What is MCT Oil?
MCT oil is a specially engineered fat which contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). It provides twice the energy of protein and carbohydrate (8.3 calories per gram versus four) and is absorbed into the bloodstream as rapidly as glucose. MCT oil is preferentially used as fuel for energy instead of being stored as body fat. As an added benefit, MCT oil has a thermogenic effect because it is converted to energy very rapidly. In short, it is an extremely concentrated source of calories that is rapidly absorbed and metabolized for energy by the body.*
MCT Oil – a truly underrated supplement.
Shedding body fat and getting ripped takes determination, willpower, and discipline. People are always looking for that ‘miracle supplement’, or ‘silver bullet’ to make it easier. Truth be told, nothing will make it easy. You are still going to have to work your butt off. However, there are a few tips and tricks that could help get you there quicker. One such tip is increasing your intake of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) or MCT oil.*
Instead of being metabolized through the digestion process like other fats are, MCTs are taken straight to the liver where they act very similar to carbohydrates, providing instant — and well sustained — energy.*
TRY THIS: If you want to feel the effects of this for yourself, put a tablespoon of MCTs in your coffee, this an effect you WILL feel — and it feels like you gave your body turbo fuel. This coffee trick before the gym, WOW!!!*
But it’s not just the energy you get that’s interesting. MCTs improve blood sugar regulation (yay!), improve metabolism (especially fat metabolism), may improve thyroid function, improve appetite regulation, and are used to treat many ailments (Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, seizures, cystic fibrosis, etc.).*
As far as brain function goes, MCT oil is like rocket fuel because it enhances ketone production. Ketones, of course, are a more efficient fuel for your brain. Using MCTs to outwork your competition could be your unfair advantage.*
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How Can MCT Oil be used in a Muscle-Building Program?
MCT oil is a key supplement if your goal is building muscle mass for three major reasons. First, it helps spare protein from being used as an energy source and, therefore, your aminos get used for muscle building. This is because some of the energy from MCT oil is converted by the liver into ketone bodies which are used as easily as glucose for fuel. Thus, these ketone bodies replace some of the amino acids used in metabolism and leave them for use in building mass. MCT oil also decreases catabolism of skeletal muscle protein. The efficient utilization of ketones as fuel improves as the body adapts to MCT oil. In other words, your body gets better at using this supplement as it gets used to it. Thus, using it consistently will allow you to get more out of it when you need it.*
Second, MCT oil can be used to help increase your caloric intake. Gradually increasing calories builds your metabolism so that your body can move into an anabolic state. For several weeks, concentrate on increasing your calories by 300 to 500 a day to build muscle. Using MCT oil along with protein or carbohydrate powders if your goal is to gain at least one pound of muscle a week. (As you gain weight, monitor your body composition once a week to make sure you are gaining lean mass and not body fat.)*
The third way MCT oil helps is by having a possible effect on growth hormone levels. Researchers in Spain have proven MCFAs can cause more than a 900-percent increase in GH levels - a peak is reached two hours after ingesting it and is maintained for over three hours. If you are eating every two to three hours like you should be and supplementing with MCT oil, you can keep your GH level naturally elevated all day.*
In theory, this lets you have the muscle-building actions of GH and insulin without suffering the fat-building effects which usually accompany insulin. I think it is easy then to understand why MCT oil is the perfect supplement to a muscle-building diet.*
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MCTs, Energy, and Exercise
The energy-enhancing properties of MCTs are attributed to the fact that they cross the double mitochondrial membrane very rapidly and do not require the presence of carnitine, as do LCTs (Fig. 2). The result is an excess of acetyl-coA, which then follows various metabolic pathways, both in the mitochondria (Krebs Cycle) and in the cytosol, resulting in the production of ketones. Scientists attribute the increased energy from the consumption of MCTs to the rapid formation of ketone bodies. MCTs are thus a good choice for anyone who has increased energy needs, as following major surgery, during normal or stunted growth, to enhance athletic performance, and to counteract the decreased energy production that results from aging.*
In recent years MCTs have gained in popularity with athletes seeking to increase energy levels and enhance endurance during high-intensity exercise, as well as serving as an alternative energy source for athletes on high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. Researchers have previously shown that MCTs can increase physical endurance in animal studies. In swimming capacity tests, mice fed a diet containing MCTs outperformed mice fed a diet containing LCTs. (3) The researchers noted that the muscles of mice fed the MCTs produced higher levels of key metabolic enzymes (3-oxo acid CoA-transferase, citrate synthase and malate dehydrogenase) involved in the Krebs cycle (tricarboxylic acid cycle), the body’s primary energy production mechanism. MCT-fed mice also burned fat at a higher rate to enhance cellular energy production.
