By Joan Clark
For decades, athletes have been using a secret weapon to help them increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat. MCT, or medium chain triglycerides, are a type of fat that you find in palm kernel oil, coconut oil, and numerous dairy products, that your body can quickly absorb. The quick absorption and digestion can provide you with numerous MCT oil benefits that include improved cognition, weight management, and heart health among others.
Using MCT oil regularly can be beneficial for those who might be struggling with poor digestive health, low energy, hormonal imbalances, obesity, Alzheimer’s, dementia, slow metabolism, inflammatory conditions, and diabetes. The health benefits gained from consuming MCT oils regularly make it an increasingly popular daily supplement.
As a clean fuel, they can improve your body’s mitochondrial function, which contributes to reducing your risks for diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative diseases. In this article, we’re going to learn what is MCT oil, the differences between MCT oil vs. coconut oil and more ways that MCT oil can benefit you.
MCT Oil Benefits
MCT oils are extremely easy for the body to break down and convert into usable energy. Their easy absorption into the body makes them an excellent therapy for people that have malabsorption issues or who are missing their gallbladder. They also have many other health benefits when taken on a regular basis. Here are some great benefits you can gain by consuming MCT oils on a daily basis.
1. Improved Cognition
A superior brain fuel, MCTs convert to important ketones shortly after ingesting them. With just 20 grams of MCT, it can offer protection against degenerative neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The ketones provide the brain with energy and protect its neural pathways, which help to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions. According to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), they believe that using MCT oils can improve memory function and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.(..)
2. Improves Energy
MCTs are an excellent way to improve your energy without suffering from any of the side effects that other stimulants like caffeine can produce. The liver processes them easily, so they absorb quickly into the body and provide rapid and sustained energy without the need to increase the amount of food you eat. The quick absorption by the body makes it the perfect kind of energy that is perfect for athletes and bodybuilders.
3. MCT Oil for Weight Loss
MCT oils raise your metabolic rate and help increase your feeling of satiation when you use them in part with a healthy diet. Compared to other kinds of fats and oils, MCTs appear to have positive effects on fat burning, which can result in a reduction in weight. When used as a dietary supplement, MCTs have exhibited the ability to suppress the depositing of fat throughout the cells in the body through improved thermogenesis and fat oxidation.
MCTs, help you burn more body fat and produce more ketones, which provide you with effects that are similar to those gained from a ketogenic diet, without having to decrease the number of net carbohydrates that you consume.(..)
4. Heart Health
In 2010, The Journal of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods published a study that suggests that MCTs can help decrease your risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Doctors include metabolic syndrome with a cluster of metabolic disorders including abdominal obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and reduced fasting glucose levels. Their ability to help decrease your odds of becoming obese reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, due in part to MCT oils anti-inflammatory properties, easy digestion, satiating effects, and transformation into energy.
5. Improves Mood
Your brain mainly consists of fatty acids, making it necessary to consume a steady supply of these fatty acids through your diet for you to think clearly, feel your best, stay sharp and perform well at your job.
Feeding your brain cells isn’t the only benefit, but it also improves the health of your gut, which connects to cognitive functioning. MCTs improve the bacterial health of the gut, growth, performance, and the digestion of essential nutrients like proteins and fiber, helping to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.(..)
6. Improves Digestion
Balancing bacteria in the gut is another great benefit of MCT oils, one that provides a positive effect on energy expenditure, digestive symptoms, and the body’s ability to better absorb the vitamins and minerals found in the foods you eat every day.
The MCTs can assist in killing a wide variety of pathogenic strains, viruses, and bacteria that are responsible for numerous digestive issues like constipation, candida, food poisoning, diarrhea, and stomach aches, among others.
7. Improves Nutrient Absorption
The healthy fats found in MCT oils are essential for the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients, which are in many of the foods that you eat every day. To utilize the nutrients, you consume through your diet; you also have to eat enough source of healthy fat to aid in their absorption into your body. Nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin A, lutein, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium can be more easily absorbed by the body when you consume enough healthy fats with your diet.(..)
8. Antiviral and Antibacterial
The antiviral properties of MCT oils are directly related to the medium chain fatty acids that you find in the oil. Medium chain fatty acids work amazingly and are unique in that you only find them in a few places in nature.
Both bacteria and viruses have an outer coating, like skin, protecting their DNA from foreign invaders. This skin is malleable, and fluid like and is made up of a fatty substance. The rest of the organism, including its DNA, resides within the fatty, skin-like material. This fatty acid is attracted to the fatty acids found in MCT oil, allowing for easy absorption into the organism. The medium chain fatty acids that are the framework of MCT oils are much smaller than those of the organism, which works to break the pathogen’s casing apart, eventually killing the organism.(..)
The MCT oils in coconut oil have many antifungal and antimicrobial properties. The medium-chain fatty acids have shown to be effective in disrupting bacterial, viral, and fungal cell membranes, which lead to the cell’s death.
10. Enhances Immune System
Studies suggest that MCT oil kills the microorganisms that invade the body and contribute to chronic inflammation of the intestines. MCT improves the immune system, which defends your body against numerous illnesses and conditions. Because of MCT oil’s quick absorption rate, it protects against inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and IBS. Consuming healthy fats is essential for your immune system to function properly.
11. Balances Blood Sugar Levels
When consumed regularly, MCT oils help balance blood sugar levels, the main symptom of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. They achieve this by
- preventing fat from depositing in your cells and
- blocking sugars from accumulating in your muscles and energy stores.
MCT oils can assist those with Diabetes and those at risk of developing the disease by
- helping control obesity,
- optimizing digestion, and
- increasing metabolism.
