What is keto oil?
Keto oils are medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil.
MCT or medium chain triglycerides are fatty acids found in coconut oil.
There are four types of MCTs: caproic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10), and lauric acid (C12).
C6, C8, and C10 MCTs, unlike other kinds of fatty acids, bypass the main digestive tract and move directly to the liver. Here the MCTs are broken down into ketones and distributed to the rest of the body via the bloodstream.
The process by which fats are metabolized into ketones is called ketosis. When the body is in ketosis it becomes very efficient in using fat as an energy source. Ketones are also known to reduce food cravings and increase energy levels.
Since MCT oil is known to increase ketone levels in the blood, it is also referred to as keto oil.
MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil consists of 99% fatty acids.
Saturated fatty acids, MUFA, and PUFA are all part of fatty acids in coconut oil.
The saturated fatty acids comprise triglycerides of various lengths: Short chain triglycerides (SCT), medium chain triglycerides (MCT), and long chain triglycerides (LCT)
Hence, MCT oil is a part of coconut oil. About 60% of coconut oil is MCT oil, the remaining forty percent are other components such as SCT, LCT, MUFA, and PUFA
This makes coconut oil is a great source for MCTs. However more than 50% of the MCTs found in coconut oil is lauric acid- the C12 form. The more beneficial C8 MCT only accounts for about 6% of the MCTs in coconut oil.
Quick Fact: Coconut oil is composed of 99% fatty acid, and one of the richest natural source of MCTs.
Although lauric acid has benefits similar to the other MCTs, it moves through the digestive tract due to its longer chain. The other MCTs move directly to the liver to get metabolized into ketones.
Coconut oil also contains the C6 form (caproic acid) of MCT in small quantities. Caproic acid is metabolized fast, but is responsible for the characteristic coconut oil odor. It also causes a burning sensation in the throat in some cases.
MCT oil or keto oil is a processed form of coconut oil. The composition of C8 MCT oil is nearly 99% caprylic acid. Also the C6 form of MCT is removed by the process of distillation, making C8 MCT oil odorless and tasteless. This is why it can be added to bulletproof coffee, salad dressings, and smoothies without changing the taste.
Natural Sources of MCTs
Coconut oil is the best natural source of MCTs. Other sources include palm oil, camphor tree oil, and goat’s milk. However more than 50% of coconut oil is lauric acid. Hence, although coconut oil is a very good source of MCTs, the most important MCT, that is C8 only forms a small proportion of it. Individuals seeking to achieve ketosis may not benefit from traditional coconut oil since lauric acid is not metabolized like other MCTs.
Types of MCTs
Caproic Acid (C6)
Caproic acid has six carbon atoms, and gets converted into ketones quickly. C6 is usually removed by distillation from commercial MCT oil since it has an undesirable flavor, and causes a burning sensation in the throat.
Caprylic Acid (C8)
The most desired ingredient of coconut oil, C8 or caprylic acid has several health benefits. Caprylic acid helps in maintaining gut health, and is the fastest MCT to reach the brain after getting metabolized. Caprylic acid also helps in suppressing food cravings.
This is because the body converts C8 MCT into fuel (ATP) in three steps, while it takes 26 steps to metabolize sugar. C8 MCT oil is also used by people who follow the ketogenic diet since it makes the body more efficient in using fat as a source of energy. C8 oil is usually added in bulletproof coffee.
Quick Fact: Caprylic acid is only 7% of coconut oil, but produces 3 times the amount of ketones. To produce 1 litre of caprylic acid, it takes almost 14 litres of coconut oil
Capric Acid (C10)
The main difference between C8 and C10 MCT oil is that C10 is slower than caprylic acid in getting converted into ketones. However, C10 or capric acid is more affordable than C8 oil. XCT oil is made up of only C8 and C10 MCTs.
Lauric Acid (C12)
Lauric acid is the major component of coconut oil; accounting for nearly 50% of it. It is also the slowest of the MCTs to be converted into ketones due to the longer chain. Lauric acid is known to have antimicrobial effects, though not to the extent of the other MCTs.
Quick Fact: Majority of MCTs in coconut oil consists of lauric Acid . When you buy an MCT Oil, you are essentially buying slow ketone converting lauric acid
C8 MCT Oil
C8 MCT oil contains 100% of the most beneficial of the four types of MCTs- caprylic acid. Since it has a shorter chain than C10 (capric acid) and C12 (lauric acid), it converts into ketones more readily.
