Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is a type of supplement. It is often found in salad dressings, bulletproof coffee, and smoothies. The oil contains fats of medium-length chains that are easy to digest and have several related health benefits. The most common MCT oil source is coconut oil, since over fifty percent of coconut oil fat can be sourced to medium-chain triglycerides. There are also naturally occurring medium-chain triglycerides in dairy products and palm oil. There are four types of medium-chain triglycerides, and the two most commonly found in MCT oil are capric and caprylic acid.
Medium-chain triglyceride oil can be an effective treatment for many issues. Many individuals report that it is an effective natural remedy for lowering cholesterol. It is also, reportedly, a healthy weight loss strategy. Many patients will try organic MCT oil for their health needs, though some will instead take an MCT supplement. Overall, patients must understand the health benefits to ensure that this oil is the best choice for their needs.
Increase In Energy
Many individuals who consume MCT oil supplements experience a significant increase in their overall energy. The reason is that the fats in the oil are an instant energy source. This means that their body uses the energy right away. This is in contrast to when it stores the energy for later, such as with carbohydrates. In fact, many nutritionists refer to medium-chain triglyceride oil as a 'super fuel.' This is because the body has an easier time processing and absorbing medium-chain fats than long-chain ones, since the long-chain fats have more carbon in the chemical makeup.
The shorter chained MCTs travel from the stomach to the liver, and individuals do not need to produce bile to break them down. The liver breaks down the fats to store them or use them as fuel. As medium-chain triglycerides enter the body and are not broken down, they provide immediate energy, rather than being like other fats and carbohydrates individuals need to digest first. MCTs also convert to ketones in the liver when an individual adheres to a ketogenic diet. The ketones move through the blood-brain barrier and provide direct energy to the brain.
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Improved Brain Function
Studies have shown that MCT oil can improve brain function by offering instant energy to the cells as it passes the blood-brain barrier. At the same time, the oil has also shown promise at helping manage other neurological conditions. One example is Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease has a profound effect on the ability of the brain to use sugar. Rather than using sugar for energy and cognition, a ketogenic diet with MCT oil uses the ketones that fats produce. This offers better survival rates for brain cells. It also blocks a brain receptor associated with memory loss.
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Better Weight Management
MCT oil has been associated with better, more consistent results when individuals are attempting to lose excess weight or manage their weight. Research shows that the oil increases the body's release of leptin and peptide YY. These are two hormones that make individuals feel full after they eat. Some studies indicate MCT oil is more effective than coconut oil at helping individuals feel full after eating. In addition, MCT oil does not give individuals the same rise in glucose and triglycerides coconut oil does, which can also help individuals feel full.
Ongoing MCT oil supplement consumption can reduce an individual's overall body weight and waist circumference. Some researchers indicate it may be effective at preventing obesity. As far as actual consumption goes, MCT oils have fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides, and they may help boost metabolism. Since the body uses MCT oil right away, individuals do not need to store fat. However, some researchers say that the fat storage benefits may be temporary and fade after an individual's body adjusts to the diet change.
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Studies have indicated medium-chain triglyceride oil can impact several heart disease factors, with one of the biggest ones being high cholesterol. In one study of men taking MCT oil alongside flaxseed oil and phytosterols, their total cholesterol levels were reduced by an average of 12.5 percent at the end of the twenty-nine-day study. By comparison, when olive oil was used in combination with the other ingredients, the participants only experienced a 4.7 percent reduction. MCT oil was shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol better when added to a normal diet than a normal diet alone.
On top of that, studies indicate MCT oil has the potential to increase the body's high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is the 'good' cholesterol that protects the individual's cardiovascular system. There is even research indicating MCT oil supplements can decrease an individual's C-reactive protein levels. These levels indicate inflammation in the body. They can be a factor in an individual's risk of developing heart disease.
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Reduced Lactate Buildup
MCT oil is one of the most popular supplements available for athletes. The reason is that it may help reduce lactate buildup and increase the amount of fat used for energy. As individuals exercise, the levels of lactate in their body rise. This can impede their performance. Studies indicate that medium-chain triglycerides can help reduce the amount of lactate built up in the body.
