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How to Use MCT Oil: Everything You Need to Know

How to Use MCT Oil: Everything You Need to Know

We’ve already covered what MCT oil is, its health benefits, and now we’re going to look at how to use MCT oil. But before we do that, here’s a quick overview of what it is if you’re landing here for the first time. MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, and it’s usually found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and in some other food types in small quantities. There are four main types of MCTs: Caproic acid (C6), Caprylic acid (C8), Capric acid (C10), and Lauric acid (C12).

There are two main types of MCT oils supplements in the market:

Pure MCT Oil: This version of the MCT oil either contains 100% capric acid or 100% caprylic acid or a combination of both. It does not contain lauric acid because it’s closer to the long chain triglycerides and is not rapidly absorbed by the liver when compared to the former two.

Lauric acid has its set of health benefits such as antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. However, the majority of the health benefits dedicated to MCT oil belong to capric and caprylic acid [3]. That said, these two potent MCTs are found in small quantities in coconuts which is why the pure MCT oil is more on the expensive side compared to the cheaper version.

Cheaper MCT Oil: Unlike the pure MCT oil discussed above, this more affordable version also contains lauric acid, and some of them have more lauric acid than capric or caprylic acids. It’s cheaper to manufacture this version than the pure MCT oil and also sell it at a more wallet-friendly price. You could say it’s a win-win situation and it’s certainly more beneficial than consuming coconut oil on its own. However, it’s best to go for the pure MCT oil if you can.


How to Use MCT Oil_Pure MCT OIL formula_infographic_1

Why Should You Use MCT Oil?

The simple reason why you should consider using MCT oil is that it’s one of those rare supplements that has valid evidence backed health benefits. One of the most prominent benefits is that MCT oil can help improve cognitive function and help eliminate the feeling of being tired all the time.

Medium chain triglycerides do not require the help of bile enzymes to break them down before being converted into ATP to be used by the liver [2]. MCTs convert into ketones which can help you sustain ketosis.

All of us at some point can relate to the feeling of being exhausted and lacking the energy to be active, especially in the morning. MCT oil can help with that. We have a detailed guide on the benefits of MCT oil but let’s go through some of the most popular ways it can help you.

A 2009 study conducted on recreational athletes found that those who consumed MCT had significant improvement in time during high-intensity exercise than those in the long chain triglyceride group [1].

In another 2014 study, the participants who consumed MCT for breakfast showed a significant reduction in appetite compared to those who consumed corn oil (Long chain triglyceride) [4].

A 2015 study conducted on participants with mild cognitive impairment found that MCT oil helped increase serum ketone level and improved their memory while no improvements were seen in the placebo group [5].


MCT Oil Forms

Liquid


glass-of-coconut-oil-on-blue-background-MCT-oil

The MCT oil version is the most popular version of all three, and it’s mainly because of its use in bulletproof coffee. This version of MCT has been used in research studies to prove the effectiveness of medium chain triglycerides. Another thing is that the liquid form is less processed and doesn’t have anything added to it.  It’s perfect to be used in your morning coffee, salad dressings, and low heat cooking.

That said, the liquid form is not so travel-friendly because it has chances of leaking or spilling in your bag or luggage. MCT oil has a low smoke point which means it’s not ideal for high heat cooking. It may also have some gastrointestinal side effects if you already have a sensitive stomach and/or if you happen to overdose by mistake. This is why it’s important to start with a lower dosage of 1-2 tsp per day for some days and then gradually increase up to the maximum recommended dosage of 2 tbsp per day.


Capsules/Softgels

Although MCT oil can help you become a morning person, it might not help on those days when you feel too exhausted to get out of your bed and make yourself a bulletproof coffee or a smoothie. The capsule and softgel version can come to your rescue on such days.

They’re also useful if you’re someone who often travels because you don’t have to worry about oil leaking in your bag or carrying a big bottle of MCT powder. You can take the capsule within a few seconds with water anywhere, anytime.

Another benefit is that MCT oil capsules and softgels are available in the pure format too which means they’d contain only caprylic and capric acid. The manufacturers of this version of MCT usually recommend to take it in the morning in a fasted state for optimal benefits.

The maximum recommended daily dosage for MCT is 2 tbsp, and these capsule brands usually recommend to take 1-3 capsules, up to three times a day. Each capsule would have anywhere between 2000-3000 mg which means even if you decide to take a total of 9 capsules per day, it will come up to 27000 mg per day in total. This is roughly one fluid ounce which is close to the maximum recommended dosage of 2 tbsp per day.

That said, it’s highly recommended to start your dosage low and then gradually increase to avoid any adverse effects. You can start with one capsule a day for a week, then two capsules a day, and so forth.

As with most supplements that come in capsule forms, there’s a chance you might experience some side effects such as bloating and diarrhea especially in the early days. Start with a low dosage to avoid those.


