At the Community Food Advocates, we are big fans of getting the healthiest and best nutritional advice possible. This time around, we’re going to talk about one of our favorite ingredients: MCT oil.
Even though this has been around for a long time, it is only now becoming popular and we’re going to tell you why.
What is an MCT Oil ?
MCT is an abbreviation for Medium-chain triglycerides. Medium-chain triglycerides are a type of saturated fatty acid which can improve your health in several different ways. Its efficiency as one of the best brain supplements has been proven beyond doubt. The terms MCT and MCT oil are loosely used to refer to the same thing. You can also use the name Caprylic Capric Triglyceride for MCT. Some people tend to mistake coconut oil for MCT oil. Although Coconut oil contains MCT oil to a proportion of 62 to 65 percent, pure or concentrated MCT oil has physical, dietary and medical properties that coconut oil does not have, so for some purposes, it is important to consider them separately.
How is the Oil Obtained Commercially?
For commercial extraction of MCTs, the best known sources are palm kernel oil and coconut oil and the extraction proper is carried out either by esterification, filtration or deodorization.
From Which Foods can one Get MCT oil?
As we mentioned in the previous subsection, palm kernel oil and coconut oil are two foods that contain the oil. This oil is also contained in dairy products such as whole milk, butter and cheese in reasonable quantities, while the amount of MCT in a cup of skim milk is almost insignificant. However, it is important to note that each of these dairy products contains far greater quantities of other harmful types of saturated oil than MCT. Note also that in the US, in general, there is more MCT in commercially prepared foods than in those that are cooked at home. Unfortunately, this relatively high content in MCT goes along with an even higher content in the saturated fats whose negative effects we have become only too accustomed to.
What are the Advantages of MCT Oil over Other Types of Oil ?
Unlike other saturated oil, Medium-chain oil is easy to digest and after digestion, it is sent directly to the liver. In the liver, it has a thermogenic effect and it is capable of increasing the rate of your metabolism. So in this sense, we can say it serves as fuel’ in the body and thus it is not stored as fat.
MCTs are also easier to absorb than longer-chained fats, as the shorter carbon chains require less energy for breaking the carbon bonds. Also, thanks to the fact that its molecules are smaller than those of other oils, MCTs can be absorbed our cell membranes relatively easily. Thus, the body can make use of them without having to call on special enzymes.
Finally, even though coconut oil typically has a high proportion of MCT, it lacks some of the properties of MCT, such as the very short carbon chains that are responsible for easy cell membrane absorption.
What are the Benefits?
Paradoxically and very importantly so, MCT oils actually help in weight loss. They achieve this by increasing the metabolism rate, as we mentioned in the previous subsection. However, this benefit is questioned by some dieticians, since some studies have not corroborated it. Having said this, if you consume MCT as part of a balanced diet, chances are that it will help you cut down or maintain your weight, as several studies have clearly proven that it improves the functioning of your metabolism.
Some studies have shown that this oil tends to keep your heart in good health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is probably due to its ease of digestion and anti-inflammatory properties.
Several studies have proven that MCT helps to feed the brain cells, thereby protecting you from brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and that it also helps you keep high energy levels and even helps you stay in a good mood and thus improves your professional performance.
Studies have equally proven that this oil helps your food digest better and eases nutrient absorption. Thus, it protects you from digestive problems such as diarrhea, stomach ache, food poisoning, constipation and others.
Some studies further suggest that the oil even goes as far as reducing the risk of contracting sexually transmissible diseases.
Does It Have any Undesirable Effects?
When consumed either in excess or on an empty stomach or at the beginning of supplementation, MCT oil can produce several side effects including anxiety, irritability, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting and many others. Note also that it is not advisable for pregnant women, nursing mothers, people suffering from diabetes or people suffering from liver problems to consume MCT oil