What’s all the rage about MCT oil these days? Well, let me tell you. MCT oil, short for medium chain triglyceride, is unbelievably beneficial for you because it provides a clean source of energy for your body bypassing the need to couple it with enzymes for absorption. It’s important to note that it is a saturated fat. One of the many good ones! I know, it seems counter-intuitive but believe you me, saturated fats are often, in fact, healthy. Exceptions to this are few, namely, trans-fats and Omega-6 fatty acids in excess.
MCT Oil - The Basics
MCT, also known as MCFA (medium chain fatty acids), are primarily derived from coconut and palm kernel oil, making it a byproduct. It can also be found in smaller amounts in some dairy such as milk, butter and whole fat yogurt.
This popular supplement provides additional benefits over our beloved coconut oil because much of the healthy benefits associated to coconut oil are actually related to the MCT elements. An estimate 55%-65% of coconut oil is MCT. Much of the remaining components of coconut oil are long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), their cousin. LCT are harder to digest and easier to store, in excess, in adipose(fat) tissue.
While getting MCT from a natural source such as coconut oil sounds ideal, doing so will slow down its absorption, reducing it’s general benefits. This is not to say that getting it from a natural source is bad. It is not. It just depends on which health benefits you are really after!
One non-health related advantage of MCT, over coconut oil, is our ability to conduct research on it. Because of its purity, it is easier to determine cause and effect thereby making the research results more conclusive. I put this, squarely, into the ‘good’ category because we need the best scientific evidence we can get our hands especially when deciding what to put in our mouths!
Now let’s get to the good stuff! The reason you are actually reading this article!
MCT Oil Benefits
MCT is a clean burning fuel that has been found to improve mitochondrial functional resulting in several downstream health benefits. It is incredibly easy to digest, making it readily available to your body’s biochemical processes. MCT oil has been shown to have a variety of health benefits that include:
- Assists with metabolism including weight loss and maintenance - This happens in a variety of ways including that MCTs make you feel full so you, in affect, eat less. You will also experience an increase in metabolism because MCTs are sent directly to your liver to be used for fuel!
- Promotes brain health - MCTs in coconut oil helped improved memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease in older adults in a 2004 study published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging. Our brains are primary made of fatty acids so it makes that we need to feed it saturated fats if we want it to perform optimally!
- Protective against heart disease - MCTs help reduce the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, both of which have been tied directly to heart disease,
- Boosts energy levels - There is solid, be it limited, evidence showing that consuming food rich in MCTs, rather than longer-chain fats, improved the time that recreational athletes could endure high-intensity exercise.
- Improves mood - MCTs easily cross the blood brain barrier making it readily available to support neurotransmitter production needs.
- Balances your gut bacteria resulting in improved digestion and better nutrient absorption.
- Has Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties - MCTs are powerful natural antibiotics and have been shown to treat several bugs including streptococcus, staphylococcus,neisseria and other strains linked to stomach viruses, candida, ulcers and even STDs.
I know that I have only but touched on the powerful benefits of MCT oil. Much of this information is not new but is becoming more highly socialized as people take their health into their own hands! Information is the vehicle but community is the gas!
Take care and, as always, stay healthy!
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*Remember to check with a healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, including the introduction of supplements.
**These claims have not be evaluated by the Food and Drug Association.