What is MCT Oil and How to Use it?
There are a number of impressive health benefits of MCT oil including improving mood, aiding in weight loss efforts, protecting the skin, optimizing digestion, boosting energy, strengthening the immune system, regulating hormones and increasing cognitive function, among others. There are quite a few side effects of MCT oil when it is taken in excessive amounts, due to its extreme concentration of powerful chemical compounds and active ingredients. These side effects can include gastrointestinal distress, anxiety, loss of appetite, inflammation, fatigue, mood swings, hormonal fluctuations, and headaches, as well as complications for people with diabetes and those who are pregnant. Only a very small amount of MCT oil is required for the desired effects, so always use it in moderation or when diluted in some way.
What is MCT Oil?
MCT oil stands for medium-chain triglycerides, also known as medium-chain fatty acids, which are widely known as beneficial nutrients for the body. These are commonly considered “good” forms of fat, which can do everything from boost the metabolism to improve the strength of the immune system. These medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA or MCT oils) are named C-6 (caproic acid), C-8 (caprylic acid), C-10 (capric acid) and C-12 (lauric acid). All of these acids are also found in coconut oil, which is why many people confuse the two. However, the majority of medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil (a total of 50-65% of the fats) are lauric acid.
The numbers attached to these fatty acids are important; the smaller ones (caproic, caprylic and capric acids) are easier for the body to absorb and convert directly into ketones, a powerful form of energy for the body. Lauric acid (C-12) is right on the edge of medium-chain fatty acids (6-12 carbons) and long-chain fatty acids (13 -21 carbons), and in some ways, it behaves like a long-chain fatty acid. It is slightly less efficiently processed by the body into energy but is still considered an MCT.
MCT oil is composed solely of these medium-chain fatty acids (100% versus the 50-65% in coconut oil). In this way, MCT oil is a more concentrated form of one or more of these beneficial fatty acids, some of which are rarer than others.
This is not to say that coconut oil does not have an impressive list of proven health benefits, but for those people who want an even stronger dose of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting fatty acids, some type of MCT oil is the right choice. Again, some MCT oils will be a blend of these fatty acids, while other MCT oil products on the market will be 100% pure versions of one of these triglycerides. It is important to take note of these concentrations before adding this oil to your daily or weekly health regimen.
Before we get into the benefits of MCT oil, it is important to understand its component parts.
C-6 (Caproic Acid): This is a medium-chain fatty acid that is in extremely small concentrations in most MCT oils, and is often processed out of them intentionally. It has a rather unpleasant taste, but as with other MCTs, it can be quickly converted into useful ketones and ATP, valuable “clean” energy sources in the body.
C-8 (Caprylic Acid): This is arguably the most important medium-chain fatty acid, but it is found in low concentrations in coconut oil. It is converted extremely quickly into ATP – usable energy – without involving the liver and is directly linked to improved cognition. It also results in a burst of energy and provides immune system support, thanks to its antioxidant and antibacterial qualities.
C-10 (Capric Acid): Another relatively rare MCT in coconut oil, this fatty acid is another type of fat that can bypass any lengthy processing in the liver, like a long-chain carbohydrate, such as a sugar. This makes capric acid ideal for rapidly producing energy within the body.
C-12 (Lauric Acid): With a 12-carbon chain, lauric acid does need to pass through the liver to be processed into energy, which makes it more like long-chain fatty acids. That being said, lauric acid also has antimicrobial properties, but it has a larger impact on your cholesterol than the smaller-chain MCTs.
MCT Oil Benefits
Using MCT oil is very effective for people who struggle with low energy, poor digestive health, obesity, hormonal fluctuations, slow metabolism, dementia, diabetes and inflammatory conditions, as well as those who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
When the fatty acids of MCT oil are converted into energy, the metabolism is inevitably sped up, which can help with passive fat-burning and general efficiency of calorie burning by the body. In fact, research has shown that MCTs will prevent fat deposition by the body, instead of becoming pure forms of energy.
Increases Energy Levels
With a boosted metabolism, you also have enhanced energy levels, not to mention the direct stream of ATP and ketones from the rapid conversion of MCTs to energy. Instead of more than 20 steps that sugar takes to become energy, C-8 medium-chain fatty acids can be converted to usable energy in only 3 steps, giving your body rapid support and invigorating you.