MCT’s and Weight Control
In addition to their lower caloric content than LCTs, MCTs are not stored in fat deposits in the body as much as LCTs. (2) Furthermore, MCTs have been shown to enhance thermogenesis (i.e., fat burning). (4) So MCTs seem to offer a triple approach to weight loss – they (1) have a lower calorie content than other fats, (2) are minimally stored as fat, and (3) contribute to enhanced metabolism to burn even more calories. This third property may be due to the fact that MCTs behave metabolically in some fashion similar to carbohydrates, as well as they are promoting the development of ketones, as mentioned above. (5) Ketone production is a cornerstone of the Atkins Diet, and MCTs may enable those following the Atkins’ program to more rapidly obtain benefits and more easily adhere to the program. Ketones are also one of the two substances which the brain can utilize for energy (glucose, being the other). Dr. Hans Kaunitz speculated that for this reason, MCTs might be advantageous for the aging brain. (6)*
Kaunitz and colleagues performed a study on rats, to compare the effects of diets in which the fat was provided by MCTs or lard. The MCT-fed rats lost significant weight, although their calorie consumption was the same as the lard-fed rats. In addition, Kaunitz described the MCT-fed rats as having “an excellent survival rate.” In another study, researchers observed decreased weight gains, reduced fat content, and unchanged whole-body protein content in MCT-fed animals compared to control animals fed LCTs. In a third study, fat deposits in rats fed diets high in MCTs were 23 percent less than in LCT-fed rats.*
Animal results have been supported by human trials. In one study researchers fed six lean and six obese young males’ meals containing either long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) or MCTs plus LCTs. In both the lean and obese individuals, post-meal thermogenesis (fat burning) was enhanced after consuming meals containing MCTs. 7In another study involving a group of obese women on a restricted diet researchers noted that insulin profiles improved when MCTs comprised 24 percent of the total consumed calories. (8)*
Calorie-restricted diets are often associated with marked declines in energy. A number of studies support the benefits of using MCTs in weight loss programs to boost energy levels and increase fatty acid metabolism to aid in reducing fat deposits. In one study when researchers in Czechoslovakia treated 60 obese patients with MCT oil they concluded that MCTs offered a number of benefits, stating, “Administration of… medium-chain fatty acids can…improve the long-term success of diet therapy of obese patients.” (9)*
In addition to their lower caloric content than LCTs, MCTs are not stored in fat deposits in the body as much as LCTs. (2) Furthermore, MCTs have been shown to enhance thermogenesis (i.e., fat burning). (4) So MCTs seem to offer a triple approach to weight loss – they (1) have a lower calorie content than other fats, (2) are minimally stored as fat, and (3) contribute to enhanced metabolism to burn even more calories. This third property may be due to the fact that MCTs behave metabolically in some fashion similar to carbohydrates, as well as they're promoting the development of ketones, as mentioned above. (5) Ketone production is a cornerstone of the Atkins Diet, and MCTs may enable those following the Atkins’ program to more rapidly obtain benefits and more easily adhere to the program. Ketones are also one of the two substances which the brain can utilize for energy (glucose, being the other). Dr. Hans Kaunitz speculated that for this reason, MCTs might be advantageous for the aging brain. (6)*
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MCTs have been shown to suppress appetite, an ability of obvious benefit for those attempting to lower their intake of total calories. In one 14-day study, six healthy male volunteers were allowed unlimited access to one of three diets: a low MCT diet, a medium MCT diet, and a high MCT diet. Caloric consumption was significantly lower on the high MCT diet. The researchers noted that substituting MCTs for other fats in a high-fat diet “can limit the excess energy intakes and weight gain produced by high-fat, energy-dense diets.*
MCT’s and Atherosclerosis
MCTs have a number of properties that may be beneficial in preventing atherosclerosis. Among these are that MCTs have anti-coagulation effects, and have been shown to lower serum cholesterol in rats 11 and calves (Fig. 3). (12) In addition, MCTs reduce levels of cholesterol in the liver and other tissues. (5,13) MCTs have also been reported to act as antioxidants and reduce tissue requirements for Vitamin E. (6)*
MCTs have a slight hypoglycemic (blood glucose-lowering) effect, and thus may be useful for diabetics, or anyone with a tendency for pre-diabetes (which includes just about everyone over 35). It may be the combination of the glucose and lipid-lowering effects of MCTs that resulted in Kaunitz’ report that “the life span [of experimental animals] is longer when the diet is richer in MCTs than LCTs.”*
