When it comes to your health, it can be hard to know which products you should be using and which are just sponsored ads on Instagram. MCT oil is a product you may have heard of that’s been gaining a lot of popularity and for good reason.
So what is it? And is it something you should be adding to your daily diet? We’re going to break down everything “MCT” for you in this article. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be wiser and one step closer to a healthier you!
Before we get into all of the things that MCT oil can do for you, let’s talk about what it actually is. First things first, it is necessary to know that triglycerides is a fancy word for fats.
MCT oil is a supplement made from highly concentrated medium-chain triglycerides. These are smaller than the long-chain triglycerides that are found in foods that you eat, making them easier for your body to digest. This mean they are absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly, turning into energy you can use.
Medium-chain triglycerides are able to go more directly to your liver, where they become instant energy for your body, or they get turned into ketones.
Ketones are produced when your liver breaks down fats. These are useful because they can cross from the bloodstream to your brain, where they act as a source of fuel for your brain.
The popularity of coconut oil, for a bunch of health issues, is certainly responsible for the rise in use of MCT oil. That’s because coconut oil is one of the main sources of MCTs, the other source you are likely to find is palm kernel oil.
The MCT oil that you will find as a supplement is made by putting those oils through a process called fractionation. Basically, the process extracts the MCTs, isolates them and leaves you with a concentrated version that you can easily introduce into your diet.
Promotes Weight Loss – There are several reasons that MCT oil can help promote weight loss, the first being that it will help you feel full faster. It has been shown to increase the release of peptide YY and leptin into the body. These are the hormones that make you feel full, so if your body is releasing more of them, you’ll feel full sooner.
This feeling isn’t just momentary either. One study found that individuals that included MCT oil as part of their breakfast also ate less food at lunch.
Also, as we talked about earlier, MCT oil is an instant source of energy. This keeps your body from storing those fats for later use.
In addition, MCT oil has been shown to support the growth of good bacteria that keeps your gut healthy. Maintaining a healthy gut is an important factor in maintaining a healthy weight.
May Reduce Lactic Acid Buildup – All of us that exercise regularly know that lactic acid is not our friend. It’s the stuff that makes your muscles tired during your workout and so sore after.
Studies have shown that athletes who ingested MCT oil before exercise showed significant less lactic acid buildup during and after exercise. In addition, because their muscles weren’t experiencing that buildup, the athletes reported their workouts felt easier.
May Help Manage Alzheimer’s – One of the ways that Alzheimer’s affects your brain is by impairing its ability to use sugar. But, remember what we talked about earlier…
MCT oil helps your body produce ketones that work as energy for your brain. Those ketones help brain cells survive longer. They also block certain receptors in the brain that cause memory loss.
One study found that even just one dose of MCTs improved short-term cognition in 20 people with Alzheimer’s. There are a lot of factors that affect Alzheimer’s, but these initial study results are very promising.
Reduces Factors for Heart Disease Like Weight and Cholesterol – As we have talked about in the past, heart disease is a major health concern. We also know that a healthy weight is a major contributor to heart health. This is where MCTs ability to support fat and weight loss is key.
In addition, MCTs have been shown to help with your cholesterol, which is also a major contributor to heart disease. And it works in two different, but complementary ways. Studies have shown reductions in bad cholesterol when MCT oil was added to a person’s diet. But it also increased the body’s production of good cholesterol. That’s a win-win.
If you’re looking to add MCT oil to your diet, there’s great news, it’s super easy. You can use MCT oil in the place of any other oil that you use for cooking. This means that you are substituting it for existing fats in your diet, as opposed to simply adding in more.
The other way to do it, just take it on its own. MCT oil has almost no taste or smell so you don’t need to worry about plugging your nose to get it down.
Keep in mind that you don’t need a lot to get the benefits. The amount that you would use to cook is sufficient, so if you decide to take it on its own you don’t need more than that.
As with any addition to your diet, make sure to read the directions before you take any, and stick with the recommended dosage.
Coconut oil las less satiating properties than medium chain triglyceride oil. R. Kinsella, T. Maher, M.E. Clegg; 2017
Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triglycerides on moderate- and high-intensity exercise in recreational athletes. Nosaka N, Suzuki Y, Nagathishi A, Kasai M, Wu J, Taguchi M.; 2209
Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults. Refer MA, Henderson ST, Hale C, Cholerton B, Baker LD, Watson GS, Hyde K, Chapman D, Craft S. 2004
Consumption of a functional oil rich in phytosterols and medium-chain triglyceride oil improves plasma lipid profiles in men. St-Onge MP, Lamarche B, Mauger JF, Jones PJ; 2003