MCT oil is a supplement often added to smoothies, tea and coffee and salad dressings.
Why MCT Oil?
The difference between this and other edible oils is the length of the fat molecules, called triglycerides. Due to their shorter length, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are easily digested, with a host of health benefits linked to the way your body processes these fats.
MCTs are absorbed directly through the gut, into the blood stream and sent straight to the liver, instead of requiring pancreatic enzymes and bile to be digested for absorption (as needed for LCTs). In the liver, MCTs are converted to ketone bodies – the by-product of fat being utilised for energy, which can be used by the brain, heart and other muscles.
MCTs also allow our bodies to reach ketosis (the process of burning fat for energy) faster and more easily, and because they do not store as fat in the body, can also help with weight management, endurance and physical performance.
How to use MCTs
MCTs are practically tasteless, which makes them easy to include in your diet. Start by taking a teaspoon a day, work up to a tablespoon, and build up to two or three tablespoons per day for best results.
Do not cook with MCT oils as they have a low smoke point and their chemical structure changes when exposed to heat. Instead, add MCT to your morning tea or coffee, smoothie, granola and salad dressings.
Adding healthy fats to a meal improves the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (such as A, D, E and K) and some antioxidants found in fruit and veggies. Using healthy fats with plant foods is a way to get bonus nutrition out of your meal (SCW Point #31 : eat fat).
Benefits to your Body
MCTs are a great source of fuel for the brain. They are converted to ketones in the liver and transported to the brain where they are utilised as a source of energy to assist and enhance brain function. There is substantial research to show that MCTs can enhance cognitive function in patients with certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Epilepsy.
MCTs have a positive effect on cholesterol levels by lowering bad (LDL) and elevating good (HDL) cholesterol. Unlike most fats, MCTs do not increase blood clotting, therefore reducing heart disease and the risk of stroke. Oxidized fat molecules from highly processed vegetable oils can cause damage to the arteries. MCTs are resistant to such oxidation and have been shown to help reduce other oils from becoming oxidized, therefore, MCTs seem to act like an antioxidant in the body reducing further arterial damage.
Research suggests that MCTs help make the gut healthier by improving intestinal permeability and modifying the gut microbiota. This is due to the fact that MCTs can help combat a range of pathogenic viruses and bacteria that can cause digestive issues. This further supports research showing that MCTs can enhance the absorption of certain minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. Such gut improvements mean a more robust immune system. The gut is the pathway to longevity and disease. If this pathway is damaged, then so is our body.
MCTs contain around ten percent fewer calories than other fats. Since MCTs are medium in length, they are rapidly absorbed and metabolised by the body. MCTs are quickly utilized as fuel for the muscles and organs and are not stored as fat. MCTs have been show to enhance thermogenesis (fat burning) encouraging further weight loss. The energy enhancing properties of MCTs are due to the fact that they are converted to ketones almost immediately. Ketones are used to provide energy to the cells of the body. Ketones also produce less carbon dioxide and free radicals than when the body uses glucose as a source of energy, therefore ketones are considered less toxic for our body, making it a cleaner source of energy.
Whole Body Health
From endurance and physical performance; weight loss; improved cognitive function; reduced symptoms of neurological disorders such as (Migraines, Mood disorders, Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis); improved digestive & GUT health; reduced blood sugar levels; reduced symptoms of certain inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and eczema; supports adequate hormone production; improves sleep by stabilizing brain function to reduced cardiovascular disease. As you can see MCTs play a major part in every aspect of the functioning and well-being of the human body.
What’s MCT Oil made from?
MCT oil is most commonly extracted from coconut oil, as more than 50% of the fat in coconut oil comes from MCTs. These fats are also found in many other foods, such as palm oil and dairy products.
Four different types of MCTs exist, of which caprylic and capric acid are most commonly used for MCT oil. In some cases, these specific types have unique benefits.
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The article MCT Oil : natural food for your brain and body was published by Hollie, for Braidwood Holistic Therapies.
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