Considering its recent rise in popularity, you’ve likely heard of MCT oil. But you may not know what they are exactly or what they do. Research has shown that MCT oil can offer a wide variety of health benefits, including easier weight management, increased energy, and greater endurance while exercising. This article will explore what MCT oil is, how it works, and its potential health benefits.
What is MCT Oil?
MCT oil is a product made from extracted medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil and palm oil. The benefits of consuming more MCTs rather than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) result from the unique molecular structure of MCTs. As the name infers, MCTs have shorter chains of carbon molecules than LCTs (Each LCT contains between 13 and 21 carbon atoms while MCTs contain between 6 and 12 carbon atoms). Because of MCTs’ smaller size, the body can digest and metabolize them quicker than the larger LCTs and other types of fat.
For this reason, the oil extracted from coconut and palm oil is refined for use. MCT oil supplements only contain pure MCTs, not the LCTs naturally present in coconut and palm oil.
How Can a Fat Improve Your Health?
As mentioned above, the body metabolizes MCTs and LCTs differently. Once digested, MCTs are delivered directly to the liver and either used as immediate energy, converted into ketones, or eventually stored as fat. LCTs, on the other hand, take longer to process and thus are more likely to be stored as fat than MCTs.
Because the body metabolizes MCTs so quickly, the body uses the fat as instant energy, giving you a direct boost in energy. If you take in a lot of MCTs, your body will use them right away, increasing the rate at which you burn calories. For the same reason, keto diets have risen in popularity; if you increase MCT intake but decrease carbohydrate intake, your body will use the fat as its energy source.
Health Benefits of MCT Oil
The way the body metabolizes MCTs offers a number of health benefits. For example:
- Weight Loss– As previously mentioned, taking MCT oil can expedite weight loss because it induces the burning of calories and prevents fat storage. In addition, MCT oil can help you lose weight by making you feel fuller. Taking MCTs also provides peptide YY and leptin, two hormones that make you feel full.
- Heart Health– Due to its weight loss properties, MCT oil may also be very helpful in fighting heart disease. Studies have shown that adding MCT oils to your diet can significantly reduce “bad cholesterol” within the body.
- Gut Health– The fatty acids in MCT oil can help to prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus in the gut.
- Increased Endurance During Exercise– MCT oils have been found to help reduce the levels of lactate that builds up within the stomach during exercise. Lactate is what makes you feel tired or lethargic while participating in physical activity.
- Brain Activity– The liver has the ability to metabolize MCTs and convert them into ketones. Ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier, and the brain can then use them as a source of energy.
Incorporating MCT Oil in Your Daily Life
You can easily add MCT oil to the food and drinks you already consume daily. For example, you can:
- Blend MCT oil into a healthy smoothie made with fresh fruit and vegetables
- Mix the oil into your daily cup of coffee
- Infuse the oil into your tea or water if you’re not a coffee drinker
- Cook vegetables with the oil
- Drizzle the oil over meals as a finishing touch
- Add the oil into your favorite salad dressing
- Use it to make your own compound butter
- Add to bone broth soup
Or, you can always take MCT oil straight; simply swallow two teaspoons with your breakfast in the morning or drink it down before a workout. Before adding MCT oils or any other supplement to your diet, be sure to consult with your physician.
Is MCT Oil the Wave of the Future?
Of course, MCT oil is by no means a miracle drug; for “perfect” health, you need to alter every aspect of your lifestyle, diet, and environment, which for most people is impossible. However, when combined with frequent exercise and other healthy habits, taking MCT oil is a great way to improve your overall wellness and achieve your health goals.