For those of you who are unfamiliar with MCT oil and wonder why I incorporate it into my matcha latte every morning, imma' break it down.
MCT oil is either a combination of coconut oil and palm oil, or just strictly coconut oil. MCTs refer to Medium-Chain-Triglycerides which are saturated fatty acids (molecules of fat), and many of which are present in coconut oil and palm oil (although not as much as coconut). Triglyceride is another word for fat, and fat molecules come in a variety of sizes, or ‘chains’. Fats with 6-10 carbon atoms in their skeleton (or 6-10 'links' in their chains) are referred to as medium-chain-triglycerides, or MCTs (hence the MCTs that I mention below, which are nicknamed C6, C8 and C10). The shorter a fat’s chain length, the quicker the body is able to absorb and metabolize the fat.
The Benefits of MCTs
- MCTs provide quick, sustainable energy. They actually skip through the metabolic process in your liver and quickly become energy for your brain and muscles instead. Your body doesn't have to use up energy digesting MCTs, and instead converts them directly to fuel. Better energy results in a better mood!
According to Dr. Josh Axe, both MCT oil and coconut oil are beneficial for balancing bacteria in the gut, which in turn aids digestive symptoms, energy production, and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Medium-chain fatty acids can help kill a wide range of pathogenic viruses and strains and bacteria that cause digestive issues, including constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomach aches, etc. Additionally, other healthy fats like avocados and olive oil can help our digestion. Fats are slippery and can help move things along. Therefore, eating them regularly can aid in gut health!
MCTs could help with weight loss and weight management. Because MCTs convert to energy so quickly and keep us fueled for longer than glucose (sugar molecules) can, our bodies don't feel 'hungry' for more energy. In addition to curbing appetite, MCT oil encourages the body to burn fat as fuel instead of glucose, which can result in a reduction of body fat and weight loss. If you are someone who is considering a Ketogenic diet, MCT oil will become one of your best friends.
The three 'real' MCT components in coconut oil (meaning, the fatty acids that can very quickly be converted to energy for your brain and body) include Caproic Acid (C6), Caprylic Acid (C8) and Capric Acid (C10), although there are others that can be read about here.
- Caproic Acid, or C6
- There isn't too much of this MCT present in coconut oil, and this fatty acid tastes bad. It's one of the culprits behind the stomach upset that some people experience after consuming coconut or MCT oil. However, this fatty acid quickly converts to ketones, or energy molecules that burn fat for energy instead of glucose.
- Caprylic Acid, or C8
- This fatty acid helps you maintain a healthy gut and is the fastest to metabolize in the brain. It actually only takes three steps for your body to convert this fatty acid to energy. Bulletproof makes a Brain Octane Oil that contains 10x the amount of C8 per tablespoon as in one tablespoon of coconut oil. It provides the best cognitive benefits and best energy of these three mentioned MCTs.
- This is the stuff that you want to put into your bulletproof coffee, matcha lattes, etc. It's the MCT that gives you the biggest boost of energy, helps suppress appetite and kickstarts ketosis. I've included a recipe for bulletproof coffee at the bottom of this post.
- Capric Acid, or C10
- This MCT takes longer to convert to energy in the body because it is a longer chain of carbon atoms. It can be found in the source of XCT oil. The main difference between C10 and C8 is the amount of time that it takes for the oil to be converted to energy for your body.
Even though MCTs are derived from coconut oil, the concentration of awesomeness is way heavier in MCT oil than coconut oil. MCT oil extracts the potent MCTs from coconut oil and combines them for a potent, powerful fat fuel. For example, you'd have to eat 18 tablespoons of coconut oil to experience the benefits in 1 tablespoon of Brain Octane MCT Oil!
If you're interested in trying MCT oil, here are a few of my favorite brands:
Some MCT oils contain a combination of palm oil and coconut oil. This is okay. The coconut tree and palm tree are actually cousins within the palm family, and combining the two makes for a more affordable MCT oil. However, palm oil contains less C8 than coconut oil, possibly making the MCT oil less beneficial for energy and cognition. You'll notice that brands like Bulletproof are a bit pricier because they solely extract MCTs from coconut oil.
12 oz brewed coffee
1 Tablespoon unsalted, grass-fed butter or organic ghee (for non-dairy peeps)
1 Tablespoon XCT, Brain Octane or MCT oil
When you first start drinking Bulletproof coffee or adding MCTs to your morning beverage, you might have a stomachache because your body might not be accustomed to ingesting so much fat at one time. To avoid this, work your way up to the full ratio of MCT oil and ghee/butter. You can start with just the oil and exclude the butter, or you can cut the amount in half and just add a little over a teaspoon of each! Don't worry, you'll still experience the MCT benefits despite not adding the full amount of fat to your liquid!
Are you an MCT oil lover? Have you noticed a difference in your energy, cognitive ability or physical stamina?