Published On By Dimitar Marinov [MD, PhD]

Benefits Of MCT Oil

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. These are fats with medium-length chains, making them easier and faster to digest than fats found in many other foods.

Made with palm kernel or coconut oil, MCT oil is widespread among athletes and bodybuilders because of its metabolic properties. It is commonly found in dairy products and can be used for an energy boost.

MCT oil is believed to possibly help certain neurological disorders while potentially supporting heart health and other health concerns.

This article will share some of the best reasons why you should think about adding MCT oil to your diet and daily routine to improve your overall health.

What Is MCT Oil?

MCT oil is created by medium-chain triglycerides, which are fats with smaller molecules than those found in most dietary fats. These smaller molecules make MCTs easier to digest and absorb, allowing for quick conversion into energy that the body can readily use.

MCTs can be found either as pure MCT oil or as a blend with LCTs, offering various consumption options. There are four main types of MCTs: capric acid, lauric acid, caproic acid, and caprylic acid. MCT oil is mostly made up of caprylic and capric acid, and each type could have different benefits.

MCTs could be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and transported to the liver for metabolism. This rapid processing of MCTs into energy may provide a quick source of fuel for the body.

MCT oil may assist in fat and nutrient absorption, support weight loss efforts, and promote feelings of fullness for appetite control. It is believed to provide an energy boost for physical activity and potential anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits Of MCT Oil

  1. Lower Calorie Intake

    MCT oil contains approximately 10% fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) present in foods like olive oil, nuts, and avocados. While few studies suggest that MCT oil may stimulate the release of satiety hormones like peptide YY and leptin, other studies did not find a significant association between MCT consumption and these appetite-related hormones.

  2. Increase Fat Burning Process

    MCTs, found in MCT oil, are quickly absorbed and can be utilized by the body as an immediate energy source.

    Studies suggest that MCT oil may help the body burn fat instead of carbohydrates during exercise, potentially leading to increased fat burning. MCT oil could support your exercise performance by supporting endurance and increased energy.

    While these findings are promising, studies present mixed results regarding the impact of MCTs on fat utilization during exercise. Therefore, how MCT oil affects the fat-burning process, and its implications for exercise performance require further investigation.

  3. Great Source Of Energy

    Medium-chain triglycerides are absorbed more quickly in the body due to their shorter chain length. It does not require bile for breakdown, allowing it to travel from the gut to the liver swiftly. Once in the liver, MCTs are rapidly broken down and can be utilized as an immediate source of energy without being stored as body fat, making them an ideal fuel source.

    Moreover, when following a ketogenic diet, MCTs could be converted into ketones in the liver. These ketones may cross the blood-brain barrier, providing a direct and efficient energy source for brain cells.

    This dual functionality of MCT oil as both a quick energy source for the body and a supplier of ketones for the brain could support overall energy levels and cognitive function.

  4. Might Improve Mood And Reduce Anxiety

    The brain depends on a balance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA to regulate mood and anxiety levels. MCT oil may support the production and function of these neurotransmitters, promoting a more balanced mood and reducing symptoms of anxiety. It could also support a healthy gut microbiota and reduce gut inflammation, which in turn can positively impact mood and reduce anxiety.

  5. Help epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism

    MCT oil may support brain function by delivering an alternative energy source in the form of ketones to improve conditions like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism. However, there is limited evidence that exists for managing epilepsy with MCT oil.

    Benefits of MCT Oil for Neurological Conditions
    Condition Benefits
    Epilepsy Potential management aid
    Alzheimer’s Disease Supports brain function and cognition
    Autism Limited evidence, potential benefits
  6. Manage Body Weight

    MCT oil may help you shed weight by boosting feelings of fullness and lowering triglyceride levels in the body. If you are following a keto diet, which suggests high fat intake and low carb consumption, MCT oil could provide you with a valuable energy source to support this low-carb diet.

    Replacing long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) with medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in the diet may contribute to reducing body fat and weight, especially if you have trouble losing weight.

    MCTs may help increase energy expenditure, which could assist in burning more calories and supporting your overall weight management efforts.

  7. Could Improve Nutrient Absorption Of Fat-Soluble Vitamins

    MCTs are absorbed more efficiently through the portal vein and then into the liver. It could improve the transport of fat-soluble vitamins across the intestinal lining by increasing the formation of chylomicrons and other lipid transport molecules. It might help in the efficient uptake and delivery of these vitamins to the bloodstream.

  8. Promotes Healthy Hair Growth

    MCT oil could provide essential fatty acids that may nourish the hair follicles, promoting stronger and healthier hair growth. These fatty acids might help maintain the hair’s structural integrity and prevent breakage. MCT oil is an excellent moisturizer and may help to hydrate the scalp and hair. It could prevent dryness and flakiness, which could lead to a healthier scalp condition and less dandruff.

  9. May Support Hormonal Balance 

    MCT oil supplies essential fatty acids that could help produce and regulate hormones. These fats may serve as building blocks for hormone synthesis, ensuring that the body can produce hormones efficiently. Maintaining a moderate weight is essential for hormone balance, as excessive body fat may lead to hormonal imbalances. Thus, MCT oil could assist in weight loss and weight management by controlling hormones like leptin and peptide yy, which may potentially help stabilize hormone levels.

