Dieters say that it melts off fat off their bellies. Athletes claim that it takes their game to the next level. Health-conscious users report that it improves their memory and gives them a big jolt of energy.
What is it? It’s a dietary supplement called MCT oil, and today I’ll talk about what it is and whether the hype about it is true.
What is MCT oil?
Fats contain chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. Most fats are long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which contain long strings of carbon. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), in contrast, have shorter carbon chains.
Coconuts and palm kernels contain MCTs, and butter has some as well. However, MCT oil—which is extracted from coconuts and palm kernels—provides the most potent types of MCTs in a concentrated form.
While both MCTs and LCTs are fats, they act very differently in your body. That’s because MCTs bypass the normal digestive process that LCTs go through. Instead, they go directly to your liver, which turns them into ketones that your body burns quickly as fuel. In addition, MCTs can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. These properties give MCT oil some amazing properties that other fats don’t have. Here’s a look at them.
MCT oil sets your metabolism on fire while it stops your cravings.
Because the body burns them quickly, MCTs don’t wind up on your waistline. In fact, they rev up thermogenesis—the process in which your body burns fat to produce heat—so they actually increase the number of calories you burn. As a result, MCT oil can help you win the battle against belly fat. Among the scientific findings:
- In a 16-week trial, 31 overweight men and women in a weight-loss program consumed either olive oil or MCT oil in their diets. The researchers found that the MCT oil group lost more weight, more fat mass overall, and more trunk mass than the olive oil group.
- In another study, 24 healthy overweight men ate diets rich in either MCT oil or olive oil for 28 days, and then switched over. The researchers found that participants lost more weight in the MCT oil phase and concluded, “MCTs may be considered as agents that aid in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss.”
In addition to making your body burn fat faster, MCT oil has another property that dieters love: It curbs your hunger. So it fights fat with a double punch, by turning up your internal “thermostat” and at the same time helping you to resist overeating.
MCT oil can benefit your brain, your heart, your gut… and even your mood!
If it just helped to burn off extra pounds on your belly, MCT oil would deserve its reputation as a superfood. However, the more scientists investigate the properties of MCT oil, the more amazing discoveries they make about its benefits—benefits that go far beyond weight loss. As a result, scientists all over the world are getting excited about its potential.
Here’s what some of the most recent studies are reporting:
- Researchers have discovered that MCTs enhance exercise performance by ramping up metabolism and increasing mitochondrial biogenesis—the formation of new mitochondria, which are the energy factories of cells.
- Scientists studying mice bred to have bad cholesterol levels report that the mice eating a diet rich in MCTs gain less weight and have better cholesterol than those eating diets containing other fats. They say that MCTs hold promise “as a dietary supplement for lowering plasma cholesterol and reducing risk of coronary heart disease.”
- A team of scientists is exploring the possibility that MCT oil can “remodel” the gut microbiome and improve the health of people with metabolic syndrome.
- Studying people with mild cognitive impairment, researchers found that giving them MCT oil improved their memory while a placebo did not.
- In Alzheimer’s disease, the brain has difficulty using glucose for energy. A new study reports that giving Alzheimer’s patients MCT oil can increase their total brain energy metabolism, because it enables them to burn ketones for energy rather than glucose.
- In addition to promoting weight loss, MCT oil may help you stay slim in the first place. An animal study found that feeding mice a diet rich in MCTs early in life helps to protect them from getting fat even if they eat a bad diet later in life.
- Want more? A study involving rats reports that an MCT-enriched diet can even reduce anxiety.
Conclusion: MCT oil is “the real deal”
As the science shows, the hype about MCT oil is real. What’s more, scientists are reporting new findings about its incredible benefits all the time. That’s why I add a shot of MCT oil to my Bulletproof coffee every day—and why I recommend that you do the same thing.
If you’re new to MCT oil, I have two tips:
- Start with a small amount (a teaspoon or so) and work your way up to a tablespoon or more. Adding a lot of MCT oil to your diet all at once can cause diarrhea, so give your body time to learn to love it.
- Buy a high-quality oil rather than pinching pennies.
In addition to adding MCT oil to your morning coffee, try using it in other fun ways. Add it to salad dressings, make mayo with it, sauté foods lightly in it, or swap out other fats for MCT oil in any of my shake recipes. Any way you try it, it’s good—and good for you!
Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!