MCTs are hot in the health world right now, with the growth of ketogenic diets, intermittent fasting, and trends like bulletproof coffee, more people have started using MCT oil in their routine. Here are 6 reasons to use MCT Oil…
What are MCT’s?
MCT stands for ‘medium-chain triglycerides’, triglycerides are a type of molecule composed of glycerol and fatty acids with between 6-12 carbon atoms- the number of which distinguishes MCTs from long chain fatty acids which have more than 12 carbon atoms.
MCTs are revered in the health world, because they are metabolised differently from other types of fat, they go straight to the liver to be metabolised, and are immediately transported to cells to be used as an energy source, which makes them an efficient source for energy production, and offers interesting benefits for health and performance.
MCTs are naturally occurring in a few foods including coconut products, butter and cheese. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides, though to get a decent dose of MCTs, you need to use an MCT oil or powder extracted from coconut rather than coconut oil itself as it doesn’t have enough of the really beneficial MCTs like C8.
MCTs are saturated fats, but as they are metabolised differently compared to other long or short chain saturated fats, they are considered a healthy option to add to the diet.
There are four main types of MCT’s, the difference being how many carbon atoms they have in their chemical structure: C6 (Caproic Acid), C8 (Caprylic Acid), C10 Capric Acid, C12 (Lauric Acid).
C6 is the most easily digestible MCT however it has an unpleasant smell and taste and can cause digestive side effects. C8 is the form we use in our Keto collection and has the most ketogenic effects. C10 is also metabolised by the liver for ketone production but is much less ketogenic than C8 and C12 acts more like a long chain fat, and is digested in the stomach so a much less efficient source of energy.
6 Reasons to use MCT oil:
1. Cognitive Effects
The brain is made up of fatty acids so healthy fats are very important in the diet to support brain health. MCTs are broken down to produce ketones which can pass through the blood-brain-barrier to fuel the brain, especially beneficial during ketogenic states.
Metabolised quickly and converted to energy. MCTs can also be a great addition for sports performance, as a rapid source of energy to support stamina and endurance, and taking it before a workout may help to burn fat over carbohydrates as an energy source.
3. Weight Management
Ability to increase peptide YY and leptin that promote feelings of satiation and reduce appetite. Also benefits for metabolic health, MCTs have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity which is a key factor for diabetes prevention (1).
4. Gut Health
Studies that show MCTs help to optimise the growth of good bacteria and support the gut lining too. MCTs have been shown to help kill off pathogenic types of bacteria, without harming the good bacteria, helping to support the balance in the microbiome.
5. Keto diet supplement
MCTs can be converted into ketones when broken down if dietary carbohydrate intake is low. Ketones can be used as a preferred source of fuel by most tissues in the body, and are even able to cross the blood-brain-barrier and support cognitive health. Beneficial fuel for the body and brain.
6. Cardiovascular health
MCTs have been shown to raise HDL cholesterol, and lower LDL cholesterol, and also reduce blood triglyceride levels which is a common indicator of cardiovascular disease (2).
Key things to look for:
- Coconut derived: MCT derived from palm oil is extremely unsustainable and causes huge amount of damage to the environment and wildlife. MCT derived coconuts are a much more ethical and sustainable choice.
- GMO free, free from glucose, silicon dioxide and maltodextrin.
- Free from chemicals/solvents at all stages of production process.
- C8 form: Most effective form for ketogenic energy.
- Lab Tested
Why Choose C8 MCT?
Research suggests C8 is the most ketogenic form of MCTs, with total ketones much higher after C8 consumption and lower when it was diluted with C10, indicating C8 was about 3 times more ketogenic than C10 (3). Another study indicated the positive correlation between MCT and plasma ketone response was only observed for C8 and not C10, making it the best choice for ketogenesis (4).