Among the many forms of saturated fatty acids is “MCT.” MCT is an acronym for medium-chain triglyceride, which is packed up with a score of health benefits. The benefits involve better cognitive functioning to effective weight management.
The MCT might have crossed your radar throwing you in a state of contemplation over whether it is better than coconut oil. Coconut oil is undeniably one of the great sources of MCTs, but there is a subtle chasm between them to which many of us are oblivious. About 62-65% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs. MCT in real is a more concentrated version and is quickly gaining popularity.
Another name for triglyceride is “fatty acids,” therefore MCT is also called “MCFA” which stands for medium-chain fatty acids. The misconception that all forms of saturated fats are potentially harmful has eradicated these fatty acids from our diets. However, the consumerism culture has prompted the research to unveil a lot of facts regarding saturated fats.
The ideal MCT consumption, like coconut oil, is daily. The popularity of these medium-chain fats is soaring ever since the revelation that relinquishing fat is actually unhealthy. MCTs and other healthy fats that are a component of coconut oil or grass-fed beef are digestible. In comparison, the long-chain triglyceride- LCTs are difficult to cut down and less likely to benefit the heart, prevent obesity, and improve brain health.
If we look at the traditional population residing in the tropical areas, they have been consuming saturated fats for as long as we have heard of their existence without any ill effects. It’s a myth that a low-fat diet is healthy.
Although coconut is a great source of MCT, other foods are comprising of the saturated fats too. These include butter coming from a grass-fed cow, cheeses, palm oil, whole milk, and full-fat yogurt.
What Sets Apart MCT Oils?
MCT has picked up its name from the length of its chemical structure. The connected strings of carbon and hydrogen fashion the fatty acids. The categorization of fats depends on the number of carbon atoms. The short-chain fats comprise of 6 carbon atoms, the medium-chain fats have between 6-12 carbons, and the long-chain fats have around 13-21 carbons.
Traits that make MCT a top source of essential healthy fats
The medium-chain fats break up easily and move directly to the liver. They cause a thermogenic effect that positively influences the metabolism. It is because of this make-up of the MCT as well as of coconut oil that people think of them as fuels boosting up their energy levels instead of a fat store.
The greater absorption of MCT’s is atoned to the less amount of work the body has to do in breaking apart the carbon bonds. The smaller MCTs are capable of penetrating our cell membranes without the need for any special medium or enzymes so that our bodies can utilize them.
MCTs and other saturated fats are innocuous and are good for you in quite a few ways. The risks that we are prone to by low-fat diets are minimized, and with their ability to combat harmful microorganisms they are a boon for our gut environment. Added to this MCTs have antioxidant properties apparent from the far-reaching inflammatory benefits of coconut oil. This is why it is employed in the treatment of dozens of health problems in folk medicine for centuries.
How Medium-chain fatty acids help you:
- They are satiable making you feel full. They thus help in maintaining a healthy weight.
- Since your metabolism rate increases, the stored body fat is reduced.
- They provide you with energy, improving cognitive functions.
- The digestion system improves.
- The hormone levels are balanced.
- With balanced hormone levels, it uplifts your mood.
- Acts as a shield against bacterial infection and viruses.
- Absorb the soluble fats from various food.
MCT OIL GUIDE
Coconut Oil Vs. MCT Oil
MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides are fatty acids that amount to a certain length as the name suggests. These medium chain triglycerides make up the MCT oil which is a translucent and tasteless liquid at room temperature.
MCT oil is extracted from coconut oil, that is, it is a source of MCT oil. MCTs amount to around 62-65% of the coconut oil.
Why the MCT Oil Has Gained Momentum
- The prevailing “western” diet is deprived of the medium-chain fatty acids.
- So far a misconception regarding the health benefits of saturated fats circulated. There is a false belief that all forms of saturated fats pose health issues.
- Recent studies have unearthed the facts relating the MCT oil.
- People are now more aware of the benefits of consuming coconut oil and other MCT oils daily.
Benefits of MCT oil
It’s a power pack, providing you stable energy for hours on end. It does not need bile salts for digestion and is transported directly to the liver. It quickly raises the energy levels compared to the long-chain fatty acids that take time to break down and are stored as fats.
- It influences our “energy cells,” mitochondria.
- Instead of storing fats, MCT stimulates the fat loss process.
- It raises the body temperature, triggering calorie burning mechanism.
