What are MCTs?
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are fatty acids which have a shorter hydrocarbon chain. As a result of this, MCTs are easily digestible. This is associated with many health benefits in the body.
What are the common sources of MCTs?
The most common source of MCTs is coconut oil. MCTs constitute more than 50% of the fats in coconut oil. Some other sources of MCTs are palm oil and dairy products.
What are the components of MCT oil?
There are four different forms of MCTs. Out of these caprylic acid (C8) is usually fortified in commercial MCT oil due to its unique benefits.
What does MCT oil taste like?
MCT oil is odourless and tasteless, hence it is often added to smoothies, bulletproof coffee, and in salad dressings.
What are the most important benefits of C8 MCT oil?
Important benefits of MCT oil:
- Weight loss
- Instant energy source
- Reduces build-up of lactate in athletes
- Management of epilepsy, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease
- Improves gut health
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Helps in management of diabetes
How does MCT oil help in weight loss?
MCT oil is known to promote the secretion of two hormones related to increased satiety: peptide YY and leptin. According to research, people who took two tablespoons of MCT oil in their breakfast ate less food for lunch as compared to those who took coconut oil. The same study also pointed out a lower rise in triglycerides and glucose with MCT oil; this is also known to increase satiety. In addition to the above benefits, consumption of MCT oil has been linked to lower body weight and girth, with experts reporting that it could help prevent obesity.
If you are on a ketogenic diet, that is, a high fat and low carbohydrate routine, your body will have to be in a state of ketosis (a state of fat burning). MCT oil can help you attain this since it is easily converted into ketones.
Moreover, it is an instant source of energy, removing body's need to store fat. Finally, MCT oil help in the maintenance of gut health. Promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut is known to boost weight loss.
MCT oil is an instant source of energy
MCTs can be used as an immediate source of energy. Unlike their long-chain counterparts, MCTs move from the gut directly to the liver without the requirement of bile to break them down. This is possible owing to their shorter carbon chain.
People on a ketogenic diet are often advised to include MCT oil in their diet since it is an instant source of energy. MCTs are converted into ketones which cross the blood-brain barrier and act as a fuel to the brain cells.
Reduction in lactate build-up in athletes
Keeping a check on the lactate levels is important for athletes. Increased lactate levels can hamper performance. MCTs may help in reducing the build-up of lactate. Due to this, MCT oil has become popular among athletes.
A study showed lower lactate levels in athletes who took 1.5 tablespoons of MCTs compared to those who were on LCTs. Additionally the study also showed that consuming MCT oil before exercise helped the body use fats instead of carbohydrates as an energy source.
Management of Epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and Autism
MCT oil and a ketogenic diet has been shown to help in the management of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism.
Increased ketone production was found to reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures. MCTs are readily converted into ketones, thereby establishing their beneficial link to managing epilepsy. One in-vitro study showed that capric acid was more efficient in controlling seizure than a widely used anti-epileptic drug.
Another study conducted on rats showed that MCTs blocked the brain receptors which cause seizures. A study on human subjects is still needed to support this result.
MCT oil provides an alternate source of energy for brain cells of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease: ketones. Since MCTs are readily converted to ketones, it increases the chances of survival of brain cells.
Moreover ketones block the receptors in the brain which are responsible for memory loss.
One particular study showed that MCT oil improved short term cognition in 20 individuals with APOE e4/e4 genotype. This genotype is known to be the strongest known genetic factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has shown an improvement in behavior in autistic children who took MCT oil along with their ketogenic, gluten-free diet. Another study showed overall positive improvements in children who were on a ketogenic diet for a duration of 6 months.
Suppresses growth of bacteria and fungi
Candida albicans is a common yeast that causes skin infections. Coconut oil has been shown to reduce the growth of this fungus by 25% since it has high levels of MCTs. An in-vitro study showed that coconut oil reduced the growth of the bacteria Clostridium difficile which causes diarrhoea.
Moreover MCTs by themselves restrict the growth of several common fungi, which cause hospital infections, by 50%. Most of these evidences are a result of in-vitro studies. More robust studies are needed to support this association.
Reduces risk of heart disease
High cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, and smoking are some of the factors that increase risk of heart disease. Since MCT oil aids in weight loss, this may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
A study conducted on 24 obese men showed a 12.5% reduction in total cholesterol when put on MCT oil combined with phytosterols and flaxseed oil for one month as compared to those who took only olive oil. Additionally the study also showed a reduction in low-density lipoproteins (LDL) levels, which are considered “bad” cholesterol.
Studies have also shown that MCT oil reduces the level of C reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker that is known to increase risk of heart disease.
Management of diabetes and blood sugar levels
The influence of MCT oil in weight loss is also beneficial to individuals with type 2 diabetes. Obese individuals find it harder to manage type 2 diabetes. Since MCT oil boosts fat burning and reduces fat storage, it can be beneficial to overweight individuals who also have diabetes.
A 40-subject study conducted in the Chinese population showed that participants who took MCT oil showed more reduction in weight, girth, and insulin resistance compared to those who took corn oil containing LCTs.
More large-scale studies are required to further strengthen the evidences supporting this link.
AIWO’s C8 MCT oil is perfect for those on a keto diet and other diets that promote metabolism fats. Boosts energy and mental alertness. 100% Coconut sourced; pure C8 oil. MCT oil is odourless and tasteless and can be used in a variety of drinks and salads. Capable of reducing bad bacteria and improving gut and overall health.