What is MCT Oil?

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are saturated fats that tend to be quickly absorbed and efficiently converted into fuel for cells to convert into energy. MCT oil is made from a fat called medium-chain triglycerides that are only found in certain oils and dairy products. MCT oil is a supplement made of those fats. MCT oils were first used in the clinical setting for gastrointestinal conditions that prevented people from properly digesting and absorbing long-chain fatty acids. These conditions included celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and cystic fibrosis.

Lets us take a look at the health benefits of MCT oil, as they have been studied with scientific proof. There are also some side effects of using MCT oil that one has to be aware of.

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Types of fatty acids

Fatty acids mainly contain hydrogen and carbon atoms lined up in a chain. They are available in various lengths that are dependent on the number of carbon atoms they contain.  Short-chain fatty acids have fewer than six carbon atoms, while long-chain fatty acids have over 12 carbons. Medium-chain triglycerides are a type of fatty acid that has between six and 12 carbon atoms. MCTs are found in human breast milk and exist naturally in foods such as coconut and palm kernel oils and full-fat dairy products.

MCT oil is derived from processing coconut or palm kernel oils, and it mostly contains saturated fat. It's often colorless, odorless, and flavorless. It exists in liquid form at room temperature and may be consumed on its own or mixed into foods and drinks.  A tablespoon of MCT oil has 14 grams of fat and 115 calories.  

MCT oil has a low smoke point, so it shouldn't be used for cooking. MCT oil is also found in powder form that can then be mixed with a liquid to create a beverage, in precisely the identical manner that protein powders are utilized to make protein shakes.

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Why is MCT oil unique?

Most fatty acids are digested with the support of bile and enzymes in the pancreas. They are then absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, making their way to our circulatory system and then into the blood before eventually making it into the liver.

MCT oil is unique in how it is digested, absorbed, and utilized in the body. MCTs make the process far more efficient. They do not require bile or pancreatic enzymes to be pumped, and they're transported directly to the liver. From here, they function as a source of energy or turned into ketones. Ketones are chemicals produced when the liver breaks down plenty of fat, and they may be used by the brain for energy rather than glucose or sugar. As the calories in MCTs are used straight away, they are less likely to be stored as fat. This principle is the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet, which lots of folks believe is an effective method for weight loss.

People who want to lose weight, boost endurance during a workout or want to lower the bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol find MCT oil to be a beneficial supplement. Some fans of MCT oil also claim it may enhance the ability to think and help with various kinds of dementia. MCT Oil is one of the quickest sources of fresh fuel for the body and mind. These fast-absorbing fats are hands down, one of the best ways to power your performance up or kick start a nutrition program.

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Science & Research in MCT oil

Due to their capacity to function as an efficient source of energy, they've become popular with athletes and individuals attempting weight loss. A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials in healthy adults revealed that compared with LCTs, MCTs reduced body fat, waist and hip circumference, total body fat, total subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat. However, even though the differences were statistically significant, they were relatively modest: For instance, people consuming MCTs dropped an average of one more pound (compared with people consuming LCTs). While there have been a few studies about the effects of MCT oil on athletic performance, more study is needed to draw any strong conclusions.

The health effects of MCT oil on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological ailments like Alzheimer's disease have been analyzed, but there isn't any conclusive evidence of a benefit for one of these conditions.

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Health benefits of MCT oil

There are numerous possible health benefits of MCT oil. Some of them are supported by scientific evidence, while others are yet to be proven. Each Possible benefit and its accessible evidence is explored below:

Weight loss: Many believe MCT oil can help with weight loss. This region has been studied the most by scientists. A 2003 research discovered that MCTs increased the fat and calories that obese men burned. It concluded that MCTs might assist in preventing obesity and stimulate weight loss. A 2014 research found that MCTs resulted in a larger increase in the hormones that decrease appetite and make someone feel full. This was compared with longer-chain fats.

Lower bad cholesterol: MCTs may also have a role to play in helping to protect heart health by lowering cholesterol. A 2009 research that appeared on 40 women discovered that consuming coconut oil decreased bad kinds of cholesterol and enhanced good ones. The contrast was to soybean oil and taken along with a calorie-controlled diet.

Diabetes: MCTs may also help improve glucose levels and play a possible role in diabetes administration. A 2007 research discovered MCT increased diabetes risk factors, including insulin resistance, in a small group of participants with type 2 diabetes.

