MCT Oil is a great supplement you can and should add to your juices and smoothies on a daily basis. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. They are a special type of saturated fatty acids with carbon chains of medium-length, typically from 6 to 10 or 12 carbon atoms. In contrast, the short chain-fats have fewer than 6 carbon atoms, whereas the long-chain fats have more than 12 carbon atoms.
MCTs are largely missing from our diets, because the people responsible for creating the dietary guidelines has led us to believe that the saturated fats are harmful, whereas, in fact, the opposite is true.
Most of the commonly used saturated fats are the long-chain triglycerides (LCT). They are much harder to digest when compared to the less common MCTs.
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Why is MCT Oil Important?
They typical source of energy for our body in the Western diet is glucose. Glucose is the end result of the process of breaking down of carbohydrates. But your brain, as well as many other organs in your body, can run on more than just one type of energy, and this is where MCT oil enters the picture. MCT oil is an excellent source of tiny energy portions called ketones or ketone bodies. Ketone bodies appear when your body converts fatty acids (as opposed to glucose) into energy. MCTs from the coconut oil are, in fact, the main source of ketones.
The key to understanding MCTs lies in the way our body uses them. They are not processed in the same way as the LCTs. Normally, the long chain triglycerides are mixed with bile before being broken down in the digestive system. But when MCTs are ingested, they are sent directly to the liver. So, your liver converts MCTs into ketones, without the use of bile. The ketone bodies are then released into the bloodstream to be used as fuel right away, rather than being stored as fat in the bodily fat tissue. In the liver they have a thermogenic function, which means that they can be metabolized to produce heat. They also have the ability to alter your entire metabolism in a positive way.
And not only that. MCT oil is especially beneficial because it improves our cognitive function and helps maintain healthy body weight. MCTs are relatively small, which is exactly why they can easily enter the cell membranes of our body and our body can use them as they are.
MCTs are great for the gut, especially one of its components: caprylic acid. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, gluten intolerance, Crohn’s, allergies, and bacterial infections using MCTs every days is one of the most effective strategies to heal your gut fast. MCTs help combat viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
MCTs can feed your brain and stop brain atrophy. They are great for restoring and renewing nerve function and neuron activity in the brain, even after the damage has occurred.
Therefore, MCTs are investigated for their potential role in treating Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis epilepsy, and diabetes in case of insulin resistance.
Ketone bodies may also help heart recover after strikes, and may help shrink tumors.
In addition, MCT fatty acids have antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Sources of MCT Oil
Most oils of plant and animal origin contain long chain fatty acids. So the question is where can we find the MCTs?
Some small amounts of medium chain triglycerides can be found in butter (especially in grass fed butter), but by far the best natural source is coconut oil. To a lesser extent, there is some MCT in palm oil, whole milk and full fat yogurt.
If we are going to believe the coconut oil companies, coconut oil is about 60 percent MCTs. But, this is NOT true. It is really something from 5 to 15 percent at best. Here is why:
There are 4 types of MCT:
- Caprioc acid: MCT with 6 carbon atom chains,
- Caprylic acid: MCT with 8 carbon atom chains,
- Capric acid: MCT with 10 carbon atom chains, and
- Lauric acid: MCT with 12 carbon atom chains
Now, the problem is that the really beneficial MCTs are those with shorter, 6-, 8-, and 10- carbon-atom chains. They are the ones that will provide easy-to-use energy in your body. Unfortunately, the longest 12-atom chain, which is the Lauric Acid, is the most abundant in coconut oil, with something like 80 percent of all fats in there.
Ketonic Diet and Restricting Grains
Avoiding or restricting grains is another way to increase the production of ketone bodies. If you restrict food rich in carbohydrates and you go on a high protein or high fat diet, your body starts to use fats as primary energy source instead of glucose. The name of this process is ketosis.
Ketosis is happening also when we restrict our food intake for a longer periods of time. In that case, your body uses the stored fat to convert it into ketone bodies that are then used as energy source.
Ketones from MCTs, such as those found in coconut oil, are a far better option if you want to use the full range of health benefits because ketones from the stored fats in your body are mostly extracted in the urine.
The Bottom Line
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t add some MCT oil every time you prepare your fresh vegetable juices and smoothies. If you use the MCT fatty acids present in coconut oil, because of the abundance of lauric acid in it you might not get the full health benefits. Instead, try to find specially prepared MCT oil extracts, like for example Brain Octane, which is 18x more concentrated in caprylic fatty acids than coconut oil. It will be much more easier to maintain your healthy body weight, increase your energy, clarify your mind, improve your digestion, balance your hormones, fight bacterial infections, improve your mood, and absorb all the fat soluble nutrients from the food you eat.