The antimicrobial qualities of lauric acid and caprylic acid make MCT oil a worthy immune system supporter, and there has been plenty of research on linking these to better overall health. There is an increase in immune activity and white blood cell production in the body, while the antioxidant effects of these acids also reduce levels of oxidative stress
Aside from its laxative qualities, MCT oil also has anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial qualities that can optimize digestion and balance the micro-environment of your gut flora. This will help prevent symptoms of cramping, bloating and constipation, as well as any parasitic or viral infections.
Boosts Heart Health
One of the main factors leading to cardiovascular disease and heart problems is obesity, and with the low-fat deposition effect of MCT oil, there is a better chance of remaining slim, keeping overall cholesterol levels down, and lower blood pressure. While consuming fats may seem counterintuitive to heart health, most MCTs are those “good” fats you need in your diet.
Maintains Hormone Balance
One of the critical purposes of fats in the body is their role in creating hormones. With these MCTs in your diet, you can make those hormones you need most to keep your mood in place, your metabolism high, and prevent depression and hormonal disorders.
MCTs are known to help control blood sugar, namely by preventing fat deposition, and instead of storing sugars in muscle and energy sources. Given that MCT oil can help control obesity, increase the metabolism and optimize digestion, this oil is not only good for people with diabetes but also those at high risk of the disease.
Improves Cognitive Function
When small medium-chain fatty acids convert directly into ketones, one of the areas where these are believed to have the most effect is in the brain. By providing energy to and protecting neural pathways, these ketones can mitigate the symptoms of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, by providing energy for concentration, focus and memory retention.
MCT Oil Side Effects
There are a number of potential side effects of using MCT oil, including hormone fluctuations, gastrointestinal distress, anxiety, appetite abnormality, headaches and inflammation, and can also negatively affect people with certain liver conditions or diabetes. You are particularly susceptible to these side effects if you use the oil in too high of a dose. The concentration of medium-chain fatty acids in MCT oil is enough to quickly remedy most afflictions. Always speak to your doctor about using this oil with your particular condition, and discontinue use if serious negative side effects occur.
Hormones – When the medium-chain fatty acids are processed by the body, it happens quickly, which tends to generate heat and energy. This can stimulate the metabolism and cause hormone fluctuations in certain people, as well as hot flashes. There may be mild irritability or mood swings, particularly if you are taking too much of the oil.
Inflammation – Your body receives a burst of pure and positive energy from the processing of certain true medium-chain triglycerides. This can be a bit overwhelming for your system, if not taken in moderation, which can temporarily increase your blood pressure and cause inflammation or headaches. Consider lessening your dosage if this occurs. Throat itchiness and respiratory irritation can also occur.
Digestion – These medium-chain triglycerides are known to stimulate the stomach, and have laxative effects due to their powerful impact on digestion. Excessive consumption of MCT oil can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, flatulence and general stomach discomfort.
Anxiety – While uncommon, some people report increased feelings of anxiety after consuming large amounts of MCT oil. This could be due to the rapid energy surge in your body, and without any way to expend that energy, it can manifest as anxiety or nervousness.
Appetite – MCT oil has been known to cause both a loss of appetite and extreme hunger, although the latter is far less common. In terms of the former, the valuable energy produced by the acids makes the body feel as though it is full, which causes a decrease in appetite.
Liver Health – As mentioned, caprylic, caproic and capric acids all bypass the liver when being converted into energy, but that isn’t true for lauric acid. It must be processed by the liver, so if you have existing liver problems, it is best to speak with a doctor before using MCT oil. While some MCT oils eliminate lauric acid (C-12), not all of them do.
Type 1 Diabetes – Certain aspects of MCTs can help with diabetes, but if you have too many ketones in the body, those will be exclusively used for energy production, meaning that the body will continue to store up glucose until it is at a dangerous level. Speak to your doctor before using MCT oil if you have Type 1 diabetes.
MCT Oil Dosage
In terms of dosage, MCT oil usage will be different for everyone, depending on their personal health and wellness goals. When first starting with MCT oil, I recommend 1/2 tsp to star and see how your body reacts to it. There are certain laxative qualities to this oil, along with other side effects mentioned above, so it’s best to start slow. As you build up taking it, you can increase to no more than 2-3 tablespoons per day are ever needed. In fact, that amount is on the high end. Most people find 1-2 teaspoons per day can help certain conditions, but everyone is different. The average range is between 2 teaspoons and 2 tablespoons per day.
