The MCT oil has been a hot topic in the industry of health and well - being because of its impact on weight control, digestion, intestinal health and more. It sounds similar to the properties of coconut oil, yes, and they share some qualities. However, MCT oil, or medium chain triglycerides, are generally derived from coconut oil and include, but are not limited to, the fatty acid caprylic acid, which can affect gut health.
Coconut oil is generally the main ingredient (if not the only one) in MCT oil. Medium chain fatty acids are isolated and extracted from coconut oil to produce the concentrated MCT oil that we will discuss today.
Although its source consists of longer chain fatty acids, MCT oil's shorter chemical structure can benefit your gut health in amazing ways.
What is MCT oil
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are partially artificial fats with carbon atoms arranged by chemical structure. Those carbon atoms form the C6, C8, C10 and C12 medium chain fatty acids. These are also known as caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid respectively.
These medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) can help your gut and promote general well-being due to the shorter chemical structure. This is digested differently than long chain fatty acids (LCFA) with a number of carbon atoms greater than 12.
FFA's, including palmitic and stearic acids, are found in fatty cuts of meat, cheese, butter, and other dairy products. Omega-3 fatty acids are also LCFAs. There are also short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are absorbed directly into your bloodstream and produced through the fermentation of dietary fiber in your body.
SCFAs and MCFAs are rapidly absorbed for faster metabolism and energy, while LCFAs are coated with cholesterol and protein in a much longer digestive process.
Your body produces SCFA through the digestion of dietary fiber, usually from vegetables, but MCFA must be obtained directly from the source.
The concentrated MCFA in MCT oil is made for optimal lipid absorption because the shorter the chemical structure, the faster the body absorbs the fatty acid.
MCT oil and your weight
The impact MCT oil has on body weight varies depending on the diet and dosage and your intention. This means that if you are hoping to lose weight, maintain it, or gain weight, MCT oil could help you reach your goals.
Eating healthy fats increases satiety so you feel fuller faster and stay full longer.
Due to their rapid metabolism in the liver, medium chain fatty acids such as those found in MCT oil may not contribute to the accumulation of fat as much as other fatty acids in the diet.
The special way MCT oil bypasses a large part of the digestive process comes to the rescue. Medium chain fatty acids are absorbed directly into what is called the "portal vein," which carries blood to the liver from various organs.
This can help your body obtain nutrients that would otherwise be lost during the digestive process.
When your body can adequately obtain the nutrients it needs from food, oils, and other sources, it can also better absorb the calories (or energy) needed to maintain a healthy weight.
MCT oil and gut health
MCT oil covers a lot of ground when it comes to gut health. Fats in the diet stimulate digestion more than carbohydrates and lead to greater contractions in the intestine.
This promotes movement in the digestive tract and, if you're not careful, it can create a laxative effect. Additionally, the way they are processed in the body can improve the gut microbiome and the permeability of the gut lining so that they can increase metabolic function.
However, that's not where MCT oil's impact on gut health ends.
Supports antimicrobial activity
Caprylic acid and lauric acid (C8 and C12) are known for their immunocompatible effects. This is partly due to the way they impact the gut microbiota, especially caprylic acid.
Medium chain fatty acids, such as caprylic acid, can create an inhospitable environment for bacteria or by directly affecting the growth of bad bacteria.
Although studies are still being conducted on the antibacterial and antimicrobial effects of medium chain fatty acids, we do know that caprylic acid is beneficial in reducing the overgrowth of bacteria in the gut that could lead to Candida overgrowth.
Medium chain fatty acids, such as those in MCT oil, may be one of the few options for optimal fat absorption in people who cannot absorb fatty acids from other sources, including unrefined coconut oil.
Our bodies need fat to function, and the lack of it can lead to digestive upset, nutrient malabsorption, hormonal imbalances and, in extreme cases, malnutrition.
One of the most important functions of fat in the body is its role in creating hormones. Adipose tissue, also known as the dreaded body fat, is really vital for the production of hormones.
It contains numerous cells that can produce hormones in response to signals from the rest of the body's organs. Adipose tissue is important in the regulation of glucose, cholesterol, and the metabolism of sex hormones.8
When your body doesn't have enough fat cells, it increases your risk of insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and blood clots. Yes, these are the same symptoms associated with an overabundance of fat cells, which is another reason why balance in the body is so crucial to overall health, and why MCT oil might help.
In addition to providing the fat needed to produce a sufficient and balanced amount of adipose tissue, the way MCT oil supports a healthy gut microbiota with its rapid digestive process and antimicrobial activity can also help balance these hormones.
