The benefits of MCT oil

You may have heard of the many benefits of coconut oil, especially to your skin. But what you may not know is that coconut oil also has potent antibacterial properties, thanks to its medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) content.

Clostridium difficile is a hardy bacteria known to survive even the onslaught of antibiotics. However, it apparently is nothing when treated with coconut oil. The only caveat is that you need to have fully digested the coconut oil for its full antibacterial effects to manifest. What this suggests is that it isn’t the oil, but what’s in the oil – its medium-chain fatty acids – that inhibits the growth of the bacteria.

The antibiotic effects of MCT have also been proven effective against other types of disease-causing bacteria and even fungi. For instance, one study determined that medium-chain fatty acids are effective against Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the pathogen behind – you guessed it – gonorrhea.

MCT has also been tested and proven effective against Geotrichum candidum, a common species of yeast which, although mostly harmless, can infect different human body parts. It also fights common pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

But the health benefits of MCT do not stop there. Different studies have indicated benefits – both proven and potential – that can be had from MCT.

Weight loss

Several studies indicate weight loss benefits from consuming MCT or food items that have high concentrations of it. It works in two ways. First, one study reveals that MCT can increase the amount of fat and the number of calories that overweight men burn. Second, it increases the production of hormones that reduce appetite and induce the feeling of fullness, as another study found, compared to longer-chain fatty acids.

Cholesterol reduction

MCT is one of the so-called “good fats” that protect the heart instead of harm it. One study on 40 women discovered that MCT can reduce the bad cholesterol in the body and improve the good. This way, it prevents the buildup of cholesterol, which is one of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease.

Blood sugar control

One study found that MCT can improve insulin resistance, one of the leading risk factors for diabetes. For this reason, it has been suggested to be a valuable aid in blood sugar management.

Brain function and Alzheimer’s disease

The brain normally uses glucose as fuel, but this ability is impaired in people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A review in 2016 revealed that the brains of people with AD absorb ketones the same way healthy brains do. Ketones are byproducts produced when the body breaks down fat once glucose supplies have gone very low – a backup energy source of sorts.

What this suggests is that it’s possible to keep the brain functional and healthy, even after the onset of AD, if the organ is fueled by ketones instead of sugar. At the moment, there is very little research on the role of MCT in improving and maintaining brain function, but considering its other benefits, it is being considered as a promising potential solution.

Energy boost

Compared to longer-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids can help improve the endurance of athletes engaged in intensive physical activities. However, this finding is considered inconclusive and in need of further substantive evidence.

Where can you find MCT naturally?

Coconut and palm oil contain the highest concentrations of MCT in nature. Extra virgin coconut oil is a favorite of natural health advocates because of its other benefits to the body.

Another good source of MCT is whole milk, but not low-fator  skim milk because of its drastically reduced fat content.

If you have issues with coconut oil, you can cut to the chase and use MCT oil instead, which is composed of 100 percent medium-chain fatty acids.

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Sources include: 1 2 3

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