Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a type of fat that is found in coconut oil and palm kernel oil. They are called “medium chain” because the fatty acids that make up MCTs have a medium length – they are shorter than most other fats but longer than short-chain fatty acids. MCTs have been of interest to researchers in recent years due to their potential health benefits and their unique metabolism in the body.
MCTs are absorbed more quickly by the body and used as a source of energy more efficiently than long-chain fatty acids. They are also less likely to be stored as fat in the body. For these reasons, MCTs are sometimes used as a supplement in sports nutrition and for weight loss.
MCTs have also been claimed to have various health benefits, such as:
- Improving brain function
- Helps in reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Some studies have also suggested that MCTs may have anti-inflammatory effects.
- They also may be beneficial for gut health.
Source of Medium Chain Triglycerides:
MCTs are found naturally in coconut oil and palm kernel oil. Coconut oil is a popular source of MCTs, as it contains around 62-65% MCTs. MCT oil is also available as a supplement and is made by extracting MCTs from coconut oil or palm kernel oil. MCT oil is often used in sports nutrition and as a supplement for weight loss.
There have been numerous studies conducted on the potential health benefits of MCTs. Many of the studies on MCTs have been conducted using animal models, and more research is needed to determine the effects of MCTs in humans. However, some human studies have also been conducted.
- One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004 found that MCTs may be more effective at promoting weight loss and increasing energy expenditure than long-chain fatty acids.
- Another study published in the Journal of Lipid Research in 2008 found that MCTs may have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, suggesting that they may be useful for the management of diabetes.
- One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009 found that MCTs may improve brain function in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that MCTs increased ketone production, which may be beneficial for brain function in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
- A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2010 found that MCTs may be effective at reducing body weight and improving body composition in overweight and obese individuals.
Pros of MCTs:
- One of the main pros of MCTs is that they are absorbed more quickly by the body and used as a source of energy more efficiently than long-chain fatty acids. This makes MCTs a popular choice for sports nutrition and weight loss.
- MCTs are also less likely to be stored as fat in the body, which may contribute to weight loss.
- MCTs have also been claimed to have various health benefits, such as improving brain function and helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Some studies have suggested that MCTs may have anti-inflammatory effects and may be beneficial for gut health.
Cons of MCTs:
- One of the main issues of MCTs is that they are a source of calories and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. It is important to consume MCTs in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
- MCTs may also cause digestive issues in some individuals, such as diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. It is important to start with a small dose of MCTs and gradually increase the dosage to avoid these side effects.
MCTs are currently used in a variety of applications, including:
- Sports Nutrition
- Weight loss supplements
- Cooking oil. MCT oil is often used in place of other oils in cooking, as it is more stable at high temperatures and has a high smoke point.
- MCTs are also used in the production of infant formula and other dietary products.
Overall, the scientific evidence on the potential health benefits of MCTs is mixed. While some studies have found that MCTs may have various health benefits, more research is needed to confirm these effects and to determine the optimal dosage and duration of MCT supplementation. It is important to note that while MCTs may have some potential health benefits, they should not be consumed in excess, as they are still a source of calories and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess.