What is MCT oil?
MCT is an abbreviation for Medium-Chain-Triglyceride. Triglyceride is one type of fatty acid. Medium-Chain means that the fatty acids have a medium length chain.
Palm oil and coconut oil are the most important sources from which MCT oil originates. The amount of MCT’s in coconut oil equals about 65%. MCT can be considered a healthy saturated acid. Contrary to the presuppositions in the 1980’s and 1990’s, saturated fatty acids do not have negative consequences for heart and blood vessel health.
Different kinds of MCT oil
MCT oil can be divided into four subcategories. These are:
- C6 (also called Capron acid or Hexanoic Acid)
- C8 (also called Caprylic Acid or Octanoic Acid)
- C10 (also called Capric Acid or Decanoic Acid)
- C12 (also called Lauric acid or Dodecanoic Acid)
These numbers show how long a fatty acid chain is. In this case, C6 would be the shortest chain, while C12 is the longest chain. The length of the chain determines how quickly the fatty acids are metabolized as energy. Different kinds of MCT oil also have independent benefits. We will tell you all about these benefits later on.
What are the benefits of MCT oil?
1. MCT oil yields stable energy for hours on end
The advantage of MCT oil is that it is quickly metabolized into energy. As mentioned before, MCT oil has a middle chain length. Fatty acids that have a long chain, are harder to convert into energy, and therefore do not have the effect that MCT oils have. Nonetheless, you still need long chain and very long chain fatty acids for achieving optimal health. However, we cannot use these fatty acids for quick energy.
The advantage of MCT oil is that it is immediately transported from the stomach to the liver. For that reason, MCT oil quickly raises energy levels. Because the 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. Furthermore, long chain fatty acids can be stored as body fat. If you want quick and stable long term energy, pick MCT oil because it is broken down very efficiently.
Another mechanism whereby MCT oil has a positive effect on our energy levels is by influencing our mitochondria. Mitochondria are “energy factories” within our cells. These energy factories are not only present in muscle tissue, but also in the heart and brain.
2. MCT oil helps you lose weight, and keep it off
Like stated before, MCT oil is directly converted to energy in the liver. For that reason, it cannot be stored as body fat. In one scientific study, participants were divided amongst two different groups. One group received a placebo of long chain fatty acids, while the other group received MCT oil. The participants consumed their allocated supplement every day for twelve straight weeks. After twelve weeks, the MCT oil group lost significantly more body weight in comparison to the long chain fatty acid group. What is even more important, is that the MCT oil group mainly lost weight around their waist. Abdominal fat is the hardest fat to lose in general, but is also considered the unhealthiest type of body fat.
People that replace other fatty acids in their diet with MCT oil lose more bodyweight than when they consume an equivalent amount of olive oil. While extra virgin olive oil is very healthy, MCT oils would be the preferred choice for fat loss. MCT oil even seems to directly stimulate the fat loss process. This means that body fat itself will be broken down, while consuming MCT oil.
Another mechanism whereby MCT oil decreases body fat is by increasing the production of heat by the body. More heat production means that calories are burned to a greater extent. This process is active, even while you might not do anything at all at that moment. This effect does not result from the consumption of other types of fatty acids. The mechanism whereby MCT oil increases energy levels is not precisely known yet.
3. MCT oil decreases appetite and feelings of hunger
There are scientific studies that show that MCT oil reduces the amount of appetite and feelings of hunger. If you are satiated, then you will automatically eat lower amounts of food. This makes it easier to follow a diet when you use MCT oil as part of your diet. An example would be people that add MCT oil to their breakfast, consume less food during lunch. The Bulletproof Lifestyle stimulates people to consume MCT oil for breakfast, amongst other foodstuffs. Usually the followers of the Bulletproof Lifestyle add MCT oil to their Bulletproof Coffee. Scientific studies show that MCT oil suppresses hunger for a far longer term than other types of fatty acids.
4. MCT oil spares muscle mass during periods of fat loss
When you use a low carb diets with added MCT oil, this will have a positive effect on the amount of muscle mass. People that use MCT oil during a period of fat loss, have more muscle mass in comparison to people that do not use MCT oil in their diets.
For that reason, MCT oil is very interesting for athletes. This is particularly the case for endurance athletes because MCT oil is very easy to consume during competitions or training sessions.
5. MCT oil helps stabilize blood sugar levels
Having a healthy metabolism means having healthy regulation of blood sugars. The most important blood sugar regulating hormone is called insulin. Insulin causes potential sugars that are in the bloodstream to be stored in the muscle tissue. Within certain pathologies such as diabetes, overweight or Alzheimer, the metabolism of blood sugars is impaired. Luckily, MCT oil can help even in this area. MCT oil causes sugars, when they are present in the blood circulation, to increase the chances that these sugars are stored in muscle tissue as opposed to be stored as fat mass. Scientific studies show that this advantage pertains to both ill (diabetes, Alzheimer) as healthy people. Another advantage of MCT oil for diabetics is that it can improve the sugar metabolism in the long term as well!
Even for athletes MCT oil is highly recommended because of its benefits in the area of insulin. Improved insulin functioning not only means that consumed carbohydrates will be stored at the right places, but it will also mean that higher amounts of muscle mass can be won. Because MCT oil increases insulin functioning, it can indirectly increase the amount of muscle mass in the body. The reason for this, is that insulin itself stimulates the creation of new muscle mass.
