Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil is at the top of our list of must-haves because its benefits are incredibly diverse. From improved body composition to mental and physical performance, adding MCT’s to your routine is a simple way to go improve overall health.
In this post, you will learn:
- How MCTs support fat metabolism
- Why eating fat can actually help you lose fat
- Why MCTs are considered “brain fuel”
- The microbiomic benefits of MCTs
- The truth about MCTs and heart health
If you’re looking to sustain energy throughout the day, fat is where it’s at.
Our bodies are designed to burn both carbohydrates and fat for energy. High activity levels typically put a demand on blood sugar and liver glycogen, low intensity activities primarily use fat for fuel, and moderate intensity activities tend to use both.
When you restrict your carbohydrate and sugar consumption however, you force your body to rely on fat as it’s primary fuel source, and this leads to increased levels of fat metabolizing enzymes and mitochondrial efficiency. This process can take a few days, weeks, or even months depending on individual factors and is colloquially referred to as “fat adaptation”.
MCT is especially useful for “fat burners” because it bypases normal fat digestion and goes right to the liver where it supports the production of ketone bodies. Ketones are then used by the body as a source of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule used for cellular metabolism. Despite similarities in appearance, other oils don’t possess these special qualities. In one study, researchers found MCT oil from coconuts increased ATP synthesis better than the polyunsaturated fat found in corn oil.
This is important information for those interested in ketogenic diets because without carbs, energy levels can dip. MCT’s provide a “quick energy” alternative to carbs and directly boost ketone production for sustained energy levels throughout the day.
It might sound too good to be true, but the “eat fat, burn fat” meme is scientifically solid and this is especially true when it comes to MCT’s.
By increasing ketones, and therefore ATP production, MCT’s can boost our metabolism and researchers think this might be why study subjects have shown lower body mass, adipose fat tissue (fat around the midsection) and lower weight vs subjects who did not consume coconut-based MCT oils. This holds true even when compared to other plant-based fats like olive oil.
Researchers have begun to explore the idea of MCT’s as a useful tool in the prevention of obesity. By increasing satiety and stabilizing blood sugar, they can make it easier to cut down on snacking, overeating, and excess calories.
Blending coffee with MCT oil is all the rage these days, and we can totally understand why. In addition to the stimulating effects of caffeine, the ketone boost provided by MCT oil can supercharge focus and mental concentration without the “afternoon slump” common in carbohydrate-heavy diets.
In one study, Alzheimer’s patients showed better recall after supplementing with MCT oil. One possible mechanism for this is the fact that the ketones produced by MCT can cross the blood-brain barrier, providing valuable brain-food without the need for glucose.
Good gut health (ie. a well balanced microbiome) is essential for proper absorption of nutrients, immune system health, and even mental health. Supplementation with MCT oil, especially a coconut-based product higher in the C12 MCT lauric acid, has been shown to positively impact gut health by reducing microbes associated with inflammation and obesity.
Of all the MCT types, lauric acid in particular is a potent anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial that’s even been explored as a treatment for acne.
To get these gut-healthy benefits from MCT, be sure to look for high levels of lauric acid in your MCT’s as many cheaper products made from palm oil are low in this important fatty acid.
Saturated fats have gotten a bad rap for more than a half-century, but researchers are finally admitting that there might be more to the story than meets the eye.
Recent studies have shown that the elevated insulin levels and chronic inflammation caused by high-carbohydrate diets are a likely contributor heart disease. (It’s worth noting that fats do not raise insulin levels anywhere near the same degree carbohydrates and sugars do, so they do not contribute to particular heart disease risk factor.)
One 2010 study debunked the idea that the saturated fats found in MCTs contribute to heart disease showing that they did not negatively impact risk of heart disease. In fact, the exact opposite is likely true as lauric acid has been shown to raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
How to choose the best mcts
Here at Natural Force, we love our MCTs. We add them to coffee, tea, and even sparkling water!
When choosing an MCT product like MCT Oil, look for:
- Pure, expeller-pressed virgin coconut oil
- Free of palm oil
- High levels of lauric acid
- Free of artificial colors and flavors
MCTs are versatile and super easy to incorporate into your diet. Simply add pure MCT oil or Emulsified MCTs to your morning coffee or tea or blend into smoothies. Pure MCTs go great in savory dishes like soups and stews, or drizzled onto steamed or roasted vegetables. Curious about the best time of day to use MCT oil? Check out this post.
Also published on Medium.