Was your workout partner raving about MCT oil? Did your barista suggest adding some to your coffee? Chances are, this keto-friendly wellness trend has popped onto your radar one way or another.
MCT oil is an awesome source of fatty acids and might even boost your energy level and reduce inflammation. Here’s what you need to know about this supplement.
Let’s start with the basics.
MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides” which is a type of fatty acid. MCTs occur naturally in foods like coconut oil, palm kernel oil, butter, and whole milk. While these foods are rich in medium-chain triglycerides, none contain just MCTs.
Enter: MCT oil.
MCT oil is a highly concentrated supplement made from — you guessed it! — 100 percent MCTs. It’s a colorless, odorless, and flavorless substance that keeps its liquid form at room temp.
Because it’s 100 percent MCT and 0 percent fuss, MCT oil metabolizes quickly. That means your body can use it for energy right away instead of storing as fat. This makes it a popular choice for anyone following the keto diet and others looking to lose or maintain weight.
How’s it made?
MCT oil is made by extracting MCTs from coconut or palm kernel oil through a process called fractionation.
During fractionation, MCT is separated from the oil. Boom! You get the highly concentrated product we know and love: MCT oil.
Even though more research on MCT oil is needed, recent studies show that this super supplement may have several awesome benefits.
1. Promotes weight loss
Many tout MCT oil as their friend with weight loss benefits, but is it legit? More research is needed, but there’s some evidence there.
One study suggests that MCTs may be able to help improve gut health in people with obesity or other metabolic issues. And happy gut, happy metabolism.
Another study found that using MCT oil as part of a healthy diet helped participants lose fat even more effectively than olive oil did.
MCT oil may also help control hunger by giving you that “full” feeling. This could help you curb cravings throughout the day.
While these findings are promising, there are many factors at play when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Calorie intake, activity levels, and overall diet all play an important part in a healthy lifestyle.
More research is still needed before MCT oil can be fully recommended as a weight loss wonder.
2. Revs up your workouts
Looking to add some oomph to your workout? MCT oil might be able to help.
While some older studies may not have found value in MCTs’ abilities to raise energy levels and boost exercise performance, more recent findings suggest otherwise.
In a 2018 animal study, some mice were fed a diet that included MCTs while others weren’t. Those with the MCT were found to perform exercises significantly better than those without MCT in their diet. Other animal studies have had similar findings.
While more human studies are needed, the outlook seems positive.
3. Prevents inflammation
MCT oil may be just the ticket for controlling inflammation.
Research suggests that MCT oil may help ease or even prevent inflammatory responses through substances secreted by cells called cytokines. MCT oil was shown to boost the number of anti-inflammatory cytokines while lowering the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
It’s super simple to add MCT oil to your diet.
Some folks prefer their oil straight up. But if throwing back a shot of MCT oil isn’t your style, you’re in luck. It doesn’t have any flavor so it’s an easy add to any of your fave foods or drinks — including coffee, smoothies, or salad dressings.
There’s no set limit on how much or little MCT oil to take, but try not to get more than 4 to 7 tablespoons in a day.
If you’re not sure if MCT oil is right for you or if you’re wondering how much you should use, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
MCT oil in Bulletproof coffee
Even if you’re not on the keto train, you’ve probably heard of Bulletproof coffee. You can make this popular drink by blending MCT oil, grass-fed butter, and coffee into a creamy concoction that’s high in fat and packed with an energy-boosting punch.
Doctors, nutritionists, and health experts alike count themselves among the fans of this frothy drink.
If MCT oil can be made from coconut oil, aren’t they basically the same thing? Not exactly.
While they share similar properties, they’re useful in different ways.
MCT oil contains 100 percent MCTs, while coconut oil only contains 54 percent.
MCT oil’s high concentration of MCTs makes it more effective at helping with weight loss and increasing energy. It’s great for ketone production, which can help your body maintain a state of ketosis so you’re burning fat for energy.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, is best for things like cooking, skin care, and beauty. Its cholesterol-lowering magic makes it a great pantry staple, while it earns its place in your beauty routine with its ability to fight acne and other skin issues.
MCT oil is generally considered safe to use.
While no dangerous outcomes have been discovered from using MCT oil, some folks have reported mild side effects, like:
- nausea or upset stomach
- skin irritation
Because MCT oil is high in fats, regular long-term use could potentially lead to weight gain, higher cholesterol, or a buildup of fat in your liver.
MCT (aka medium-chain triglycerides) oil has been steadily gaining buzz for its range of possible health benefits. It’s shown some promise at promoting weight loss, reducing inflammation, and might help increase energy for more productive workouts.
Adding MCT oil to your diet is easy and pretty low risk. This tasteless, odorless oil can be added to a variety of different food and drinks and side effects are rare.
Talk with your doctor if you have questions about MCT oil or want to know if it’s right for you.