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Health benefits and side effects of consuming MCT oil

Interest in MCT oil has grown rapidly over the last few years partly due to the widely-publicized health benefits ranging from improved mental clarity to better weight management.

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. They are a unique fatty acid that is found naturally in coconut and palm oils.

mct oil weight loss results
Around 65 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs. Photo: Shutterstock

Many people might be hesitant to use MCT oil because it’s high in saturated fat.

For many decades, the public has been led to believe that all forms of saturated fats are potentially harmful but there is a world of difference between the saturated fat found in MCT oils compared with what you might find in a cheeseburger.

Despite decades of anti-fat propaganda, saturated fat has never been proven to cause heart disease. In fact, saturated fat improves some of the most important risk factors for heart disease.

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Still, under the spell of the anti-fat propaganda, food manufacturers removed the healthy stuff (fat) and replaced it with the bad stuff (sugar).

Rather than demonize saturated fat, food manufacturers should’ve restricted sugar which contributed to an epidemic of insulin resistance, heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

MCT oil benefits

Getting MCT oil into your diet is one of the smartest additions you can make. In addition to its remarkable ability to combat harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, it’s also very good for:

  • Making you feel more energetic

MCT’s are a fast-acting source of energy. They break down into ketones which can then be used as fuel for your body. This is also why some endurance athletes carry MCT oil on their long runs.

  • Increase brain function

Neurobiological evidence suggests MCTs increase the number of ketones in your blood that may improve cognitive functioning in older adults with memory disorders.

  • Epilepsy

MCT oil supplementation to regular diet may provide better seizure control in some patients with Epilepsy.

  • Autism

Scientific evidence suggests children under four with autistic tendencies can sometimes recover from behavioral abnormalities by using foods containing high levels of MCTs.

  • Decrease inflammation
  • Balance hormone levels
  • Improve your mood
  • Absorb fat-soluble nutrients from various foods

MCT oil weight loss

Researchers have found that long-term consumption of MCTs helped healthy adults lose significantly more body fat.

MCT oil increases the thermic effect of food because it is quickly burned and metabolized. The food gets absorbed directly from the gut into the liver providing almost instant–and well sustained–energy.

This process bypasses the regular digestion process longer chain fats go through which means they’re less likely to be stored as fat.

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Studies show MCTs help you burn about 460 extra calories a day for men and about 190 extra calories for women. 

For many athletes, MCT oil becomes that little nudge to help you drop those last 10 to 15 stubborn pounds that just won’t go away.

How to take MCT oil

Intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies that can help you lose fat but MCT oils, either as a liquid or in capsule form, should not be taken on an empty stomach.

Consuming MCTs on an empty stomach can cause considerable stomach pain, cramping, and diarrhea.

The best way to use MCT oil for weight loss is to have it immediately after your a meal. Limit consumption to 3 tablespoons per day. You could also down a tablespoon before bed.

For the best weight loss results, having MCT oil 30 minutes before a workout will give you a ton of energy. You could even mix 1 tablespoon into the water or sports drink that you consume during your workout. You will feel the energy almost immediately.

MCT oil side effects

There are also potential health risks to taking MCT oil as expressed by many healthcare officials.

MCT oil does raise “bad” cholesterol.

It only becomes a concern if you’re consuming it too regularly, then you’re probably doing yourself more harm than good.

The saturated fat found in MCTs contain vitamins that are an important part of a healthy diet, so don’t be afraid of it.  Just use it in moderation!

A study involving 78 healthy adults who consumed 10 grams of MCTs daily for 12 weeks reported no significant difference in cholesterol.

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Where can I buy MCT oil?

Pure MCT oil is a clear, flavorless liquid that should be consumed plain without heating it. Almost any Health food shop, GNC, or bodybuilding supplement shops will have it.

In order to enjoy the health benefits, remember to read the labels and choose organic brands that don’t use preservatives.

The more whole, natural foods you eat, the better off you will be.