MCT oil has become a lot more prominent recently due to the rise in popularity of coconut oil, which is naturally very high in MCTs. It’s short for medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), which makes a lot of sense given its composition.
This type of oil contains medium-length chains of fats known as triglycerides. Due to the fact that their length is shorter when compared to long-chain triglycerides (LCT), they can be digested and absorbed more easily in the body.
More than 50% of the fat in coconut oil comes from MCTs, so this is where most MCT oil comes from. With that said, you can still find it in other foods like dairy products and palm oil.
How Do MCTs Work?
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood that directly relates to your heart health. It is often confused with cholesterol, which is a different type of lipid that builds cells and certain hormones.
When you eat or consume triglycerides, your body will convert any unused calories into triglycerides, which are then stored in your fat cells. Hormones can release them later for energy between meals.
Most long-chain fatty acids must be digested, absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract, sent to the lymphatic system, and then into the bloodstream before making it to the liver. However, since MCTs have a more efficient absorption rate, these acids are transported directly to the liver upon consumption. This makes them more likely to be used as an energy source rather than stored as fat.
This is because MCTs only contain 6 to 12 carbon fatty acids, while LCTs have more than 12. This means that more chemical processes must occur in order to move them into the bloodstream.
And that’s a good thing! It means that MCT oil has the potential to be a great, natural energy booster without the unfavorable side effects that are often associated with high amounts of triglycerides.
Benefits of MCT Oil
There are a wide range of benefits associated with taking MCT oil as a supplement or by increasing intake of certain foods.
MCT oil has shown to increase the production of the hormones peptide YY and leptin, which both can promote feelings of fullness following a meal. One study found that people who took a few tablespoons of pure MCT oil as part of their breakfast ended up eating less food for lunch compared to those who had used just coconut oil.
That same study found that triglycerides and glucose did not increase as harshly following a meal when MCT oil was taken. This might also influence feelings of fullness, helping those who struggle with weight to feel more satiated after a meal.
It’s also helpful because MCT oil has fewer calories than LCTs, so it is a healthier alternative to other oils that contain LCTs instead.
It’s also possible that MCT can optimize the growth of good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, which can promote proper digestion and higher metabolism, resulting in faster loss of weight.
May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Since MCT has been shown to support healthy weight management, it may reduce the risk of developing certain heart diseases.
MCT oil combined with flaxseed oil and phytosterols was able to reduce cholesterol levels in overweight men by over 12%. This was compared to olive oil, an LCT, which only reduced cholesterol by less than 5%.
It was also found that MCT oil can decrease levels of low density lipoprotein, which is the type of cholesterol associated with negative effects. Conversely, it may help increase the production of high density lipoprotein, which is the good cholesterol.
So the next time you sit down to munch on a bowl of Cheerios, maybe you can drizzle some MCT oil over top for a tour de force against high cholesterol!
Management of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease impairs the brain’s ability to use glucose, which can result in memory loss and cognitive degradation.
Small studies have been conducted to prove that single doses of MCT oil improved short-term cognitive functioning in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease with the APOE ε4-negative. This is because MCTs allow the body to use ketones as an alternative energy source, which can help brain cells survive for longer and block a brain receptor that causes memory loss.
Similarly, these studies suggest that MCT supplements may provide acute benefits for people with dementia. While the improvements were only short-term, consistent usage may enhance some of these benefits.
Improve Exercise and Athletic Performance
Lactate levels in your body serve as an indirect marker for things like fatigue and soreness during exercise. At rest, the lactate levels in your blood sit around 1-2 mmol/L, but can rise to over 20 mmol/L during intense activity.
Since MCTs may be able to use more fat instead of carbs during exercise, it’s possible that using MCTs rather than LCTs can make it easier to work out. This may lead to less muscle tension and reduction in pain following bouts of intense physical activity.
How To Get More MCT
There are a few different ways you can get more medium-chain triglycerides in your diet. Typically, it comes from coconut oil or palm kernel oil.
MCT oil can be extracted from both of these oils and taken as a pure supplement. Pure MCT oil can be added to pretty much anything you can think of, like coffees, smoothies, salad dressings — whatever your hungry heart desires.
The benefits of MCT oils also extend to every area of the body in similar ways to CBD. With that in mind, Smile’s CBD gummies and oils combine MCT oil with CBD isolate and other essential nutrients to enhance the stress-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol.
But no matter how you choose to get more MCT, just keep in mind that it has a low burning point. That means it’s not a great idea to cook things with it.
How Much MCT Should I Take?
There’s no universally recommended amount that works for everyone, but many experts suggest anywhere from four to seven tablespoons taken throughout the day.
Some people have higher tolerances than others, so it might take some experimentation or discussion with a dietician to see what works best for you.
Is It Possible To Take Too Much MCT?
It is possible to take too much MCT, especially if you have a lower tolerance. Typically, people who ingest too much MCT will feel stomach pain, cramps, or bloating in their abdominal area. In some cases, you might experience some diarrhea or vomiting.
If you’re concerned or just want to play it safe, it never hurts to speak with a physician to ensure that you’re on the right track!
MCT and Keto
If you’ve ever tried, or heard of, the keto diet, you may know that it’s all about cutting carbs to burn extra fat. This makes your body enter ketosis, where it burns fat instead of carbs, making something called “ketones” that can be used for fuel.
Since MCTs are transported directly to the liver, it may help you reach the fat-burning phase much quicker when compared to LCTs.
This might be super helpful for people who want to lose some weight, but have trouble sticking to a truly no-carb keto diet. You can try a keto diet that uses MCT, because it would still let you enjoy carbs from fruits and vegetables that are super good for your health!
MCT is short for medium-chain triglycerides, which can be found abundantly in coconut oil and palm oil. MCTs have a faster absorption rate than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), so they’re generally considered healthier.
MCTs can help reduce the risk of heart disease and promote healthy weight loss. It might also let you perform better during extended periods of exercise.
You can get more MCT oil by taking it as a supplement or by using more coconut oil in your diet. While it’s possible to take too much, side effects are typically nothing more than bloating and cramps.
But all in all, MCT oil is a really great organic oil that can be used in all sorts of ways. Incorporating more into your daily life means you’re taking active steps towards improving your overall health, which is something you should be super proud of!
If you want some of the benefits of MCT oil without needing to take a direct supplement, Smile’s CBD gummies and oils incorporate organic MCT coconut oil to bring you those natural boosts of energy in a safe and natural way. But that’s just one of many fully transparent ingredients that we are proud to put in each of our final products — ready to experience the benefits first hand? Shop our CBD collection here for natural wellness!