Although fat can have a bad reputation, not all fats are created equal. Some fats have particular health benefits that may help with weight loss**, brain function, or overall health.
MCTs are a type of fat with multiple health benefits. They can be used quickly for energy instead of being stored as body fat. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of MCT oil and their diverse uses for the keto diet and beyond.
What Is MCT Oil?
MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides.” Not to get too technical, but fat molecules are made up of long strands of carbon. The fats that have between 6 and 12 carbon molecules are considered medium-chain.
There are 4 main MCTs these are:
- Caproic acid (C6). Usually not used for MCT oil supplements because of its powerful smell.
- Caprylic acid (C8). This MCT is most effectively used in the body to make ketones. It also has potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Capric acid (C10). Although it is less effective than C8 for energy, it can provide energy. C10 also has immune-boosting properties.
- Lauric acid (C12). The primary MCT in coconut oil may help improve insulin sensitivity. It acts more like a long-chain fat and is not efficiently used for energy.
In general, MCTs can be used effectively for energy rather than being stored as body fat. But, there are many other health benefits of MCT oils to explore.
Health Benefits of MCT Oil
Here are a few of the highlights of the MCT oil benefits for health:
- Promotes heart health. MCTs help to improve cholesterol levels and increase LDL particle size.
- Supports digestive health. MCTs have antimicrobial properties that decrease the risk of infections in the gut.
- Improves insulin sensitivity. This could help normalize blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes.
- Supports healthy brain function. MCT supplementation has been found to improve memory recall in people with Alzheimer’s.
- Increases exercise performance. Since MCTs can be used for fast-acting energy, they can help reduce muscle fatigue so you workout longer.
What Are The Benefits Of Mct Oil For Keto?
MCTs are particularly beneficial for those following a keto diet. The first days on keto, many experience low energy levels due to the lack of carbohydrates. During this time, the body has not entirely switched over to ketosis and may not have enough ketones to sustain energy.
MCTs, particularly pure C8, can help increase ketone levels in the blood, boosting energy immediately, and making the transition easier. MCTs can also be used for those that practice intermittent fasting to keep energy levels stable.
Can MCT Oil Help Lose Weight?
MCTs can help promote weight loss. They may speed up metabolism and help the body burn fat more effectively. A 2017 study found that MCT oil was more satiating than coconut oil, leading subjects to eat less when they supplemented with MCTs.
But, these findings do not mean that consuming a ton of MCT oil will help you lose weight. MCTs are a concentrated source of calories. A tablespoon contains 115 calories, which can add up quickly. To harness the benefit of MCTs for weight loss, limit your daily intake to no more than 1-2 tablespoons to keep the calories under control.
Is MCT Oil Better Than Coconut Oil?
MCT oil and coconut oil have different benefits. MCT oil is extracted from coconut or palm kernel oil. Coconut oil is about 42-53% lauric acid, and the rest of the MCTs in coconut oil are capric and caprylic.
But, there is some controversy over whether or not lauric acid is an MCT. It is not as readily used for energy as the other MCTs and is more easily stored as fat. Therefore, if your goal is to use MCTs for energy while following a keto diet, coconut oil isn’t a good substitute, even though it does contain MCTs.
That being said, coconut oil has many research-backed benefits of its own, from heart to skin health. It is a good oil for cooking because it has a high smoke point. Coconut and MCT oils have their own individual benefits, and both can be incorporated into a healthy diet.
How to Use MCT Oil
Most high-quality MCT oils on the market include either pure C8 or a blend of C8 and C10. These are considered the “true” MCT oils with the most health benefits. For keto, a C8 oil may be most effective in helping maintain sustained energy levels.
Oils are the purest, as they are not blended with anything else, but they can be challenging to use as they are not easy to transport. Powders and soft gels are more convenient and can be carried anywhere.
Either form of MCT oil should be added slowly to your diet to allow your body to adjust and reduce gastric distress AKA stomach ache. Start ½ to 1 teaspoon at a time and increase your dose every 3 days, until you reach the recommended dose on the label.
Adding these oils to your daily routine can help increase your energy, support brain health, and ease your transition into a keto lifestyle. Our Clean MCT® product line is available in oil, powder, and soft gel form.