One study showed that athletes who took six grams, around 1.5 teaspoons, of MCT oil with a meal before cycling had an easier time exercising and lower overall lactate levels. The study also indicated that using MCT oil before exercise may cause the body to use fats as energy instead of carbohydrates. Thus, individuals are likely to have higher fat burning success. There have been mixed results regarding whether or not MCT oil is truly capable of helping individuals exercise better. Some animal studies show endurance improvement, but other human studies show no significant difference.
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Reduce Seizures In Epilepsy
Most individuals have heard about the ketogenic diet as a long-term diet for weight loss. However, many individuals may not know that the ketogenic diet was originally meant as a treatment for epilepsy. When individuals fast, their body produces more ketones, and research indicates higher ketone production can reduce the rate of epileptic seizures in epilepsy. Medium-chain triglyceride oil also reduces seizures in epilepsy. This oil is a significant part of the ketogenic diet as evidence shows that medium-chain triglycerides, including in MCT oil, can be converted into beneficial ketones. MCTs are converted into ketones in the liver.
However, experts indicate that the type of medium-chain triglycerides does matter. Specifically, capric acid appears to be one of the most effective. It may provide patients with control over their seizures that is quite comparable to a prescription medication for epilepsy. Of course, epilepsy patients should talk to their doctor about incorporating MCT oil as a treatment.
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Manage Blood Sugar
Evidence indicates that medium-chain triglyceride oil is also an effective method of managing blood sugar for diabetes patients. Specifically, studies have shown that patients who incorporate MCTs in their diet require approximately thirty percent less sugar to control their blood sugar when injected with insulin. However, some evidence claims that there may be little to no effect on fasting blood sugar, even with MCT oil in an individual’s diet. Thus, the timing of meals and other factors may influence the effectiveness of this oil. Other studies claim that individuals who consume MCT oil daily can experience a reduction in their insulin resistance, which can help them manage their blood sugar and diabetes as a whole.
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Improve Gut Health
Experts claim that consuming medium-chain triglyceride oil can significantly improve gut health. Specifically, this oil helps balance bacteria in an individual’s gut microbiota. The result of this is improved digestion. Patients also tend to absorb minerals and vitamins from food better when their gut bacteria are balanced. In addition, the MCTs in this oil can kill various viruses and bacteria that cause uncomfortable digestive issues. Two examples of note are candida and staphylococcus bacteria. These digestive issues, which include diarrhea, general stomachaches, constipation, and food poisoning, improve as a result.
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Improve Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms
Some research indicates that MCT oil may significantly improve autism spectrum disorder symptoms in approximately forty percent of patients. Specifically, the research considers the influence of the ketogenic diet on these individuals. Most information uses the results of following this diet for a minimum of six months. In addition, the most benefits on the core symptoms linked to autism spectrum disorder, including in imitation, came from a gluten-free ketogenic diet when medium-chain triglycerides were added.
There is, however, a major caveat. As autism spectrum disorder is, as the name suggests, a spectrum, it affects every patient in different ways and to different degrees. Thus, the benefits from MCT oil as part of a gluten-free ketogenic diet may vary. Thus, individuals should consult a doctor and nutritionist before using this to manage autism spectrum disorder symptoms.
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Has Antimicrobial And Antifungal Properties
Research has shown that medium-chain triglycerides, including in MCT oil, have both antimicrobial and antifungal properties. There are many benefits associated with these properties. For instance, the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil appear to reduce Candida albicans growth by approximately twenty-five percent. This is a common yeast and is often responsible for various skin infections and thrush. Information indicates that the benefits stem from capric, lauric, and caprylic acid in MCT oil. Medium-chain triglycerides may also reduce infectious fungus in hospitals by half. However, more research is necessary to determine the extent of MCT oil's antimicrobial and antifungal benefits. This is because much of the current evidence is from in-vitro or animal studies.