I was introduced to the benefits of MCT oil a little over 15 years ago as a natural bodybuilder through Parrillo Performance Nutrition. John Parrillo was one of the first to promote this super lipid to his clients as a product called CapTri. The chemical properties medium-chain triglycerides make MCT oil different from other saturated fat sources. Unlike long-chain triglycerides which can be stored preferentially as body fat medium-chain fats are digested easily and sent directly to the liver as fuel. This means that the liver utilizes MCT oil like a carbohydrate for energy. As you can see from the graphic a lot of metabolic work comes into play when digesting a long-chain triglyceride as opposed to a medium chain triglyceride. This unique chemical process makes MCT oil highly beneficial for several reasons.
1. Aids in Weight Loss or Weight Maintenance
MCTs aid in weight loss or maintenance because of their unique ability to be processed by the liver directly into energy making it a great carbohydrate substitute preventing spikes in insulin used for glucose processing. In the absence of carbohydrates MCTs have a direct pathway via the portal vein to the liver from the small intestine to produce ketones as a substitute fuel.
LCTs, however, require the liver and pancreas to secrete substances that are necessary to break down LCTs into triglycerides. Triglycerides are then transported into the lymphatic system by chylomicrons. Any excess trigylceride that was not used for energy by the body is deposited back into the liver.
2. Aids in Protecting Brain Health
The brain accounts for 20% of energy expenditure of the entire body and metabolic activity is constant over time. This requires a continuous source of energy that comes primarily from blood glucose. When blood glucose levels get low the liver can break down stored bodyfat into ketones. Ketones easily pass through the blood-brain barrier for instant energy to the brain.
There is evidence to support that MCTs can have an incredible effect on brain health specifically reversing the effects of Alzheimer's and other brain diseases. Aging reduces the ability of the brain to process glucose as brain food making brain cells insulin resistant. In addition Alzheimer's damages the ability of brain cells to take in the glucose needed for proper functioning causing cells to die. MCTs can bypass glucose metabolism getting energy directly to the brain and provide instant energy to brain cells without the assistance of insulin.
3. Aids in Protecting Heart Health
MCTs have beneficial properties that could play a role in preventing atherosclerosis. Research shows that MCTs lower lipids, oxidized LDLs, fat deposition, triglycerides and inflammation while raising HDLs by stimulating the metabolism. MCTs may even diminish the cholesterol-elevating effects of other fats.
MCTs are the only fats that do not increase platelet adhesiveness. In animal studies researchers have found MCTs have anti-coagulation effects that have been shown to lower serum cholesterol and reduce levels of cholesterol in the liver and other tissues.
A 2008 study revealed that long-term ingestion of moderate amounts of MCTs might reverse metabolic syndrome, which is the name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk coronary artery disease, stroke, and type II diabetes.
Karup, P. A. & Rajmohan, T. (1994). Consumption of coconut oil and coconut kernel and the incidence of atherosclerosis. In Coconut and Coconut Oil in Human Nutrition, Proceedings. Symposium on Coconut and Coconut Oil in Human Nutrition, sponsored by the Coconut Development Board, Kochi, India, March 27, 1994.
Siri-Tarano, P. W., Sun, Q., Hu, F. B. & Krauss, R. M. (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(3).
4. Improves Energy Levels and Mood
MCTs are metabolized in liver mitochondria. Mitochondria are little furnaces inside the cells and are the site of cellular energy production. The energy created by the mitochondria is converted into ATP to be used for all bodily functions. Unfortunately, dietary fat cannot enter the mitochondria by themselves because the fatty acid molecules cannot make it across the mitochondrial membrane. Fatty acid molecules must be carried across the membrane by the carnitine shuttle in order to be converted into ATP. This makes makes MCTs a more bio-available energy source. Since a 1 gram of fat burns at 9 cal/gram and 1 gram of carbs burns at 4 cal/gram, this also makes MCTs a more potent energy source. For more science on MCTs and feeding the mitochondria check out this article - "Feed Your Mitochondria and Boost Your Workout With MCT Oil, Says Study."
5. Improves Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
MCTs are beneficial for balancing gut bacteria. This has positive effects on digestive symptoms, energy expenditure, and the ability of the gut to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Healthy fats are required to absorb fat-soluble nutrients such as beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A found in plants like berries, squash and leafy greens), vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and lutein. The lack or absence of healthy fats in the body impairs nutrient absorption.
MCT oil encourages good bacteria to grow and heals the gut lining. When you have holes in your intestine, toxins, bacteria, and food particles can escape and enter your bloodstream, putting you at risk for serious gastrointestinal (GI) disorders including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and food allergies. MCTs are also strong antifungals, antivirals, and antibacterials.
MCT Oil vs. MCT Oil Powder
This supplement is a perfect addition to a ketogenic nutritional approachs which favor low carb eating. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of this oil is gastric distress which has prompted manufacturers to create MCT oil powder. MCT oil in powder form has many advantages.
- Convenience – The powder form of this supplement is much easier to take on-the-go and incorporate in any beverage or meal. The oil can be cumbersome and overwhelming taste wise.
- Better Digestibility – The powder is easier on the digestive system which allows you to consume more at once. This leads to higher energy and ketone levels. A preliminary study on animals also suggests that the powder can improve nutrient digestibility.
- Cooking Advantages – The powder is easier to add to recipes than the oil. It adds a creamy texture to whatever it is added to instead of an oily texture.
- Overall Health Benefits – When the powder is created using high quality fiber like acacia, it can contribute to normalized bowel movements, reduced inflammation in the gut and a longer sense of fullness.
Keto Zone MCT Oil Powder
Not all MCT oil powders are created the equal. Generic powders have a better price tag but have quality tradeoffs as a result. These tradeoffs diminish or negate the ketone driving potential of the MCT powder. Higher quality MCT oil powders have the following characteristics.
- The manufacturer uses a combination of C8 and C10 but does not use C12. C12 is still an MCT but takes much longer to be converted into energy.
- The manufacturer uses acacia fiber to create the powder form of MCT oil. A low quality fiber such as corn fiber, maltodextrin and liquid glucose can spike your blood sugar and stop ketosis, effect your energy levels as the result of a blood sugar spike and trigger digestive problems.
- The manufacturer avoids using fillers (corn fiber and maltodextrin psyllium husk), emulsifiers (soy/sunflower lecithin, monoglycerides and diglycerides), preservatives (BHA, BHT, TBHQ, sodium benzoate and citric acid) and thickeners (xanthum gum and glycerol).
Keto Zone MCT Oil powder by Divine Keto adheres to the highest quality standards in the production of their supplement for maximal results. The ratio of C8 to C10 is 70% to 30%. The manufacturer uses acacia fiber as its carrier powder and adds no extra additives or fillers. See the nutrient facts.
Keto Zone Founder - Dr. Colbert
Dr. Don Colbert has lived on the Keto Zone diet for the last 5 years and has seen results first hand. He is a board certified physician in anti-aging and a best-selling health author. Dr. Colbert’s science based Keto Zone Nutritional System was developed to limit the time it takes your body to enter the Keto Zone, while also supplying your body with essential fats, protein and enzymes.
Learn why the Keto Zone Nutritional Strategy might be right for you!