MCT Oil ( Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil )

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Medium Chain Triglycerides, better known as MCTs are a topic of hot dicussion. MCTs are the major fat components in coconut oil, and they have received considerable attention in the past. MCT oil is a concentrated form of MCTs obtained from another oil. What is actually done is that the concentration of MCT is increased using various processing techniques. MCT oil can contain as much as 6 times the concentration of MCT in organic coconut oil.



Why is this done ? Well, we cannot eat large amounts of coconut oil, or any other source of MCT. But, by taking MCT oil in diet, one can get large amounts of MCT in smaller portions. Even a single tablespoon of MCT oil can provide significant amounts of MCT to notice a change in diet.

Liquid coconut MCT oil
Liquid coconut MCT oil (Image:Shutterstock)

What makes MCT so special ?

Medium Chain Triglycerides are special. They provide instant and long lasting energy to the human body. No energy is needed to digest them. Not even a drop of bile to reduce their size. MCTs are medium chained molecules and are much smaller in size than larger molecules like long chain fatty acids.

When you eat something which contains MCTs, like coconut oil, the MCT are absorbed right from the small intestine into the hepatic portal. It goes straight to the liver and is converted into energy. Other foods require lots of energy to be digested and assimilated, which can be tough for an il person.



This seemingly simple difference is actually a mammoth difference. This paves the way for tremendous health benefits that MCTs can provide us.

MCT Health Benefits

Medium Chain Triglycerides are actually saturated fat. We have all been listening about studies that saturated fat is bad for heart health. Well, it may be true, but not in the case of this saturated fat. MCTs, despite being saturated fat, can be good for cardiovascular health. These are some of the health benefits of MCT, which you can get from coconut oil, or in a more concentrated form from MCT oil.

Say goodbye to Fatigue

There are millions of people who battle through fatigue each day. In most cases, the fatigue is work related. But, in some cases, people suffer from fatigue without any plausible explanation. Such a person feels weak, tired, dizzy and exhausted all day, barring few moments when the adrenaline is rushing. It is considered as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Consumption of MCT helps fatigued people reclaim their lives. It provides significant boost of energy. Initially, when you take high amounts of fat, it may be tough for the body to take them all in. One may experience nausea or even vomiting. But in a few days, body starts to metabolize them easily and provide an energy boost. One should feel a bit more active and energetic during the day, and even experience better sleep at night.

Curb the Cravings

Feeling more energetic means lesser need for sugary foods and cravings. Our brain works on glucose. When the body is low on energy, glucose stores are being used. This low amount of sugar forces the body to look for high sugar foods. Once you eat sugar rich foods, the brain feels better. But that sugar brings in lots of health problems, the first among them being the risk for weight gain.

MCT Oil can reduce your dependance on sugar or better said fructose rich foods to stay energetic.

Improved metabolism

With age, metabolism starts to decline. Now, that is what is wired in our genes and nothing can stop that. However, MCTs can stem the rate of decline of your metabolism and keep it appropriate for your age. This is a big statement. As a result of its ability to control metabolism, it effectively controls weight gain. It is not stricly a weight loss food, because it is a saturated fat and releases 9 calories per gram. But, it sure helps to keep the metabolism up.

MCT oil boosts thermogenesis, a process in which body increases its heat production, without you doing any sort of exercise. This helps the body in burning fat as the body starts to burn more calories above the basal metabolic rate BMR.



Control your appetite

Not only MCTs, but LCTs ( Long Chain Triglycerides ) help in controlling appetite. Eating a breakfast rich in MCTs can reduce incidents of sharp hunger later on in the day.

Great for the brain

MCT Oil Good For Brain
MCT Oil Good For Brain ( Photo Courtesy : dierkschaefer )

MCTs release ketones when they are metabolized. These ketones act as fuel for the brain, making it work better. You can make good use of this fact. MCT oil , specially that from coconut boosts cognitive performance even in older people.

