MCT oil is a supplement that has recently been growing in popularity. This keto diet supplement suppresses appetite, boosts fat burning, and helps you reach ketosis. Many of its health claims are also heavily backed by science. But what exactly is MCT oil and how do you choose the best MCT oil to meet your specific goals?
To answer that, we've taken a closer look at the different types of MCT oil supplements that you can find on the supplements market. But before we get into that, let's talk more about what MCT oil is and what health benefits you get by adding this supplement to your keto regimen.
MCT oil is a dietary supplement that is a concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are unique types of saturated fats that your body uses differently than long-chain saturated fats.
First, MCTs don't require enzymes and bile for digestion and, instead, get absorbed directly in the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). Second, your body uses at least 70% of the MCTs you eat for immediate energy production rather than storage . Lastly, MCTs have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which is unique among fatty acids.
MCTs are naturally present in coconut oil (60%), palm kernel oil (50%), and dairy foods (12%). These sources contain several different MCTs in varying quantities. There are, in total, four types of MCTs:
- C6 – Caproic Acid
- C8 – Caprylic Acid
- C10 – Capric Acid
- C12 – Lauric Acid
Supplement manufacturers extract and isolate mostly C8 and C10 MCTs to make MCT oil, a product that is taking the keto world by storm. Why is that so? Because of the many science-backed benefits of MCTs, of course.
Top 5 Benefits of MCT Oil
MCT oil benefits listed come directly from their MCTs. The best MCT oil will contain a combination of C8 and C10 triglycerides. However, some also add lauric acid to their formula, while none have C6 due to its unpleasant taste and because it is difficult to digest. With all that out of the way, here are a couple of benefits you can get by taking the best MCT oils:
1 Weight Loss
Studies show that MCTs boost weight loss without increasing cholesterol or causing muscle wasting [2, 3]. The majority of these studies have focused specifically on C8 and C10 MCT . These two have a chain length of 8 and 10 carbon atoms, respectively.
The reason chain length matters when speaking of MCTs and weight loss has to do with bioavailability. The shorter the chain, the easier it is for your body to digest and use MCTs for energy, and the greater the weight loss. However, there are many other reasons why MCT is so effective for weight loss:
- MCT Oil Is Satiating – Research shows MCTs to be even more satiating than coconut oil . Fats are not the most satiating macro, but MCTs are a big exception to this rule.
- MCT Oil Boosts Fat Oxidation – Countless studies also confirmed that MCTs enhance energy expenditure and fat oxidation [6,7,8]. Thermogenesis refers to your body's heat production and is enhanced when your body is burning MCTs for fuel.
- MCTs Reduce the Need for Carbs – MCT oil is helpful for cutting back on fattening carbs. Your body uses MCTs as quickly but more efficiently than carbs, making them an ideal fuel replacement. Not to mention that they're also precursors for ketones – another fuel alternative.
2 Brain Power
The best MCT oil will always combine C8 and C10 fats, which are powerful brain fuels. A 2016 study on aged rats proves that these triglycerides enhance learning memory and improve brain structure .
MCT oil also help treat Alzheimer's, ADHD, and depression. An explanation is that these fats enhance mitochondrial functioning in the brain.
Some of these benefits of MCTs come directly from greater ketone production. Since ketones are a more efficient fuel source than glucose, they provide easy energy for the brain. Ketones also require less oxygen to make energy and, in this way, protecting the brain against oxidative stress.
3 Antimicrobial Action
A unique property of MCTs is that these fats kill bacteria, yeast, and viruses. Researchers initially observed that MCTs in breast milk protects the sensitive guts of newborns against harmful bacteria while boosting levels of probiotic bacteria .
Later studies confirmed that the antimicrobial action of MCTs helps kill a wide range of bacteria strains like Escherichia, Shigella, and Streptococcus. MCT oil is also helpful against candida yeast and a range of viruses.
4 Better Gut Health
Gut health is important on keto. A healthy digestive tract will help you absorb all those health-benefiting fats and micronutrients. MCTs boost gut health by balancing out gut flora, as already explained.
For those who have problems digesting fat, the best MCT oil will help boost fat intake on a keto diet because they pass the digestive tract more easily. Researchers are even looking into MCTs as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders .
5 Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Unlike trans fats, MCTs don't increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Studies on coconut oil, which is nature's richest source of MCTs, show that coconut oil actually changes blood lipid profile in a way that protects the cardiovascular system .
Lauric acid is especially good in this regard as it’s the only MCTs you can use for cooking and frying due to its high smoking point. Studies on lauric acid show that it helps raise good, HDL cholesterol and has minimal impact on bad, LDL cholesterol .
