Medium chain triglycerides or (MCTs) have been extensively researched and have numerous health benefits. They display Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties. As part of a healthy diet or wellness program the addition of this healthy saturated fat is shown to support:
- Appetite reduction, weight Loss, or weight maintenance
- Energy levels, work and athletic performance
- Gut health, digestion and nutrient absorption
- Cardiovascular health
- Brain health, improved cognition and mood
- Disease prevention
What exactly are MCTs?
Medium chain triglycerides or (MCTs) are a type of dietary saturated fat that contains medium length chains of fatty acids (or triglycerides). They are most commonly found in coconut and palm oils. Small amounts of MCT can be found in butter and other high fat dairy products from grass-fed cows.
MCTs get their name from their chemical structure. They have between 6 and 12 carbon atoms. Their shorter length make MCTs more easily digested.
In contrast; short chain triglycerides (SCTs) have less than 6 carbons. They are produced when the friendly gut bacteria ferment fiber in your colon. They are the main source of energy for the cells lining your colon.
And… long chain triglycerides (LCTs) like omega-3 (DHAs) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPAs), olive oil, nuts and avocados. These have between 13 and 21 carbons.
The Difference Between MCT Oil & Coconut Oil
There are 4 types of MCTs… the shorter the chain the better it is assimilated
MCT oils mostly have all four types.
- Caproic (C6)
- Caprylic (C8)
- Capric (C10)
- Lauric Acid (C12) 12-Chain
Coconut oil is about 2/3 MCTs and is rich in Lauric Acid (C12). MCT oil on the other hand is more concentrated. It contains differing proportions of all 4 MCTs. This is the main reason that some people prefer concentrated MCT oils.
All 4 types may be difficult to obtain just from food
False Beliefs About Saturated Fat 👿
Saturated fat has been demonised for nearly half a century for its supposed dangers to heart health. We have been lead to believe that all saturated fats are harmful to our health and to avoid eating them.
To say they have been given a bad rap is an understatement.
Its contradictory that certain populations of people have been consuming saturated fat from coconuts (as a staple) for thousands of years without any ill effects.
Saturated fats in moderation and the right form are good for us and critical for healthy metabolic function and repair.
Endorsement of low-fat diets as healthy is one of the biggest nutrition lies /or Mistakes ever
Research now shows that there are many benefits to eating healthy saturated fats. In particular coconut oil and MCTs and they should be included into a healthy diet.
Health Benefits of MCTS
Digestive Benefits of MCTs
MCTs aren’t digested and absorbed the same way as other dietary fats. They are sent directly to the liver to be converted into ketones; which are produced from its breakdown.
Ketones are shown to be an extremely clean, preferred source of fuel; providing immediate energy, rather than being stored as fat. If you’re following a ketogenic diet, which is very low in carbs yet high in fat, MCT oil can help you stay in the fat burning state known as ketosis.
This digestive pathway makes them an ideal dietary addition for those with malabsorption issues, like Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). This pathway also makes them a particularly good choice for those who may have had their gallbladder removed.
MCTs are very gut friendly and help to build a healthy microbiome; assisting to fight harmful bacteria, fungi and parasites. They appear to reduce “bad bacteria” without harming “good bacteria.
They are also shown to reduce the growth of Candida Albicans (common yeast that can cause thrush).
Natural Antioxidant & Anti-inflammatory properties
Benefit’s for the Heart & Brain
As MCTs also improves gut health; the gut-brain connection further improves cognitive function. In the form of ketone bodies, MCTs supply fuel for the brain; assisting with mental clarity and work performance.
Clinical uses include:
Improved neurological function with possible implications in neurodegenerative diseases. Clinically used as part of a specialised dietary therapy for the treatment of epilepsy.
A large percentage of our brain is made up of these protective fatty acids. We need a steady supply from your diet to feel your best, think clearly, perform well at work and stay sharp well into older age.
Weight Loss and Management
MCTs seem to have positive effects on fat burning and weight reduction; thereby assisting in the prevention of obesity. They have a thermogenic effect, which has a positive effect on metabolism.
Shown to increase hormones that promote satiety; feeling fuller for longer may reduce snacking and caloric intake; thereby promoting weight loss. They also have about 10% fewer calories than long chain triglycerides.
Known as the ultimate ketogenic fat. Especially so when someone is not consuming very many carbohydrates or to help the body reach a state of ketosis. Utilising ketones may provide you with some similar benefits as the ketogenic diet without needing to cut carbs to extreme.
MCTs are not a magic pill… you can’t expect to become healthy by just incorporating MCTs into your diet. You simply cannot eat more dietary fat and do nothing else.
Benefits will shine through when incorporated into a personalised, healthy eating plan.
MCTs in the Kitchen 🥄🍳
Being practically tasteless MCTs are easy to eat and use for cooking. As it has a very high heat tolerance or smoke point it is great for baking and frying.
Take a spoonful a day as a supplement, or mix it with smoothies or food. You have to build tolerance, start with a level teaspoon a day for a week or 2 and build slowly 1 teaspoon at a time. Work your way up to 1 – 3 tablespoons throughout the day.
Bulletproof Coffee has become very popular in the last 5 years. This is how I start my day.. I put a rounded teaspoon in mine
Obviously there is no “one size fit all”. Everyone is different and therefore intake will differ accordingly. If you go too quick you may get intestinal issues and loose stools.
As for personal care products; MCTs are just as versatile as coconut oil.. great for oral care, hair and skin.
MCT Oil Considerations
Palm oil is a controversial source of MCTs because there are environmental issues involved in the process of procuring this oil. These include the cruel, destruction of forest and wildlife.
IT’S important to Opt for MCT oil made from sustainable, environmentally friendly practices
Coconut oil does have many well documented health benefits that concentrated MCT oils might be lacking. When buying manufactured MCT oil you might not really know exactly what you’re getting.
In order to produce a liquid MCT oil that does not become solid at colder temps, it might need to be more refined than regular coconut oil. This process may compromise the beneficial lauric acid.
So, just make sure you buy a high-quality MCT oil that clearly states what the ingredients are and how it was produced.
BEFORE YOU GO!