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Updated March 15, 2022
What Is MCT Oil Powder? 8 Healthy Reasons To Love Medium Chain Triglycerides
Do you find yourself short on energy—even after getting a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep?
Are you tired of trying to lose those last few pounds that just won’t budge—no matter how hard you try?
Do you avoid eating fat because you think it will just make you fatter?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, I have good news: There’s a healthy, effective, science-backed way to renew your energy, shed unwanted weight, and feel vibrant…
MCT Oil Powder.
In this article, you’ll learn what MCTs are, what makes them so unique, and 8 research-backed health benefits that make them worth your while.
What Makes MCT’s Benefits Unique?
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a type of saturated fatty acid that have—as you may have guessed—a medium-sized length.
While long-chain fatty acids make up the bulk of the dietary fats that you find in your food, MCTs are a little harder to come by naturally.
Whether a fatty acid is considered long-chain or medium-chain depends on the number of carbon atoms they have. More specifically (1):
- Long-chain fatty acids have 12-22 carbons
- Medium-chain fatty acids have 7 to 12 carbons
So what makes MCTs so unique?
The major difference between MCTs and the more common long-chain fatty acids is how your body absorbs and uses them. For instance, when long-chain fatty acids are absorbed, they’re packed into fat-shuttling particles called chylomicrons, which travel through your lymph and deposit fats throughout your body—including your fat tissue.
MCTs, on the other hand, are absorbed directly into your portal vein, which is a non-stop ticket to your liver. Once in your liver, MCTs are readily oxidized and converted to fuel.
In other words, MCTs provide an almost immediate source of energy (2).
Whatsmore, MCTs convert to an energy source known as ketones, which have unique properties that make them ideal for metabolic and brain health (3). This is a win-win for you, your brain, and that stubborn belly fat.
8 Health Benefits of MCT Oil
MCT oil powder provides a wide range of health perks relating to your metabolism, cognition, and the way your body utilizes energy.
Some of the most well-studied benefits include…
1. Increased Energy
MCTs have been shown to increase the number of mitochondria (energy-producing organelles) in your cells. These little energy powerhouses are responsible for transforming the food you eat into usable energy.
By upregulating the number of mitochondria in your body, MCTs may directly increase the amount of energy you expend on a daily basis (4).
2. Better Workouts
When your body is making more energy, you have more energy to use during your workouts…
Research shows that taking MCTs before a workout can increase your overall workout performance by enhancing not only the duration of the workout but the intensity at which you can exercise as well (5).
When you exercise, your body can build up lactic acid, which leads to sore and achy muscles. This happens when your body runs out of oxygen to break down glucose and in turn relies on lactate as a form of alternative energy.
However, when MCTs are in the picture, your body targets fat for fuel instead of glucose. That means no lactic acid buildup during your workout, and a quicker recovery after your workout (5).
3. Better Blood Sugar Control
You may know of insulin as a hormone that helps shuttle glucose out of your blood and into your cells, where they’ll be used as fuel or stored. To control your blood sugar, your cells need to be able to respond to insulin properly. If you or a friend have experienced diabetes or prediabetes, you know how crucial this is.
Research has found that MCT-containing diets can increase insulin-mediated glucose metabolism and clear the blood of excess glucose.
In short: It makes for better blood sugar. This effect was seen in both diabetic and non-diabetic participants, meaning that MCTs may assist with overall blood sugar control (6).
4. Improvements in Cholesterol
Research shows that MCT oil powder may help balance your cholesterol levels.
In one clinical trial conducted in 2003, participants were given a mixture of oils (MCT oil, phytosterols, and flaxseed oil) or a placebo for 29 days. Researchers noted a significant drop in LDL cholesterol (AKA the “bad cholesterol”) in the oil group (7).
Another study carried out in 2018 indicated that MCTs may help remove excess cholesterol from the blood (8).
Based on these two findings, it’s safe to say that MCT oil plays a positive role in heart health, helping to reduce one’s risk of heart disease.
5. A “Younger” Mind
MCTs offer a unique neuroprotective effect on your brain, meaning they protect your nervous system—and your mind—from declining.
This is thanks to MCTs’ ability to synthesize ketones. Ketones have been shown to protect brain tissue by fighting off inflammation and oxidation while protecting your energy-producing mitochondria.
Neuroinflammation has been identified as a causative factor in several neurological diseases. Scientists have even narrowed it down to a key suspect: NLRP3 inflammasome. This component of our immune system, when unnecessarily activated, is what leads to the development of neuroinflammation and other inflammatory disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, gout, autoinflammatory diseases, and atherosclerosis (9).
But of course, MCTs step in to save the day (yet again)…
6. Sharper, Quicker Thinking
If brain fog is a regular part of your day, the ketones produced by MCTs may be the answer to cutting through that mental fuzziness.
Usually, your brain's primary fuel source is glucose, but glucose isn’t always the most reliable source of energy. This is especially true in people with diabetes, but glucose energy can be less than ideal even for those without diabetes (13).
One of the key markers for declining cognitive function is your brain's inability to efficiently use glucose. So when MCT brings ketones into the picture, the brain has a whole new energy source to play with.
And we have the scientific evidence to back it up…
7. Curbed Appetite
Another perk of ketones—which MCTs help produce in the body—is that they can change your appetite.
Ketones impact two hormones that regulate your desire to eat and feelings of fullness: Ghrelin and cholecystokinin (CCK) (16).
Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone” since it’s largely responsible for your desire to eat. When you have ketones in your blood, this hormone is suppressed and your appetite is more manageable.
CCK, on the other hand, is a hormone that makes you feel full. Ketones help sustain this hormone so that you can feel more full and satisfied throughout the day (17).
8. Weight Loss
With MCT’s impact on your energy, appetite, and workout performance, it’s probably no surprise that it can help you lose weight.
Studies have shown that MCTs may help your body target stubborn belly fat as a fuel source instead of tapping into glucose stores. This results in a greater loss of fat tissue (18).
Long-term research also shows that consuming MCTs can result in less body fat accumulation over time. MCTs are an excellent ally and potential long-term solution for weight maintenance (19).
Takeaway: The Benefits of MCT Oil Powder
With such a wide range of health benefits, MCT oil powder offers perks for just about everyone.
To bask in MCT’s benefits for the long term, consider making them a part of your daily routine. A great way to do that is by adding a scoop of flavored MCT Coffee Creamer to your morning cup of coffee, or by adding a scoop of unflavored MCT Oil Powder to your coffee, tea, or smoothie.
Whether you want to boost your energy, sharpen your mind, kick up your workouts a notch, or all of the above and more, MCT oil powder has you covered.
As a doctor of Physical Therapy, Senior Wellness Expert, and co-founder of NativePath, Dr. Walding has helped millions of people improve their quality of life from the inside out—by speaking, writing, and educating others on how to live life a little more #OnThePath.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.