MCT Oil for Ketosis, Your Brain and Health

MCT Oil for Ketosis, Your Brain and Health

MCT oil is an oil that is made up of medium-chain triglycerides. This type of triglyceride can be found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and various dairy products. Compared to long-chain triglycerides or LCT, MCT is much smaller and more readily digestible. 

This allows your body to easily absorb MCT’s towards your bloodstream for a quick energy boost.MCT oil is not just used for weight loss. It is also being utilized to help improve people's metabolic health and wellness. MCT oil has been known to help people improve mental focus, to slow down the progression of dementia, as well as improve endurance and workout performance. What's more, MCT oil, especially when bought in powdered form, can last a long time, be shelf-stable and be very easy to use. It can be easily mixed with smoothies, salad dressings, and even in your morning coffee.

MCT oil is also important for those who want to benefit from the power of ketosis.

Is MCT Oil the Next Superfood?

If you have been focusing on fitness, health, and wellness in the past few years, then there's a considerable chance that you've heard about coconut oil and its many wonders. While the world went head over heels for virgin coconut oil and it's almost miraculous effects for various illnesses and woes, many researchers went on to find out why coconut oil works wonders. (1)

While many people say that it is all because coconut oil contained good cholesterol, it was found out its high MCT content was the main reason behind its potency. Coconut oil is one of the richest natural sources of MCT, and it is composed of 42% lauric acid, 7% caprylic acid, and 5% capric acid. However, aside from MCTs, coconut oil also contains LCTs and other unsaturated fats that are not as beneficial. (2)

So to remove other fats and provide people with 100% potency and purity, pure MCT oil was developed. And because of its purity, MCT oil is thought to be more effective than coconut oil products. 

What makes MCT oil Different from Other Oils?

Most fats are composed of varying amounts of carbon atoms. The more carbon atoms they have, the more complicated they are when it comes to digestion. In general, LCTs have 13-21 carbon atoms, making them quite hard to digest in your body. And because they take quite a long time to be absorbed, your body has the tendency to store them in your tissues instead.

MCTs, on the other hand, are composed only of 6-12 carbon atoms. When consumed, these triglycerides are transported from your stomach directly to the liver. Here, your liver converts the MCTs into ketones. Unlike long-chain triglycerides, MCTs are rarely stored in the body because it is very easy for your body to use them as an energy source. (2)

MCT Oil and Ketosis

MCT oil is a very popular dietary supplement for people who are on the Ketogenic diet. This is because it is an ideal source of fat. You have to keep in mind that to be in ketosis, you need to consume minimal carbohydrates to trigger ketone production. And while you don't have to be picky when it comes to choosing quality fat sources to be in ketosis, the intake of MCT oil takes everything up a notch.

This is all because most fatty acids in MCT oil are far more ketogenic than those in coconut oil, or in animal fats. As mentioned, MCTs can quickly be metabolized in the liver to produce ketones, making them more effective than LCTs. And according to scientific studies, by using MCTs, it can be very easy for people to reach nutritional ketosis. The use of MCTs can also reduce the side effects of being in ketosis, and it also allows your body to tolerate low carbohydrate diets better. (3)

The Benefits of Using MCT Oil

While you might think that MCT oil is just another fad diet, you need to know that scientific studies do support many of the benefits that it can provide. Some of these benefits include the following:

1) MCT oil aids in weight loss by increasing satiety - Studies have discovered that MCT oil helps people improve their satiety and reduce caloric intake. MCT oil allows your body to increase its production of leptin and peptide YY. These hormones will make you feel full faster so you can avoid overeating. (4)

2) MCT oil aids in weight loss by promoting thermogenesis - Studies have also found out that by adding-in MCT oil in your keto diet, your body can have increased heat production. This will allow your body to burn more calories during exercise. (5)

3) MCT oil can help boost your energy levels - Scientific research has proven the fact that MCT can help improve your energy levels with the help of mitochondrial biogenesis and by improving metabolism. While this benefit can be used to help you feel more energized each day, it is beneficial for weight loss since it can help increase your exercise output. (6)

