What is MCT Oil?
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides and is made up of medium length chains of dietary fat. MCT molecules are smaller than those in most of the fats we eat, this makes it easier to digest. Triglycerides are a major form of dietary fat that is found in the bloodstream. They are made up three chains of saturated or unsaturated fatty acids that are lined by molecules of glycerol, which is a form of alcohol. Triglycerides give our bodies energy.
MCT oil is a dietary supplement that is distilled from coconut oil. MCT oil can be traced back to the 1920s when doctors introduced the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet resets how your body uses food. Usually, carbohydrates in your diet (like sugars and starches) provide most of the energy. The keto diet lowers the amount of carbs you eat and teaches your body to burn fat for energy instead. As a diet high in fats and low in carbs, it helps by changing how the brain gets its energy to function.
What Is It Used for?
- Weight loss
- Appetite control
- Extra energy for exercise
- Problems taking in nutrients or fat
Health Benefits of MCT Oil
MCTs have unique properties since they do not have to be processed by the liver, but have enough substance to provide health benefits.
MCT oil for weight loss
One study showed that MCT Oil might help promote the release of the hormones that help us feel full, which can be beneficial for losing weight. One study found that people taking 2 tablespoons of MCT oil as part of their breakfast ended up eating less food for lunch compared to those taking coconut oil.
MCT Oil has about 10% fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which are found in foods such as olive oil, nuts, an avocados.
MCT can help your body make ketones, an energy source for your brain that doesn't have carbs. Your body makes ketones when you break down fat on a very low-carb diet. This can lower your insulin levels and help you burn fat. You may find it easier to stay on a keto diet that uses MCT because you can eat more carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables. If you are following a ketogenic diet, which is a very low carbs yet high in fat diet, taking MCT oil could possibly help you stay in the fat-burning state known as ketosis.
MCT oil for energy
MCTs travel more quickly from the gut to the liver and do not require bile to break down like LCTs do. In the liver, the fats are broken down to be either used as fuel or stored as body fat. Since MCT easily enter your cell without being broken down, they can be used as an immediate source of energy.
MCT oil for athletes
During exercise, rising levels of lactate can negatively impact exercise performance, MCT may help reduce lactate buildup. A study found that athletes who took 1.5 teaspoons of MCT with food before exercise had lower lactate levels and found it easier to exercise, compared to those taking LCTs. Furthermore the study found that MCT oil before exercise may help you use more fat instead of carbs for energy.
MCT oil for Alzheimer's, Epilepsy, and Autism
Studies have shown that MCT oil and ketogenic diet may help manage conditions such as Alzheimer's, Epilepsy, and Autism.
Alzheimer's disease: An MCT ketogenic diet offers an alternative energy source: ketones. This could allow brain cells to survive better. It also blocks a receptor in the brain that causes memory loss. One study found that a single dose of MCTs improved short-term cognition in 20 people with Alzheimer's disease with a certain gene type, APOE ɛ4-negative.
Epilepsy: While the ketogenic diet is very popular for people wishing to lose weight, ketogenic diet was first introduced in the 1920s as a way of managing epilepsy. It's important to note that a ketogenic diet is not for everyone and can be challenging to follow long term. If you are considering a ketogenic diet to help manage your epilepsy, talk to your doctor first.
Autism: MCT oil may be beneficial for children with autism. One study found positive overall improvement when a ketogenic diet was followed for 6 months. Because autism is a spectrum condition, it can affect people in different way. Adding MCT oil to your child's diet may help to varying degrees or may show no effects. More research is needed here. If you are considering a ketogenic diet to help manage your child's autism, talk to your doctor first.
MCT oil to fight yeast infections
MCTs have shown to have antimicrobial and antifungal effects. Coconut oil, which contains numerous MCTs, has shown in an older in-vitro study to reduce the growth of Candida Albicans by 25%. Coconut oil's ability to reduce yeast and bacterial growth may be due to the caprylic, capric, and lauric acid in MCTs.
MCT oil for heart health
A keto diet with MCT oil can help you lose extra weight, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. MCT oil in your diet can also help reduce LDL (the bad) cholesterol while also increasing your HDL (the good) cholesterol. It can even significantly reduce C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker that increases the risk for heart disease. More research is needed, though, on MCTs potential benefits on heart health. Talk to your doctor first, if you are considering taking MCT for heart health.
MCT oil dosage
Spark Naturals MCT oil is consumed in liquid form as a dietary supplement, and it is similar in appearance to olive oil. MCT oil can be added to hot beverages like coffee or tea (without sugar to not counter the benefits of the MCTs) or blended in drinks like smoothies and shakes, blend with salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and dips. Use in your favorite paleo and keto-friendly recipes. Because MCT oil has a low burning point, it's not recommended to fry foods using MCT oil.
Anyone new to MCT oil supplement should start with a low dose and increase slowly, in order to allow the digestive system to adapt to absorbing an increased load of fat. We recommend starting with 1 teaspoon and increase slowly to 1 tablespoon per day. Most people can generally tolerate up to 6 tablespoons a day, consumed throughout the day. Speak to a dietician to determine the dose that right for you.
MCT oil side effect
One of the main reasons experts suggest starting with a lower dose of MCTs is the potential side effects, which most commonly occur when you consume too much too quickly. The main side effect of taking MCT oil is loose stools, diarrhea, gas, bloating, cramping.
Add 1 teaspoon of MCT oil to your favorite smoothie recipes