Finally, another testimony to the benefit of MCTs in preventing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease is the country of Sri Lanka. In the 1978 Demographic Yearbook of the United Nations, the causes of death in many countries were reported. Sri Lanka reported a death rate due to ischemic heart disease of 1 per 1,000,000. The figures for most countries varied from 38.4 to 187.7. It is significant that the predominant dietary fat in Sri Lanka is coconut oil, which contains over 50 percent MCTs.*
MCTs and Immune Enhancement
To evaluate the immune-normalizing properties of MCTs, Kaunitz and colleagues injected rats with rabbit immune serum, known to cause severe autoimmune kidney disease in the rats. They then administered MCT in the diet and noted that the pathological changes in the kidneys were much reduced in the MCT-treated group. Kaunitz speculated that MCTs could thus have a positive effect “on autoimmune reactions characteristic of the aging process.”*
MCTs and Medicine
MCTs have proven useful in treating a number of medical disorders that involve impaired or damaged lipid (fat) metabolism. These include obstructive jaundice, biliary cirrhosis, pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Whipple’s disease, Crohn’s disease, regional enteritis, and malabsorption in neonates. MCT has been reported to be useful for feeding of newborn infants, to both assist their initial growth and to contribute to their physiological development. The absorption of calcium and magnesium appears to be enhanced when the diet contains MCTs, particularly in infants, and the absorption of amino acids also appears to be improved. Thus, MCTs can be a useful addition to the diet of those suffering from any form of malnutrition or tissue wasting. In this regard, MCTs are often added to parenteral formulas for intravenous feeding following surgery or during recovery from severe injuries, burns, and infections.*
The major adverse effect that is noted by beginning users of MCTs is nausea and gastric discomfort. This can be minimized or eliminated by starting with very small doses (i.e., about 1/4 teaspoon several times daily), and increasing the dose as tolerated. Before long, MCT can be taken by the tablespoonful. MCT oil can be used as a salad dressing, and as a cooking oil. However, MCT should not be heated to temperatures above 150-160 degrees C, because it will oxidize and breakdown, adversely affecting the taste. With those few caveats, MCTs are an especially beneficial supplement for fueling physical exertion, given their high energy density content, a rapid rate of absorption and quick metabolic conversion into cellular energy. Additionally MCTs can be quickly mobilized in the post-exercise recovery phase to rebuild muscles and prevent the breakdown of proteins (catabolism) that can occur when the body is putting a maximum demand on the body’s energy reserves.
A groundbreaking 2004 study published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging found that the administration of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), the primary fat type found in coconut oil, almost immediately improved cognitive function in older adults with memory disorders.
The study involved 20 subjects with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment who, on separate days, were given either emulsified MCTs or a placebo. The researchers observed a significant increase in blood plasma levels of the ketone body beta-hydroxylutyrate (beta-OHB) after only 90 minutes of treatment, and depending on the apolipoprotein E genotype of the subject tested, beta-OHB levels either continued to rise or held constant between the 90 and 120-minute blood draws in the treatment condition. Remarkably, cognitive testing revealed that this brief MCT treatment facilitated improved performance on the Alzheimer's disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-cog) in 4 subjects within the study group. Moreover, "higher ketone values were associated with greater improvement in paragraph recall with MCT treatment relative to placebo across all subjects (P=0.02)."[i]
The details of this study procedure were described as follows:
The study was conducted with a double-blind placebo-controlled design with two study visits. During each visit, subjects received one of two isocaloric conditions (690calories) in a randomized order: emulsified MCTs, or emulsified long-chain triglycerides as a placebo. NeoBee 895 (Stepan, Inc.) was used for MCTs. To increase palatability, heavy whipping cream was used as a source of long-chain triglycerides and as a source of long-chain mono- and di-glycerides for emulsification. MCTs (40ml) were blended with 152ml heavy whipping cream to create the emulsified test sample. Heavy whipping cream alone (232ml) was blended to create the placebo.
