benefits of mct oil
Medium Chain Triglycerides
By Serene Allison
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides. These are the fatty acids that are carefully extracted from coconut or palm oils. Virgin coconut oil is roughly 65% MCTs, but the pharmaceutical grade MCT oil is 100%. It is the MCTs that have made coconut oil so famous. Pure MCT oil is like coconut oil on steroids.
It is the LOWEST CALORIE fat of all oils. MCT burns three times more calories, for six hours after a meal, than other fats. It gets metabolized more like a carbohydrate, without involving insulin. It provides INSTANT, yet SUSTAINED ENERGY, especially to the brain. It converts into energy faster than glucose, but with no sugar rush and subsequent lull. It counteracts the decreased energy production that results from aging. It is very difficult for MCTs to be stored as fat because of the way they accelerate the metabolism and are so quickly and efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles. It has a blood glucose lowering effect and is an aid to diabetics, or those in the category of having a tendency for pre-diabetes (which includes most of us over 35). In a study involving a group of overweight women, researchers noted that insulin profiles improved when MCTs comprised 24% of total consumed calories. (Scalfi L, Coltorti A, Contaldo F. Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides. Amj clin Nutr 1991 ‘May;53(5):1130-3)
MCT oil is eight times more effective at creating a thermogenic (producing heat through metabolic stimulation) rise in the body than coconut oil itself. It does not have a coconut oil flavor, so it is the perfect creamer ingredient. The combination of MCT oil plus Whey or collagen and Gluccie is a powerful weight-controlling tool. It fires the metabolism, nourishes, satiates, energizes, and all the while provides you with healthy fiber that goes down creamy, but makes you feel fuller and controls your blood sugar. Separately, these ingredients are brilliant, but together they work synergistically to achieve something even greater. Even if they provided nothing other than a delicious creamer, that wasn’t bad for us, then that would be enough. The fantastic news is now instead of guilt, for our creamer, we can exchange it with something that carries a crazy, long list of amazing benefits.
I wish I had time to tell you just how AMAZING MCT oil is for your health. Pearl and I still include lots of coconut oil in our diets, but have added this oil into our Trim Healthy Mama arsenal. Squeezing some of its benefits into a little list feels inadequate and lame. I need a whole chapter of a book… No, I need a whole book to share my enthusiasm about this medicinal superfood. I am long-winded, naturally, and it goes against my grain to not give it justice.
- MCTs suppress appetite and help to decrease body fat while increasing lean muscle mass. After our mid-thirties, we lose muscle mass every year and replace it with adipose (fat) tissue. MCT and exercise can powerfully reverse this sign of aging. As women, we do not want to strip our healthy feminine fat pads in the same way as rigorous body builders do, who use this oil, but we can use it to shed any unwanted, unhealthy fluff.
- MCTs act as powerful antioxidants and reduce tissue requirements for vitamin E.
- MCTs optimize the production of thyroid hormones.
- MCTs help prevent atherosclerosis, as they have an anti-coagulation effect and have a positive effect on autoimmune reactions.
- MCTs accelerate healing. They fight catabolism (the breakdown of proteins.) They also help absorption of amino acids (protein).
- They are used for AIDS patients and have been found helpful for those with digestive issues, IBS, Crohn’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, fungal infections, and Celiac disease.
If all of the above got you excited, then hold onto your hat, Mama! (I’m actually wearing a beanie right now because I just came in from a brisk walk) I ain’t done yet…
The latest rave and research dedicated to MCTs are revolved around its ability to produce ketones (preferred fuel for the brain) as a by-product of its digestion. MCT oil can produce ketones to provide fuel for your brain, without having to stick to an extreme ketogenic diet. These ketones repair, renew, and revive the brain. MCT oil has shown to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s. Did you know the FDA has recently approved a drug used for treating Alzheimer’s disease that consists solely of MCTs?
The Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle is super healthy for the brain, as it is centered on controlling and limiting blood sugar spikes. Even small, but regular sugar spikes, make your brain more vulnerable to becoming resistant to insulin. When this happens, your brain cannot receive nourishment from glucose anymore and your brain cells start dying, unless you start feeding them ketones. The standard, Western diet promotes brain aging, damage, and dullness. Controlling your blood sugar is more about your brain than even your weight.
Alzheimer’s is growing at a rampant rate. A Trim Healthy Mama approach to eating, plus MCT supplementation, is a double-edged sword against brain deterioration. In one study, Alzheimer’s patients consumed a beverage containing MCTs or a beverage without MCTs. Those who drank the beverage with the MCTs scored significantly better on cognitive tests. This study showed cognitive improvement even after a single dose… I’m in!
I mix up my children’s names far too often…eeek! (Reger, M.A., et al. Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory impaired adults Neurobiol aging 2004;25:311-314).
Last piece of interesting information… While studying ketones and brain growth and repair, I stumbled across a site that talked about how the brains of breastfed babies are fueled by ketones. This is hard to fathom – considering all the milk sugar that human breast milk contains. However, the studies revealed the energy needed by the baby for growth was so high that the sugar was zapped up and burned. Mother’s milk is naturally very rich in MCTs and produces ketones to be used for this fastest season of brain growth, in a human being. FASCINATING! I want my brain back with MCT ketones.
Please do not think that being fueled with MCT furnishing ketones puts you in the same boat as the dangerous diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Nutritional ketosis or keto-adaption is something very different than this life-threatening condition. Trim Healthy Mama, with its consistent juggling of (S) and (E) meals, can involve MCT supplementation safely.
Trim Healthy Mama is not extreme, like a ketogenic diet, and plasma ketones are kept in gentle margins. I could keep going, but I am smart enough to know that my big sis, Pearl, will give me her lecture about torturing you with long articles.
I have to sign off now and make my afternoon Trimmaccino Light. I can’t decide between the Ginger Chai Cream or Chocolate Jaffa, mmmmm… Whichever one I have, I know it will be ever so creamilicious and may turn me into a Trim Healthy Genius Mama. I actually might try a double MCT whammy and have a Trimmaccino Rich with a square of Skinny Chocolate, on the side.