You may have heard about MCTs. After all, coconut oil has become one of the hottest superfoods there’ve been in recent years, and much of its benefits are thanks to MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid. Coconut oil contains about 62 to 65 percent of these fatty acids, but recently, MCT oils have become increasing popular.
MCT oil is an oil made up of one or more of these medium chain triglycerides. It’s translucent, tasteless, and liquid at room temperature. MCTs are also believed to be largely missing from the diets of most people who eat the typical “Western” diet, unless they’re part of a more informed group who consume coconut oil regularly, mostly because the general public has been led to believe all forms of saturated fats are potentially harmful, which is certainly not the case. In addition to coconut oil, these healthy fats are also found in grass-fed beef, have a host of health benefits and are much easier to digest than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). They may even offer more benefits when it comes to the brain, heart and preventing obesity.
Traditional populations living in tropical areas who’ve been consuming saturated fats from sources like coconuts for thousands of years, tend to be quite healthy, so eliminating all saturated fats is now considered to be one of the biggest nutrition lies heard to date, and that’s saying a lot.
There are a number of different forms of MCT oils, with some believed to be more effective than others: caprioc (C6:0), caprylic (C8:0), capric (C10:0) and lauric (C12:0) acids. In general, the shorter the chain (meaning the lower the number of carbons the acid has), the faster the body can turn the fatty acids into usable energy, in the form of ketones. Ketones are what the body produces when it’s using fat for energy instead of glucose.
8 Reasons To Start Consuming MCT Oils
There are many reasons the body needs them, as they provide numerous benefits, including these.
1. Weight management
MCTs are believed to offer significant effects when it comes to weight reduction, fat burning and managing weight in general, and have even been shown to do so in a number of studies, including a 2001 study out of Kagawa Nutrition University in Japan. As part of a healthy diet, they can make you feel more satisfied after a meal, and even provide a boost to the metabolism. A 2003 study out of Quebec, Canada published in The Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, found that after comparing long-term consumption of MCTs and LCTs on energy expenditure, body composition and fat oxidation in obese women, the MCTs had more significant effects.
Research has confirmed that MCT oil reduces appetite and feelings of hunger, which obviously helps with weight loss. If you are satiated, of course, you won’t eat as much, making it a lot easier to stick to a diet when consuming MCT oil as part of that diet.
2. Balancing hormones
As fats are essential for creating hormone balance, MCTs are said to be particularly beneficial for a hormone imbalance, which further helps one to maintain a healthy weight, as well as improving insulin sensitivity.
3. Increased energy
MCT oil stands out in that it’s quickly metabolized into energy. Because these fatty acids are immediately broken down, they will never be stored as body fat. Contrary to medium chain fatty acids, long chain fatty acids need bile from the gallbladder to break them down.
MCT oil also influence the body’s mitochondria, which are like “energy factories” within the cells. They’re present in muscle tissue, as well as the heart and brain. Unlike nearly all other foods, MCTs don’t require energy to be absorbed, stored or used in the body, making them an almost perfect source of natural energy.
4. A mood and memory booster
As the brain is primarily made up of fatty acids, a steady supply of them from your diet is essential for thinking clearly, focusing, performing well at work and even staying sharp as you age. A 2004 study conducted by the Center of Excellence on Brain Aging at New York University’s Langone Medical Center found that MCTs helped to improve memory problems in older adults, including those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It only makes sense that these compounds that supply fuel for the brain, also help you to have better recall, improved focus and feel more positive overall.
5. Stabilizing blood sugar
A healthy, well-running metabolism generally means stabilized blood sugar levels. That’s because the key factor in regulating blood sugar is insulin, which causes sugar in the bloodstream to be stored in muscle tissue. Those who are overweight, suffer from conditions like diabetes or Alzheimer’s, also have an impaired metabolism when it comes to blood sugar. MCT oil can help as it encourages sugars to be stored in muscle tissue rather instead of fat. This is important for all types of people, including athletes as it results in carbohydrates being stored where they can be used for fuel and greater muscle mass can be achieved.
6. Aiding digestion
MCT oil is great for gut health, helping to ensure the digestive system functions as it should. It aids in balancing bacteria in gut microbiota, which in turn, offers positive effects on digestion, energy expenditure and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from other foods. MCTs are also known to fight off many different types of bacteria and viruses that can cause problems like diarrhea, constipation, candida, food poisoning and more.
Healthy fats like MCTs are important for absorbing the fat-soluble nutrients in foods, including vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, lutein and beta carotene. Even if you generally consume a healthy diet that includes a wide variety of whole foods, if the body doesn’t get enough healthy fats, it can’t utilize these important nutrients as well.
