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You’ve probably heard of MCT oil. This oil has been supported by many wellness gurus, especially those on the keto diet. They mix it with their coffee and smoothies, or simply drink it straight.
Even researchers have been interested in the potential benefits of medium-chain triglycerides. Not only are they claimed to be effective for weight loss, but also deemed popular supplements for increased gut health.
There have also been studies on MCT oil’s anti-inflammatory properties. Many say it can help with treating harmful microorganisms in the body, partly due to the widely publicized benefits of coconut oil, which is a rich source of MCTs.
Is MCT oil anti-inflammatory? Learn what MCTs are and if the anti-inflammatory claims are real or not! We’ll also be sharing other benefits of MCT oil for your health and well-being and how to use them.
What is MCT Oil?
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, and are fats found in foods like coconut oil. These are metabolized differently than long-chain triglycerides found in other foods. MCT oil, on the other hand, is an MCT supplement that comes in either liquid or powder form.
Triglyceride is simply the technical term for fat, usually containing 13-21 carbons. What makes MCT unique is its 6-12 carbon atoms, mainly:
- C6: caproic acid or hexanoic acid
- C8: caprylic acid or octanoic acid
- C10: capric acid or decanoic acid
- C12: lauric acid or dodecanoic acid
Unlike other fats, MCTs are rapidly broken down and absorbed into the body to be used as an instant energy source in the form of ketones. Ketones are substances produced when the liver breaks down large amounts of fat.
But that isn’t the only advantage of MCTs.
Is MCT Oil Anti-Inflammatory?
The short answer is yes. MCT oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties, specifically due to capric acid. This 10-carbon chain MCT has anti-inflammatory effects that provide quick energy for the cell’s mitochondria.
Because of this, our body can benefit in a lot of different ways, such as:
- Healthy skin – coconut oil, which has an abundant amount of MCTs, can enhance its protective barrier function and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Heart Health – Since MCTs can act as thermogenic or fat burners, it is said that they may also help prevent the development of the metabolic syndrome. This refers to a cluster of disorders that greatly increase the risk of heart disease.
- Treating Harmful Microorganisms – Because medium-chain fatty acids have antimicrobial properties, it can also prevent cellulitis, an athlete’s foot, and other diseases caused by bacteria or fungi that can be inflammatory. One study tested the antibacterial properties of 30 types of fatty acids against 20 different strains of bacteria. Lauric acid was found to be the most effective at blocking the growth of bacteria. Another research study showed that lauric acid can kill inflammatory acne-causing bacteria.
- Candida Treatment – MCT oil was also proven to be active against Candida albicans, suggesting it could be a treatment for candida due to the extract’s barrier functions and anti-inflammatory properties.
Other Benefits of MCT Oil
The benefits of MCT oil sound so promising. Many have said that it’s worth a try as it does have the potential to make a difference in your health.
Aside from being anti-inflammatory, here are some other benefits of MCT oil.
Healthy fats, particularly MCTs, can have benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease. And while these studies are still ongoing, there is evidence that it can help improve memory problems, focus, and overall cognitive function, especially in older adults.
Healthy Weight Loss
MCT oil has an impact on body fat reduction if you include it as part of a healthy diet, such as the ketogenic diet. It can help you lose weight long-term because of its positive impact on metabolism.
It does this by balancing insulin sensitivity and increasing your body’s glucose metabolism, which may impact your body’s ability to use fat for energy.
Another way it can do this is by lowering your energy density. MCTs provide around 10% fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) or 8.4 calories per gram for MCTs versus 9.2 calories per gram for LCTs. This means that your calorie intake is lower when using MCT instead of other oils, while also making sure that your body has more ability to burn fats and calories!
MCT can also support a healthy weight loss by keeping you satiated. One study found that compared with LCTs, MCTs resulted in greater increases in peptide YY and leptin, two hormones that help reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness.
Withstands High-Temperature Cooking
If you’re cooking with alternatives to highly processed vegetable oils, MCT oil is always a great option since unlike extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil, it can be cooked at high heat and doesn’t become rancid easily.
Can be Mixed in Many Dishes
Because of its lack of a strong flavor, MCT oil can not only be used as a cooking oil, but also as a salad dressing. You can also mix it in your homemade mayonnaise, coffee, tea, baked goods, smoothies, and you can even eat it straight off the spoon!
You don’t have to dress MCT oil up if you only want to take it as a supplement for its health benefits. However, it’s best to start slowly with half a teaspoon a day and work your way up to one tablespoon over time. Starting gradually can help reduce minor side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.
Of course, this is only applicable to pure MCT oil since all its flavor and scents are removed during processing. Many MCT oil supplements are sold with chocolate, vanilla, and fruity flavors.
There are plenty of ways to use MCT oils on your keto diet.
MCT oil supports the gut microbiome and encourages proper absorption of vitamins and minerals from food, It also helps improve bacterial gut health, performance, growth, and digestion of nutrients.
MCT Oil for Health and Wellness
MCT oil has grown in popularity in recent years mostly because it goes well with the ketogenic diet. Its anti-inflammatory properties help with your gut health, heart health, skin, and your overall body health!
Aside from that, you also get a lot of other benefits like healthy weight loss, improved brain function, and the treatment of harmful microorganisms! It indeed has the potential to make a difference in your health and wellness.
Check out the best MCT oils now so you can start incorporating it into your favorite dishes!