What is MCT oil?
Our body contains two types of fatty acids:
- Long-chain fatty acids
- Short-chain fatty acids
Long-chain fatty acids constitute about 13-21 carbon atoms, which form a long chain. In contrast, the short-chain fatty acids contain about six or even fewer carbon atoms, making a short-chain of fatty acids.
MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) are medium-chain fatty acids that have a medium length of carbon atoms. In MCTs, there are about 6-12 atoms of carbon which arrange in the form of a medium-length chain.
The most abundant source of MCTs is coconut oil. In the body, MCTs process into long-chain fatty acid through a process. MCTs are different from other fats because they tend to go straight to the liver from the gut. From the liver, these MCTs become the energy source, or they can turn into ketones.
When our liver break downs the molecules of fat, they give rise to ketones. Ketones can be an alternative for the energy source of the body instead of glucose or carbohydrates.
MCTs provide a benefit of instant energy consumption because they do not accumulate in the body as fat.
Health benefits of MCT oil:
MCT oil is associated with various health benefits. Various scientific studies have reported the incredible benefits of MCT oil. Following are some of the important benefits:
One of the most important benefits of MCT oil is an energy boost. MCT provides more endurance and energy to the body. According to a study, rich foods in MCT can be more beneficial to athletes who require high endurance or strength. It is the ability of the body to endure repetition without getting fatigued in the muscles. MCT oil can improve the ability of the body to endure repetitive stress.
Several studies claim the beneficial effects of MCT oil for weight loss or weight management. Researchers say that MCT oil can decrease the number of calories by inducing calories burning.
Another piece of evidence state that MCT is capable of stimulating the appetite-suppressing hormones in the body. In comparison to the long-chain fatty acids, MCT can give a more fulfilling feel to the person.
Management of neurological diseases:
MCTs can convert into ketones for the body’s fuel and energy source. A ketogenic diet was first invented to manage epileptic patients. In this way, MCT can be beneficial for the management of epilepsy which is a neurological disorder.
A study showed that MCT (capric acid) was a suitable alternative for anti-epileptic drugs to manage epilepsy. MCT oil can help in the inhibition of the receptors, which tend to cause seizures in the body.
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological condition that is somehow manageable through MCT oil. In this disease, our brain cannot utilize the sugars.
MCT can give an alternative to the energy source and uses ketones in place of glucose. This energy source can help the brain cells to live better. Additionally, MCT blocks the receptors responsible for memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.
To manage the mild to moderate intensity Alzheimer’s disease:
- Take 20-70 grams of MCT supplements
- Supplements should contain capric acid or caprylic
Autism is another behavioral condition that is manageable through the gluten-free diet or MCT supplements. It can improve brain functioning in autistic children. Moreover, these supplements can help in easy digestion and a more fulfilling feeling for these children.
MCT has several anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. This supplement or oil can decrease the most common fungi like Candida albicans by about 25% of the initial concentration. This fungus /yeast is the main culprit in several skin infections and inflammations.
Other than it, MCT or coconut oil can help in the prevention of contact with Clostridium difficile bacterium.
The most common ingredients in MCT oil for inducing these effects are:
- Lauric acid
- Capric acid
- Caprylic acid
The most common culprits for inducing cardiovascular conditions are:
- BMI (body mass index)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- High levels of cholesterol
MCT oil is useful in managing weight and reducing fat. In this way, it can (indirectly) reduce the risk factors for several cardiovascular diseases.
Additionally, MCT oil can also increase the concentration of HDL or good cholesterol in the body. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the MCT oil, it can also help in reducing the levels of CRP (C-reactive protein) in the body. These proteins are the markers for increasing cardiovascular risks.
Other than it, control of blood sugar levels can also help with cardiovascular management.
MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) can improve the health of the body in various ways. MCTs are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-diabetic, and fat-reducing compounds. MCTs are available in the form of supplements and foods. You can choose any option according to your priorities. Before opting for supplementation, you should refer to your physician for further benefits and risks.