An overview of MCT oil & Medium-chain Triglycerides:
MCT oil is a supplement made from a type of fat called Medium-Chain Triglycerides. It plays a key role in the food industry and used as a dietary supplement for several years.
What are Medium-Chain Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are the most important form of dietary fat that is found in the bloodstream. It is naturally found in some foods such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil, whole milk and dairy products but they are also manufactured for their value as dietary fat. Triglycerides contain a molecule known as Glycerol. It gives energy to your body. But if the triglycerides levels are high, it leads to heart attack, stroke, and pancreatitis. There are three types of triglycerides, they are
- Short-Chain Triglycerides(SCT)
- Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT)
- Long-Chain Triglycerides (LCT)
MCT molecules are smaller and transported directly to the liver and transformed as usable energy or turned into KETONES. Ketones are substances produced when the liver breaks down large amounts of fat.
LCT molecules are bundled together known as CHYLOMICRONS and sent through the lymphatic system, some of them get absorbed into fat tissue as they are transported to the liver.
If these triglycerides are not used as energy, they will be stored as fat contents in your body. MCT has lesser storage effect when compared with LCT and they are valued as a healthier diet.
There are four types of MCT’s:
- Caproic acid or hexanoic acid (C6)
- Caprylic acid or octanoic acid (C8)
- Capric acid or decanoic acid (C10)
- Lauric acid or dodecanoic acid (C12)
C8 and C10 are the best type of MCT oils overall because your body most easily converts them into ketones.
What is MCT oil?
MCT oil is a type of oil extracted from coconut oil, as more than 50% of the fat in coconut oil comes from MCTs and is claimed to have many health benefits.
When healthcare professionals introduce the Ketogenic diet– high in fats and low in carbs, MCT oil become popular and it can now be available in health food stores or online. MCT oil has become famous among athletes and bodybuilders, which is used in their dietary supplements.
As the name suggests, this oil contains medium chain triglycerides. Due to their shorter length, MCT oil is easily digested and it gets absorbed directly from the gut into the liver. This means your body breaks down MCTs more quickly than long-chain triglycerides.
Where does it come from?
MCT oil is a highly concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides.
It is distilled from coconut oil via a man-made process called Fractionation. Fractionation is a process of extracting and segregating the MCTs from coconut oil. Once it is isolated, a chemical process called Lipase esterification is used to produce triglycerides using the enzyme Lipase. Then the Lipase is filtered out and the oil goes through acidification. After quality checking, the final product is ready for consumption. Even though MCT oil is manufactured in labs, it also contains natural fats.
How do you use it?
Palm oil also contains MCT but Coconut oil contains a small amount of LCT’s and a rich amount of MCT’s. MCT oil has no taste or smell or flavor. It can be directly consumed in food such as
- Home-made energy bars
- Health drinks
- Salad dressings
Health Benefits of adding MCT oil to your diet:
- MCT oil promotes weight loss.
- It helps to manage the cholesterol level.
- It lowers blood sugar levels.
- MCT oil might help to treat or prevent certain brain disorders like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and autism.
- MCT oil can possibly increase fat burning and reduce the need for carbs during exercise.
- It possibly will reduce risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and inflammation.
- It helps in Weight-management.
- It boosts your metabolism.
Should I take MCT Oil?
First check the purity, and ingredients and make sure that there are no additives, fillers, or flavors added. If you are thinking about trying MCT oil, talk with your healthcare professional first and they can guide you to choose if it is right for you.