You might have seen many popular celebrities and athletes using MCT oil as a supplement. The popular form of coconut oil comes with a high content of MCTs, which increases its benefits. The powerful oil has become part of the keto-friendly wellness trend. It is an excellent source of healthy fatty acids and can do wonders when it comes to boosting energy levels and reducing inflammation.
If you’re considering adding MCT oil to your diet, learning about some of its science-based benefits will help you make the most of it.
MCT OIL - ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
As the title suggests, MCT or medium-chain triglyceride oil comprises medium-length fats chains called triglycerides. As they are relatively shorter in length, MCTs are easily digested compared to longer chains of fats in the food. As mentioned above, coconut oil is the primary source of MCT oil, as 50 percent of the fats in coconut oil come from MCTs. You may find these fats in other foods, including dairy products and palm oil.
There are four types of medium-chain triglycerides but capric and caprylic are the most common ones used in MCT oil. In many cases, these types can offer specific and unique benefits.
Here are some science-backed benefits you can get by incorporating MCT oil into your diet.
SCIENCE-BACKED BENEFITS OF MCT OIL
#1 | Potentially Promotes Weight Loss
While recent studies regarding MCT oil benefits for weight loss have mixed results, there are a few reasons it can be useful for shedding pounds. MCT oil can help you stimulate the hormonal release (leptin and peptide YY), which promotes a feeling of fullness.
In fact, a study showed that if you take two tablespoons of this oil at breakfast, you feel satiated. As a result, you eat less food during the next mealtime. The study further found that MCT oil decreases the production of glucose and triglyceride, which makes you feel full without the need to eat as much.
Moreover, plenty of earlier research found that taking MCT oil can help you reduce waist circumference and body weight. The beneficial oil can significantly prevent obesity in people. It is worth mentioning that most of these studies didn’t take factors like calorie consumption and activity levels into account.
However, MCT oil contains 10 percent fewer calories compared to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) present in foods such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil. You can also convert MCT oil into ketones by reducing your intake of carbohydrates and breaking downs fats.
That means if you’re on a Ketogenic diet (low carbs, high fats), consuming MCT oil can help you maintain a fat-burning state called ketosis.
#2 | Boosts Energy
Your body absorbs medium-chain triglycerides faster than long-chain ones. It is because LCTs have more quantity of carbon in the fatty acid chains. Plus, MCTs have a shorter length, due to which they travel quickly from your gut to other areas, such as the liver.
Your body easily breaks down the fat to use as fuel. Since medium-chain triglycerides enter the cells without any damage, your body uses them as an immediate energy source.
#3 | Reduces Lactate Buildup and Uses Fat for Energy
If you’re an athlete or gym hobbyist, you may know that working out can increase lactate levels in the body. High levels of lactate can negatively impact your performance. Interestingly, MCTs can help you prevent lactate buildup.
A study by the National Library of Medicines found that sportsmen had decreased levels of lactate when consumed 6g MCTs with a meal before cycling. It made it easier for them to exercise. The study concluded that taking MCTs in the form of oil before exercise is a beneficial way to use fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
Another study on the benefits of MCT oil showed that it could increase swimming capacity and endurance performance in athletes.
#4 | May Help Manage Autism, Epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s Disease
Many studies show that MCT oil and a keto diet may help people manage conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and autism.
You might have not heard it before but the keto diet was first used as a way to treat or manage epilepsy. Later, it gained popularity as a diet regime to lose weight. Many studies found that people can increase ketone production by fasting. This can reduce the number of epileptic seizure episodes.
As mentioned earlier, converting MCTs into ketones is possible; oil consumption can be beneficial in reducing or managing epilepsy. However, it depends on the type of MCTs you use. An in-vitro study, in this regard, showed that capric acid (MCT) can provide better seizure control compared to an anti-epileptic drug.
Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease can impair your brain’s ability to use sugar?
But when you’re on the MCT keto diet, it offers an alternative source of energy- ketones. It allows your brain cells to become stronger and survive better. Plus, the diet may block brain receptors that cause memory loss.
A recent study showed that taking a single dose of MCT oil can improve short-term cognition in Alzheimer’s patients with specific gene types. Note that genetic factors can play an important role in reducing the symptoms. However, adding 20 to 70g of supplemental MCTs, including caprylic, can alleviate symptoms of mild Alzheimer’s.
Overall, MCT oil offers promising benefits to Alzheimer’s patients but it still needs further studies.
MCT oil may affect children suffering from autism. One study showed positive improvements when children with autism followed a keto diet for 6 months. Another study on the effects of MCT oil found that a gluten-free diet can substantially improve autism behaviors in children. Keep in mind that autism is one of the spectrum conditions that affect people in plenty of ways.
That means when you add MCT oil to the diet of a child suffering from autism, it may affect him to varying degrees. That is why you must speak to your doctor if you’re considering a keto diet to manage your child’s autism.
#5 | Contains Fatty Acids to Stop Bad Bacterial Growth
MCTs, come with antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Coconut oil, containing numerous MCTs, can reduce Candida albicans growth by 25 percent. It is a common type of yeast that may cause different types of skin infections and thrush.
A study on coconut oil showed that MCTs in it can reduce the growth of Clostridium Difficile- a disease-causing bacteria. MCTs contain lauric acid, which increases the potency of coconut oil to reduce bacterial growth and yeast. MCT oil, in many experimental studies, has suppressed the growth of infectious fungus by 50 percent.
#6 | May Reduce Multiple Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
Primary factors that heighten the risk for heart disease are
body mass index
MCT oil supports weight loss. This, in turn, helps people reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases. A study including 24 obese men found that consuming MCT oil with flaxseeds and phytosterols for a month may reduce cholesterol by 12 percent. When researchers used olive oil, the reduction was only 4 percent.
Moreover, MCT oil can help improve heart-protective HDL production (good) cholesterol. It can decrease C-reactive protein (CRP) - an inflammatory marker that may increase the risk of developing heart diseases.
#7 | Helps Manage Sugar Levels
MCT oil can offer health benefits to people with diabetes. It has shown a significant increase in fat burning and reduction in fat storage. It assists in managing the diabetes condition. One small study involving diabetics showed that consuming MCT oil on daily basis can reduce body weight, insulin resistance, and waist circumference, compared to people using corn oil.
Another study found that diabetic patients needed 30 percent less sugar to manage blood sugar levels when they take MCT oil. However, other factors, including food amount and timing, may affect the impact of MCT oil.
HOW CAN YOU USE MCT OIL?
Using MCT oil is super simple. You can simply add it to your food or drink a few drops of oil straight up. But if you don’t like throwing back a shot of MCT oil just like that, you are in luck. We say this because the oil is flavorless, so it makes a great addition to any food or drink, such as smoothies, salads, and coffee.
While there’s no standard limit for MCT oil, you should not consume more than 5 to 7 spoons a day. It is better to talk to a certified dietitian if you’re unsure of how much MCT oil to take.
SUMMING UP MCT OIL & ITS USES
All in all, medium-chain triglycerides or MCT oil potentially has many health benefits. For beginners, it contains fatty acids that promote weight loss and reduce body fat, increase fullness, and improve the gut environment. MCT oil is also an energy source that can combat bacterial growth, protect the heart, and manage diabetes, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism. Make sure you talk to your nutrition professional to explore more benefits of consuming an MCT oil plan.