Taking care of your health and following the wellness trends is becoming cool in the age of millennials. As a result, people are more inclined to use health and wellness supplements like cannabidiol (CBD) oil and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. In this blog, we’ll tell you all about MCT oil.
What is MCT?
Foods like coconut oil, whole milk, palm kernel oil, butter are rich with MCTs, a type of fat. Our body metabolizes MCTs differently than it metabolizes long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which is also a common fat found in several foods. Triglyceride is basically a technical term for fat, and they are named after their chemical structure, particularly the length of chains of their fatty acids. Triglycerides contain three fatty acids, along with a molecule of glycerol. They have two major purposes; serve as body fat or to produce energy. MCTs contain around 6-12 carbon atoms and have four major types:
- C6: hexanoic acid or caproic acid
- C8: octanoic acid or caprylic acid
- C10: decanoic acid or capric acid
- C12: dodecanoic acid or lauric acid
What is MCT oil?
MCT oil is highly concentrated with medium-chain triglycerides. It is regarded as a health supplement and is considered to provide several potential health benefits. MCT oil is made through a process called fractionation, which involves extracting and isolating MCTs from palm kernel oil or coconut oil. Most MCT oil usually contains 100% C10 capric acid or 100% C8 caprylic acid, but there is a variant of MCT that contains a combination of both C10 and C8. MCT oils usually don’t contain C6 caproic acid because of its unpleasant smell and taste and C12 lauric acid is either present in small amounts or isn’t included at all. Manufacturers are actively using MCT oil as the carrier for CBD oil. The MCT oil allows larger concentrations of CBD to enter the bloodstream and helps prevent the digestive system from degrading the CBD.
What are the Benefits of MCT oil?
MCT oil is considered to provide several health benefits, including:
The research about the role of MCT oil for weight loss provides mixed results but suggests that it may be effective for reducing weight. According to a study, MCTs and LCTs increases the levels of leptin and peptide YY, both of which make you feel full and help reduce appetite. A study published by the National Library of Medicine suggests that MCTs are more effective for burning and reducing fat than LCTs, but the effects may disappear after two or three weeks as the body gets used to MCTs. Another study suggests that MCTs have 10% fewer calories than LCTs, which means that it has lower energy density. Another study suggests that our body digests and absorbs MCTs more quickly and use it as a source of energy instead of storing it as body fat. Studies using both animal and human subjects report that MCTs can increase the rate at which our body burns calories and fat.
Multiple animal and human studies link MCTs with lower cholesterol levels. According to an animal study, MCTs increase the excretion of bile acids and help reduce cholesterol levels. Another animal study suggests that virgin coconut oil increases antioxidant levels and improves cholesterol levels. A human study suggests that a combination of a low-calorie diet and coconut oil reduces the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Some studies, however, report that MCT doesn’t affect cholesterol levels in any way.
There are multiple studies that suggest MCTs may lower blood sugar levels. According to a study, an MCT rich diet increases insulin sensitivity in patients of type 2 diabetes. A study of 40 overweight patients with type 2 diabetes reports that MCTs, along with traditional medication, decrease the risk of diabetes, reduces insulin resistance, body weight, and waist circumference. An animal study reports that MCT oil protects against inflammation and insulin resistance.
MCTs produce an alternative energy source for the brain known as ketones and may enhance the brain function in people consuming ketogenic diets. MCTs’ role in preventing or reducing the symptoms of brain disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, is becoming a topic of interest for research. According to a study, MCT improves memory, learning, and brain function in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This effect, however, only appeared in patients without the variant of the APOE4 gene. It is important to note that the sample size of all these studies was relatively small, so we need more studies to be sure about the health benefits of MCT oil.
Dosage and Side Effects of MCT oil
We currently do not know the defined tolerable upper intake level (UL) of MCT oil. However, a dosage of 60-100 mL or 4-7 tablespoons is considered to be the maximum daily dose. A majority of studies support using 15–74 mL or 1-5 tablespoons of MCT oil, but currently, it’s not clear which dose provides the most benefits. Thankfully, no adverse side effects or negative interactions have been reported; however, some minor side effects may occur after using MCT oil. These side effects may include:
- Upset stomach
MCT oil is generally considered to be safe and provides a ton of benefits; that’s why it is becoming the base ingredient in CBD oil. Before you start using MCT oil or CBD oil, be sure to consult with your doctor to find out if it is safe for you. Also, don’t buy cheap, low-grade MCT oil because it may contain elements that aren’t particularly beneficial for your health.