If you don’t notice any effects, you can increase the amount by 1 teaspoon or so every week, until you reach an appropriate level where you get the desired results. In most cases, your body will tell you what an acceptable dosage amount is. But again, consuming an excess of MCT oil can lead to decidedly unwanted side effects.
How To Use MCT Oil
Since it’s tasteless, odorless, and incorporates well into many recipes, there are many great ways to take MCT oil. When my wife and I first started using it, we simply took it off a spoon. After a while, we got creative and began experimenting with other ways to incorporate it into our diet. The benefits of MCT Oil helped us in so many ways, that we set out to make it part of our daily life. This is how we came up with this article we’re presenting to you today, and the many ways to use MCT Oil. Now it’s time for you to discover, what is the best way to take MCT Oil!
This article lists our favorite ways to use MCT oil. Each has their own benefits which we explain. You’ll also learn, depending on your goal, whether it be to lose fat, focus better at work, get into nutritional ketosis, have more energy, or something else; we’ve come up with several ways to show you how to get it done.
Check it out to see which use is best for you. I promise there’ll be at least a few. You’ll probably even invent a few new ways to use MCT oil.
The Best Ways To Take MCT Oil
1.Take MCT Oil Right Off A Spoon
This is how I take my MCTs when I’m in a hurry. They don’t taste like anything so it’s a really convenient way to get my energy boosting ketones in seconds.
Just be careful when you’re taking your MCTs straight up. They can cause an upset stomach if you aren’t used to taking them. Start slowly! I advise beginning with ½ to 1 teaspoon at a time. Wait an hour or so after your first dose. If you don’t have an upset stomach, take another teaspoon.
Try to work up to being able to take a tablespoon in one serving. This will give you several hours or fat burning, energy boosting, craving killing benefits.
2. Blend MCT Oil Into Your Coffee/Tea
This is probably one of the most popular ways to get your MCTs. Adding MCT oil to your coffee or tea gives you energy from two sources, caffeine and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Caffeine provides the instant burst of energy, focus, and craving control. A little later, the MCTs kick in to keep these awesome feelings going.
Drinking a cup of coffee with MCT oil first thing in the morning gives me energy and curbs my appetite until we have dinner late in the afternoon. Same for my wife. Since I drink it black my coffee only has 100 calories. You can add cream, butter, etc. if that’s what you like and it will work just as well. Just don’t add sugar.
You may wonder why I don’t add butter to my coffee or tea. The reason I don’t add butter is so that I can fast until about 3 PM every day. Even though it wouldn’t be a lot of extra calories, I want to use my own body fat for energy and my goal is to get a little leaner at this time. Not eating more fat will help me this goal.
The best way to add MCT oil to your coffee or tea is to blend it with a handheld or regular blender. Trying to mix it with a spoon will leave you with an oil slick on top of your drink. It will still work the same way, but not have that creamy latte look. Blending it makes for a frothier drink that feels great in your mouth.
3. Add Your MCT Oil To Guacamole
You know that avocados are also loaded with lots of healthy fats. They’re also super low carb. A medium avocado only has about 1.5 grams of net carbohydrates if you’re following a low carbohydrate diet.
Guacamole is one of the best things to make with avocados, as I’m sure you all have tasted! We eat it pretty much every day and have dozens of ways to make it. You eat it by itself as a meal or snack or serve it with pretty much anything at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Whichever way you eat your guacamole, with lime, salt, onions, cilantro, mango, bacon or eggs, adding MCTs will make it taste better.
Just like taking it off of a spoon or in your coffee, you’ll still get all of its benefits by adding it to recipes like guacamole. It makes it creamier and somehow taste better, richer. Maybe that last one is my imagination but that’s okay with me!
I add my MCTs to the avocados before they’re mashed. It makes the texture smoother and therefore mashing them easier, especially when the avocado isn’t as ripe as it should be. I use 1 tablespoon per avocado. If you’re wondering how much MCT Oil you should take per day, you can read more about that, here. As always, start with a small amount and increase, slowly.
My wife has a sensitive stomach, but I have at times, added 2 tablespoons of MCT Oil and she has experiences no side effects!
4. Drizzle MCT Oil Over Your Meals
I do this at dinner. This helps me easily take a tablespoon of MCTs and stay in nutritional ketosis, even when I have a couple of homemade corn tortillas.
This is a great way to get your MCTs and all of their benefits if your stomach doesn’t tolerate it off a spoon or in your coffee. Adding them to other foods which will be in your digestive system at the same time can help reduce or eliminate an upset stomach.
