MCT oil benefits the body in many ways. MCT oil quickly converts to energy, and some studies show it can help you lose weight. It also acts as fuel for the brain and can help improve cognition.
MCT oil can be derived from coconut oil or palm kernel oil, with each source having a different ratio of MCT types. C8, like that found in LevelUp Clean MCT Oil, is often considered the best because it can instantly convert to energy. This particular formula also earns high marks for its purity and sustainable sourcing practices.
MCT oil is a type of supplement made from medium-chain triglycerides, a form of fatty acids. There are three types of fatty acids, short-chain, medium-chain and long-chain, classified by the number of carbon atoms of which they are composed. Short-chain triglycerides have fewer than six, medium-chain have between six and 12 and long-chain have between 13-21.
The average person’s diet contains primarily long-chain triglycerides, which take a long time for the body to digest. Because of this, many of them wind up stored as fat. Conversely, medium-chain triglycerides can be absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, where they rapidly turn into a source of energy.
There are four types of MCTs: caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid. Of these, caprylic and capric are the most commonly used in MCT oils. These have eight and 10 carbon atoms, respectively, which is why they are referred to as C8 and C10 MCT.
When searching for MCT oils, you’ll find that many are made of a combination of one or both of these and other types. However, if you see clean C8 MCT oil on the label, this means it contains only that form of MCT and no others.
Ideally, you want to choose a clean C8 MCT oil, as this is most quickly broken down by the body and turned into fuel due to its low number of carbon atoms. C10 takes slightly longer, and lauric acid, sometimes referred to as C12, takes the longest.
Most people who take MCT oil do so as part of a keto meal plan or modified Atkins diet to help them lose weight and increase their energy levels. This is because MCT oil can convert into ketones, which the body starts using for fuel when following a severely carbohydrate-restricted diet and your body goes into ketosis.
Ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier, making them excellent brain food. Because of this, some experts recommend that people with Alzheimer’s disease, or those predisposed to developing it, should consider taking MCT oil and following a ketogenic diet.
The majority of MCT supplements are derived from coconut. However, this may not be the best choice. Coconut-derived MCT oil is high in C12. Unlike C8 and C10, C12 is not immediately converted into energy. Instead, it is processed through the liver first.
Palm oil is often considered a better source for MCTs because it has much higher percentages of C8 and C10. Another good option is to choose an MCT oil made from a combination of coconut and palm-kernel-derived MCTs.
Any time you introduce a new food or supplement to your diet, you should consider allergies. Many MCT oils are derived from coconut, and though they are not actual nuts, some people with tree nut allergies are also sensitive to coconuts. If you are unsure, you may want to consider an MCT derived from palm kernel oil instead.
It is always best to avoid imbibing chemicals when possible, so you should look for a certified organic MCT made from coconut or palm trees grown without pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The price difference between organic and non-organic MCT oils is negligible, and the organic variety tends to be non-GMO too.
MCT oil itself has almost no flavor or smell, though some may find it a hint bitter. To make it more enjoyable when adding to foods or beverages, you can buy a flavored option. Common flavors include vanilla, chocolate and caramel.
MCT oil is very thin, which means it comes out of the bottle quickly. This leads many people to pour out more than they intended accidentally. Buying an MCT oil that comes in an easy-to-dispense bottle with a squirt top can help prevent this.
MCT oils generally cost between $10-$25 for a 16-ounce bottle, depending on the purity, source and certifications.
A. In regards to health benefits, MCT oil liquids and powders are comparable. However, some may find their body tolerates a liquid better, or vice versa. Also, liquids are easy to mix in with both solid foods and beverages, whereas powders are best reserved solely for mixing into beverages. That said, powders are more convenient to take on the go.
A. You should take 15-30 milliliters with each meal, up to three times a day. Depending on how well your body tolerates it, your maximum daily intake can be somewhere between 50-100 ml.
What you need to know: A pure C8 caprylic acid supplement, this MCT instantly converts into ketones and is ideal for those following a ketogenic lifestyle.
What you’ll love: It is sustainably sourced, made using a natural extraction process and comes packaged in a BPA-free bottle.
What you should consider: The large opening in the bottle makes it too easy to pour out too much.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This affordably priced MCT oil is derived from a combination of coconut and palm kernel oils, so it provides you with a nice mix of MCT types.
What you’ll love: It mixes easily with solid foods and beverages, without leaving an oily residue.
What you should consider: It is processed in a facility that contains allergens.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Protocol for Life Balance Pure MCT Oil
What you need to know: A pharmaceutical-grade option, this oil has a pure formulation composed of C8 and C10 MCTs.
What you’ll love: It is derived from palm kernel oil and coconut oil, and it comes in a glass bottle that will appeal to those avoiding plastics.
What you should consider: The taste is more pronounced than many others.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.