Top 7 Benefits of MCT Oil
When shopping for groceries or when googling how to improve your diet, you may have come across MCT Oils. With such an enigmatic name and so many competitors in the market, you might be wondering what MCT Oil really is. Are they good or bad for your health? How do they measure up to coconut oil?
In this article, we will help you answer those questions.
What is MCT Oil?
MCTs, or MCFAs, are medium-chain fatty acids which comprise saturated fatty acids with 6–10 carbons (1).
Although the chemical jargon may not mean much to the average consumer, there are two big classes of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated.
The benefits of saturated fats, the class to which medium-chain fatty acids belong, are sent straight to the liver where they are immediately processed to be transformed into energy, and thus not stored as fat.
Unfortunately, these incredibly healthy fats seem to be missing from most of our diets, assuming you follow a “standard Western diet”, mainly due to the rise of the misconception that “all fats are bad fats”. When it comes to natural sources, MCTs can be found mostly in coconut oil, grass-fed beef and its butter, cheese, and milk, and even in some full-fat yogurts.
By now you may be thinking, “But wait, coconut oil has MCTs?” In reality, coconut oil is one great source of MCTs, with around 62% to 65 % of the fatty acid content in coconut oil being MCTs. On the other hand, and although coconut oil is high on MCTs, there has been a lot of concentrated MCT oils introduced in the market, thus opening up an entirely new, healthy alternative to more traditional healthy fats.
As we start to have a clearer understanding of what MCT Oils are, let’s go ahead and discuss the top 7 benefits of this healthy fat, as we also share with you some of the scientific evidence behind them.
#1. Obesity Prevention and Weight Control
Several studies from the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders and The Obesity Research have found that long-term consumption of MCTs prevents long-term weight gain and obesity and stimulates weight loss (2, 3).
As previously mentioned, MCTs are mostly used by the body as energy, thus resulting in an increased loss of fat tissue. On the other hand, MCTs are not stored in fat deposits as adipose tissue in the body as much as other fatty acids, such as long-chain fatty acids, and they have been shown to improve thermogenesis, that is, the process by which your body creates heat as a way to use up excess energy, commonly known as fat burning.
When it comes to using MCTs for weight loss, we can see these amazing effects: increased immediate use as energy, decreased fat deposition, increased long-term use in the form of heat and increased fullness (4, 5).
All this evidence has been supported by several animal and human studies that showed signs of improved post-meal thermogenesis after consuming meals containing MCTs and increased body’s ability to burn more calories and fat (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).
MCT oils have a beneficial impact on weight management and can be incorporated into a weight loss program (14).
In short, MCT Oil may help you lose weight by:
- Reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness
- Causing fat burning and fat loss
- Burning more calories
- Supporting the keto diet because MCTs produce ketones
#2. Higher Alertness
As mentioned before, MCTs are a great source of immediate energy. Furthermore, the MCTs that are not immediately used up by our body as fuel, can also be highly useful as well! How? Once these fatty acids are not immediately used for energy expenditure, they are turned into ketones.
Ketones, also part of the fatty acid family, have the unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, thus being able to provide energy directly to the brain cells as ketones are also one of the two substances which the brain can utilize for energy. MCTs helped improved memory problems including Alzheimer’s disease in older adults (15).
#3. Healthy Fat for Immediate Energy
MCT oil is a good source of healthy fat. Apart from coconut oil and olive oil, the huge majority of processed vegetable oils such as canola, corn, and rapeseed oil, contain large amounts of omega 6 fatty acids. Although omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, omega 6 fatty acids may lead to an increase in the body’s inflammatory processes and a general immunosuppressive effect. Once the body is exposed to both an increase in inflammation and a decrease in immunity, DNA damage is bound to happen and chronic inflammation may then ensue (16, 17).
#4. Prevention of Atherosclerosis, Diabetes, and Heart Disease
Due to MCTs’ anti-coagulation effects, and cholesterol-lowering effect, MCTs may be the key to finally find a reliable prevention of atherosclerosis. In addition, MCTs have also been shown to reduce levels of cholesterol in the liver and other tissues.
MCTs have a slight hypoglycemic, that is they decrease the glucose levels in our blood. The speculation has then arisen that MCTs may also be useful for diabetics and even pre-diabetes. MCT-containing diets increased insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes adults (18, 19).