6. MCT oil has benefits for the immune system
First of all, MCT oil has benefits for the stomach and colon. In order to experience these benefits, it is essential to slowly increase MCT consumption. When one consumes too many MCT oil at one sitting, this will lead to stomach issues and diarrhea. In order to convert MCT oil to energy, lower amount of bile from the gallbladder is needed compared to when one consumes other fats. MCT oil has the greatest benefits for yeast infection such as Candida, and stomach and colon problems that are caused by e. Coli bacteria. Furthermore, people that have problems breaking down food because they have stomach or colon issues also benefit from MCT oil consumption. These benefits extend to both C8 as well as C10 MCT forms of MCT oil.
Secondly, C8 MCT oil has some independent benefits as well. C8 consumption is beneficial for bacterial infections, for example. It can also act against toxic substances. Furthermore, C8 MCT oil has benefits for improving the immune system in general, as well as having some longer term anti-aging benefits as well.
Thirdly, C10 MCT oil has specific benefits for yeast infections. It causes the cell walls of yeast to disintegrate. Lastly, C10 MCT oil can have significant anti-inflammatory benefits for Crohn disease patients. C10 MCT oil then, is an exemplary fatty acid for people that have stomach issues.
7. MCT oil is excellent for cooking, and even improves the taste perception of meals
MCT oils are almost tasteless, when compared to coconut oil for example. Another beneficial property of MCT oil is that it improves the taste perceptions of meals, when the MCT oils are added. MCT oils intensify any flavor. For that reason, the Bulletproof diet uses a lot of MCT oils in their recipes. This fact becomes evident when one reads the Bulletproof Cookbook.
Just as coconut oil, MCT oil can be heated to very high temperatures as well. This does not cause the formation of unhealthy fatty acids or toxins. The reason why MCT oil can be heated to very high temperatures, is because it mainly consists of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids are more resistant to heating than unsaturated fatty acids. When heating unsaturated fatty acids, such as olive oil, some very unnatural and unhealthy toxins and trans-saturated fatty acids are created in the process. These trans-saturated fatty acids are not safe for consumption. MCT oil can be heated up until 177 degrees Celsius before it even starts smoking. When using normal cooking temperatures during the cooking process, MCT oil will never be converted to the dreaded trans-saturated fatty acids. Therefore, MCT oil is excellent to use in high-temperature cooking processes.
8. MCT oil has enormous benefits for cognitive performance
The advantage of the quick energy that MCT oil generates, is that it leads to a better memory. At this moment in time, the only scientific studies that investigate the cognitive effects of MCT oil consumption are done with Alzheimer patients. Within this population group, MCT oil has proven benefits for improving memory function. For healthy people, the effects of MCT oil consumption for improving cognitive performance have not been investigated yet. But millions of experienced users of Bulletproof products however, tell a very different story. Many people that have used Bulletpoof coffee with MCT oil, are convinced by the results. Many beginners try to make Bulletproof Coffee with coconut oil, but the effects that result from that recipe are simply not strong enough. When these people eventually try MCT oil, they experience significant improvements in their cognitive performance.
9. MCT oil has benefits even on a high carb diet
Even when you consume a lot of carbohydrates, MCT oil is a wonderful product. Dave Asprey, the creator of the Bulletproof diet, often combines carbohydrates such as sushi or rice with MCT oils. The advantage of this combination is that the body has multiple different sources of energy. First of all, the carbohydrates of the rice or sushi create (mental) energy. But what kinds of effects do MCT oils have for the brain?
When you consume carbohydrates, the brain uses these carbohydrates as its preferred source or energy. When a large amount of carbohydrates are consumed, the body stops being in a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state that is accompanied with great mental clarity and tons of energy. But when you consume MCT oil with a meal that has carbohydrates, the MCT oil is still converted to ketones. The final benefit then, is that two different sources of energy are created. These are glucose and ketones. Even while you’re consuming carbohydrates, you can still reap the benefits from ketones when consuming MCT oil.
10. MCT oil is a great beauty product
MCT oil is a great beauty product that improves beauty in several different areas. First of all, you can use it on your skin and in your hair. There have even been scientific studies investigating MCT oils and coconut products as a beauty product. When MCT oil is applied to the skin, it will act as a high quality moisturizer. MCT oil counteracts the development of too dry of a skin. When MCT oil is applied to the hair, it acts as a conditioner and it decreases possible adhesions. It can also act as a treatment for dandruff. There is even anecdotal evidence that MCT oil can act as a natural basis for hair coloring products, and increase the speed of growth of hair!
You can also use MCT oil for oral hygiene. To accomplish that, put one teaspoon of MCT oil in your mouth. Subsequently, swirl the MCT oil around in your mouth for about five to ten minutes. Afterwards, the MCT oil should not be consumed, as it is full of bacteria. You have to spit it out. This method can even prevent caries and plaque on the teeth. It will also keep the gum in your mouth healthy and freshen your breath.
If you want more information on this topic: swirling around oils for oral hygiene is called “oil pulling”. You can find a lot of information on “oil pulling” when you search for it online.