Are you too wondering what all the hype about MCT oil is about? In fact, what on God’s green earth is this MCT that everyone suddenly seems to be talking about? Steady on young Padawan! Today, not only will we tell you all you ever wanted to know about MCT oil and it’s benefits, but you will also learn about the most common sources of MCT oil as well. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.
What Is MCT Oil?
MCT stands for Medium-chain triglycerides. Sounds like hardcore science mumbo-jumbo? Don’t worry, we have your back! In super simple terms, MCT is a type of easily digestible fat that exists in certain types of oil. With 7.9 grams and 7.4 grams per tablespoon of MCTs respectively, coconut oil and palm kernel oil form two of the major sources of MCT oil. Dairy products like butter, milk and cheese too contain MCTs, however, the quantity is relatively low. MCT oil is often by those going for weight loss as well as by some athletes to boost endurance.
The Benefits of MCT Oil
Now that we are aware of the basic facts regarding the MCT oil, let’s have a look at the various benefits associated with it and how can it help you achieve your fitness goals:
1. Helps You Lose Weight
Surprised? We would totally understand if you are. After all, one doesn’t really associate weight loss with saturated fat but this is absolutely true for the MCT oil. Studies have shown that MCT oil stimulates the release of hormones like YY and leptin which gives you a feeling of fullness and reduces your appetite.
It has been shown that just having two tablespoons of MCT oil as a part of breakfast can significantly reduce your appetite for lunch. It also has 10% fewer calories than olive oil, nuts and avocado, all of which have long-chain triglycerides or LCTs.
In fact, if you are on a keto diet, research has shown that your body can easily convert MCTs into ketones and help your body burn fat for energy (Ketosis) thus, helping you reduce your weight significantly. MCT oil also boosts the growth of good bacteria in your gut which helps in keeping the gut environment healthy thus, promoting healthy weight loss.
2. Provides An Instant Source of Energy
Many athletes and fitness professionals have started using MCT oil to improve their endurance. So much so that MCT oil has now gained a reputation as a “super fuel”.
How? Well, this is just chemistry of your body at work. You see, generally, the liver breaks down fat to be either used as fuel or stored in the body as additional fat. However, unlike the long-chain triglycerides or LCTs, the shorter chain length of MCTs are not broken down by the bile and travel directly from the gut to the liver. This allows MCTs to be used by the body as an immediate source of energy.
Those of you who are on a ketogenic diet also benefit immensely from the ketogenic diet since your liver can also convert MCTs into ketones which can travel to your brain cells and act as a fuel for your brain.
3. Reduces Lactate Buildup In The Body
Have you ever worked out so hard that you felt as if your legs and hands are on fire? This is because your body doesn’t have enough oxygen to break down the glucose for energy.
Without enough oxygen, your body starts producing something called lactate which it can then convert into energy. However, when the lactate builds up faster than your body can burn it, lactic acid starts building up causing the burning sensation which hampers your workout.
However, studies have found that MCTs may help your body reduce the lactate build up. In fact, during research when an athlete was given 1.5 teaspoons of MCTs with food, it was found that they had lower lactate levels than other athletes who had been given LCTs and was able to perform better.
4. Helps Fight Yeast and Bacterial Growth
One of the most common yeast that causes thrush and other skin infections in humans is the Candida Albicans. Researchers have found that coconut oil, one of the primary sources of MCTs can reduce the growth of Candida Albicans by as much as 25%. It can also significantly reduce the growth of the bacteria called Clostridium Difficile which has been associated with diarrhoea, inflammation of the colon.
The main reason why coconut oil has the ability to fight against fungal and bacterial growth has been attributed to the presence of caprylic, capric and lauric acid in MCTs. In fact, MCTs by themselves can suppress the growth of infectious fungus by as much as 50%.
5. Helps Fight Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Most of us have grown up on the popular theory that saturated fat will play havoc on your cholesterol level and cause various heart-related diseases. When it comes to MCTs, the exact opposite is true.
We have already seen how MCTs helps in weight reduction, which in itself has a direct bearing on your cardiovascular health. Apart from that, studies have also found that adding MCT oil in the diet can reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” while increasing the production of HDL or “good cholesterol” which is associated with a healthier heart.
MCTs have also been shown to significantly reduce the C-reactive protein or CRP. Some doctors believe there is a direct correlation between high CRP and a likelihood of heart attack or stroke.
6. Controls Blood Sugar Level
If you are a diabetic, you might want to include MCT oils in your diet. MCT helps you reduce weight while boosting fat burning, thus making it easier to manage diabetes.
In fact, studies have shown that people who included MCT oil in their daily diets not only reported significant weight reduction and waist circumference but they also showed reduced insulin resistance.
Having said that, no effect of MCTs was observed on fasting blood sugar levels and thus many scientists have come to believe that factors such as timing and the amount of food intake also play a role in determining the effects of MCT oil among the diabetics.
7. May Aid In Managing Epilepsy, Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease
Want to know an interesting fact? The ketogenic diet, popular today for weight loss, was actually introduced as a way to manage epilepsy.
Scientists have found that an increase in ketone production in the body can help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures. Since MCTs can easily be converted into ketones when someone is on a Keto diet, it is believed that MCT oil can be beneficial in managing epilepsy.
For someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, the brain’s ability to use sugar is diminished. In such cases, an MCT based ketogenic diet offers ketones as an alternative source of energy allowing the brain cells to survive better. Ketones also prevent memory loss by blocking a receptor in the brain which causes memory loss.
Another study has found that for children with autism, an MCT based ketogenic diet and gluten-free diet had positive improvements. However, this is still under study and one should take medical advice in case they want to use MCT oil for any of the above medical conditions.
We really hope that we have cleared most of your doubts about MCT oil and its benefits. Before we end the article, it is important to note that while there are indeed many benefits associated with MCT oil, there are also potential drawbacks with excessive usage like fat build-up in the liver. However, compared to the benefits, the risk are very few which makes MCT oil one of the best dietary supplements. With this, we will say goodbye and hope you have a healthy and happy life.