MCT Oil: What Is It and How Does It Work?

As research continues to shed light on our understanding of the human body and the nutrition it requires, oil supplements have risen in popularity as a way to improve one’s health.

In recent years, MCT has been gaining popularity among athletes and bodybuilders as a health supplement that promotes weight loss, increases energy, and stabilizes blood sugar levels. 

Understanding what MCT oil is, how it works, and its potential benefits can help you decide whether you want to include it in your diet.  

What Is MCT Oil?

The natural fats in the food you eat can be classified into three types: short, medium, and long-chain. The difference between them is the number of carbon molecules each chain has, affecting how long it takes the body to metabolize and digest them.

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which are a fatty acid containing between 6 and 12 carbon molecules. Compared to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which are the most common type of fatty acid found in our foods, MCTs have fewer (and smaller) molecules, so they require less time to digest. 

Only a handful of foods — certain oils and dairy products — have high concentrations of MCT. Some natural sources of MCT include:

MCT oil is a pure concentration of these fatty acids, extracted through a procedure known as fractionation. This retrieval process involves heating the oil to a particular temperature, then separating (or fractioning) the MCT concentrate as the liquid cools down. 

What Is MCT Oil Used for?

A common reason to add MCT oil in your food is if you’re on the Ketogenic (keto) diet. Individuals on the keto diet rely on fat to supply as much as 90% of their daily caloric intake, which MCT supplements and oil concentrates help provide.

MCT oil is also increasingly used by athletes, bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and those who exercise regularly as a supplement to help with weight loss, appetite control, exercise performance, and sustaining energy levels. 

Additionally, people who can’t properly digest and absorb short or long-chain fatty acids — for instance, those with cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or pancreatitis — may use MCT oil to assist with digestion and calm inflammation.

You can add MCT oil to a variety of different foods and drinks. For instance, adding MCT oil to salad dressings, smoothies, most non-cooked foods, and even your morning coffee is typical.

The Health Benefits of MCT Oil

Research into MCT oil benefits is ongoing as our understanding of body fat, nutrition, and what constitutes a healthy diet continues to evolve. Nonetheless, proponents of the dietary supplement, coupled with emerging data, have begun to reveal several promising trends.

Since MCTs are metabolized differently than short and long-chain fatty acids, having a diet rich in coconut or palm oils, or including an MCT supplement in your diet, can include several health benefits:

Weight Loss

MCT oil has 10% fewer calories than those found in LCTs, contributing to weight loss by controlling cholesterol levels and helping to curb weight gain. MCT oil has also been shown to increase the release of leptin and peptide YY, two hormones promoting a feeling of fullness. In fact, studies have revealed that just two spoons of MCT oil taken with breakfast can help suppress your appetite, which is a crucial factor in dieting and general weight loss. 

Controlled studies comparing the effects of consuming MCTs versus LCTs have also found significant decreases in mass and body weight for the MCT group.

Additionally, studies have found that using MCT instead of olive oil promotes a faster rate of weight loss.  

It’s important to note that these findings don’t mean taking more MCT oil will directly lead to faster weight loss. However, results remain promising as several studies have shown a positive correlation between MCT and faster metabolic function.

Source of Energy

Because of the shorter chain length of MCTs, your body metabolizes them faster than LCTs, allowing them to quickly travel from the gut to the liver without needing bile to break them down.

MCTs are then converted to ketones in the liver and stored as body fat, but they can also become natural fuel sources. Since they can easily and quickly enter your cells without being broken down, incorporating MCT oil in a healthy diet can provide an almost-immediate energy source and help increase focus and concentration.   

There is even evidence that MCTs support high endurance and better performance, making the supplement a favorite among those serious about building muscle.

Eating foods that include MCT oil, such as Muscle Mac Pro’s White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, will ensure you have all the energy you need for your next workout.  

Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels

Another added benefit of MCT oil is that it can help stabilize and control your blood sugar levels, potentially playing a critical role in helping patients with diabetes.

Insulin resistance is a common worry in those with type 2 diabetes, and studies have found that MCT helps minimize this risk factor.  

Adding MCT Oil To Your Diet Is Easier Than You Think

MCTs are critical fatty acids with several potential health benefits. You can incorporate MCT oils into your diet by making an effort to consume more coconut and palm oils, as well as by taking MCT oil as a supplement.

However, choosing the right supplement is sometimes inconvenient, and finding food products containing MCT oil can be even more challenging. 

In addition to 20 grams of protein, Muscle Mac Pro products contain live probiotic cultures and MCT oil, helping you build endurance while controlling appetite and promoting weight loss. 

With Muscle Mac, you can stay fit, improve your performance at the gym, and ensure your body gets all the energy it needs to operate at the highest level.