Everyone’s talking about MCT Oil these days – so we’re here to tell you if it’s worth all the hype. If you or someone you know is following a low-carb or keto diet, chances are you’ve at least heard of MCT Oil — a highly-concentrated, super-charged oil that contains most of the “good stuff” in coconut oil. It’s not only a hot new “it” health product, but it’s become a bit of a buzz word, too…
So, what is MCT Oil? And how does it differ from coconut oil – which also carries a ton of health benefits? And (most importantly), how do you find the best MCT Oil to support your ultimate wellness goals (and avoid the not-so-great ones)?
Let’s start with what exactly this healthy fat is, and where you can find it…
The 411 on MCT Oil
MCT Oil is a health supplement that contains a ton of beneficial fats – called medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs) – which studies show may offer both glowing health and weight loss benefits. (1)
Whereas most of the other fats in your diet are made up of long-chain fatty acids, MCTs have a shorter chain. This allows them to be broken down and absorbed into the body quicker – becoming an instant source of energy.
MCTs head straight to the liver once in your body, where they can be turned into ketones. This provides an awesome source of energy for your body and brain, instead of the usual glucose. It’s thought by keto-enthusiasts that ketones are a superior source of “fuel”, leading to clear thinking and boundless energy.
Where Do You Get MCTs?
You can find MCTs in:
- Coconut oil (55-60% MCTs)
- Palm kernel oil (more than 50% MCTs)
- Dairy products (10-12% MCTs)
Though consuming coconut oil is one of the best ways to get MCTs if you aren’t taking a pure MCT supplement, it won’t give you 100% MCTs like a supplement will, and here’s why…
MCT vs Coconut Oil
While there are tons of benefits to consuming coconut oil, (and you definitely still should as part of a healthy diet), when it comes to MCTs, coconut oil is about 55-60% MCTs, while MCT oil is 100% MCTs (if you get one of the best MCT Oil supplements). (3)
In addition, there are different types of MCTs and coconut oil contains all four of them. However, two of them are thought to be the most efficient MCTs (caprylic and capric acid), and the best MCT oils will contain large doses of these and small doses of the other MCTs…
Types of MCTs:
- C6 – Caproic acid
- C8 – Caprylic acid (found in large doses in MCT oil)
- C10 – Capric acid (found in large doses in MCT oil)
- C12 – Lauric acid
Coconut oil is also mostly made up of lauric acid, with a smaller percent being the other MCTs. For this reason, it takes longer to be digested, and won’t give you the quick burst of energy that MCT oil will.
Plus, caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10) are the MCTs that go directly to the liver, where they can be metabolized into ketones.
Additional MCT Oil Benefits
Now the fun part… more benefits of these “seemingly magical” MCTs! We discussed how MCTs (particularly C8 and C10) become a source of fast fuel for your body and brain, but what else can they do? (4)
- Promote Weight Loss
Helps keep you full– MCT Oil promotes the release of two satiety hormones in your body (peptide YY and leptin), helping you feel more satisfied after consumption.
Reduces body weight & waist circumference– This oil also has 10% fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) found in other sources of good fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocados. Plus, since your body uses MCTs as instant energy, it doesn’t store them as fat. Instead, MCT Oil increases fat-burning! And MCT oil reviews show that the supplement does work to help people lose weight quickly.
- Supports Great Gut Health
MCT Oil helps boost the growth of “good”, beneficial bacteria in your gut, or probiotics, and supports your gut lining. This promotes enhanced digestive, immune and overall health, along with weight loss.
- May Reduce Heart Disease Risk Factors
Taking MCT Oil may reduce your risk of heart disease, since it can help improve your weight and cholesterol levels and reduce overall inflammation. Studies have shown that people who regularly consumed MCT Oil had reductions in LDL or “bad” cholesterol and increases in HDL or “good” cholesterol.
MCT Oil Uses
MCT Oil is very versatile, so you can consume it in different ways. It’s a clear liquid that’s odorless and has a light, almost flavorless taste. Probably the most popular way to ingest it is to put MCT Oil in your coffee or a smoothie. You could also add it to salad dressings and other foods, or even take it straight by the tablespoon.
