What are Medium Chain Triglycerides?
Medium Chain Triglycerides are a type of saturated fat in which the fatty acids have only 6-10 carbons. MCT’s are rapidly broken down and absorbed into the body and turned into energy, making them less likely to be stored as fat. Medium Chain Fatty Acids are extremely efficient at raising blood ketones, unlike other fatty acids, Ketones can cross the blood to brain barrier making MCT’s an efficient, rapidly absorbed energy source for the brain.
Medium Chain Triglycerides are found predominantly in larger amounts in Coconut and Palm Kernel Oils and in lesser amounts in Dairy products. However, none of the above are close to 100% Medium Chain Triglycerides, thus supplementation of pure MCT Oil or Powder is popular.
There are four common fatty acids in the MCT Profile, commonly categorised by their chain length C6,C8,C10 and C12.
C6 (Caproic Acid) as as the nickname would suggest, has 6 Carbons and is the fastest absorbed, however, it has a strong taste, due to its rarity in natural sources is extremely expensive and due to its rapid absorption is likely to cause laxative effects after ingestion.
C8 (Caprylic Acid) the second fastest absorbed of the Medium Chain Fatty Acids is digested at a rate similar to glucose, C8 is the most Ketogenic of the four Acids raising blood ketones significantly more efficiently than the others.
C10 (Capric Acid) once again absorbs rapidly but delivers energy to the brain at a slightly slower delayed rate over its brother C8.
C12 (Lauric Acid) whilst regarded as a Medium Chain Fatty Acid is slowly absorbed and displays properties similar to Long Chain Fatty Acids.
A combination of C8 & C10 may be optimal for rapid and sustained ketogenic energy delivery to the body & brain.
What are the benefits of MCT’s?
Medium Chain flats are as aforementioned easily digested and rapidly absorbed by the liver where they have a thermogenic effect, boosting metabolism. Medium chain fats posses the ability to raise ketone levels better than most other sources, making them great for quick release energy for the brain and body. In addition to their energy enhancing benefits MCT’s are touted to:
- Help maintain a healthy weight through stabilising hunger levels and improving metabolism
- Help reduce stored body fat
- Improve your mood
- Balance your hormone levels
- Fight bacteria and infection in the gut
- Help you think more clearly.
MCT’s can be easily fit into the diet, popular ways include adding either MCT Oil or Powder to Coffee’s, Smoothies, Juices and foods such as Oatmeal. While Coconut Oil is commonly added in dressings and as a cooking ingredient.
A serving of MCT Powder is typically one or two teaspoons (5grams or 10grams). Many consume multiple servings per day, however, as MCT Oils are rapidly digested, too much consumption can have laxative effects so it is suggested to build up a tolerance first.