6 Health Benefits of MCT Oil
- Can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance
- Helps Protect Heart Health
- Improves Energy Levels and Mood
- Supports Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
- Has Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties
- Can Withstand High-Heat Cooking
1. Can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance
Compared to other types of oils and fats, MCTs seem to have positive effects on fat burning and weight reduction. As part of a healthy diet, MCT oil can help increase satiety and even raise the metabolic rate at which the body functions. Does this mean eating large amounts of MCTs daily will make you drop pounds? Not quite. Not every study has shown that MCTs can produce weight loss necessarily, but some definitely have shown the positive effects of MCTs on metabolic function.
For example, a 2003 study published in the Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders showed that after comparing long-term consumption of MCTs and LCTs on energy expenditure, body composition and fat oxidation in obese women, the MCTs had more significant effects. Substitution of MCTs for LCTs in a targeted energy balance diet proved to offer better prevention of long-term weight gain due to increases in energy expenditure and fat-burning. (2)
Another 2001 study published in the Journal of Nutrition compared body weight and body fat in groups of adults either consuming long-chain fats or medium-chain fats over a 12-week period. The energy, fat, protein and carbohydrate intakes did not differ significantly between the groups, only the types of fats they were receiving. After 12 weeks, the decrease in body weight and body fat was significantly greater in the MCT group than in the LCT group. The decrease in the area of subcutaneous fat in the MCT group was also significantly greater than that in the LCT group, which suggests that the MCT diet might be able to help reduce body weight and fat in individuals who need to lose weight. (3)
How do MCTs help with weight loss? Experimental studies demonstrate that dietary MCTs suppress fat deposition through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation in both animals and humans. (4) In other words, it’s believed that they help the body produce ketones, which gives you the same benefits as the ketogenic diet without needing to cut carbs to drastically low levels. In fact, MCTs are sometimes called “the ultimate ketogenic fats” because of their heating effect in the body and ability to rapidly be used for energy, especially when someone is not eating a lot of carbohydrates, making them perfect for the keto diet to help the body reach ketosis — along with one of the best things to consume on the Paleo diet.
2. Helps Protect Heart Health
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Neutraceuticals and Functional Foods reported that MCTs can help prevent the development of metabolic syndrome — a term given to a cluster of metabolic disorders, such as abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension and impaired fasting glucose levels. MCTs seem to be able to help decrease cardiovascular disease and mortality risk in general due to helping lower odds of becoming obese. Most likely, they have this positive effect because they are anti-inflammatory, easy to digest, satiating and easily used for energy as described above. (5)
3. Improves Energy Levels and Mood
Your brain is largely made up of fatty acids, so you need a steady supply from your diet to feel your best, think clearly, perform well at work and stay sharp well into older age. Medium-chain fats are believed to be one of the most easily digested, utilized and protective fatty acids that exists.
A 2004 study published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging found that the MCTs in coconut oil helped improved memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. (6) It only makes sense that a food that supplies fuel for your brain and also helps you absorb vitamins and minerals better will also make you feel more clearheaded, energetic and positive.
MCT oil helps not only feed your brain cells, but also improves your gut health — which is largely connected to cognitive functioning thanks to the “gut-brain connection.” In one animal study published in the Journal of Animal Feed and Sciences, when pigs were either fed a standard feed mixture (the control) or the same mixture supplemented with two grams each of caprylic or capric acid MCTs, the pigs receiving MCTs showed improvements in bacterial gut health, performance, growth and digestion of nutrients, including proteins and fiber. (7)
4. Supports Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
Both MCT oil and coconut oil are beneficial for balancing bacteria in the gut microbiota, which in turn has positive effects on the digestive symptom, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Medium-chain fats can help kill a wide range of pathogenic viruses, strains and bacteria that cause digestive issues, including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomachaches and so on. (8)
You also need to consume coconut and other healthy fats in order absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in various foods. These include nutrients like beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A found in plants like berries, squash and leafy greens), vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and lutein. When you consume a healthy diet filled with lots of different whole, plant foods but don’t get enough healthy fat sources at the same time, your body is basically not capable of utilizing these nutrients as well.
5. Has Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties
MCTs are powerful, natural antibiotics that help balance bacteria in the gut. In the age of antibiotic resistance, it’s meaningful to have natural methods to kill some harmful types of bacteria. Here are some known to be killed by medium-chain fats: streptococcus (which causes strep throat, pneumonia and sinus infections), straphylococcus (which causes food poisoning and urinary tract infections), neisseria (which causes meningitis, gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory diseases), and some other strains that cause stomach viruses, candida, ulcers and sexually transmitted diseases. (9)
In fact, there are at least a dozen pathogenic viruses that have been inactivated at least partially by lauric acid. Another great thing about MCTs is that they are capable of reducing “bad bacteria” without harming or removing “good bacteria.” That’s important, considering we need the good kind for intestinal health and digestive functioning.
According to some studies, medium-chain fats offer better protection from infections than longer-chain fatty acids do. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that fatty acids and monoglycerides with chain lengths varying from 8–12 carbons were found to be more strongly antiviral and antibacterial when added to milk and formula than long-chain monoglycerides. Medium-chain lipids added to milk (lipid-enhanced milk) and formula inactivated a number of pathogens, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), haemophilus influenzae and streptococcus. (10)
6. Can Withstand High-Heat Cooking
MCT oils are particularly good for cooking because they have a high “smoke point,” meaning they don’t oxidize from heat easily and can withstand high temperatures. This is crucial, because even certain “good fats” are not well-suited for cooking (like extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil, for example) and can become rancid oils somewhat easily. Both coconut oil and MCT oil can be used for the most part in baked goods, sautés, stir-fries and grilled foods without oxidizing.
How to Use MCT Oil in Recipes
Some people are firm believers in taking MCT oil daily just like a supplement, straight from the spoon or mixed into drinks. MCT oil has no taste or smell, so this is an option if you’re really looking to increase your intake quickly. But be careful — a little goes a long way. People should start off with half a teaspoon and work their way up to one tablespoon.
How can you use MCT oil creatively at home without needing to simply drink “Bulletproof coffee” every morning? Some clever ways to get more MCT oil into your diet include:
- Making homemade mayonnaise in a blender (using MCT oil, an egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and salt)
- Whisking together a salad dressing (using MCT oil, raw honey, Dijon mustard and your favorite herbs)
- Adding some MCT oil to smoothies, shakes or yogurt (which stabilizes your blood sugar since it helps slow down the rate that glucose and fructose sugar molecules are absorbed)
- Using MCT oil in homemade baked goods instead of coconut oil (sub out about 1/3 of the coconut oil for MCT oil instead)
Don’t forget that just like with coconut oil being used for your hair, MCT oil is great for your skin and hair. MCT oil can be used in homemade teeth whitening treatments, moisturizer, lip balm, sunscreen, shaving cream, conditioner, facial masks, salt scrubs and essential oil blends.
Information taken from: https://draxe.com/mct-oil/
- Zeb Dye