- It makes you feel fuller, thereby decreases the appetite.
- MCT oil comprises of antiviral and antibacterial properties that counters pathogenic bacteria and balances the gut environment.
- It regulates blood sugar level and strengthens the immune system.
- They contain antioxidant properties that are apparent from the anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil.
Historical Evidence backing Up MCT
The orthodox population of the tropical areas has been consuming saturated oils, including the sources for MCT oil, for centuries without any harmful effects.
Sources of MCTs
- Coconut oil
- MCT oil
- Whole milk
- Full-fat yoghurt
- Palm oil
The Nutritional Facts of MCT Oil
Four different types of MCTs rid the liver of the metabolic burden and quickly provide energy to your vital organs. The four different types of MCT’s are Capric (C6:0), Caprylic (C8:0), Capric (C10:0), and Lauric (C12:0) acids. The conversion of the fatty acids into usable energy depends on the length of the chain. The shorter the chain, the faster it will be converted to usable energy in the form of ketones. Ketones production is the result of fat consumption instead of glucose.
All kinds of MCT are beneficial for the health, primarily for those encountering malabsorption problems, digestive disorders, Crohn’s disease, gallbladder infection, etc.
MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil
A great number of researchers are claiming the uses and treatments of coconut oil. It is not only a bank of MCTs but also consists of antibacterial properties, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and more. The distinctive feature between MCT oil and coconut oil is the concentration. MCT can although be extracted from coconut oil, MCT itself is concentrated and solely MCT.
The different kinds of MCTs differ on the basis of a number of carbon atoms chained together to the fat molecules. Coconut oil has a higher amount of Lauric acid, that is, around 50 % of coconut oil is lauric acid. It is mainly because of this that people mostly prefer concentrated MCT oils. All the four kinds of MCTs are present in the MCT oils. It is hard to get the pack together from other food sources.
The incredible coconut oil is stacked up with lauric acid. It has a score of saturated fats almost ninety percent, but a higher percentage is not the very short chain of MCTs that have few carbon atoms. Lauric acid has 12 carbon atoms.
Lauric acid acts distinctively to the rest of the MCTs, yet some people claim it to be a type of MCT. There are contradictory views that claim lauric acid to act biologically different from rest of the shorter MCT’s. This gives the MCT proponents a reason to believe in the superiority of MCT oil.
The biggest reason for the prolific sales of MCT oil is due to the burgeoning popularity of “The Bullet Proof Diet.” Dave Asprey came up with his work The Bulletproof Diet that hits on rapid weight loss and an improved cognitive health. It suggests that 50-70% of the energy is derived from healthy fats coming from MCT oil, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil.
The “bulletproof coffee” has become the signature breakfast, which is a blend of coffee, MCT oil, and butter. It brings down the hunger levels, makes fasting easy, and improves brain function. While coconut oils is a boon for Bulletproof dieters, MCT oil a real gem.
As opposed to MCT, coconut oil has some extra benefits to it that MCT oils lack. The downside of buying manufactured MCT oil is that you are oblivious to what you actually get. For the production of MCT oil that doesn’t solidify at colder room temperature, the oil needs to be more refined compared to the regular coconut oil. The primary component, lauric acid might also be eliminated which is the key ingredient in real extra-virgin coconut oil.
Therefore, there is some room for doubt when marketers claim their products to be a carrier of more concentrated and diverse MCTs than coconut oil, as they might remove the lauric acid. Also, filler oils like omega-6 polyunsaturated fats could even be mixed. Another added factor to acknowledge is that most MCT oils in the market employ chemical/solvent refining, which means they can be using chemicals like hexane and various other enzymes and combustion chemicals.
In a nut shell, relish both coconut oil and quality MCT oil for their individual benefits. Just make sure that the MCT oil you buy is of the finest quality and the ingredients are clearly stated.
MCT Oil benefits
1. Resolves Weight Issues
MCTs tops the list of oil and fats that have positive effects on fat burning and weight loss. MCT aids in fuelling up the metabolic rate and reduces appetite. Do not think of it as a magic pill that will shed pounds in a night. It might drop a few kilos by boosting the metabolic rate.
Studies published recently to compare the consequences of consuming both medium-chain and long-chain fats. The energy expenditure, body composition, and fat oxidation in obese people. The MCTs proved to be more beneficent and prevented long-term weight gain with its increased energy expenditure and fat-burning. The experiments suggest that MCTs suppress fat deposition by the thermogenic effect and fat oxidation in both animals and humans.
