If you’ve ever searched the internet for ketogenic diets or supplements, chances are you’ve heard of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. As the name suggests, MCT oil is a type of oil made of medium-length chains of fatty acids. Aside from being a plant-based oil, MCT is also a nutritional supplement and a complementary ingredient for treating certain conditions.
But, how does MCT oil work, and how do we use it? Find out more about MCT oil, its health benefits, and how you can reap its rewards by reading below.
MCT oil is a type of oil containing chains of medium-length saturated fatty acids. They are naturally found in coconut and palm oils, and some dairy products.
Compared to most fatty acid chains, MCT chains are much smaller and so are easily digested by our bodies. MCTs are then absorbed by our bloodstream and transported to our liver, where they are converted into energy. There are a few types of MCTs, with the four most common types being:
Although they are MCT subtypes, they all vary in the benefits they provide. Generally, the shorter the chain, the faster it is absorbed for energy.
MCT oil is believed to provide some health benefits and may help with some conditions. More research is needed to support these findings but from what we know so far, some benefits include:
When MCT oil is digested, it is transported directly to the liver, where it is believed to support ketogenesis—the production of an alternative fuel known as ketones. Simultaneously, it may increase the release of hormones that stimulate the body’s feeling of fullness.
As MCT is easily absorbed and digested, it is considered an instant energy source for improved performance. MCT oil is a popular choice for athletes, runners, and those needing a fast and efficient energy source. It may also reduce lactate buildup, which can cause muscle cramps and negatively affect exercise performance.
MCTs can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for your brain. Studies have suggested that MCTs can help improve brain function and mental clarity in certain neurological disorders such as epilepsy, alzheimer’s, and autism. However, further research is needed before drawing any firm conclusions.
MCT oil can be used in various foods and drinks. It is versatile and commonly used in:
MCT oil is commonly combined with coffee to create a supercharged version of coffee that promotes health benefits such as increased energy, enhanced mental clarity, and prolonged fullness. It is a popular addition to coffee as it doesn’t contribute carbs or fat to your coffee, or alter the flavour. It also adds an instant energy boost and increases fat burning by using ketones as an energy source.
Some coffees also include MCT oil and ghee (clarified butter without milk solids) to create ‘bulletproof coffee’ — a keto-friendly coffee named after Bulletproof, the company that created this drink. By incorporating ghee, the coffee is boosted with essential fatty acids and vitamins needed for optimal brain function. Combined with caffeine's stimulating nature, the result is a creamy, frothy coffee that’ll provide you with a physical and mental boost to start your day on the right foot.
Even though MCT oil is considered beneficial, excess consumption may lead to cramps, nausea, and abdominal pain. It is recommended to start with one teaspoon of MCT oil initially, and increase the amount over time. Those with medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension) should consult a medical professional before using MCT oil.
As with everything, moderation is key. Whether you’re looking for complementary supplements to help with weight management or if you’re after an instant energy boost, MCT oil is an excellent nutritional supplement. Check out our range of Australian made MCT oils to kickstart your healthy journey in the best way possible.