What is MCT Coconut Oil?
The last few years have witnessed an increased interest in medium-chain triglycerides, known as MCTs. This oil has become a top-rated supplement among athletes and weight loss programs. But what are medium-chain triglycerides exactly?
MCTs are naturally occurring fats, consisting of three saturated fatty acids attached to a glycerol backbone, they are 6-12 carbons atoms in length and easily digested. While other types of fats, such as long-chain triglycerides, require passage through the gastrointestinal tract to be broken down and delivered to the body as nutrition and energy.
MCTs, on the other hand, are quickly absorbed in the intestines and transported directly to the liver to be utilized for energy, or turned into ketones.
Ketones can cross from the blood to the brain, providing an alternative energy source for the brain instead of the glucose that the brain usually uses for fuel. (1)
Given this fact, no wonder MCT oil has turned into a popular supplement that is often added to coffee, smoothies, and salad.
MCT Coconut Oil Benefits
1 – Fuels the Brain and Enhances Cognitive Function
MCTs are quickly converted to fuel then to ketones, which can be used as energy for the brain.
They travel straight from the gut to the liver due to their shorter chain length, meaning they enter the cells without being broken down. Because of this, they can be used as an immediate source of energy. (2)
The energy provided by MCT oil tackles brain fog and enhances cognitive function.
2 – Promotes Weight Loss and Alters Body Composition
Research has suggested that due to differences in the metabolic effects of MCTs vs LCTs, the substitution of MCTs for LCTs may assist in weight loss efforts.
MCTs are not as easily stored as LCTs in fat tissue, as they are utilized quickly for energy production. MCTs may increase fat breakdown and increase fat utilization for energy. (3)
Also, the body makes ketones when breaking down fat on a very low-carb diet. This can lower your insulin levels and help you burn fat. MCT helps you make more ketones than LCT, which means that it will help you get to the fat-burning phase faster. (4)
3 – Helps with Neurological Disorders
Since ketones are one of the "spare" fuels in the brain, researchers have examined the use of ketones from MCTs as an alternative energy source for those with brain cell malfunction.
MCT oil helps with memory problems, and can help manage conditions such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and autism.
Ketones produced by MCT allow brain cells to survive better. It also blocks a receptor in the brain that causes memory loss. (5)
Ketones help protect neurons in the brain from the adverse effects of beta-amyloid peptides (the ones responsible for forming brain plaques found in Alzheimer's patients), which can begin to accumulate in the brain years before symptoms of Alzheimer's appear.
Numerous clinical studies have shown that supplementing with MCTs can improve the symptoms of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's. (6)
Interestingly enough, the ketogenic diet was first introduced as a way of managing epilepsy before it gained popularity as a weight-loss diet.
Studies show that a high-fat ketogenic diet eases seizures, especially for children, and since MCT oil can be converted into ketones, it can prove beneficial in managing epilepsy.
One study found MCT blocked receptors in the brain that cause seizures. (7)
Autism is a spectrum condition, so using MCT oil can affect people in different ways, but one study did demonstrate positive improvements when the subjects followed the ketogenic diet for 6 months. (8)
4 – Managing Diabetes
There is evidence that MCTs may affect insulin resistance.
A study conducted with overweight subjects who had Type II Diabetes assessed that MCT supplementation could have potential benefits.
Forty subjects were recruited and randomized into two groups. One group was provided with MCT oil, while the other group received corn oil.
Results showed a significant decrease in total body insulin resistance in the MCT group. (9)
MCT oil is generally safe. Although uncommon, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal side effects if consumed on an empty stomach or in large doses.
MCT oil is easily digested, absorbed, and utilized as energy.
Among other benefits, it fuels the brain and enhances cognitive function, promotes weight loss, and helps with neurological disorders.
MCT coconut oil is one of the main ingredients of our BrainTea formula. Try it here.
You may also like