What is MCT Oil (Medium-Chain Triglycerides)?
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is popular among athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals trying to
lose weight. As the name implies, it consists of medium-length chains of triglyceride fatty acids, which are
easier to digest than long-chain fatty acids. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs, as MCTs make up more
half of coconut oil’s fat content.
What is MCT Made Of?
Medium-chain triglycerides exist in four forms: caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid.
However, most MCT oil products available commercially use caprylic and capric acid. Each MCT variation has
unique properties that may enhance exercise performance and support weight loss efforts. MCTs also have
antimicrobial and antifungal properties that can combat the growth of yeast and bacteria.
Potential MCT Oil Benefits
MCT Oil and Exercise
MCT oil may enhance exercise performance by lowering lactate levels. Lactate naturally rises during exercise
an alternate energy source to glucose. The body needs oxygen to break down glucose, but it doesn’t always
enough oxygen to do so. The body can convert lactate into energy without oxygen to use as energy.
Unfortunately, muscles can only handle so much lactate before reaching their lactate threshold. Individuals
feel ill or too fatigued to continue with their workout when they begin to produce lactate faster than they
remove it. Excess lactate also hinders the muscles’ ability to contract and inhibits the breakdown of
Research supports MCT’s potential to enhance athleticism. One study found that athletes taking MCT before
exercise had lower lactate levels and an easier time working out than participants taking other supplements.
Another study reported that MCTs enhance glycolysis, which is how the body produces adenosine triphosphate
for energy. Less lactate and more energy may allow individuals to exercise for longer and enhance their
MCT Oil for Weight Loss
Research shows that MCTs help the body burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. A better fat burn can
improve body composition and promote faster weight loss. MCTs also support weight loss efforts by reducing
intake. It achieves this by promoting the release of peptide YY and leptin, both of which induce feelings of
fullness and satiety. A scientific report also noted that the body doesn’t store MCTs as fat and has a
diet effect on the body. They convert readily into ketones by breaking down fat for energy. They may also
individuals stay in the high fat-burning state of ketosis.
MCT Oil and Heart Health
MCT oil may support long-term heart health by promoting fat loss and influencing cholesterol levels. One
found that MCT oil combined with phytosterols and flaxseed oil reduced total cholesterol levels far more
significantly than the same blend that used olive oil instead (12.5% vs. 4.7%). The study also noted that
oil resulted in a better decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol. Research also shows that MCT oil improves HDL
cholesterol levels. Several studies note that MCT oil reduces inflammatory markers and other risk factors
Potential MCT Oil Side Effects
MCT oil does not have significant adverse effects, nor does it interact with any medications. Some
may experience milk gastrointestinal side effects, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
MCT oil with food may relieve these effects.
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