There’s a lot of buzz around MCT Oils nowadays. It really began with the introduction of Bulletproof Coffee, which was a combination of coconut oil, salt free butter and coffee. The energy produced when drinking this beverage is quite amazing. Researchers have identified that it is the fats that are in the drink that are providing most of the benefits. From this came the rage for MCT oil, the premium good fat contained in Bulletproof coffee.
MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. These are a form of saturated fatty acids. There is a long-standing myth that saturated fat causes heart disease. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fatty acids are a chain of carbons with an acid group. Saturated fats have hydrogen atoms attached to all the carbons.
A medium chain triglyceride is a saturated fat that has between six and twelve carbons in its chain. Triglycerides with more than 12 carbons are known as long chain triglycerides (LCTs).
Good sources of MCTs include palm oil, and whole fat butter, milk and cheeses from grass-fed cows. The reason that they need to come from grass-fed cows is that the grass that the cows eat is very high in omge-3 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. This gives the cow a higher omega-3 ratio, which is precisely what humans need. The best source for MCTs is coconuts. About 65 percent of coconut oil is MCTs. The four types of MCT’s in coconut oil are:
- Caproic acid
- Caprylic acid
- Capric acid
- Lauric Acid
Caproic and caprylic acid make up the two smallest MCTs, with six and eight carbons respectively. Because they are smaller chains, they are easier to digest. This allows them to get into your system faster, requiring less energy. However, the shorter MCT, caproic acid has a slightly bitter taste. So, the best type of MCT to look out for is the eight carbon caprylic acid. As a result, when shopping for MCT oils look out for those that are made from caprylic acid.
6 Key Benefits of MCT Oils
1) Weight Loss
MCTs are processed in the liver and produce ketone bodies to provide energy. This is very different from carbohydrates which immediately spike insulin levels. When you convert your body from a sugar burner to a fat burner, you are, in effect, creating a fat burning furnace in side your body. So, rather than being stored as fat, MCTs are used as an immediate fuel source.
MCTs have also been shown to suppress fat deposition as a result of enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation. The conversion of the fats to ketones provides you with the same benefits as being on the ketogenic diet.[source]
Studies show that capric acid, which has ten carbons in its chain, is an effective frat burner for energy. It also improves thyroid functioning and acts as an appetite suppressant. Caprylic acid has been shown to have the same effect as fasting. When you fast for a restricted period of time, your body is forced to burn stored body fat for energy.[source]
2) Improved Energy and Endurance
Because MCTs are very easy to digest, they produce a longer level of sustained energy and boost the metabolism. Ketones from MCT oil are a far more efficient source of energy than the carbs that athletes used to rely when they carbed up on pasta before an event.[source]
3) Enhanced Memory and Brain Functioning
Scientists used to think that the brain only runs off glucose. However, that has proven to be a fallacy. A large proportion of the brain is made up of fats, so it’s only natural that healthy fats will benefit it. The ketones that are released from MCT oils are a far more efficient source of fuel for the brain than glucose. In fact, the brain prefers ketones over glucose.
Sugar creates a yo-yo effect of high and low energy as a result of the insulin effect. This has an impact on the brain, leading to crashes in attention and functionality. This creates what is commonly referred to as brain fog.
Studies have shown that the ketones released from MCT oils help Alzheimer’s and seizure patients.[source]
4) Prevents Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Research has shown that MCTs are extremely anti-inflammatory. They also increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that lauric and capric acid are able to assist in the lowering of the resting heart rate.[source]
A research study, which was published in the 2014 Journal of Bioanalysis and Biomedicine concluded that . . .
Consumption of coconut oil (lauric acid, a component) enhances the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and decreases the total HDL cholesterol ratio which results in decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis).
5) Helps Improve Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
MCT oils are extremely beneficial to your microbiome. That takes in all the bacteria that resides in your intestines. These oils are great for balancing the bacteria in the gut. This has immediate positive effects on the way that the digestive system is able to process energy.
Ideally you want around 85 percent beneficial bacteria and 15 percent non-beneficial bacteria in your gut. MCT oil will help to meet those ratios. The closer you get to this ratio, the more effective your digestion will be and the less prone you will be to digestive problems and inefficient nutrient processing.[source]
6) Antiviral and Antifungal
Lauric and capric acid both have been shown to display potent antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Studies have found them to be very effective in fighting bacteria, candida, viruses and yeast infections.[source]
When you consume too many sugars, you will actually be feeding the yeast and bacteria within your body. But when you switch to a cleaner energy source, such as those found in MCT oils, you will be giving your body its best chance of fighting off the bugs that lead to sickness.
Conclusion/Why You Should Care
Incorporating MCT oils into your nutritional routine will have a profound effect on your overall health. You can add MCT oil to your salads, your coffee, or simply eat it right off the spoon. You can also use MCT oil as a cooking oil. It's easy to add into your daily habits -- and your body will thank you.