Learn More About Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)
What we think of as "normal" fats and oils contain long-chain fatty acids that the body has to go to a great deal of effort to break down and assimilate. However, MCT (medium chain triglycerides) more closely resemble carbohydrates, which can readily be converted to energy. What little digestion MCT does require is mostly handled by salivary enzymes and by gastric juices, after which the liver burns it directly for fuel. In a way the difference between regular fat and MCT can be thought of like the difference between unrefined crude oil that’s just been pumped out of the ground and high-octane gasoline ready to be burned in a car engine. Interestingly, MCT oil also contains fewer calories per gram than ordinary lipids do.
What are food sources of MCT oil?
Most foods provide little to no MCT. But tropical oils, including palm oil and especially coconut oil, contain large amounts of medium chain triglycerides. Modern extraction methods enable this nutrient to be isolated from the other components of coconut oil, which is itself a solid at room temperature, so that MCT can be consumed as a liquid.
What is MCT oil used for?
Research shows component of MCT called lauric acid (as well as a related compound called monolaurin) to be a surprisingly strong antiviral and antimicrobial substance, since it blocks the activity of micro-organisms that have a lipid coating. For that reason some researchers suggest its use, particularly during the winter months, to ward off illnesses such as flu as well as hepatitis and other chronic infections. For those who are seriously ill, please note that this should only be done, if at all, as part of a properly supervised medical regimen.
Because MCT can be so easily burned by the body as fuel, athletes often use it alongside such nutrients as carnitine, ribose, and creatine for ergogenic (that is, energy-boosting) purposes. Current thinking holds that when the body burns MCT for energy it seems to spare glycogen and so delay the time to exhaustion, and that this increases exercise gains and boosts performance. This is where things get interesting not only for athletes but also for weekend warriors and dieters.
Animal studies show that MCT-rich diets reduce body weight compared to regular food regimens rich in ordinary long-chain-triglycerides. In one such study rats infused with MCT gained one third of the weight gained by those infused with LCT, leading the scientists in charge of the project to conclude that replacing LCT with MCT over long periods could produce weight loss without decreasing energy intake.
The process known as thermogenesis--that is, the conversion of calories into heat--could explain how MCT works its peculiar magic. Healthy adult men fed low-to-moderate quantities of medium chain triglycerides and have then had their metabolism measured in a respiratory chamber show significant increases in their metabolic rate. Interestingly, this increase in metabolic rate lasts for at least several hours after an MCT-rich meal.
How is MCT oil taken?
MCT can of course be eaten in the form of coconut oil. However, for those wishing to step up their intake of MCT, this supplement can be found in liquid form, not unlike salad dressing. It can be mixed into smoothies, although many people might prefer to eat MCT in over salads and steamed vegetables. One particularly enjoyable way to eat more MCT to drain the water for a can of fat-free tuna and pour a small amount of the oil into the can, thereby not only increasing the nutritional value of the tuna but improving its flavor and texture as well.
Is MCT oil safe?
MCT has a long history of safe consumption via such nutritious foods as coconut. Keep in mind, however, that the stomach requires time to adjust to an increase in MCT intake, so start off with small amounts and increase the amount consumed over a period of a week or two.
And remember--you can get the best MCT oil supplements at the best prices from A1Supplements.com!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.