7. Supporting heart health
MCTs have been scientifically proven to help prevent metabolic syndrome from developing in a number of studies, including research published in the journal Pharmacological Research in March of 2010. Metabolic syndrome applies to a number of metabolic disorders, like hypertension, insulin resistance and abdominal obesity. Unlike carbs, ketones don’t trigger an insulin surge, and they don’t need insulin to help them cross cell membranes, including neuronal membranes. Rather they use protein transporters, allowing them to enter cells that have become insulin resistant.
MCTs are also believed to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as improve mortality, by reducing the risk of obesity. This is likely because MCTs are not only easy to digest, satiating and easily accessible for fuel, but they’re anti-inflammatory. An anti-inflammatory diet is well known to be one of the healthiest there is, preventing a host of diseases and illnesses.
8. Strengthening the immune system
Along with increasing fat-burning, brain power, and energy, MCT oil can strengthen the immune system and help fight off bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. It serves as a potent natural antibiotic that not only helps to balance bacteria in the gut, but it can kill some types of harmful bacteria, like streptococcus (which causes pneumonia, strep throat and sinus infections), as well as straphylococcus (the culprit of food poisoning and urinary tract infections). It can also battle neisseria (the bacteria responsible for meningitis, gonorrhea, and pelvic inflammatory diseases), as well as other strains that cause ulcers, candida and sexually transmitted diseases. MCT oil offers especially significant benefits when it comes to yeast infections like candida and other health issues caused by e. Coli bacteria, according to studies. It also works to boost the overall immune system while offering longer term, anti-aging benefits, as shown in scientific research.
What Is The Best MCT Oil?
With so many benefits, MCT oil is, without a doubt, something that should be included in the diet of anyone who wants to achieve optimal health. It can be taken daily just like a supplement, straight from the spoon, mixed into drinks like smoothies or even added to recipes, as it has no taste or smell.
Purchasing a quality brand is essential for enjoying all of its benefits, meaning purity is key. Low-quality products often contain harmful solvents or unnecessary added ingredients. There are also environmental concerns. Concentrated MCT oils are often derived from “a blend of coconut and palm oils.” You may want to purchase MCT oil sourced only from coconut oil, or at least a sustainable and rainforest-friendly palm oil as the palm oil industry is responsible for the deforestation of a significant portion of the rainforest. Thousands of acres are being destroyed to make room for palm production, which has driven many animals out of their natural habitats and has threatened species like the Sumatran tiger and orangutan, both of which are in serious danger of extinction. Large scale production of palm crops has even driven people from their homes and destroyed their sources of income.
Given that, here is a look at some of the top MCT oil brands.
Sports Research MCT Oil derived only from Organic Coconuts
This organic coconut-derived MCT oil from Sports Research is a great brand to use in Bulletproof coffee and also makes a fantastic oil for drizzling over salads. This is a 100% coconut sourced product that contains no palm oil, and is non-GMO, paleo-friendly and totally vegan. It’s also the only MCT oil that’s registered with the Vegan Society, Non-GMO Verified and Certified Paleo.
This product is currently sold on Amazon in a 32-ounce BPA-free bottle.
Viva Labs MCT Oil
Viva Labs is one of the top-rated MCT oil brands on Amazon. It’s sustainably sourced from fresh, hand-picked coconuts and third-party tested for quality. Pharmaceutical grade, there are no additives, fillers, pesticides or chemical residues, only 100% MCT oil. It also goes extremely well with Bulletproof coffee, offering an even greater source of energy. Purchases have noted its excellent quality and price point.
A 32-ounce bottle of Viva Labs MCT Oil can currently be purchased from here on Amazon.
MiCkey T Eight Pure MCT Oil
MiCkey T Eight Pure MCT Oil is considered to be one of the highest quality MCT oils on the market. It’s long lasting, 100% pure, and even considered kosher and halal certified. Users note that it seems to push one into ketosis quicker than other MCT oils.
A 32-ounce bottle can be purchased from here on Amazon.
Left Coast Performance Coconut MCT Oil
As some MCT oils can cause stomach upset, sometimes it takes a bit of experimenting to find the right brand. But for most people who have a sensitive stomach, Left Coast may be the best choice as it’s made specifically to be easily digested and absorbed. It also converts to energy faster than many other oils and it’s relatively inexpensive too, in addition to being 100% pure and tested for heavy metals and impurities.
A 32-ounce BPA-free bottle currently sells from this page on Amazon.