  10. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

    MCT oil may offer anti-inflammatory benefits that could reduce inflammation in the body, assisting in the management of conditions such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. The consumption of medium-chain triglycerides could potentially decrease pro-inflammatory immune cells’ production and increase anti-inflammatory immune cells’ growth.

  11. May Support Gut Health

    MCT oil may help maintain and support a healthy gut microbiota, which could improve nutrient absorption and digestive function. It has antimicrobial properties that might help balance gut bacteria, supporting a healthy digestive function and reducing discomfort. MCT oil consumption may help relieve stomach issues like bloating, constipation, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.

  12. Fight yeast and bacterial growth

    MCT oil contains medium-chain fatty acids like capric acid, lauric acid, and caprylic acid, which possess antimicrobial and antifungal properties. The fatty acids present in MCT oil could hinder the expansion of harmful microorganisms by improving the natural defense mechanism against yeast and bacterial growth.

    The fatty acids in MCT oil could help reduce the growth of pathogens like Candida albicans, a common yeast that could lead to infections.

    Also, the antimicrobial effects of MCT oil might reduce the chances of yeast overgrowth in the gut, which may lead to digestive problems and overall health concerns.

    MCT oil could help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora and support optimal digestive function by restricting the growth of these microorganisms.

    However, more studies are needed to fully understand the extent of MCT oil’s impact on yeast and bacterial growth in different contexts.

  13. May Lower Heart disease risk

    When combined with a ketogenic diet, MCT oil could assist in weight loss, which in turn can lower the risk of heart disease. MCT oil may help boost levels of HDL cholesterol, known as the “good” cholesterol. The effect of MCT oil on cholesterol levels is beneficial for heart health as it may help maintain a healthier lipid profile.

    MCT oil could promote weight loss and reduce overall fat percentage, which can also contribute to a decreased risk of heart disease. Excess body weight and fat are significant risk factors for cardiovascular issues, and by supporting weight management, MCT oil indirectly supports heart health.

  14. Manage blood sugar levels

    The potential impact of MCT oil on blood sugar levels requires further investigation to confirm its efficacy and implications for metabolic health. Some studies suggest that MCT oil may benefit people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome by potentially decreasing body weight, waist circumference, and insulin resistance. While there are mixed results in recent studies regarding blood sugar control with MCT oil, potential improvements in after-meal blood sugar control have been noted.

Side Effects Of MCT Oil

Potential side effects of MCT oil include an increased risk of heart disease, stimulation of hunger hormones, and the possibility of fat accumulation in the liver at high doses.

Some people may experience elevated blood lipids associated with heart disease when consuming MCT oil in excessive amounts.

MCT oil might trigger the release of hunger hormones, potentially leading to increased appetite in some people.

There is also a possibility of fat accumulation in the liver, which could be a concern for overall liver health if you consume MCT oil in high doses.

Excessive consumption of MCT oil may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as diarrhea or bloating.

While MCT oil has various potential benefits, it is crucial to stay aware of these potential side effects, especially when considering its usage in high doses or for an extended period.

Monitoring your body’s response to MCT oil and consulting with a doctor before including it in your routine, particularly if you have any health conditions, is advisable.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can MCT Oil Be Used Topically for Skin Benefits?
    MCT oil, derived from medium-chain triglycerides, has potential skin benefits when used topically. Its properties may moisturize skin, provide antimicrobial effects, and support barrier function. Consult a dermatologist for personalized advice on including MCT oil in skincare routines.
  2. Does MCT Oil Have a Noticeable Taste or Flavor?
    MCT oil is typically flavorless and odorless, making it a versatile addition to various dishes and beverages. Its neutral taste allows for easy combination into recipes without significantly altering the overall flavor profile.
  3. Is MCT Oil Safe for Pregnant or Nursing Women?
    No. MCT oil safety for pregnant or nursing women lacks sufficient research, and its use may cause an increase in the number of triglycerides in the blood. Thus, pregnant and nursing women should avoid using MCT oil.
  4. How To Store MCT Oil?
    You should store MCT oil in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight. Please keep it in a tight container to retain the freshness and prevent it from spoiling. You don’t need to refrigerate it, but doing so can make it last longer.
  5. Can MCT Oil Be Used in Cooking at High Temperatures?
    MCT oil should be used at low to medium temperatures during frying and baking. You should not exceed the temperature above 320 degrees Fahrenheit due to its low smoking point.

Conclusion

MCT oil may help you maintain a healthy weight by allowing your body to burn stored fat for energy. It could also prevent bacterial growth and help you fight off infection with the help of its fatty acid content.

When you obtain MCT oil from whole food options, it might provide you with the benefits you are looking for. It is better to take the advice of a medical expert before including MCT oil in your routine to understand if it is appropriate for you.

MCT oil could be a reliable support for your overall health when you use it in moderation. However, there are also a few potential drawbacks to using MCT oil, including the chance of fat accumulation in your liver and digestive discomfort.

Staying mindful of your MCT oil consumption and ensuring that it aligns with recommended guidelines may help you avoid the risk of experiencing adverse effects associated with MCT oil usage.

Disclaimer
  • The details in this article are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this article.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • It is recommended to consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before trying any tips.

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