What Is MCT Oil and the Health Claims?

Over the past few years you may have heard people talking about MCT Oil, or medium-chain triglyceride oil, which is one of the newest healthy fats people are turning towards in the wellness and fitness community. These days MCT oil seems to be popping up everywhere in people’s morning coffee and smoothies, but is MCT oil really worth all the hype, or is just another wellness trend?

 

What is MCT Oil and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

MCT oil is a type of oil made up entirely of medium-chain triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids found in both animal and plant foods. While that may sound like any other kind of fat, the interesting (and exciting!) part about MCT oil is that it can be quickly absorbed and metabolized by the body.

Because the majority of the fats we consume in our diet are long-chain fatty acids, they are more difficult to break down, and cannot be used immediately as a source of energy -- this is where MCT oil is different. MCT oil can be passively absorbed by the body, and transported directly to the liver where they can then be used to provide fast-acting energy.


What Are The Potential Health Benefits Of MCT Oil?

While there are many potential health benefits of MCT oil, the most researched use for MCT oil is the positive and immediate effect it can have on a person’s energy, and its potential for providing increased endurance during high-intensity exercise.

Additionally, MCTs can be turned quickly into ketones, which can be used as an alternative energy source for the body and brain. This is currently being studied for the effects it can have on improved cognitive function. More recently, research has also started to look at using MCTs for weight management, and improved insulin sensitivity, particularly in adults with diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.


How To Use MCT Oil In Your Life?

When it comes to adding MCT oil into your daily life there are many ways you can reap the benefits of MCT oil without really changing up your diet all that much. Luckily a little really does go along way, and when it comes to supplementing with MCT oil less really is more.

Generally speaking, MCTs can be a healthy part of a person's diet, and can be found in coconut oil, full-fat yogurt, butter. They also can be added directly to your morning coffee or smoothie in the form of 100% MCT oil, which can be found these days at most health food stores.

However, because MCT oil is absorbed differently than other fats, it is important when you first start taking 100% MCT oil to start slowly and work your way up. To begin, start by adding 1 teaspoon to your morning smoothie or coffee and notice if you find that it is well tolerated.  If the MCT oil works with you at 1 teaspoon you can slowly start to increase the dose up to 1-2 tablespoons per day. 

 Written by: Megan Faletra ,MS, MPH, RDN.