Your body processes most fats by mixing them with bile released from your gall bladder and then enzymes from your pancreas to break them down in your digestive system.
MCTs are processed differently and are not absorbed in the same way as long-chain fatty acids. They enter your bloodstream faster and are rapidly oxidized by your liver.
They don’t need bile or pancreatic enzymes and once they reach your intestines, they diffuse through the intestinal membrane into your bloodstream. Next, they are transported to your liver where they are converted into ketones.
“MCT stands for Medium-Chain Triglycerides and as the name suggests they contain medium-length chains of fats called triglycerides. Due to their shorter length, MCTs are easily digested and many health benefits are linked to the way your body processes these fats.”
Ketones are a type of acid that your muscles and tissues can use for fuel. Your liver then releases the ketones back into your bloodstream and they are transported throughout your body. MCTs are readily available for your body to use as fuel rather than be stored as fat.
Sources of MCT
Sources include coconuts and coconut oil which is excellent for cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures without oxidizing. Butter made from raw, grass-fed organic milk is another excellent source.
Avocados, raw nuts such as macadamia and pecans, olives and olive oil, grass-fed meats, ghee, lard & tallow, raw cacao butter are all great options for MCT. Seeds such as black sesame, cumin, pumpkin and helps seeds are good as well.
Good For Weight Loss
Studies have shown MCTs enhance thermogenesis and fat oxidation which suppresses the accumulation of body fat. The higher production of ketones helps burn fat and keep your appetite in check. Replacing long term chain triglycerides (LCTs) with MCT’s has shown to induce modest reductions in body weight.
It’s important to note that while MCT oil is an excellent addition to a healthy diet it is not a miracle weight loss cure.
Brain and Heart Health
Ketones appear to be the preferred source of energy for the brain in people affected by various diseases such as: diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It’s possible they even benefit people with ALS. Because they convert into ketones within minutes of ingestion, MCTs are a superior brain fuel and they also seem to lower systemic inflammation.
MCT is good, not just for your brain, but, also your heart! Human studies have shown MCTs help lower total lipid levels and improve cardiovascular health. For example, people who regularly consume coconut oil have a lower incidence of heart attack compared to those who do not consume coconut oil. This is attributed to the MCT in the coconut.
MCTs also help lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome and lower instances of high blood pressure, insulin resistance and abdominal obesity.
Energy Boost & Increased Endurance
One study showed that consuming MCT rich foods helped recreational athletes endure high-intensity exercise for longer period. Regular users of MCT also report a boost in their energy and improvements in their workouts. More studies are required to confirm for certain the impact MCT may have on endurance.
Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
MCT oil is beneficial for balancing bacteria in the gut microbiota. This in turn has positive effects on the digestive symptom and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Medium-chain fats can help kill a wide range of pathogenic viruses, strains and bacteria that cause digestive issues, including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomach aches and more.
If you consume a healthy diet filled with lots of different whole, plant foods but don’t get enough healthy fat sources at the same time, your body is basically not capable of utilizing certain nutrients. You also need to consume coconut and other healthy fats in order absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in these various foods.
Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties
MCTs are powerful, natural antibiotics that help balance bacteria in the gut. The over-use of prescription antibiotics can lead to imbalances in our gut microbiomes so, it’s important to have a natural method to kill some harmful types of bacteria.
The following are just some of the bad bacteria that are know to be killed by MCT oil:
streptococcus (which causes strep throat, pneumonia and sinus infections), straphylococcus (causes food poisoning and urinary tract infections), neisseria (which causes meningitis, gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory diseases). Plus, there are some other strains that cause stomach viruses, candida, ulcers and sexually transmitted diseases.
Another very important benefit of MCTs is that they are capable of reducing “bad bacteria” without harming or removing “good bacteria.” This is a huge benefit, considering we need the good kind for intestinal health and digestive functioning. There are some studies that show medium-chain fats offer better protection from infections than longer-chain fatty acids do.
How to Use MCT Oil
MCT oil can be taken daily. It has no taste or smell and can be mixed directly with drinks, like butter coffee and smoothies. Just be careful, particularly when starting out. Too much too soon can lead to temporary gastrointestinal issues. Start with small amounts, such as a half a teaspoon and work up from there.
There are other methods to use MCT without having to use it in butter coffee. Here are several suggestions.
- Homemade mayonnaise (MCT oil, an egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and salt. Mix in a blender).
- Whisking together a salad dressing using MCT oil, raw honey, Dijon mustard and some of your favorite herbs.
- Add some MCT oil to smoothies, shakes or yogurt can stabilize your blood sugar since it helps slow down the rate that glucose and fructose sugar molecules are absorbed.
- Use MCT oil in homemade baked goods instead of coconut oil (remove about 1/3 of the coconut oil for MCT oil instead).
Don’t forget that MCT oil is great for your skin and hair and can be used in homemade teeth whitening treatments, moisturizer, lip balm, sunscreen, shaving cream, conditioner, facial masks, salt scrubs and essential oil blends.
MCT oil has scientifically proven health benefits. These include its ability to help with weight loss or maintenance, heart health protection, improved energy levels and mood, digestion and nutrient absorption support. As well, MCT oil has antibacerial, antiviral and antifungal properties, and, one final bonus, it can withstand high-heat cooking.