You have likely heard of MCT oil, and maybe you’ve looked at supplements to increase your intake, but what exactly is it and why should it be part of your diet? As with many nutrition buzzwords, MCT oil is often mentioned in the media yet many don’t understand its unique properties and benefits. While there is plenty of research to be conducted related to MCT oil, we know enough to consider it a beneficial food source. Here is what we know about MCT oil and ways it may enhance your health.
What are MCT’s?
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCT’s, are a specific type of fat whose shorter length allows them to be digested easier than long-chain fats. This ease in digestion allows MCT’s to be a much more efficient energy source compared to other forms of dietary fat. While other fats have to go through a longer digestion and absorption process to be used within your body, MCT’s can arrive to your cells much quicker and are ready to be used as an immediate energy source. This may be especially beneficial for those following a lower carb diet in which carb energy is scarce. Additional, MCT’s may be able to be used as an energy source during exercise which may help increase an athlete’s ability to train harder and longer.
One of the more unique properties of MCT oil is its antimicrobial ability that is thought to slow or prevent the growth of yeast, fungus and bacteria. While certain types of bacteria in your body can be beneficial, like the probiotics in your gut, many other forms can wreak havoc on your digestive tract, skin and lead to systemic infection. Consuming MCT oil from coconut has been shown to reduce harmful bacteria, like Staphylococcus aureus (otherwise known as a Staph infection), and other possibly harmful microbes. Consuming MCT oil on a regular basis may assist in maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in your body.
All forms of dietary fat are generally thought to be pretty satiating, meaning, they leave you feeling full and satisfied for a longer period of time compared to eating equivalent amounts of carbohydrates. MCT oil specifically has been shown to increase the release of two satiety hormones thought to promote the feeling of fullness. Because of the effect on appetite, MCT oil is thought to aid in weight loss and weight management. Some research has even demonstrated those who consume MCT oil at breakfast end up eating less at lunch due to the prolonged satiety.
MCT oil comes in many different forms and is found in a wide variety of food sources. Coconut is one of the more common sources of MCT oil and where Quantum Energy Squares derives its MCT content. Other sources of MCT oil include whole milk, butter, and palm oil, which is frequently used in processed food items.
About the Author: Kelsey Hampton MS, CSSD, RDN, LD
Kelsey is a Texas-based dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition. As an athlete herself, Kelsey has a strong interest in how nutrition can influence all areas of sports performance and works with clients to help them use nutrition to optimize their training, racing and health. In addition to working in private practice with active individuals of all types and ages, Kelsey is also a professor of Nutrition at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and works with many of the student athletes on a 1:1 basis. Kelsey is a former collegiate swimmer who now runs and lifts weights for exercise, and enjoys cooking and creating new recipes.