“MCT” is short for Medium-Chain Triglycerides and they are a type of saturated fat that has numerous health benefits, ranging fromimproved cognitive function toenhanced digestion tobetter weight management and much more.In the past, people have avoided saturated fat as it was believed to be linked to coronary heart disease and elevated cholesterol. However, it is now scientifically proven that saturated fats (especially MCT’s) are good for heart health and health in general. We now know that ideally MCT’s like coconut oil should be consumed every day.
In fact, traditional populations living in tropical areas have been consuming saturated fats, including sources of MCTs like coconuts, for thousands of years without any ill effects. In fact coconut oil is one of the best sources of MCTs (roughly 55–65%).
MCTs get their name because of the length of their structure. All types of fatty acids are made up of strings of connected carbon and hydrogen atoms. Fats are categorized by how many carbons they have: short-chain fats (SCT’s) like butyric acid found in grass fed butter have fewer than six carbons, medium-chain fats (MCT’s) have between 6–12 carbons and long-chain fats (LCT’s) like omega-3s have between 13–21 carbons.
What Makes MCT’s So Special?
MCT’s are digested easily and sent directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively boost your metabolism. This is one reason why many people claim that MCTs, including coconut oil, are burned by the body for energy, instead of being stored as fat.
Compared to longer-chain fats, MCTs are absorbed more easily. MCTs are smaller, so they are easily absorbed through our cell membranes and don’t require special enzymes for our bodies to utilize them.
MCTs are good for you in a number of other ways. They may help to support your gut environment, especially since they have the capability to combat harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. MCTs also present antioxidant properties, which is why coconut oil has far-reaching anti-inflammatory benefits.
Who are MCT’s good for?
Anyone looking to Lose Weight or get into Ketosis could benefit from the use of MCT’s. They are rapidly absorbed and have the ability to raise ketone levels quickly. Ketosis is a state where your body efficiently uses fat as energy instead of glucose or carbohydrates. Therefore, using MCT’s in conjunction with a low carb diet will see elevated levels of ketones which pass through the blood brain barrier. Because our brains love ketones this explains the enhanced mental clarity, reduced symptoms of mental decline and reduction in brain fog when consuming MCT based products.
MCT’s are beneficial for overall health — especially for people who have a difficult time digesting other forms of fats. This includes anyone with malabsorption problems, digestive disorders, leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, gallbladder infections, removed gallbladder, post lap-band surgery and much more.
MCT’s vs. Coconut Oil
For many years coconut oil has been used to treat many different health problems that have now been validated by science. Some of these benefits come from the MCT’s in the coconut oil. The difference between MCT’s and coconut oil is that MCT’s are more concentrated and contain different proportions of MCTs. While coconut oil certainly has MCTs in it, most of them are lauric acid (the longest chain).
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that MCT sales have skyrocketed in recent years is due to the growing popularity of the ketogenic diet for Rapid Weight Loss and Better Cognitive Health. The Keto Diet recommends you receive 60–70 percent of your calories from healthy fats, especially MCT’s, grass-fed butter and coconut oil. This dietary approach has seen a decrease in hunger levels, the ability to maintain intermittent fasting easier, better brain function, improved mental clarity and reduced body fat. While not everyone does well on a high fat lower carbohydrate diet there is no arguing, it is easier to maintain when using MCT’s.
The bottom line? Enjoy both coconut oil and quality MCT’s for their numerous benefits.
5 Key Benefits of MCT’s
1. Can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance
Compared to other types of oils and fats, MCTs seem to have apositive effect on fat burning and weight reduction. As part of a healthy diet, MCT’s can help increase satiety (reduce hunger) and even raise your metabolic rate. 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 burning in obese women, the MCTs showed to have more significant benefits. 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.
Another 2001 study published in The Journal of Nutrition compared body weight and body fat in groups of adults either consuming LCT’s or MCT’s 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 subcutaneous fat (visible body fat) in the MCT group was also significantly greater than that in the LCT group, which suggests that MCT’s might be able to help reduce body weight and fat.
Studies demonstrate that dietary MCTs suppress fat gain through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation (burning) in both animals and humans.
2. Help Improve Energy Levels, Mental Clarity and Enhance Your 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. MCT’s are believed to be one of the most easily digested, utilized and protective fatty acids in existence.
A 2004 study published in The Journal of Neurobiology of Aging found that the MCTs in coconut oil helped improved memory, reduced symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and enhanced mental processing speed.MCT’s help supply fuel for your brain and enhance vitamin and mineral absorption which will make you feel more Clearheaded, Energetic and Positive.
3. Help Heart Health
A 2010 study published in The Journal of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods reported that MCTs can help prevent the development of metabolic syndrome. This is a term given to a cluster of metabolic disorders such as abdominal obesity, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and impaired blood sugar levels. Metabolic syndrome often leads to diabetes and an increased rate of cancer. MCTs seem to be able to help decrease cardiovascular disease and mortality risk due to helping lower rates of obesity. Most likely, they have this positive effect because they are anti-inflammatory, easy to digest, satiating and easily used for energy rather than stored as body fat.
4. Helps Improve Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
MCT’s also improve your gut health. One 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 MCTs, the pigs receiving MCTs showed improvements in bacterial gut health, performance, growth and digestion of nutrients, including proteins and fibre.
Both MCT’s and coconut oil are beneficial for balancing bacteria in the gut microbiome, which in turn has positive effects on digestive symptoms, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. MCT’s can help kill a wide range of pathogenic viruses and strains and bacteria that cause digestive issues, including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomach-aches and much more.
5. Has Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties
In the age of antibiotic resistance, it’s meaningful to have natural methods to kill some harmful types of bacteria and viruses. 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 may reduce “bad bacteria” without harming or removing “good bacteria.” That’s important, considering we need the good kind for intestinal health and digestive functioning.
A study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that MCT’s with chain lengths varying from 8–12 carbons were found to be more strongly antiviral and antibacterial when added to milk and formula than LCT’s. MCT’s when added to milk and formula inactivated several pathogens including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), haemophilus influenza and streptococcus.
Now you see the many benefits of MCT’s you can understand why we're such big fans at BYS!
MCT’s can help:
- Maintain a healthy weight through Appetite Control
- Reduce Stored Body Fat by boosting metabolic function
- Increase Energyand Vitality
- Improve Mental Clarity
- Enhance Digestionand balance gut microflora
- Stabilize Hormone levels
- Improve your Mood