MCT Oil – What are the benefits & For Who?

MCT oil is trending on the internet nowadays. MCT oil or medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) are unique fatty acids that are found naturally in coconut and palm oils. 

Low-carb eaters, especially ketogenic (keto) diet, need to consume high amounts of fat from your diet, while also restricting carbohydrates to very low levels. 

Let’s talk about the main benefit of MCT oil. 

Benefits of MCT oil

MCT oil lowers levels of fasting blood glucose naturally by;

  • Reducing blood sugar fluctuations by 45% while eating, but not while fasting [1]
  • Increasing glucose metabolism by 30%, nearly as much as anti-diabetic drugs [2, 3]
  • MCT could be used as prophylactic therapy for such patients with the goal of preserving brain function during hypoglycemic episodes, such as when driving or sleeping, without producing hyperglycemia. (4).

Efficient source of energy & reduces fatigue for low carb eaters.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT oil) is the type of fat that are thought to be more easily converted to ketones (the source of “fuel” the body runs off of while in ketosis) as efficient source of energy since the body has less work in breaking them. 

Reduces yeast and bacterial growth Reduces yeast and bacterial growth 

MCTs have been shown to have antimicrobial and antifungal effects (6, 7, 8).

  • Shown in an older in-vitro study to reduce the growth of Candida albicans by 25%. This is a common yeast that can cause thrush and various skin infections (9).
  • Coconut oil reduced the growth of a disease-causing bacteria called Clostridium difficile (10).
  • Coconut oil reduces yeast and bacterial growth may be due to the caprylic, capric, and lauric acid in MCTs (11).
  • Shown to suppress the growth of a widespread infectious fungus in hospitals by up to 50% (12).

Research on MCTs and immune support has been conducted via in-vitro or animal studies. More high-quality human studies are needed before stronger conclusions can be made.

Improves cholesterol profile 

Studies show that MCT increased HDL (the “good cholesterol”) by 0.11 mmol/L (a rise in HDL of only 0.025 reduces the associated risk of cardiovascular disease by 2-3%) [13]

Who should use MCT Oil?

  • Those who are on ketogenic diet or Intermittent Fasting – Because ketones keep your energy up and hunger in check, using MCT oil to boost ketone levels is a smart way to make intermittent fasting on keto really easy.
  • As a dietary supplement for people who struggle to break down and absorb dietary fat [14]. This could provide needed calories to people with impaired fat digestion without increasing the amount of fat in the stool [15, 16].
  • Alzheimer’s patients in an effort to improve their cognitive functioning [17]
  • Crohn’s patients who need an easier-to-digest source of fat calories [18]
  • Epileptic children and adolescents following therapeutic ketogenic diets [19]
  • Type 1 [20] or type 2 [21] diabetic patients
  • More mainstream consumers of MCT oil use it to try to improve cognition [22] and increase energy, metabolism, satiety, and weight loss [23, 24, 25, 26]. 

Reference:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1568535
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1568535
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25911003/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671041/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192077/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27187452
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24328700
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0887233315001654
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17651080/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24328700
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24328700
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10507598
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30239550/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28053676/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4918706/
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7428670/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31870908/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29310893/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625124/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19223595/
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1568535/
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671041/
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30239550/
  24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25636220/
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133058/#B14-nutrients-08-00670
  26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22566308/