4) MCT oil can help reduce abdominal obesity - For many, the fat deposits in the tummy is always first in, last out. While it can be easy to grow a pot belly, it can be quite challenging to get rid of it. But with the help of MCT oil's ability to improve your metabolism, it can be used to lower your weight, prevent metabolic syndrome, and reduce abdominal obesity. (6)

5) MCT oil can increase fat burning - Scientific studies have also found out that the consumption of MCT oil will not just help you get rid of your flabby tummy; it can help you burn fat all over your body. Aside from promoting and supporting ketosis, MCT helps increase your body's energy spending as well as maximize the loss of fat deposits in your tissues. (7)

6) MCT oil may help improve insulin sensitivity - Studies have shown that the consumption of MCT oil may have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity. This will allow your body to use blood glucose more effectively, and it will also help decrease blood glucose, which is needed for you to maintain ketosis. (8)

7) MCT oil helps your body to avoid having to store fat- MCT oil contains fewer calories than LCTs. And because it can quickly be metabolized by the liver to produce ketones, your body does not need to store it. By giving your body an instant source of energy, you can always stay active while being in ketosis. (9)

8) MCT oil can be used to fuel your brain - Studies have shown that because of its shorter chain length, MCTs can be easily metabolized by the body to produce ketones. And with faster ketone production, your brain will be able to have access to all the energy that it needs for mental focus and quick thinking. (10)

9) MCT oil decreases lactate buildup in athletes - When consumed, MCT oil has been known to help athletes slow down the rising levels of lactic acid. This can help improve exercise endurance. It can also help you lose weight by allowing you to exercise without having to fear the immediate onset of muscle pains. (11)

10) MCT oil can be used to help manage epilepsy - Ketosis has been known to provide therapeutic effects that can help minimize the frequency of epileptic seizures. MCT oil allows your body to go into ketosis faster than using animal fats or LCTs, which is why its consumption may benefit those who are suffering from epilepsy. (12)

11) MCT oil can be used to manage Alzheimer's disease and slow memory loss - By putting your body in ketosis, your brain no longer has access to sugar, allowing the brain cells to survive better and slowing down the progression of memory loss. 

MCT oil helps you to stay in ketosis, and it can also help fuel your brain. Allowing it to function by using energy from an alternative source may help slow down the progression of this degenerative disease. Caprylic or capric acid found in most MCT oil have also been known to improve the symptoms of those who have mild Alzheimer's disease. (13)

12) MCT oil can help manage autism - Studies have shown that the consumption of MCT oil on its own, as well as its ability to help put your body in ketosis, may drastically improve the behavior in children with autism. (14)

13) MCT oil can help fight against microorganisms - Studies have shown that MCT oil can inhibit the growth of fungi in hospitals, and it may have the potential to help eliminate disease-causing bacteria in your body with the help of its capric acid content. (15)

14) It can help promote heart health - Aside from the fact that MCT oil can help reduce weight and improve overall health, studies have proven that it can also help lower total cholesterol and increase good cholesterol at the same time. MCT oil has also been known to help reduce C-reactive protein, the marker that increases your risk for developing heart disease. (16)

15) Other benefits of using MCT oil - Aside from these science-backed benefits of using MCT oil, it may also help you with the following:

  • Support for your body's digestion
  • It may improve your body's natural healing and tissue repair.
  • Support for your thyroid gland function
  • Support for skin health
  • Support for bone health.
  • It may provide antioxidant protection.

How To Use MCT Oil

MCT oil must be used properly. Since it has a low smoke point, it is not ideal for use in high heat. It should not also be used as a cooking ingredient, especially if you want to enjoy all the benefits that it can provide. Most MCT oil products are colorless and odorless. This is why it can easily be consumed plain. You can add MCT oil in most drinks such as coffee, tea, and even in smoothies.

Most experts recommend that you take 1 - 3 teaspoons of MCT oil per day. But it may all depend on your dietary needs, especially if you want to maintain ketosis. You need to keep in mind that although MCT oil contains fewer calories than LCTs, the oil itself is still calorie-dense. One tablespoon contains 100 calories, and consuming too much of it can easily put you outside of your daily calorie restrictions.

Some MCT oil products also come in powdered form. Powdered MCT oil needs to be mixed in water for proper dilution. They can also be used for hot and cold drinks, and they can be added to yogurt and salad dressings.