Coconut oil has only around 7% C8 form of medium chain triglycerides. MCT oil is extracted from coconuts and processed in such a way as to get 100% pure C-8 oil. This provides a concentrated dose of this potent MCT as great keto fuel to the brain.
How Do MCTs Work?
At the cellular level, energy is produced as ATP molecules in an organelle called the mitochondria. Mitochondria are double-membraned cell organelles, and most fatty acids require the help of a molecule called L-carnitine to be carried through the membranes.
However MCTs can cross this double-membrane, and enter the mitochondria without the help of carnitine. As a result, there is an excessive production of acetyl CoA which is then broken down into ketones (ketosis). This usually happens in about three steps.
Acetyl CoA is also produced from carbohydrates, but this takes around 26 steps or more depending on the complexity of the sugar molecule. Moreover carbohydrate metabolism also increases blood glucose and insulin levels.
This is the reason why MCTs are a better source of instant energy than carbohydrates, and other types of fatty acids.
Quick Fact: Carbohydrates are metabolized in 26 steps, while ketone bodies require only 3 steps to produce energy.
What are the best keto oils for cooking/frying?
Keto oils are also used for cooking. Since they have a high smoke point they may be used for deep frying.
- Sesame Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use post- cooking)
- Hazelnut Oil
- Walnut Oil
Here is another article for some good recipes for keto diet with olive oil, coconut oil, ghee (butter), and other keto oils:
Oils which are super refined and go through vigorous processing are not recommended for cooking. Generally such oils include many vegetable and seed oils.
Some examples are listed below:
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Peanut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Grapeseed oil
How to Take MCT Oil On a Keto Diet
Since MCT oil is odorless and tasteless it blends easily with any food/diet. Some people prefer to add it in their coffee. It can also be used in salad dressings and smoothies.
First-timers could start with 1 teaspoon, and progressively increase the intake to make the body accustomed. In a ketogenic diet, the carb intake is reduced to around 50 grams per day (may vary).
Individuals who are not used to such low levels of carbs may experience fatigue and sleep problems. It is better to consult a dietitian or a doctor before starting a ketogenic diet.
MCT oil can be used as a cooking oil since it is stable under high temperatures
It blends with vinegar and herbs in salad dressings since it is odorless.
Coffee & Tea
Improves the health benefits of coffee and tea.
About 2 tbsps of MCT oil in a smoothie may curb hunger and help maintain longer satiety.
Keto Oil is also available in other formats such as oinment, capsules, pills, powder and other formats.
What are Ketones
Ketones are produced as byproducts of fat metabolism in the body. This occurs during a low-carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet, also known as the ketogenic diet.
The body produces three major forms of ketones: acetoacetate, acetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).
Beta-hydroxybutyrate is used to make ketone supplements or exogenous ketones. A recently published study also described BHB as a molecule that could possibly play a key role in slowing down the process of aging.
Why are Ketones the Preferred Fuel For the Brain?
Ketones are a particularly preferred source of fuel to the brain since they can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
Moreover, ketones have also been shown to activate the brain derived neurotrophic growth factors (BDNF)- specialized regulatory proteins in the brain. BDNF helps in the repair and protection of neurons. BDNF also triggers the growth of new neurons to replace the older, dying cells.
Interestingly, a malfunctioning process to replenish nerve cells is a risk factor for neurodegenerative disorders. Hence it is widely believed that C8 oil can be helpful in neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Quick Fact: Ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier; making it a very useful source of instant energy to the brain
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is the process by which fatty acids are converted into ketones. This happens during various physical states of the body such as during fasting and intense exercise. Ketosis can also be induced by consuming a ketogenic diet, or by taking ketone supplements.
During ketosis the body uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Not only does this reduce the fat stores in the body, it also removes the need for the body to process sugar. This has many benefits including weight loss, reduced blood sugar levels, and lower blood insulin levels.
What are some of the tips to get into ketosis?
- Minimizing carb consumption
- Including C8 MCT oil in the diet
- Increasing physical activity
- Taking ketone supplements
- Trying a fat fast
- Maintaining adequate protein intake
Minimizing carb consumption
Maintaining low levels of carbohydrates is a key factor in achieving ketosis. Aside from glucose, the body can also use fatty acids and ketone bodies as a source of fuel.
Carbohydrates are stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. When the external supply of carbs is low, the body uses the stored carbohydrates, and therefore progressively using them up.
This forces the body to then turn to the fat stores. The fatty acids released from the fat stores are metabolized into ketone bodies in the liver. These are distributed to the rest of the body via the bloodstream.
