What is MCT oil?
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fat that can be found in coconut oil or purchased on its own. Coconut oil is about 60-70% MCTs. This type of fat behaves differently than other forms of saturated fat in that it is easy to digest. When consumed, MCTs travel directly to the liver to be metabolized, producing energy and body heat, whereas other fats must undergo a longer, slower digestive process before they’re used as fuel or stored for later. This is one of the reasons MCT oil is touted as a metabolism and energy booster!
“Medium-chain” references the number, or length of carbon atoms in the molecule, and “triglyceride” is a scientific word for fat, or fatty acids, of which there are three types:
- Short-chain fatty acids with less than 6 carbon atoms (milk and butter)
- Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) with 6-12 carbon atoms (coconut oil and palm kernel oil)
- Long-chain fatty acids (most common) with 13-21 carbons. (nuts, salmon, seeds)
Benefits of MCT oil:
Although more research is needed, many studies have shown that MCTs have positive effects on cholesterol levels, weight loss and brain function. In addition, MCT oil has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties which help maintain a healthy gut – impacting things like your immune system, your food cravings and even your mood!
MCT oil is a concentrated form of MCTs, usually in a form that stays liquid at room temperature. MCT oil is a great way to incorporate large concentrations of medium-chain triglycerides into your diet. If you practice a low-carb high-fat eating pattern, or are trying to get into a state of ketosis, adding MCT oil to your daily routine can expedite the process.
When you first start using MCT oil, it has a tendency to, “go right through you,” and you might notice some changes in your bowel movements. Start slowly, adding it into your routine 1 teaspoon at a time over the course of several weeks, working up to a tablespoon, or as high as two tablespoons.
Use teaspoons of MCT oil in coffee, smoothies, salad dressings, mashed with avocado for guacamole, sautés and drizzling on veggies. It’s got a high smoke point, so feel free to use it in cooking.