However, because it has a low smoke point and is unrefined, you don’t want to cook with MCT oil, or heat it up at all. If you do this it may become rancid and therefore unhealthy.
MCT Oil Dosage
As for the dosage, you want to start small, with about half a tablespoon to see how your system responds. Then, gradually work your way up to 1-3 tablespoons; However, it’s not recommended to go beyond that amount in a day, since the oil is still calorie-dense. You also want to start smaller to avoid potential side effects (more on that in a second).
But first, here are two recipe ideas to get your daily dose of MCT Oil…
Two of the Best MCT Oil Recipes:
*Butter and oil in coffee?! Yup! It’s believed that this spin on your morning cup o’ joe gives you the perfect mix of good fats combined with caffeine. This creates a powerful boost for your body and mind that can keep you energized and focused for hours.
- 1 or 2 cups of coffee (whatever strength brew you like)
- 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter
- 1-3 tablespoons of MCT Oil
- *Optionally, you can also add 1 scoop of collagen powder or other low-carb protein powder
Add all of the ingredients into a blender, blend until frothy and enjoy!
MCT-Infused Power Smoothie
*Meal replacement shakes are a quick and easy way to get the nutrients your body needs. This includes protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and more, promoting a healthy lifestyle and weight management. Make it even more satisfying (and keto-friendly) with MCT Oil.
- 1 scoop of high-quality, low-carb meal replacement powder full of clean and nutritious ingredients
- 1-3 tablespoons MCT Oil
- 12-16 ounces water or low-fat milk
Add all ingredients into a Shaker Cup, shake and enjoy!
*Optionally, you can also add fruits and veggies (low-carb options if you’re following keto), and other healthy ingredients with it into a blender and blend until smooth.
MCT Oil Potential Side Effects
With any new food that you introduce into your body, you want to take it slow, so your digestive system has time to adjust. When it comes to MCT Oil, if you go too fast with the introduction, you may experience some side effects such as nausea, gas, diarrhea, vomiting or cramping. Also, don’t take it for the first time on an empty stomach. And make sure you mix it with a beverage or food instead of taking it straight, until your body gets used to it.
Who Should Not Have MCT Oil?
If you fall into any of the following categories, you should check with a doctor before consuming MCT Oil, or just avoid drinking it completely: (5)
Pregnant or nursing: Not enough is known about the safety of regular MCT Oil use while pregnant or breastfeeding, so it may be best to avoid it.
Diabetes: Some sources show that high levels of ketones in the blood (brought on by MCTs) could be unsafe for some people with diabetes, so should be avoided.
Liver problems: MCTs are primarily processed by the liver, therefore can cause issues for anyone with cirrhosis or other liver problems and should be avoided.
Finding the Best MCT Oil
Now that you know all about MCTs and MCT Oil, you need to make sure you pick the right MCT Oil product. Unfortunately, there are some impostors on the scene! From all of the info you learned in this article, here are the key takeaways of what you want in an effective MCT supplement:
- 100% Pure MCT Oil
You want it to come from coconut oil, and contain a large dose of C8 (caprylic acid), and C10 capric acid), with low doses of C6 (caproic acid) and lauric acid.
Unfortunately, many companies use a blend of oils, combining coconut oil with cheaper palm kernel oil, or including large amounts of lauric acid. This reduces the quality of the more efficient MCTs.
- Clean, High-Quality Oil
You want an MCT Oil that’s extracted with excellent quality control and without solvents… Basically, you want it to be free from fillers, additives and flavorings, with a neutral smell and taste.
- Avoid Chemicals
Finally, you want to ensure that the extraction process and the final product are both free of chemicals. Look for an MCT Oil with a BPA-free bottle, and check how it was manufactured. Many MCT Oils are made using a refining process requiring the use of chemicals. These may include hexane, along with various enzymes and combustion chemicals, like sodium methoxide. You want a product that doesn’t use harsh chemicals for extraction and is hexane-free.
We hope after reading this article on MCTs you’re motivated to go out and find the best MCT Oil for you! Make sure you check out our in-depth meal replacement shake reviews on this site, so you can also find your perfect health-boosting match.