The degree of carb restriction that is required to trigger ketosis is variable. Some people may need to restrict carb intake to around 20 grams a day, while others can consume twice that amount and still attain ketosis.
Quick Fact: Eating a very low-carb diet is by far the most important factor in achieving ketosis
Including C8 MCT oil in the diet
C8 MCT oil is concentrated with caprylic acid. Providing a concentrated dose of C8 MCT to the body, regularly, makes the body efficient in metabolizing fats. Moreover C8 MCT oil is odorless and tasteless and therefore blends with coffee, salad dressing, and smoothies.
Quick Fact: C8 MCT Oil is odorless and tasteless; it blends with the regular diet like in salads, coffee, and smoothies
Increasing physical activity
Increased physical activity depletes the body’s carb stores. These stores are renewed when an individual consumes more carbs through their diet. However, if the diet consists of low levels of carbohydrates, the body is forced to use fat as an energy source, leading to ketosis. A common side-effect to this approach is fatigue.
Taking ketone supplements
Ketone supplements or exogenous ketones synthetic in origin.
Exogenous ketones contain only one type of ketone- Beta-hydroxy-butyrate (BHB). The primary form of ketone, acetoacetate, is chemically unstable to be present in a supplement.
According to a study, 12 grams of ketone supplements increased blood ketone levels of the study subjects by 300%. This is beneficial to people who are aiming to achieve ketosis without having to follow a ketogenic diet.
Fat fasting involves consuming around 1000 calories per day with a major portion of it coming from fat. The low-calorie, high-fat combination may induce ketosis quickly. Fat fasting must be followed for not more than 3-5 days to avoid loss of muscle mass. However this approach may be difficult to stick to on a regular basis.
Maintaining adequate protein intake
Although restricted carb-intake is a key factor in inducing ketosis, ensuring sufficient protein levels is important to stay healthy.
There are a few cells, like the red blood cells and cells in certain parts of the brain and kidneys which cannot use ketones as a fuel. The liver can produce glucose from proteins (amino acids) by a process called gluconeogenesis, and provide the necessary energy to such cells.
Also, weight loss involves the loss of both fat and muscles. Adequate protein is required to preserve muscle mass in the absence of carbohydrates.
Research has shown an increase in preservation of muscle mass when the intake of protein is between 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram of lean mass.
What are the benefits of MCT oil
- Weight loss
- Instant energy source
- Reduces build-up of lactate in athletes
- Suppresses growth of bacteria and fungi
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Helps in the management of diabetes
- Skin health
Related: 7 Must-Know Benefits Of MCT Oil
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.
C8 and C10 in MCTs move directly to the liver and do not require bile for further break-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
Suppresses growth of bacteria and fungi
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 bacterium Clostridium difficile which causes diarrhoea.
Moreover MCTs by themselves restrict the growth of several common fungi, which cause hospital infections, by 50%.
Reduces risk of heart disease
High cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, and smoking are some of the factors that increase the risk of heart disease. Since MCT oil aids in weight loss, this may help to reduce the 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.
Uses and benefits of kept oil in beauty and skin health
Keto oil contains caprylic acid or C8 MCT. One of the main causes of a common skin condition, acne, is a bacterial infection that is common in oily skin types. Caprylic acid has been shown to be effective in the treatment of acne due to its antibacterial properties.
Keto oil ointments can be a good addition to your acne treatment regimen.
Why Is MCT Oil Good for the Keto Diet?
MCT oil is used by people following a keto diet for the following reasons-
- MCTs are easily digested
- MCTs lower blood sugar
- Increased nutrient absorption
- Improved athletic performance
- Appetite control and weight loss
- Natural anti-convulsive
What is XCT Oil?
XCT oil contains C8 (caprylic acid) and C10 (capric acid) MCT. XCT oil has 6 times more C8 and C10 as compared to coconut oil which has more than 50% lauric acid. XCT oil is more affordable than C8 MCT oil, but less potent since C10 takes longer to get processed than C8.
Side effects of consuming MCT oil
A few side effects of MCT oil, if consumed indiscreetly, are nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. If this happens it is advisable to stop consuming MCT oil.
To be safe, people who are consuming MCT oil for the first time are advised to start with 1 teaspoon a day and gradually increase the amounts if there is no adverse reaction.
How To Buy Keto Oil In India?
AIWO Health is a trusted health and supplements company that is based in India. Our 100% pure C8 MCT oil is sourced from organic coconuts and is vegan, gluten, and palm-free. Click on the link below for more information.