Subjects fasted from 8:00 p.m. on the night prior to the study visit. They arrived in the morning and blood was drawn to determine plasma β-OHB levels and APOE genotyping (first visit only). Subjects then consumed the test beverage and rested quietly for 90min, after which blood was drawn and a 30-min cognitive testing session ensued. After testing, a final blood draw was taken.
Not manufactured with yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish or shellfish ingredients. Produced in a GMP facility that processes other ingredients containing these allergens.
Caution: For adults only. MCT Oil may cause GI upset. To reduce these effects, take with food. Consult physician if pregnant/nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition. Keep out of reach of children.
Storage Guidance: Store in a cool, dry and dark environment in a tightly sealed original container. After opening, this product can be refrigerated or stored at cool room temperature.
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*Disclaimer: None of the above statements have been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. As always, consult your physician before taking any and all supplements. LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results may vary.
Disclaimer: All the information contained throughout this website is based upon the opinion of the founder of LifeSource Vitamins, Bruce Brightman, and the entire team at LifeSource Vitamins whose relentless research and studies have been ongoing since 1992. Other articles and information are based on the opinions of the authors, who retain the copyright as marked on the article. The information on this site is not intended to replace your health care professional, but to enhance your relationship with them. Doing your own studying and research and taking your health care into your own hands is always best, especially in partnership with your health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have any medical conditions, always consult your health care professional before taking supplements based on the information on this site.
1. Babayan, V.K. Medium chain fatty acid esters and their medical and nutritional applications. J Am Oil Chem Soc, 1981, 58: 49A-51A.
2. Kaunitz, H. Dietary use of MCT in “Bilanzierte Ernaehrung in der Therapie,” K. Lang, W. Fekl, and G. Berg, eds. George Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart, 1971.
3. Fushiki T, Matsumoto K, Inoue K, Kawada T, Sugimoto E. Swimming endurance capacity of mice is increased by chronic consumption of medium-chain triglycerides. J Nutr 1995 Mar;125(3):531-9.
4. Baba, N., Bracco, E.F., Seylar, J., Hashim, S.A. Enhanced thermogenesis and diminished deposition of fat in response to overfeeding with diets containing medium chain triglycerides. J Am Soc Clin Nutrition, 1981, 34: 624.
5. Bach, A.C., and Babayan, V.K. Medium-chain triglycerides: An update. Am J Clin Nutr, 1982, 36: 950-962.
6. Kaunitz, H., Slanetz, C.A., Johnson, R.E., Babayan, V.K., Garsky, G. Nutritional properties of the triglycerides of medium chain-length. J Am Oil Chem Soc, 1958, 35: 10-13.
7. Scalfi L, Coltorti A, Contaldo F. Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides. Am J Clin Nutr 1991 May;53(5):1130-3.
8. 6. Yost TJ, Eckel RH. Hypocaloric feeding in obese women: metabolic effects of medium-chain triglyceride substitution. Am J Clin Nutr 1989 Feb;49(2):326-30.
9. Hainer V, Kunesova M, Stich V, Zak A, Parizkova J. The role of oils containing triacylglycerols and medium-chain fatty acids in the dietary treatment of obesity. The effect on resting energy expenditure and serum lipids. Cas Lek Cesk 1994 Jun 13;133(12):373-5.
10. Stubbs RJ, Harbron CG. Covert manipulation of the ratio of medium- to long-chain triglycerides in isoenergetically dense diets: effect on food intake in ad libitum feeding men. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1996 May;20(5):435-44.
11. Kaunitz, H., Slanetz, C.A., Johnson, R.E., Babayan, V.K. Interrelations of linoleic acid with medium chain and long chain saturated triglycerides. J Am Oil Chem Soc, 1959, 36: 322-325.
12. Stewart, J.W., Wiggers, K.D., Jacobsen, N.L., Berger, P.J. Effect of various triglycerides on blood and tissue cholesterol of calves, J Nutr, 1978, 108: 561-566.
13. Kaunitz, H. Medium Chain Triglycerides in Aging and Atherosclerosis, in: Advances in Human Nutrition, Vol 3, by J. Kabara (ed), Chem-Orbital, POB 134, Park Forest, IL 60466.