What is MCT Oil?
MCT oil is a dietary supplement that is made up of MCT fats, which are fats that can be found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products.
MCT oil is mainly used by people looking to lose weight, or boost their endurance during a workout.
Some supporters of MCT oil also claim it can improve the ability to think, as well as help with various forms of dementia.
What are MCTs and why are they different from other fats?
Fats are made up of chains of carbon atoms, and most of the fats in a person’s diet are made up of 13 to 21 of these atoms. These are called long-chain fatty acids. In contrast, short-chain fatty acids are made up of 6 or fewer carbon atoms. MCTs refers to medium-chain triglycerides that sit in the middle of the other two types. They are of medium length and made up of 6 to 12 carbon atoms.
MCTs are found in coconut oil and are processed by the body in a different way to long-chain fatty acids. Unlike other fats, they go straight from the gut to the liver. From here, they are used as a source of energy or turned into ketones. Ketones are substances produced when the liver breaks down a lot of fat, and they can be used by the brain for energy instead of glucose or sugar.
As the calories in MCTs are used straightaway, they are less likely to be stored as fat. This principle is the basis of the ketogenic diet, which many people believe is an effective way to lose weight.
Potential health benefits of MCT oil
There are several potential health benefits of MCT oil. Some of these are supported by scientific evidence, while others are yet to be proven. Each potential benefit and its available evidence is explored below:
1. Better brain and memory function
The brain’s take-up of ketones in people with Alzheimer’s was the same as in healthy people. In contrast, the brain’s take-up of glucose was poorer in those with Alzheimer’s than healthy people. Ketosis has a slight beneficial effect on thinking ability for those with Alzheimer’s. Ketosis is when the brain uses ketones for energy instead of glucose.
2. Energy boost and increased endurance
Consuming food rich in MCTs, rather than longer-chain fats, improved the time that recreational athletes could endure high-intensity exercise.
3. Weight loss and improved weight management
MCTs increased the calories and fat that overweight men burned. It’s concluded that MCTs might be helpful in the prevention of obesity and to stimulate weight loss.
MCTs lead to a greater increase in the hormones that reduce appetite and make a person feel full. This was in comparison with longer-chain fats.
4. Lowered cholesterol
As MCT oil is high in the MCTs found in coconut oil, it is also likely to improve cholesterol levels and may also have a part to play in helping to protect heart health.
5. Lowered blood sugar levels
MCTs may also help to improve blood sugar levels and play a potential role in diabetes management.
MCT & CBD
MCT oil is a popular choice for use with CBD and is generally regarded as one of the best carrier oil options. MCT gets its name from the structure of its molecules: Medium Chain Triglycerides. In the case of MCT, its size and structure matters. The size is determined by how many carbon atoms are contained in its structure. While most fats and oils contain Long Chain Triglycerides (LCT) with 14 or more carbon atoms, MCTs contain significantly less carbon (between 16 and 12). This size difference is what helps make MCT an effective carrier oil for CBD, as well as providing other potential health benefits.
Due to its smaller molecular structure, MCT is more digested and absorbed more easily by the human body. When used as a carrier for CBD, MCT provides greater bioavailability. When cannabinoids breakdown, they are stored in fat, which means they are best administered with fat to increase absorption.
Medium Chain Triglycerides are better than oil with LCTs because they blend with water more efficiently (remember, the human body is made up of large amounts of water). The digestive tract can send MCTs to the bloodstream without the aid of chylomicrons; when substances like CBD can go to your bloodstream quickly without needing to be digested first, you will feel the effects far sooner.
Other Benefits of MCT
MCT oil is virtually tasteless.
High solubility and suspension of CBD.
CBD with MCT can also be taken sublingually.
MCT is also a popular supplement additive because it has a long shelf life and does not need refrigeration.