There’s an additional reason to drizzle MCT oil over your dinner. Studies show that adding MCT oil to a meal decreases the amount your blood sugar and insulin levels increase after eating.
The less they ‘spike’ after a meal, the better it is for you. You won’t feel as much of an energy crash if you eat extra carbs, nor will it be as likely that what you ate will be stored as excess fat.
Every time I get great results. I don’t have any after dinner cravings for sweets like ice cream, candy, or Cheetos before bed. This is the case even when I have some extra carbs or when I eat a high fat/protein meal of steak and eggs. Furthermore, since I’m not inclined to indulge in these foods before bed, I don’t wake up feeling hungover from the sugar either, which is nice.
Will My Food Taste Different?
Since medium chain triglycerides are odorless and flavorless they don’t change how your food tastes. In many instances they make it taste better. I’ve added it to dark chocolate with sea salt, guacamole as I write above, scrambled eggs, and even steak.
5. Blend MCT Oil Into Your Shakes And Smoothies
The next time you make a protein shake or smoothie, add a serving of MCT oil. Then blend it in a shaker bottle or blender.
Just like when you add it to coffee, the result is a thicker, richer shake that packs an energy boosting kick. The MCTs in your shake will also help you stay full longer and diminish your cravings.
Mix MCT Oil in nut butters
Here’s a way to make an awesome tasting snack even better!
The next time you’re going to have almond or other nut butter for a snack, stir in a little MCT oil.
You’re rich, buttery snack will taste just as good, if not better. In addition to the protein and healthy fats you’re getting from your nut butter, you’re also getting them from the MCTs. This is a great way to kill cravings and stay in nutritional ketosis mid-afternoon when they normally occur.
My wife does this with natural almond butter and sometimes peanut butter to avoid cravings and stay energized and focused until she eats. Doing so helps her stay healthy and lean without feeling like she’s making any sacrifices.
7. Stir MCT Oil Into High Protein, Plant-Based Yogurt
Mix MCT Oil into yogurt
Adding MCTs, to this protein rich yogurt takes it from a mediocre snack to great one for all of us who eat high fat, low carb.
The problem with plain Greek yogurt is that it hardly has any fats. Chobani, a popular brand only has less than 1 gram.
This is not enough fat for us to feel full and keep burning off fat as a source of energy. Adding a tablespoon will give you the extra fat you need. Now you can eat the yogurt you like, with a few berries added, if that’s what you like. You’ll stay full and energized for hours.
8. Saute Vegetables With MCT Oil
Use MCT Oil to sauté vegetables
One of the great things about this fat is that you can cook with it, from low to medium temperatures. More specifically, 320 Fahrenheit which is equal to 160 Celsius.
A good rule of thumb is to not heat it until the MCT begins to smoke. This will damage the fats and reduce or eliminate their benefits.
You can sautee your vegetables and other foods with MCT alone or add it to the other fats you also use such as butter or olive oil. You’ll get the same, or better flavor plus MCT Oil benefits.
9. Use MCT Oil On Your Skin As A Moisturizer
You can use MCT Oil as a skin moisturizer
Like coconut oil, MCTs can make your skin feel smooth and feel healthy. Try a tablespoon on a patch of dry skin and see for yourself. Customers also tell me they like it more than there daily moisturizer. My wife does too since she has pretty dry skin. She uses it on her legs, arms, and face every day.
10. Make Your Own Mayonnaise With MCT Oil
You can make your own mayonnaise with MCT Oil
For all of you out there that cook at home, you can use MCT Oil to make your mayonnaise! Stop using store bought mayo or using corn oil in your homemade mayonnaise.
Instead of getting a big dose of inflammatory corn oil, as most recipes suggest using, you’re giving your body a dose of fat burning, energy producing MCTs.
How does it taste? You’ll find that the taste is better too. The consistency will be the same and will stay as fresh as it whether it be bought or made with corn oil.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
When shopping for an MCT oil supplement, make sure you buy one that is of the highest quality. It’s pharmaceutical grade. All you get in every serving are capric and caprylic acid, the MCTs which are the most beneficial to our health.
Give these 10 tips for the best ways to use MCT Oil a try. You’ll find they make incorporating these healthy fats simple, convenient, healthy and delicious! Use MCT Oil in your food creatively, so that you can enjoy all the benefits of MCT Oil without the fuss of ‘remembering’ to take your supplement! Maybe you can add to the list of ‘the best ways to take MCT Oil.’