- Brain health: The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation has reported that the advantages and disadvantages of MCTs in regard to memory and brain function, in addition to their possible benefits for those who have Alzheimer's disease. More research is necessary to state with certainty that MCTs or MCT oil can enhance memory and brain function. While initial research is promising, there's growing interest in the use of MCTs in this region.

- Energy boost: MCT oil may help to improve endurance and supply energy for intense exercise. Supporters of MCT oil assert it can help boost a person's energy and enhance their endurance when they're working out.

Studies have discovered that consuming food full of MCTs, as opposed to longer-chain fats, enhanced the time that recreational athletes can endure high-intensity exercise.

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MCT oil side effects

- MCT oil should not be used for cooking. Strong coconut oil should be used instead. MCTs from dietary sources and MCT oil might have some health benefits. However, it's important not to forget that when someone consumes these, they're consuming fats.

- Taking MCT oil adds additional fats and calories to an individual's diet. Therefore, excessive use of MCT oil might not be beneficial and may lead someone to gain weight. MCT oil supplements are made from variations of food oils and so aren't considered a pure product.

- MCT oil has a low smoke point, so it's not acceptable for cooking. However, strong coconut oil, which is saturated in MCTs, may be utilized in cooking and could be used to substitute olive oil or other cooking oils.

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MCT oil Vs. coconut oil

MCT oil and coconut oil are often confused as being the exact same thing, but that may not be true. Coconut oil is the richest natural source of MCTs, but MCTs make up only about 54 percent of its fat content. It contains lauric acid, caprylic acid, capric acid (forms of MCTs), and a few LCTs, like unsaturated fats. The trouble is that lauric acid digests and absorbs more slowly than other MCTs, so, regardless of MCTs' prosperity in coconut oil, it's not thought to be a fantastic option for those looking for the benefits of MCTs.

MCT oil is often derived from coconut oil, but with MCT oil, you are getting a pure supply of 100% MCTs, using a greater concentration of fast-digesting caprylic acid. That is why MCT Oil is sourced from 100% coconut oil, preventing palm trees' destruction and helping preserve orangutans' natural habitat. 

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Summary

MCTs have many possible health benefits, and taking MCT oil supplements may also be beneficial. While MCTs may not lead to dramatic weight loss, they might have the ability to play a part in overall weight control. They might also help boost energy and endurance, although more study is needed to demonstrate this benefit. A growing body of research also indicates that MCTs may enhance a person's capacity to think and combat the effects of conditions like Alzheimer's.

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References

1. Medium chain triglycerides. (2016, April 28) https://www.alzdiscovery.org/cognitive-vitality/ratings/medium-chain-triglycerides

2. Clegg, M. E. (2010, November). Medium-chain triglycerides are advantageous in promoting weight loss although not beneficial to exercise performance [Abstract]. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, 61(7), 653–679 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20367215

3. Cunnane, S. C., Courchesne-Loyer, A., St-Pierre, V., Vandenberghe, C., Pierotti, T., Fortier, M., … & Castellano, C.-A. (2016, March). Can ketones compensate for deteriorating brain glucose uptake during aging? Implications for the risk and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1367, 12–20 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.12999/full

4. Han, J. R., Deng, B., Sun, J., Chen, C. G., Corkey, B. E., Kirkland, J. L., …. & Guo, W.(2007, July). Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects [Abstract]. Metabolism, 56(7), 985–991 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17570262

5. St-Onge, M.-P., Mayrsohn, B., O'Keeffe, M., Kissileff, H. R., Choudhury, A. R., & Laferrère, B. (2014, July 30). Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 68(10), 1134–1140 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192077/

6. Nosaka, N., Suzuki, Y., Nagatoishi, A., Kasai, M., Wu, J., & Taguchi, M. (2009, April). Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triacylglycerols on moderate- and high-intensity exercise in recreational athletes [Abstract]. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 55(2), 120–125 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19436137

7. Assunção, M. L., Ferreira, H. S., dos Santos, A. F., Cabral, C. R., & Florêncio, T. M. (2009, July). Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity [Abstract]. Lipids, 44(7), 593–601 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058

8. St-Onge, M.-P., Ross, R., Parsons, W. D., & Jones, P. J. H. (2003, March). Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. Obesity, 11(3), 395–402 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2003.53/full

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