To put it simply, they will help in the production of ketones. It is equivalent to the ketogenic diet without the need to cut on the carbs. It is because of this that MCTs are called “the ultimate ketogenic fats”. The heating effect they produce and the quality of rapidly being used for energy make it a gold-standard for diet.
2. Protects the Heart Health
Some studies have showed at the MCTs ability to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic disorders naming abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and impaired fasting glucose levels.
MCTs, help in curbing cardiovascular diseases and mortality risks by helping in lowering the odds of getting obese. This positive effect owes to the anti-inflammation, easy digestion, satiation, and being the easy source of energy.
3. Elevates energy levels and lifts up mood
Our brain is made up of fatty acids. Therefore, our diet should be a regular supply of them. It will make us to feel our best, clear up our mind helping us to think straight, perform well and remain sharp as we move into older age. The medium-chain fats are the most protective fatty acids that exist.
The Journal of Neurobiology of Aging published a study that claimed that MCTs in coconut oil improved memory and fought against Alzheimer’s in older adults. It is a source of food that strengthens your brain, absorbs vitamins and minerals making you feel clearheaded, energetic, and positive.
MCT oil feeds your brain cell and cleans up your gut environment making it healthy. The gut is largely connected to the cognitive functioning.
4. Stimulates Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
The bacteria in the gut microbiota is balanced by both coconut oil and MCT oil, which influences the digestion, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. The medium-chain fats are armed against a wide range of pathogenic viruses and strains and bacteria that cause issues including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomach aches, etc.
The consumption of healthy fats is also necessary in order to absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in various foods. The nutrients include beta-carotene, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and lutein. If your diet lacks the fat sources, your body won’t be able to utilize the nutrients as well.
5. Equipped With Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Properties
The robust MCTs are natural antibiotics that balance bacteria in the gut. In times of antibiotic resistance, it is important to have natural methods that kill harmful bacteria. The targeted bacteria include:
- Streptococcus- causes strep throat, pneumonia, and sinus infection
- Staphylococcus- causes food poisoning and urinary tract infection
- Neisseria- causes meningitis, gonorrhea, and pelvic inflammatory diseases
And strains that cause stomach illnesses, ulcers, and sexually transmitted diseases.
The list of inactivated viruses by lauric acid is at least a dozen of pathogenic viruses. The MCTs are capable of relinquishing bad bacteria without effecting the good bacteria. This is significant since the good ones are needed for intestinal health and digestive functioning. The studies reveal that medium-chain fats offer better resistance from infections compared to the longer-chain fats. The fatty acids and monoglycerides with chain lengths ranging from 8 – 12 carbons are more antiviral and antibacterial when combined with milk. The medium-chain lipids when added to milk and formula inactivated a number of pathogens that include (RSV) respiratory syncytial virus, herpes simplex virus type 1, Haemophilus influenza and Streptococcus.
Temperature stable or High-Heat Cooking
MCTs have high “smoke point”, which means they don’t oxidize from heat easily and can put up with high temperatures. This is very crucial since many of the good fats are not well suited for cooking. Oils like extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil can become rancid oils upon heating. Coconut and MCT oil can be leveraged for baking goods, sautes, stir-fries and grilled foods without oxidizing.
Making MCT oil a part of your Recipes
Many people staunchly believe in taking MCT oil daily as a supplement, straight from the spoon or by mixing it into drinks. It is both tasteless and odorless. Do not start with a spoonful of the oil directly. Start with half a teaspoon working your way up to 1 tablespoon.
Here are some clever tips to use MCT oil creatively at home. There are more ways to include MCT oil into your diet apart from the bulletproof coffee.
- Spin up your own homemade mayonnaise in a blender by mixing in the MCT oil, egg, extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, and salt.
- Whipping together a salad dressing using MCT oil, raw honey, Dijon mustard, and your favorite herbs.
- Add few drops of MCT oil into smoothies, shakes or yogurt. This will help in stabilizing your blood sugar level.
- Use MCT oil in homemade baked goods instead of coconut oil.
Just as coconut oil is widely used for hair and skin purposes, MCT oil too is great. It can be used in homemade teeth whitening treatments, moisturizers, lip balms, sunscreen, shaving cream, facial masks, and essential oil blends.