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Hiya! How’s your day? Hope it is going swell! I am starting a new feature on the blog that I am calling Supplement Spotlight and am excited to start showcasing different supplements and how they can be useful in our everyday lives. I am also using this as a training tool for my daytime job! And because multitasking makes me happy 👌🏼
Working in the supplement and vitamin section, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer amount of product available. It is also easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge that is out there. For me personally, I learn best from writing (or typing) things down so I am excited to learn a little bit more in-depth about each product!
First thing is first: what the heck is MCT oil? Let’s break it down. MCT oil stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides which is a form of fat that is digested in the liver. Most short and long chain fats are digested in the digestive system, so MCT’s are special since they can be metabolized and turned into energy faster through the liver. This process creates ketones which are an energy molecule that is easily burned as energy (in the relative absence of glucose or carbohydrates).
MCT oil comes from coconut oil (most common) or palm oil and is the concentrated form that has been through a fractional process. The fractional process breaks down into four different acids that are distinguished by carbon count:
- caproic acid (C6): the shortest of the medium chain triglycerides and is often responsible for digestive upset that can occur if too much MCT’s are consumed since it is so quickly converted into energy
- caprylic acid (C8): most commonly used and easily metabolized into ketones
- capric acid (C10): also most commonly used but a little less easily metabolized into ketones
- lauric acid (C12): the slowest to metabolize into ketones or energy
Most MCT oil contains a blend of C8 and C10, though they could also be 100% either caprylic acid or capric acid depending on the brand. A simple look at the label should tell you which MCT branches are present and in what quantities.
Since MCT oil is so easily digested by the liver (due to its short chain length) it is an awesome source of quick energy that the brain and body can use. MCT oil is able to passively diffuse though the GI (gastrointestinal) tract directly into the bloodstream to be used.
Okay, so now that we know what coconut oil is, it’s time to discuss why we might use it. There are a few different main applications here that I think would be helpful.
- Quick Source of Energy: since the MCT oil is so easily processed by the liver they can be readily available as an energy source.
- Brain Food and Clarity: MCTs promote the creation of ketones in the body, which are also used as energy. It can help promote mental caring and cognitive function.
- Gut and Skin Health: coconut oil contains lauric acid which is antiviral and anti-fungal. This can help to create a healthy gut flora balance between good and bad bacteria.
- Weight Loss: ahhh the quick fix everyone is looking for. Fat can be very filling and make us feel satiated and in term make it more possible that we consume less calories.
- Metabolic Benefits: when MCT oil is converted to energy efficiently, it helps the body to become more efficient and can help to increase metabolism as a whole.
- Prevent Diabetes: healthy fats are SO important in our diets and for preventing against disease. MCT oil can help to prevent fat storage and spikes in insulin which can help keep weight down and diabetes at bay.
Now that we know why we should use it, let’s talk about the fun part: how we can use it!
The most classic use I see (and enjoy myself!) is in hot beverages like a bulletproof coffee or tea. “Bulletproof” is just another way of saying that you’ve elevated your beverage with brain boosting oil! You simply brew your coffee or tea the way you like it, add in some MCT oil (remember start SMALL) and blend it up! The drink becomes wonderfully frothy and filling. Many use this as a “breakfast” and won’t be hungry until lunch time. I, however, just like to have one whenever the feeling hits!
Next you can use MCT oil in baked goods and treats. Fat bombs are popular right now for good reason! They are tasty, high fat and really filling! I really enjoy having a fat bomb if I’m having an especially hungry day and can’t seem to feel full. My favorite recipe is so easy! You simply take:
¼ c. MCT oil
¼ c. sunflower seed butter (or peanut butter or whatever nut/seed butter you like most)
1-2 tsp. maple syrup
Dark chocolate chips, melted
Cashews to top, optional
Simply melt the MCT oil with the nut butter, add the maple syrup and cinnamon and place in a muffin pan with liners or silicone muffin cups. Refrigerate at least an hour until firm and top with the melted chocolate and cashews! Keep these in the freezer because they will try to melt at room temp!
Lastly, you can use MCT oil as a salad dressing in place of coconut, olive or avocado oil! It sounds crazy but it tastes great!
I hope this helps you become more comfortable with MCT oil. I have linked my favorite brand and the one I personally use and trust. Let me know in the comments if you use MCT oil or are excited to try it out!
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