And although there are some studies on its effects as a cholesterol-lowering fat, the definitive proof of this effect comes from Sri Lanka. In the 1978 Demographic Yearbook of the United Nations, the causes of death in many countries were reported, with Sri Lanka reporting a death rate due to ischemic heart disease of 1 per 1,000,000, far lower than most other countries whose values ranged from 38.4 to 187.7 per 1,000,000. The cause? In the country, the main dietary fat is coconut oil, which contains over 60% MCTs (20).
#5. Digestion and Absorption Improvement
MCT Oils are highly beneficial when it comes to balancing bacteria in the gut, While most people don’t particularly pay much attention to the effects their diet may have on their intestinal bacteria, the positive effects elicited by MCT Oils has a positive effect on digestive symptoms, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you ingest every single day.
Medium-chain fats can help increase the so-called beneficial bacteria within your gut, thus making it harder for pathogenic bacteria and viruses to proliferate. This healthy rebalancing will, in turn, lead to a decrease in symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, and stomach aches.
On the other hand, you also need to consume healthy fats in order absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in various foods. When talking about Vitamins, these include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin, E, as well as several minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and lutein. By depriving your body of healthy fat sources, such as MCT Oils, your body is basically not able properly absorb and utilize these nutrients as well.
#6. Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties
With the rise of antibiotic resistance, it’s meaningful to have natural methods to kill some pathogens which may have access to your body through your diet. Several studies have been conducted in this area, citing that MCTs can kill pathogens such as:
Streptococcus: throat infections, pneumonia and sinus infections, Staphylococcus: food poisoning and urinary tract infections, Neisseria: meningitis, gonorrhea, and pelvic inflammatory diseases, and some other strains that cause stomach viruses, candida, ulcers and sexually transmitted diseases.
In fact, there are at least a dozen pathogenic viruses that have been shown to be inactivated at least partially by lauric acid, a known MCT.
A study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that fatty acids and monoglycerides with chain lengths varying from 8–12 carbons, that is, medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) were found to be more strongly antiviral and antibacterial when combined with milk and formula than long-chain monoglycerides. Medium-chain fatty acids added to milk and formula inactivated a number of pathogens including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus (21, 22).
#7. Can Withstand High Temperatures
MCT Oils are particularly good for cooking with, especially baking, sauteeing, stir-frying, or grilling. This is due to their so-called high “smoke point”, meaning they don’t easily oxidize from heat and can withstand high temperatures without losing their initial chemical structure at room-temperature, that is, without losing their beneficial properties.
So How Do MCT Oils Measure Up to Coconut Oil?
Although there has been a lot of speculation between the benefits of these two oils, the difference between MCT oil and coconut oil lies solely on the fact that MCT oil is more concentrated and contains different proportions of MCTs. In other words, MCT oil is a concentrated solution of MCTs whereas coconut oil is not.
There are 4 different types of MCTs which vary based on the number of carbons, thus ranging from 6 to 12 carbons long. The MCTs in coconut oil are made up of about 50% of lauric acid, one kind of MCTs. MCT Oils on the other hand, usually have all four types of MCTs that can be difficult to get from other foods. This is one of the reasons why some people prefer MCT oils over coconut oil.
Some producers of MCT Oil might claim that their product contains more concentrated and diverse MCTs than real coconut oil does, it also means the process required to produce these oils is also more refined and less natural than the processes required to obtain coconut oil.
Although there is still no bullet proof study that can finally settle which oil offers more health benefits, the bottom line is simple: buy high-quality MCT Oil or coconut oil, according to your personal use and preference.
Our Recommended MCT Oil
Our Recommended MCT Oil
While there are so many MCT oil brands and types available to choose from, we highly suggest you try the powdered MCT Oil for these reasons:
#1: MCT powder is much easier to digest than oil.
#2: You can mix MCT powder easily and adds an awesome creaminess to your coffee or smoothie.
#3. It’s more convenient to carry.
There are also many companies that sell powered MCT oil, we choose Perfect Keto because they are completely clean and have ZERO additives or fillers.
Unlike other powdered MCT oils, Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder is sourced 100% from pure coconuts. Other MCT powders might add fillers such as sunflower lecithin, corn fiber, maltodextrin and sodium caseinate to cut down the costs. These fillers and additives can cause a glucose spike (taking you out of ketosis) and are always unnatural.
You can use MCT oils in your bulletproof coffee, smoothie, baking or add it to your salad dressing.
To make it even better, you can use our coupon KETOVALE for 20% OFF when you decide to try Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder. Simply go to https://shop.perfectketo.com/ and enter our coupon code KETOVALE for 20% discount.
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