body digests the fatty acid quicker, in turn making it a cleaner source of fuel for both the body and brain. This means that your body will get the proper energy it needs without the fillers that come with traditional saturated fats like sugar and processed ingredients.
The four different types of of MCTs are:
- caprioc (acid C6:0)
- caprylic (acid C8:0)
- capric (acid C10:0)
- lauric (acid C12:0)
The shorter the chain (lower amount of carbons) the quicker the body can convert that fatty acid into a positive source of energy. Regardless of the different types of MCT oil, they all have a health impact on our body, specifically for those who cant digest other types of fats or for people who suffer from malabsorption issues, digestive disorders, Crohn’s disease, gallbladder infections and other such issues.
Typically when we hear the term ‘saturated fats’ we automatically think of unhealthy fatty processed foods, but as the science surrounding saturated fats becomes clearer there is a strong indication that not all saturated fats are bad for us. Normally when we consume foods with saturated fats from the grocery store they are high in things like sugar, salt or other processed ingredients, but with MCT oil it’s different. Since MCT oil is known as a quick digestion fat opposed to the slow digestion of other saturated fats with the added ingredients mentioned above, it means our body absorbs and metabolizes the saturated fats at a much quicker rate. This means that the saturated fats are quickly turned into a healthy fuel for our bodies to operate off of compared to longer-chain fats such as olive oil and butter which are slow burning fats and are commonly to get stored in our body resulting in weight gain.
So you may be wondering, how is MCT oil made? Well it is made just like any other oil based fat. Using a process called fractionation, the caprylic and capric acid are extracted from other fats such as coconut oil. Once these MCTs are isolated, a chemical process called lipase esterification is used to produce triglycerides using the enzyme lipase.
Health Benefits of MCT
Helps With Weight Loss and Encourages Ketosis
Losing weight is one of the hardest things to do when trying to achieve targeted health goals, finding the right diet can be exhausting and sometimes discourage people from taking better care of themselves. MCT oil however is an effortless way to help reduce your weight and most importantly, keep it off.
The Keto diet is a perfect example of how the theory of MCT oil can help reduce weight. When on the keto diet the goal is that up to 90% of your caloric intake should come directly from fat and not carbohydrates (bread, pasta ect) which provides energy through glucose. When on the keto diet avoiding glucose and consuming high amounts of fat, specifically fats like MCTs help the body get rid of extra fat while providing ample energy to make it through the day.
When consuming MCT it produces a greater sensation of feeling full which in turn means that we will consume less food due to the lack of hunger and low energy. MCT is a great source for increasing energy expenditures which helps rapidly burn more calories.
MCT and Help With Gut Health
While MCTs can help you lose weight and boost energy levels it can also help stabilize digestion issues, working similarly as a probiotic within the gut. When we consume MCTs it focuses on harmful bacteria in the gut while also leaving the healthy bacteria in tact, MCTs can specifically help reduce the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is common for causing things like diarrhea.
MCTs also have shown that they can increase intestinal permeability and help benefit gastrointestinal health, helping those who suffer with things like gastrointestinal illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease, leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease and gallbladder infections.
MCT Can Improve Brain Health
Did you know that most of our brain consists of fatty acids, meaning we need a healthy steady supply to feel at our absolute best, from a clearer mind to staying sharp in our old age, healthy fatty acids are vital in maintaining our brain.
When we consume MCT it can stimulate our ketone production, which is beneficial for our brain because ketones are used by the brain as a high energy source and to also improve cognitive function. Some studies have shown the MCTs can even help those with cognitive impairment and those who have early Alzheimer’s disease , it has also shown signs it can help with other brain based diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, gliomas, and autism.
MCT oil Can Improve Athletic Performance
MCT has become increasingly popular with athletes due to its energy boosting effects and endurance boosting capabilities. MCT oil has shown that it can significantly reduce blood lactate levels during moderate and intense workout and help prolong the duration of higher intensity workouts. When we consume MCT oil it can help make activities easier, increase endurance and boost overall performance. This links back to ketones and allows the body to have a readily available source. Our body uses these ketones from the MCT oil to help preserve stored sugars that the body uses to increase workout intensity. When we burn more ketones, the healthy fats, we will rely more on metabolic processes which won’t create lactate as a by-product.
MCT oil Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Studies have shown that MCT oil can possibly contribute to helping with insult sensitivity which is a important factor when trying to prevent or treat diabetes. It has been found that MCTs have a small effect on hypoglycemia, helping those dealing with diabetes or with prediabetes. As we’ve mentioned above MCT oil can help prevent cognitive decline and with many who experience diabetes they experience cognitive performance issues, specifically during hypoglycemia.
MCT oil Can Help With Heart Health
Studies conducted on animals have shown that MCT oil can help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries and help reduce the risk of heart disease. MCTs can prevent coagulation, lower cholesterol levels, and act as an antioxidant, all of which can help prevent plaque build up in our arteries.
It should be noted some individuals can experience higher cholesterol levels due to MCT supplements. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes.
How To Take MCT
There are three main ways to consume MCT Oil that can accommodate anyone’s schedule and routine with very little effort whatsoever. Each method comes down to choice and personal preference but please consult with your doctor before adding MCT oil to your diet.
MCT Oil Capsules
This is by far the most coinvent and easy way to get your daily dose of MCT oil, easy for those traveling or constantly on the go. Along with being extremely convenient MCT oil capsules are also odorless and flavorless for those with sensitive senses. When taking capsules please refer to the instructions on the bottle for recommended daily uses.
MCT Oil Liquid
This is the original form the MCT oil comes in. Adding a tablespoon of liquid MCT oil to your morning coffee or pre workout beverages can help you reach the healthy fat levels you want during a day and also help boost your energy and cognitive function. It also has very little flavor or smell so adding it to foot recipes is also a great way to get your daily intake without taking the dosage straight. And if you are wondering if MCT oil is water soluble? Yes it is. When taking liquid MCT oil please refer to the instructions on the bottle for recommended daily uses.
When taking MCT Powered many use it to add a creamy texture, this is commonly seen in drinks like coffee and smoothies. Like other health food powder products all you have to do is add a spoonful to your desired liquid, many just simply add it to a glass of water. When taking powder MCT oil please refer to the instructions on the bottle for recommended daily uses.
When Should You Take MCT Oil?
The easiest answer is to take it whenever you feel the need for a boost of energy. When we consume MCT oil our body will begin to burn it instantly creating a naturally sourced type of fuel for our energy levels. Whether you take it to wake you up in the morning or to get you through that midday lull, MCT oil is a fantastic way to get you healthy fats with very little fuss.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Can MCT Oil be Organic
Yes, MCT oil can be organic. Though not very common, MCT oil can come in organic form where is does not consist of certain ingredients and is usually GMO free.
Is MCT Oil Bad For Your Liver?
Individuals with uncontrolled diabetes or with liver disease should avoid MCT oil because it can possibly increase ketones in the body. It is best to consult your doctor before taking MCT Oil.
Is MCT Oil Bad For Your Heart?
MCT oil can help with weight loss which in turn can improve heart health, it can also help lower the levels of bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol. It is best to consult your doctor before taking MCT Oil.
Are There Negative Side Effects To MCT Oil?
MCT oil is a safe product to consume but because it is technically a pure fat if you take too much you can develop symptoms such as bloating, cramming, nausea and diarrhea. It is best to consult your doctor before taking MCT Oil.
Why Does MCT Oil Make You Poop?
MCT Oil is no more of a laxative than any other oil, meaning that when consumed at too high a dose, it can cause digestive disturbances