Powder

The powdered version of MCT oil is an excellent choice if you want to add extra creaminess to your coffee, smoothies, and shakes without worrying about what’s in your artificial creamers. You also don’t have to worry about using a blender because the powdered MCT will blend easily, especially in your morning coffees.

It’s travel-friendly and remains stable at room temperature so you can take it with you to work, camping trips, and more. The powdered version is also useful if you want to add some MCTs to your low carb baked goodies. Another plus is that it may be easier to digest compared to the liquid form.

That said, you’ve to pay close attention to the ingredients list if when buying MCT powders because some of them can contain chemicals, additives, and other sugar spiking ingredients to enhance flavor.


When Should You Use MCT Oil?

Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are rapidly absorbed by the liver to be used as fuel for energy, which means it’s completely fine to take them whenever you feel the need for some energy boost.

A lot of studies conducted on MCTs usually made their participants take it 30 minutes before an exercise program, and some of them were taken followed by an overnight fast. This is something you may want to consider depending on what kind of activity you’re going to need the energy and mental clarity for.

The best and most recommended time to take MCT oil is with your morning coffee, especially if you happen to practice intermittent fasting with your ketogenic diet. The MCT will keep you feeling fuller, energized, and give a boost of mental clarity to focus on your day.

As stated earlier, you can also toss a tbsp in your salad or use it as a finishing touch when grilling your meat items.


How to Use MCT Oil in Different Ways

Morning Coffee


closeup-on-bulletproof-coffee-with-cold-pressed-extra-virgin-coconut-oil-on-wooden-table

It would only be fair to start with the bulletproof coffee because it’s one of the reasons a lot of us even came to know about the existence of MCT oil. It will give you an instant energy boost to go about your day whether it be to work or the gym. Keep in mind that the pure MCT oil with only caprylic and/or capric acid is considered to be the best to use in your morning coffees.

Sample recipe: In a blender, add 2 tbsp of grass-fed butter, 1 tsp - 2 tbsp of MCT oil, and freshly brewed coffee and blend until you get that creamy coffee that resembles a latte. If this is your first time trying the MCT oil, start with a lower dosage of 1-2 tsp for a week.


Fat Bombs

Fat bombs are popular keto snacks filled with healthy fats and flavor. They’re perfect when you’re craving something sweet or savory to eat and act as a barrier against cheating temptations. Fat bombs are also great to catch up with your daily fat macros.

Sample recipe: Melt ¼ cup of peanut butter and ½ cup of grass-fed butter in low heat and add two tablespoons of pure MCT oil. Add a few drops of liquid stevia to taste. Mix everything thoroughly and pour it onto a baking tray or mini muffin tray and freeze for 2-3 hours. Keep refrigerated and take one out whenever you need that extra boost of fats and MCT goodness.


Keto Smoothie

Yes, you can have smoothies on keto, and they don’t have to be boring or tasteless. Try this chocolate mint avocado smoothie for example. The key ingredients in this smoothie are coconut milk, ice, avocado, cacao butter, and you can add a tablespoon of MCT oil for an added energy boost.

Keto cookies

You can add MCT oil to your baked food items such as this keto cookies recipe. The key ingredients of this recipe are almond flour, sugar-free chocolate chips, erythritol or stevia, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.


Takeaways

MCT oil comes in three primary forms: Oil (liquid), powder, and capsules/softgels. Decide which one would be more appropriate for your lifestyle and buy it from a reputable brand with verified positive reviews. Also, try your best to go with the pure version of MCT oil which only contains capric and/or capric acid.

As stated earlier, you can take MCT oil in many different ways, but some of the simplest and easiest ways are to add it to your morning coffee, smoothies, shakes, and salad dressings. Make sure to start with a low dosage and gradually increase and stick with the maximum recommended dosage of 2 tbsp per day to avoid adverse effects.


References:

  1. Nosaka N, Suzuki Y, Nagatoishi A, Kasai M, Wu J, Taguchi M. Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triacylglycerols on moderate- and high-intensity exercise in recreational athletes. 2009 April - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19436137
  2. NIH. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Adenosine Tryphosphate. - https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Adenosine_triphosphate#section=Top
  3. Jadhav A, Mortale S, Halbandge S, Jangid P, Patil R, Gade W, Kharat K, Karuppayil SM. The Dietary Food Components Capric Acid and Caprylic Acid Inhibit Virulence Factors in Candida albicans Through Multitargeting. 2017 November - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28922057
  4. St-Onge M-P, Mayrsohn B, O’Keeffe M, Kissileff HR, Choudhury AR, Laferrère B. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men. 2014 October - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192077/
  5. Rebello CJ, Keller JN, Liu AG, Johnson WD, Greenwaya FL. Pilot feasibility and safety study examining the effect of medium chain triglyceride supplementation in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: A randomized controlled trial. 2015 June - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4669977/

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