Just like the name implies, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil contain medium-length chains of fat which are called triglycerides. Unlike typical fats which often have long and more complex structures and are thus more difficult to digest, MCTs are more easily digested and have a lot of health benefits depending on the way individual bodies handle these fats.
Medium Chain Triglyceride oil is a supplement that often comes in many forms. While some come in forms to be taken directly, some other forms of this supplement come in forms that can be added to smoothies and even used in salad dressings.
MCT oils can also be extracted from natural sources. The most common source is from coconut oil. It is estimated that more than 50% of the fat in coconut oil is obtained from MCTs. MCTs are also obtained from a number of other foods including dairy products, Olive oil, Nuts, and palm oil.
There are four major classifications of Medium-Chain Triglycerides. The most commonly used are Caprylic acid and Capric acid. MCTs have a number of health benefits. Especially for people trying to lose weight. MCTs have been shown to increase the rate of secretion of two hormones that give a feeling of satisfaction; Peptide YY and Leptin. This feeling of satisfaction leads to eating less food which is pivotal in most weight loss programs.
Also, studies have shown that oils of Medium-chain Triglycerides significantly reduced body weight and waist circumference. Some researchers even claim that MCTs can be used in the prevention of obesity.
The body also processes MCTs differently from regular fats. This can also help burn calories.
The body can also process MCT oils as instant fuel. Based on their less complex structure, the body is able to utilize Medium- Chain Triglycerides as sources of instant energy. This means there’s no need to store any MCT as body fat.
In some cases, MCTs can also be converted into ketones, which are created from the breakdown of fat. Ketogenic diets are often low in carbs but are high in fat. Taking MCT oils alongside this diet can help stay in a fat-burning state which is regarded as ketosis.
It is also important to take note of the effect of MCTs on bacteria present in the gut. The growth of good bacteria and good support of the bacteria could also help in weight loss.
Summarily, the means by which MCT oils can help in a weight loss are by increasing fullness, energy burning, fat loss, ketone production and optimizing your gut environment.
MCT oils have also been linked to improved brain function and cognition. Due to it being easily usable as a fuel, they provide more fuel for the consumption of these organs. Their shorter chain length also enables the MCTs to travel directly from the Gastrointestinal track to the liver. They don’t need to be broken down like typical long chain fatty acids. At the liver, fats that are broken down here to be either used as fuel or stored as body fat.
Since the MCTs easily enter the body cells without any breaking down, they can be used as an immediate source of energy. MCTs also reduce Lactate buildup in Athletes and help use Fat for Energy.