Improved Physical Performance

Have you been really tired of the marathon practice, then try MCT oil. It is believed to improve athletic performance. The extent to which it boosts performance is not yet clear.

MCT Oil For Serious Health Problems

Aside from the regular, commonplace health benefits, MCT have also been identified to help in certain diseases and conditions. Let’s have a look.

Alzheimer’s

Regular consumption of MCT rich foods can alleviate Alzheimer’s disease, improve brain functioning, memory and nervous coordination. The relation between Alzheimer’s and Medium Chain Triglycerides is still being understood as new and exciting research comes up. MCTs may also be capable of slowing down neural degenration and as such help in diseases like Parkinson’s and dementia.

Malabsorption

This is a problematic condition in which body is unable to absorb certain nutrients from food for whatever reason. In this state of weakness, a diet rich in MCT keeps the person’s energy levels up. MCT Oil is commonly used as supplement to food of people who suffer from Malabsorption syndromes.

Epilepsy

MCT oil can increase the time between subsequent seizures in a person who suffers from epilepsy. Children who suffer from epilepsy can be supported by giving them an MCT rich diet.

MCT oil Benefits

How to use MCT Oil At Home ?

That’s the hardest part. MCT Oil generally may not taste awesome and if you add too much of it, then you may have to pay an unwanted visit to the toilet. Neverthless, here are some recipes containing MCT oil.

  • Popcorn – Bake some popcorn in MCT Oil. It is going to have the nutty flavor of coconut, if the MCT OIl is taken from coconut.
  • MCT Oil Coffee – Use your MCT oil as cream for coffee. This enhances the mind alerting effects of coffee. Need to stay awake this night ? That’s the perfect recipe.
  • Salad Dressing – try replacing your regular salad dressing like olive oil with MCT oil.
Coffee With MCT Oil For Cream
Coffee With MCT Oil For Cream ( Photo Courtesy : dollen )

Do not microwave MCT Oil. Temperatures higher than 320 ° F lead to transformations in the structure of MCT in MCT oil. Now, those healthy fatty acids turn into harmful substances.

Side Effects and Toxicity Issues

MCT Oil is generally safe. It is also very healthy unless it is heated, or put in an environment where there is lot of heat.  Some people may however have to deal with an upset stomach if they take large amount of MCT Oil in one go.  Our body has certain tolerable limit to the amount of fat it can take in one meal. If that is exceeded, one feels uneasy. It could lead to vomiting or a short incidence of diarrhea.

So, start out slow. If you are not fine with 1 tablespoon straight away, then go for 1 teaspoon or even 1/2 teaspoon. You can slowly work up the quantity.

There shoud be no toxicity issues if the MCT Oil you get is processed naturally without the use of chemicals.

Dosage

Regarding the dosage, there is no clear cut specification. One should aim for about 1 – 3 tablespoon of MCT oil per day. This is enough for getting all the benefits of MCT oil. This amount of MCT oil should also be helpful for the diseases and conditions mentioned and would not fall too short.

What is the maximum safe dosage that you can take ?

One should not take more than 1 g per kg of body weight of MCT oil in a day. Even at this levels, one should not take so much MCT oil for extended periods of time. You see, taking 60 gm of saturated fat, even though MCT, for 6 months or so can raise cholesterol levels.

MCT oil is generally extracted from coconut oil and palm kernel oil. The process involves the use of supercritical CO2 for extraction.  But CO2 is all around in our atmosphere and in many fermentation foods, so that should not be a problem. MCT oil can have a shelf life of 1 year or so if kept properly refrigerated.

Nutritional Information

MCT oil often contain a nearly equal amount of capric acid and caprylic acid. Both of these fatty acids are found in coconut oil.

MCT Oil is a powerful health supplement for everyone. It can help on feel more energetic and take on life with an energy filled attitude. MCT is so good that it is used in bodybuilding supplements, baby formula and many other health products. It is exceptionally good for people who are having cognitive problems. It can really cut down your risk of facing mental diseases, like Alzheimer’s which is a big thing.

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