When using MCT oil, always start with the lowest dose. See how your digestive system reacts to it and always allow your body to adjust to increasing doses slowly.

Conclusion

MCT oil is a powerful tool for ketosis. Although you do not need to use MCT oil to reach ketosis, opting to use this kind of fat daily is very beneficial for your health and wellness.

First of all, MCT oil in itself can provide you with many benefits. Aside from helping to protect your body from microbes, and from allowing your brain to function correctly, MCT oil can also help you with weight loss. On its own, MCT oil has been known to help increase thermogenesis, increase energy expenditure, reduce fat deposits, and improve athletic performance.

Second, MCT oil and ketosis go hand in hand. By using MCT, your body can easily go into nutritional ketosis in the least amount of time. Being in ketosis also allows you to enjoy all of the benefits that ketones can provide not just for your body but for your brain too. MCT oil is definitely an indispensable tool for anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of ketosis.

References:

1) Sankararaman S, Sferra TJ. Are We Going Nuts on Coconut Oil?Current nutrition reports. 2018;7(3):107-115. doi:10.1007/s13668-018-0230-5

2) Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice. What's the Difference Between MCT Oil and Coconut Oil? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-vs-coconut-oil#keto-diet-benefits. Published November 13, 2019. Accessed April 22, 2020.

3) D C Harvey CJ, Schofield GM, Williden M, McQuillan JA. The Effect of Medium Chain Triglycerides on Time to Nutritional Ketosis and Symptoms of Keto-Induction in Healthy Adults: A Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial.Journal of nutrition and metabolism. 2018;2018:2630565. doi:10.1155/2018/2630565

4) Kinsella R, Maher T, Clegg ME. Coconut oil has less satiating properties than medium chain triglyceride oil.Physiology & behavior. 2017;179:422-426. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.07.007

5) St-Onge M-P, Mayrsohn B, O'Keeffe M, Kissileff HR, Choudhury AR, Laferrère B. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014;68(10):1134-1140. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.145

‌‌6) Wang Y, Liu Z, Han Y, Xu J, Huang W, Li Z. Medium Chain Triglycerides enhances exercise endurance through the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism. Lu T, ed.PLOS ONE. 2018;13(2):e0191182. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191182

7) St-Onge M-P, Jones PJH. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue.International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders : journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. 2003;27(12):1565-1571. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802467

‌8) Thomas DD, Stockman M-C, Yu L, et al. Effects of medium chain triglycerides supplementation on insulin sensitivity and beta cell function: A feasibility study.PloS one. 2019;14(12):e0226200. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0226200

9) St-Onge M-P, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil.The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2008;87(3):621-626. doi:10.1093/ajcn/87.3.621

‌10) O'Brien S. 7 Science-Based Benefits of MCT Oil. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-benefits#section2. Published May 14, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2020.

11) Nosaka N, Suzuki Y, Nagatoishi A, Kasai M, Wu J, Taguchi M. Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triacylglycerols on moderate- and high-intensity exercise in recreational athletes.Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology. 2009;55(2):120-125. doi:10.3177/jnsv.55.120

12) Augustin K, Khabbush A, Williams S, et al. Mechanisms of action for the medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diet in neurological and metabolic disorders.The Lancet Neurology. 2018;17(1):84-93. doi:10.1016/s1474-4422(17)30408-8

‌13) Cunnane SC, Courchesne-Loyer A, St-Pierre V, et al. 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. 2016;1367(1):12-20. doi:10.1111/nyas.12999

14) Lee RWY, Corley MJ, Pang A, et al. A modified ketogenic gluten-free diet with MCT improves behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder.Physiology & Behavior. 2018;188:205-211. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.02.006

15) Papavassilis C, Mach KK, Mayser PA. Medium-chain triglycerides inhibit growth of Malassezia: implications for prevention of systemic infection.Critical care medicine. 1999;27(9):1781-1786. doi:10.1097/00003246-199909000-00013

16) Kondreddy VKR, Anikisetty M, Naidu KA. Medium-chain triglycerides and monounsaturated fatty acids potentiate the beneficial effects of fish oil on selected cardiovascular risk factors in rats.The Journal of nutritional biochemistry. 2016;28:91-102. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.10.005


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