What Is MCT Oil?
MCT Oil is made from caprylic acid and capric acid, fatty acids extracted from coconut oil and palm oil (palm kernel). At room temperature it is an odorless, clear liquid. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. All fats and oils are made up of fat molecules called fatty acids. Fats are normally classified by the saturation (saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated) and by the length of the carbon chain; short chain, medium chain or long chain. Most The shorter the chain the less work the body has to do to break down the fat and use it as energy. Most foods contain long chain triglycerides (LCT). When three fatty acids join together they make a triglyceride.
MCT Oil vs Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is great and we’ve talked about its benefits and uses in other articles on this site. Coconut oil is made up of mostly MCT fatty acids – which are responsible for most of the reported health benefits of coconut oil. MCT oil is purer than coconut oil, being composed of just the MCT’s without the long chain fatty acids that are also in coconut oil. Coconut oil only contains about 15% caprylic acid and capric acid. This means MCT oil is around 6 times the strength of coconut oil.
Fat that burns fat
MCT’s are quickly metabolized in the liver. Unlike most fats, MCT oil bypasses the the lymphatic system and is metabolized in the liver, it releases energy like a carbohydrate and produces ketones; one of the twosubstances the brain can use for energy (glucose being the other). MCT oil is not stored as fat and is utilized almost immediately by the body, providing an instant and sustained energy boost for the body.. As you'd expect with being a fat, MCT is very high in fat; well all fat really, just one tablespoon (15 mL) of MCT oil contains 100 calories and 14 grams of saturated fat. MCT like all fats is very filling and leaves you feeling satisfied.
MCT Oil Benefits
MCT Oil has many benefits, much like coconut oil, though the effects are stronger.
MCT’s have also been shown to;
- improve blood sugar regulation with a slight hypoglycemic (blood glucose-lowering) effect
- boost metabolism
- help regulate body temperature (thermogenic effect)
- help with appetite control and weight management,
- boost the immune system
- improve cholesterol levels and reduce bad LDL cholesterol
- improve absorption of vitamin E, calcium and magnesium
- improve skin and hair condition and has a fat burning effect while preventing muscle breakdown
MCT Oil Improves Brain Function? - Ketosis, Alzheimer’s & Seizures
The liver creates ketones from MCT oil, which the brain prefers as an energy source rather than glucose from carbohydrates. This increase in ketones, known as ketosis or a ketogenic diet, is known to boost brain function and performance.
A high fat, low carb diet based on MCT oil has also been shown to help reduce seizures in adults and children that doesn’t respond to other medications. It has even been shown to improve brain function in Alzheimer’s patients.
How To Take & Use MCT Oil
You can cook with MCT oil (or add it to the oil/fat you’re already cooking with) as long as the temperature stays below 150 - 160 degrees C, as it can break down at temperatures above this. MCT oil can be blended into smoothies, coffee (in a recipe called "Bulletproof Coffee"), or tea. It can also be used as a salad dressing or added to other meals.
MCT Oil Side Effects
Though MCT oil is considered perfectly safe, it can cause stomach issues and diarrhoea if your body is not used to processing high amounts of fat. If you use MCT oil it’s recommended to start slowly. Consuming other foods along with MCT oil may help. The only warning is for those with liver problems, due to how MCT oil is metabolized and people with type 1 diabetes, as ketones affect blood sugar.
Have you tried MCT oil, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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