12. Increase physical endurance
The fatty acids in MCT oil increase your energy on a cellular level. Increased cellular energy can improve your endurance by sparing the glucose in your body and increasing your body’s glycogen stores.
Increased glycogen stores last longer and help delay the fatigue felt by your body after extended activity.
13. Hormone Support
For those struggling with hormone imbalance, MCT oils may be what you need. You need to consume enough healthy fats to create and maintain the proper levels of hormones in your body. Hormones are responsible for helping your mood, increasing your metabolism, and preventing depression and other hormonal disorders. High in healthy fatty acids, MCTs contribute to balanced hormones and improve the body’s insulin sensitivity. Improved insulin sensitivity can be beneficial in maintaining a healthy weight.
14. Hair and Nail Health
The fatty acids found in MCT oils are ideal for providing a natural moisturizer for both hair and nails. Using it on your scalp can help to treat dandruff, which is essentially a fungus that results in an imbalance of fatty acid in the skin.
Getting enough fatty acids, like those found in MCT oil, in your diet can lead to having a healthier scalp.
15. Brain Health
Your brain needs a constant stream of energy to function properly. However, since it is not able to store the energy it needs, it relies on getting its energy from your blood glucose. When your blood glucose levels get low, your liver jumps into action, breaking down stored body fat to produce essential ketones.
There are two ways in which you can provide these necessary ketones that your brain needs to function. You can eat a high fat, low carbohydrate diet, or you can consume MCT oils on a daily basis. MCT oils’, medium chain fatty acids, help to raise the blood levels of the ketones so they can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, providing your brain with instant energy.
16. Lower Cholesterol
The regular use of MCT oils is linked to lower levels of cholesterol. When consumed with a low-calorie diet, studies have shown that MCT oils can reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and increase the levels of HDL cholesterol in the body, compared to consuming other types of oils, like soybean oil.
The improvements in both cholesterol and antioxidants have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease over the long term.
What is MCT Oil?
MCTs are a unique type of saturated fat known as medium-chain triglycerides. Triglycerides are the fat molecules that are made up of glycerol and three fatty acids. At least two of the fatty acids that branch off of the glycerol is considered medium length, meaning they have between 6 and 12 carbon atoms. Because they are relatively short, MCT oils are easier to digest, allowing them to burn as fuel rather than getting stored as fat.
Which is better: MCT or Coconut Oil
MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil
Is MCT oil and coconut oil the same? While coconut oil contains the highest levels of the MCT oil, the main difference between the two is that MCT oils are more concentrated and are composed of the four different kinds of MCT oil. Unlike coconut oil, MCT oil is manufactured to separate the medium-chain triglycerides from the rest of the fatty acids.
What are the Different Types of MCTs?
Four Types of MCTs
- C6 (Caproic Acid)
- C8 (Caprylic Acid)
- C10 (Capric Acid)
- C12 (Lauric Acid)
There are four different types of MCTs that coconut oil contains. True MCT can bypass processing by the liver, making it easier to be absorbed into the body and transformed into useable ketones for your body to use as energy. MCT oil is solely composed of medium-chain fatty acids and in its more concentrated forms, provide even stronger doses of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting fatty acids.
C6 (Caproic Acid)
Caproic acid is a medium chain fatty acid that is made up of six carbon chains. It comes in minimal concentrations in MCT oil and is often unintentionally processed out of them. This type of fatty acid tastes unpleasant but can be converted to useful ketones quickly, along with valuable clean energy sources and ATP. It is a highly effective treatment for conditioning the skin without breaking down fatty acid chains. Caproic acid has long been used to treat skin conditions like athlete’s foot and ringworms.
C8 (Caprylic Acid)
Caprylic acid is an important medium chain fatty acids. Low concentrations exist in coconut oil. It is directly linked to improved cognition and quickly converts into usable energy without being processed by the liver. It is also known to provide a burst of energy, while providing immune support, due to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
C10 (Capric Acid)
This fatty contains ten carbon chains and makes up around nine percent of coconut oil. It doesn’t get absorbed as quickly into the body as C8 fatty acids but is typically the less expensive form of MCT oil supplements. Like the C6 and C8, capric acid bypasses processing by the liver to process into usable ketone energy quicker.
C12 (Lauric Acid)
The most abundant type of MCT, lauric acid contains 12 carbon chains and composes nearly 50 percent of coconut oil. C12 fatty acids aren’t able to bypass being process by the liver. Instead, they stop in the liver before converting to useable ketone energy. Our digestive system breaks the acid down into monolaurin, which defends our bodies against pathogens, viruses, fungi, parasites, and bacteria. It’s considered one of the healthiest fats in the world, but can be hard to find in its natural form.
How To Use MCT Oil
You can use MCT oils in a variety of different ways. Add it to your salad dressing, blend into a smoothie, add to your coffee, and cook with it. Take 85 mg of MCT oil daily to enhance athletic performance.
Additionally, use it just like coconut oil and add it to your homemade shaving creams, skin care products, toothpaste, and acne scrubs.
MCT Oil Possible Side Effects
- Stomach discomfort
- Gastric issues
- Hot flashes
- High blood pressure
MCT Oil Side Effects
MCT oil has very minimal side effects and is usually as a result of the supplement being of poor quality. When first starting the supplement, you may experience side effects.
As you continue to take the supplement, however, you will notice that the side effects will gradually diminish and that your body will acclimate to the oil.
How Much Should You Take?
When you are first starting with an MCT oil supplement, you want to begin with just one tablespoon per day. After your body becomes used to the supplement, you can increase your intake to three tablespoons a day. If you are using MCT oils to boost your metabolism, improve your cognitive function, or maintain a healthy weight, take one to three tablespoons every day, in the morning.