MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) oil is a type of fat made from coconut oil and palm kernels. It’s more popularly known as coconut oil.
Long Chain Triglycerides (LCT’s), consisting of 12 to 18 carbon atoms per chain, are what most dietary fats are made of. Medium Chain Triglycerides have shorter chains, with only 6 to 10 carbon atoms. This structural difference between the 2 types of fats is the reason for their different properties. The shorter chain makes MCTs easier to absorb and faster to metabolize, which makes it easier to convert into fuel for instant utilization and harder to be stored as body fat. MCTs can also be utilized for energy much faster than glucose and have 2 times more calories per gram, which makes it an ideal source of energy for intense exercises.
ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT
Because of its ability to be quickly tapped as an energy source and improve performance, more and more athletes and trainers have become interested in MCTs. MCTs ability to elevate athletic performance and increase endurance have been documented in animal studies and in one of those studies, mice that were fed with MCTs performed significantly better than those fed with LCTs.
MCT IS THERMOGENIC
Studies have shown that MCT oil helps enhance thermogenesis or fat burning. One of those studies showed that people whose diets included MCT instead of just LCT oils registered enhanced thermogenesis.
Enhancing our bodies ability to burn fat allows us to burn more of it and become leaner and healthier.
MCT HELPS INCREASE METABOLISM
Several studies have shown consuming MCTs in lieu of LCTs can result in higher daily energy expenditure (metabolic rate) in both men and women (4). In this case, simply adding MCT to our diets while maintaining the same calorie consumption and exercise routine may help us lose significantly more body fat.
MCT HELPS SATIATE APPETITE
MCTs, being fats, are more difficult to break down and digest and hence, helps us feel fuller for longer. When we do, we tend to eat less and make better food choices, which helps us lose more body fat.
MCT HELPS PROTECT MUSCLEFROM BREAKDOWN
MCTs assist in the our bodies’ production of ketones. These are consumed for energy by the muscles prior to amino acids. This helps delay muscle breakdown and thus preserve muscle mass. MCTs also carry amino acids and help assimilate proteins inside our muscles. When this happens, muscle mass loss and breakdown are minimized or prevented.
Another way MCTs help prevent muscle cannibalism is by delaying glycogen depletion. Glycogen is a key energy source especially for endurance activities like cycling and running and by delaying its depletion, muscle cannibalism for energy is prevented.
USING MCT OILS
It is generally accepted that the safe dosage for human consumption of MCTs is at 1 gram of MCT per kilogram of bodyweight. To manage some of MCTs initial side effects such as nausea and stomach reactions, it is recommended to start with small doses and gradually increase according to tolerance up to 1 to 2 tablespoons per day.
Apart from the initial side effects, there are other considerations before deciding to use MCT oil in our diets:
-Being ketogenic, diabetics are advised to stay away from MCTs oils; -As MCTs are quickly absorbed into the liver and put unnecessary stress on it, it people suffering from liver conditions and hepatic encephalopathy are advised to stay away from it; and -Because of its fatty nature, people with high cholesterol levels are advised not to take MCT oils regularly.