Are you seeing all these wonderful benefits come together? With MCT in your diet, you can support your body's hormone production process to keep your mood stable.
Even MCT oil can help prevent hormonal disorders associated with mood.
Who can benefit from using MCT oil?
Many people can benefit from including MCT oil in their diet. Its concentrated amounts of C8 and C10 are easier to absorb and convert to ketones. Therefore, it supports energy production and optimal fat absorption for adipose tissue and hormonal balance.
MCT oil that includes C12 (lauric acid) has additional immunostimulating antimicrobial components to create harmony in the gut microbiome and keep things moving smoothly.
Leaky Gut and Autoimmunity
MCT oil possesses qualities that can help optimize digestion and balance the intestinal flora environment, which will help prevent leaky gut and symptoms of cramps, bloating, and constipation.
For those concerned about weight loss, while working to reverse the symptoms of autoimmunity, MCT oil could be a useful nutritional measure for maintaining a healthy gut and adipose tissue.
Medium chain triglycerides also appear to affect the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines that are released by T cells that help the immune system and are out of balance in those with an autoimmune condition.
MCT oil could support your body's optimal inflammatory response, therefore it would help support your immune system.
The antimicrobial effect of caprylic acid in MCT oil could have a major impact on a destructive excess of bacteria in the gut, as in the case of Candida overgrowth. Caprylic acid, a component of MCT oil, helps kill bacteria and maintain a happy harmony in the gut.
MCT oil is a friendly ally with the Keto diet
The keto diet has been a popular diet trend for some time, and MCT oil is a major supplement in this community of fat burners.
The goal of a Keto diet is to promote fat loss by encouraging the body to use its fat stores for energy instead of glucose. This induces ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic process used to burn energy. When the body doesn't get enough carbohydrates, it burns fat and produces what are called ketones. Ketones are a type of acid produced in the liver when the body does not have enough glucose to use for energy.
Your liver then sends the ketones into the bloodstream for your body to use for fuel.
In some studies, MCT oil was found to support ketone production in the body, as well as what is known as octanoate, a fatty acid that actually blocks the assembly of excess fat cells
This makes MCT oil a good option for those on a ketogenic diet.
Disadvantages of MCT oil
So, we've covered who MCT oil could benefit, but who would MCT oil negatively affect? There are concerns about the impact of saturated fat or cholesterol levels.
The presence of lauric acid in some MCT oil blends may increase overall cholesterol levels (both HDL and LDL).
Despite many epidemiological studies on coconut oil, there are no definitive results connecting the fats in coconut oil and coronary heart disease. This can sometimes be attributed to the length of the study, and whether the refined coconut oil or the unrefined variety was examined.
Also, the medium chain fatty acid in question during these studies is always lauric acid. If you are concerned about raising cholesterol levels, you can find MCT oils that do not contain C12.
Of course, always discuss any supplement with your primary care physician to make sure it is right for you.
How to use MCT oil
First of all, start out slow. Do not pour the MCT oil down the cap. The same qualities that make it a great supplement for digestion can also lead to digestive discomfort if consumed in excess, leading to cramps, bloating, and diarrhea, which are symptoms that MCT oil can help eliminate.
It's recommended to start with just 2 teaspoons a day and work your way up from there until you feel comfortable.
If you find that MCT oil is not right for you, you can still get many of its beneficial qualities by including a high-quality supplement like caprylic acid. This short chain fat has a very beneficial effect on the microbial balance in the intestine.
Caprylic acid is a short-chain 8-carbon saturated fatty acid that can be absorbed too early to have any effect, or it can be damaged and even digested by stomach acid, gastric juices, and pancreatic enzymes.
Helps create a favorable environment for beneficial probiotics.
C8 fatty acid is extracted from coconut oil and palm fruit, and the concentrated formula will help create an environment in the gut that is perfect for beneficial probiotic bacteria.
It won't get you into ketosis, but it will support a healthy-functioning gut barrier to protect you from developing leaky gut and to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
Whatever you decide, you have the opportunity to take your health into your own hands and use supplements like MCT oil and caprylic acid to promote overall wellness and vitality.
Blood sugar levels can either be normal, high, or low, depending on how much glucose someone has in their bloodstream. Glucose is a simple sugar that’s present in the bloodstream at all times. Normal blood glucose levels can be measured when someone fasts, eats, or after they’ve eaten. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, who haven’t eaten for at least eight hours (fasting) is less than 100 mg/dL.