MCT oil has recently been popping up on every wellness enthusiast’s radar. With reports that celebrities are adding it to their coffee for stamina, health, and focus taking MCT oils is a growing trend. As with any wellness trend, it’s best to dive a little deeper so you know why and how it works before you start using it. We break down what MCT oil is, what makes it so popular, how you could use it, and why MCT is a great carrier for CBD oil.
What is MCT Oil?
MCT stands for ‘medium chain triglycerides’. Also popular is the term MCFAs or ‘medium chain fatty acids’. They are a type of dietary fat usually derived from coconut oil and, to a lesser degree, palm oil. Triglycerides is basically the medical term for ‘fat’, and fat has 2 functions: either be used for energy or be stored as fat. The ‘medium-
chain’ refers to its chemical structure. The most common dietary fats are long-chain triglycerides or LCTs. Here’s the easiest way to understand it: the longer the chain of fats, the harder it is to digest. This is why MCTs with their medium length chains are better processed by the body and are converted into energy immediately instead of being stored as fat.
What is MCT oil made from?
MCTs are usually made by processing coconut or palm kernel oils in a lab in a procedure called ‘fractionation’.
More than half of the fat in coconut oil comes from MCTs, which makes it the strongest contender for extraction.
This is the key difference between MCT oil and coconut oil: MCT oil is 100% MCTs, while coconut oil is about 55% MCTs.
Common MCT Oils
The most common MCTs are caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid, but commercially available MCTs usually just contain either caprylic acid or capric acid. Caproic acid is excluded because of its odor and taste, and lauric acid if used, is only present in small amounts because it is supposedly less efficient than the others.1 This is another difference between MCT oil and coconut oil: coconut oil contains large quantities of lauric acid, while MCT oil doesn’t.
Coconut oil also has its signature taste and smell. However, MCT oil - even when made from fractionated coconut oil - is colorless, odorless and stays liquid at room temperature.
The Best MCT Oil
If you want to choose the best MCT oil exclusively in regard to health benefits, it might be difficult. MCT oils made from palm and coconut offer pretty much the same benefits. However, if you are concerned about the environmental impact of production, then fractionated coconut oil is the best MCT oil. The damage to the environment caused by palm farming is well documented.
CBD and MCT Oil
CBD or cannabidiol is now a part of every wellness enthusiasts arsenal. It is commonly used for immune support, general wellness or more targeted concerns like inflammation, pain, anxiety and more. MCT is often the carrier of choice for CBD. That is because it enhances CBDs bioavailability (the amount of the compound that makes it to your bloodstream after consumption).
Here’s how that works: When you take a vitamin orally in any form - as a capsule, tincture or mixed in with food - its active ingredient makes its way through the stomach and intestine and finally reaches the liver before it enters the bloodstream. At every step of this process, some amount of the compound gets lost in the process. Essentially, less CBD reaches your bloodstream.
But when CBD is emulsified in MCT Oil, it moves through the digestive system much faster, since MCTs don’t need bile salts to be digested. They reach the liver quickly and can metabolize almost immediately since the body treats them like carbohydrates and not fats. This increases the amount of CBD that reaches the bloodstream, as opposed to any other oil that would take longer to break down. To further increase the bioavailability, a nano-emulsification process can be used to make each molecule of CBD around 25 nanometers in size. The smaller the molecule, the easier it is for it to enter the bloodstream.
Hempure CBD is made with MCT oil from fractionated coconut oil as the carrier. As a result, Hempure tinctures and capsules are keto and paleo friendly.
Are MCTs Good for You?
For a long time, MCTs were missing from most western diets. This is because of the public perception of saturated fats as bad or damaging. Recent research, however, turned things around. Turns out, certain saturated fats such as MCTs or fats found in certain meats and dairy can provide brain and heart health-boosting benefits while being easier to digest. This pretty much put an end to the dated ‘low-fat’ diet fads of the past! Here are the areas in which MCTs are effective:
MCT Oil for Weight Loss
MCT oil aids weight loss in several different ways. First off, it triggers the release of hormones that make you feel fuller.2 This is also true for coconut oil, but one study found that people who took MCT oil with breakfast had a smaller lunch than those who had the same amount of coconut oil. MCT oil also has 10% fewer calories compared to other common dietary fats such as those in avocados and olive oil.
The body tends to use MCTs as an instant source of energy, instead of storing it away. There are several other purported reasons for why MCT oil aids weight loss: researchers say that it causes increased thermogenesis after eating, it supports the burning of calories and suppresses the accumulation of body fat. Research is ongoing on how it may be used to combat obesity, and studies have shown that it may cause a modest reduction in body weight and waist circumference.
MCT Oil for Gut Health
MCTs are natural antibiotics, but unlike traditional antibiotics, they have been found to lower rates of certain bad bacteria without impacting healthy gut flora. MCT oils are also effective against certain types of yeast infections. In fact, hospitals have used MCTs to reduce the spread of a particularly infectious fungus by up to 50%!4
Its ability to support healthy bacterial growth leads to a better overall defense against external germs and parasites too.
MCT Oil for Exercise
Athletes on the spectrum from beginners to pros are turning to MCT oil for a performance boost. One study found that using MCTs about 30-45 minutes before training helped runners increase their stamina, and provided an alternative energy source to carbs.5 Essentially, they’re an easily available, immediate form of energy since they don’t get converted to fats and can easily enter your cells without being broken down.
Another aspect of MCTs that athletes love is its ability to regulate lactate build-up during exercise. If you’ve ever pushed yourself too hard after a workout or worked out after a long time and experienced nausea, stomach cramping and burning, those are the effects of a build-up of lactate. One study compared athletes consuming MCTs and LCTs prior to cycling and found those who had taken MCTs had lower lactate levels. This means they were able to work out harder and longer.6
MCT Oil for the Brain
Studies on MCT oil are ongoing. Scientists theorize that MCTs may provide the brain with an energy boost. It may also help support the brain for overall wellness and health. Scientists are still researching the many possible benefits of MCT oil. Nevertheless, MCT oil is considered an effective, immediate and clean fuel for the brain.
MCT Oil and the Keto Diet
Those following the keto diet know that it’s hard to find vitamins, food, and drink that are keto-compliant. MCT oil is not just compliant, it also enhances the production of ketones! Ketones are one of 2 energy sources for the body, the other one being glucose. When people consume sugars, starches and proteins, the body burns the glucose content from them. However, when fasting or following a low carb diet (like the keto diet), the body switches its energy source to fat, resulting in weight loss. Experts say that MCTs function almost like carbs in the way that they provide immediate energy. That said, they differ from carbs because they don’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels like carbs do. If you're looking for a keto-friendly CBD product, choose Hempure nano-emulsified CBD in MCT oil for the biggest benefits.
MCT Oil: A Great Carrier Oil
With so many potential benefits, pretty much anyone can benefit from a daily, healthy dose of MCT oil. It’s one of the fastest sources of clean fuel for the body and mind, and when paired with CBD, can enhance their effectiveness. If you’re looking to kickstart a new healthy chapter in your life, get your hands on some MCT oil.
- ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6814231).
- ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192077/).
- ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12975635 ).
- ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10507598 ).
- ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26892521 ).
- ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19436137).