What Is MCT Oil And How Can I Add It To My Diet?
Written by Shannon Sweeny
If you’ve been paying attention to current health trends, you’ve definitely come across one prominent acronym — MCT. And if you’re like me, you’re asking yourself, what exactly is MCT oil? How is it used? What are the health benefits?
Reading about MCT oils can be a little (or a lot) confusing, so in this blog, we’re going to answer all of those questions for you so you know exactly what it is and how to use it.
MCT oil — medium-chain triglyceride — contains medium-length chains of fats called triglycerides. Without making it sound like a chemistry class, these medium-length chains of fats are easily digestible and have tons of health benefits, making it appealing to add to any diet.
MCT oil is commonly added to smoothies, bulletproof coffee, and salad dressings because of its many health benefits. MCT is commonly found in coconut oil, but it’s not as concentrated as MCT oil itself.
Overall, MCT oil can help with weight loss and maintaining weight, hearth health, improving energy, mood, digestion, and more. Let’s get more into what types of MCT oils there are and how you can utilize it in your daily diet.
What types of MCT oil are there?
There are 4 different types of MCTs, including:
Caprice (acid C6:0)
Caprylic (acid C8:0)
Capric (acid C10:0)
Lauric (acid C12:0)
The lower the number of carbons (“C”) the acid has, the faster the body can turn the fatty acids into usable energy in Ketone form. Ketones are what the body produces when it’s using fat for energy instead of glucose.
Caprylic and capric acid are most commonly used in MCT oil. Each type of MCTs have their own set of unique benefits. All types of MCTs, though, are beneficial for health, especially for people who have a hard time with digestion.
How does MCT oil help with digestion?
Healthy fats like MCT oil support gut health by encouraging your digestive system to properly absorb vitamins and minerals from food. At least one animal study found that MCTs help improve bacterial gut health, performance, and digestion of nutrients. This could greatly help those with digestive problems, which usually prohibit proper metabolization of certain types of foods.
What’re the health benefits of MCT oil?
1. Weight loss
MCT oil is packed with dozens of benefits, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. MCTs are a special kind of lipid (fat) and have a unique chemical formula — they bypass regular digestion and instead are digested fast and easily, and they are absorbed right away and taken to your liver. This is where they are directly used for energy and not stored as fat.
MCT oil has been shown to increase the release of peptide YY and leptin, two hormones that help you feel full — and it may be even better than coconut oil at keeping you full. Additionally, your body processes MCTs as energy instead of storing it as fat, which may help you burn more calories.
You also get an insane energy boost from MCT oil (which is why people add it to their coffee!), which makes it unnecessary to store fat for this purpose. This, in result, can help raise your overall metabolism. Overall, MCT oil seems to have an impact on body fat reduction.
An added bonus: The energy boost you receive from MCT oils helps improve your mood and focus in addition to physical health. Talk about a win-win!
2. Heart and brain function
Researchers have discovered that MCT oil might help prevent the development of metabolic syndrome, the name given to many disorders that increase your risk for heart disease. This could be, in part, because MCT oil has many anti-inflammatory properties.
Additionally, healthy fats (and particularly MCTs) has been introduced in studies concerning Alzheimer’s disease. While these studies are in the early stages, there is some evidence that MCTs in coconut oil might help improve memory problems in older adults.
3. Antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal
MCTs have been found to fight virus, bacteria, and fungus growth, making it appealing to add to your diet. Studies about this are still in early stages, but some studies have shown that Coconut oil with MCT reduces a common yeast that causes thrush and various skin infections.
How can I incorporate MCT into my diet?
MCTs are found in coconut oil, butter, cheeses, palm oil, whole milk, and full-fat yogurt. Additionally, you can add it to tons of different foods. Here’s what we recommend:
Drink it. Add a few drops of MCT oil into smoothies, coffee, and more. There are even flavored MCT oil options if you’re looking to add a little flavor into your drink.
Bake it. Replace conventional oils with MCT oil, or use it alongside coconut oil and/or butter. Sub out ¼ or ⅓ of the coconut oil for MCT oil instead. (Note: It’s recommended not to use MCT oil when you’re baking at more than 350 degrees Fahrenheit).
Mix it up. Replace part of the oil in homemade salad dressings with MCT oil for a simple way to add it into your diet. You can also mix a few drops into yogurt, too.
BONUS: MCT oils are also fantastic for hair and skin health — incorporate it into homemade lip balm, shaving cream, salt scrubs, facial masks, hair products, and more. It’s been found to add lightweight moisture and conditioning to skin, which is ideal for people who experience chapped lips.
Overall, a few drops of MCT oil into your daily routine can go along way. But remember, if you have questions about how MCT oil can affect your body specifically, it’s best to consult your doctor.