The Best MCT Oil supplements
MCT oil supplements come in their original, pure oil form but also as powders and capsules. All of these supplements have their advantages and disadvantages that you want to consider when choosing the best MCT oil supplement to meet your specific needs:
At Kiss My Keto, we offer MCT Oil C8 Brain Fuel and MCT Oil C8 C10. Both contain 100% pure MCTs from organic coconuts. But whichever brand of MCT you choose, here are the advantages and disadvantages you can expect from MCT oils:
- A clean source of pure MCTs (C8, C10, and C12)
- Proven to boost ketone production
- Clear and virtually flavorless, making it suitable for every keto meal
- Usually pricey, especially when containing C8 and C10 MCTs
- Can upset the stomach as it is a concentrated source of high-potency MCTs
- Difficult to carry around and store
At Kiss My Keto, we offer Keto Creamer MCT Oil Powder and Keto Protein Chocolate with MCT powder that you can add to your morning coffees or even smoothies. The product contains a blend of C8 and C19 MCTs, corn fiber, and milk protein. Here are things to consider when buying similar products:
- Convenient to use and easy to carry when traveling
- Easier on your digestive system
- Easy to incorporate into both solid and liquid dishes
- Some brands have hidden starch and even protein that can affect blood glucose levels
- Less potent than pure MCT oil
- Fewer studies done on MCT powders
At Kiss My Keto, we offer MCT Oil Capsules in a 300-count container. These softgels are great for on the go and when travelling. Here's what you can expect from MCT oil capsules:
- The most convenient of the MCT supplements
- Don't contain starches but high-quality protein from gelatin-based softgels
- Won't go rancid since thanks to the protective capsules
- Not many manufacturers sell these
- Can't be incorporated into keto dishes
- Take longer to digest than pure MCT oil
The best MCT oil supplement is, of course, pure MCT oil in liquid form. But that's only in regard to science-backed benefits and ketone production. When it comes to the topic of convenience, ease of use, and digestion, then all other MCT supplements are good options as well. In the end, what really matters is that you choose a supplement that suits your specific needs and goals.
How to Choose the Best MCT Oil
With the supplement market flooding with choices of MCTs, you're probably wondering which product you should choose. To help you make the best pick, consider these tips:
Choose products with C8, C10, or a combination of both
The best MCT oil will largely consist of C8 or C10 MCTs and have less than 2% lauric acid. These two get easily digested, absorbed, and used compared to lauric acid, which is longer in chain length resembling long-chain fatty acids in this regard. In fact, researcher suggest that lauric acid resembles long-chain fatty acids in the way your body digests them .
The reason we're not mentioning C6 MCTs is because these are rare to find, have a bad taste, and are harsh on the digestive tract, so manufacturers avoid them in their formulas. They do, however, boost ketone production. You can get these in small amounts from coconut oil and without the side effects.
Carefully Read the Label
Reading labels will help you avoid keto mishaps such as taking in hidden carbs. Some MCT manufacturers may use fillers, additives, and flavorings in their MCT powders and capsules and that could add up to the product's carb content.
The fillers you want to avoid are starches, maltodextrin, or filler oils. You also want to make sure that the pricey product you're buying contains C8, C10, or both. While there's nothing inherently wrong with lauric acid, it is much cheaper than the previous two and is less potent when it comes to providing energy and boosting ketone levels. Besides that, lauric acid is much cheaper than C8 and C10.
Buy from Reputable Companies
Check for company reviews on several sources to see if you're dealing with reputable manufacturers or suppliers. Learning from others' experiences is best when it comes to investing in the best MCT oil you can find.
Reputable companies have their headquarters listed on their site, list all relevant product detail, and are easy to contact. And, of course, reputable companies will offer the best MCT oil you can find when it comes to quality and efficiency.
When you finally receive your MCT supplement, you'll likely want to know which way you should use it for maximum efficiency. Here's what to keep in mind when taking the best MCT oil supplements:
Add It to Your Morning Coffee
Ever heard of keto coffee? It's plain, dark coffee infused with MCT oil or other keto-friendly fats. Dieters use it to get steady energy early mornings. But it's also great for ketone production and perfect for fasting days.
Add It to Your Keto Meals
The best MCT oil will always be colorless and flavorless. This makes it perfect for adding to both sweet and savory dishes. Most dieters say they don't even notice MCT oil is in their smoothies, muffins, soups, and salad dressings.
Keep Your Intake Moderate
Make sure you're taking the recommended daily amount of MCTs to avoid stomach upset, diarrhea, and headaches. MCT oil is powerful. It is also a concentrated source of MCTs that are present in smaller amounts in most foods. That's why your body may struggle digesting any excess of MCT oil.
Use It Before a Workout
Studies show that taking MCTs before workouts preserves muscle glycogen . Muscle glycogen provides your muscles with energy for workouts as well as recovery. Because MCTs also boost energy expenditure, you also get the added benefit of fat burning when taking MCTs before your exercise.
MCT oil comes with a wide range of benefits such as speedy weight loss and better brain health. MCTs also boost ketone production, which is another reason why you'd want to add it to your keto meals.
But choosing the best MCT oil for your keto diet can be tough. The supplement market is flooded with low-quality products containing fillers and other unnecessary ingredients. Some also contain lower-quality oil at a high-quality price.
Luckily, knowing what you should be looking for in a product helps. We hope our tips here help you with that, so you choose the best MCT oil for your keto goals. Once you make your purchase, make sure you're taking the product as recommended by the manufacturer to avoid side effects and reap all the promised benefits.