MCT oil benefits and recipes

MCT oil. It’s the new craze, isn’t it? Well, at least that’s what I’ve been seeing since 2015 and what I’ve been asked about over and over again. What is MCT oil? Why is it so good for us? How should we use MCT oil? Etc. Etc. Etc.

I will be quite honest, it can be confusing. All this good fat versus saturated fat talk. I am pretty sure our society is confused as well; Fat has been used in such a negative way for the past 20 years. But there’s hope! Yes! All we need is a little clarification and explanation.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a naturally occurring source of dietary fats that are abundant in coconut oil. Our bodies rapidly convert them into ketones, which can be used as an energy source by the brain. 

Many ketogenic diet and MCT oil spokespeople say that MCT’s energy sustaining powers can be explained as follows: when MCT oil is metabolized in the body, it behaves more like a carbohydrate than a fat. Remember that the fuel of preference for the body is carbohydrate. Unlike other fats, MCT oil does not go through the lymphatic system. Instead, it is transported directly to the liver where it is metabolized so it releases energy like a carbohydrate and creates lots of ketones (which can be used for fuel) in the process.

MCT oil benefits

Instant Source of Energy That Can Also Be Used to Fuel Your Brain

MCT oil has been dubbed a super fuel since your body absorbs MCTs more rapidly than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which contain more carbons in their fatty acid chains. Due to their shorter chain length, MCTs travel straight from the gut to the liver and do not require bile to break down like longer-chain fats do. In the liver, the fats are broken down to be either used as fuel or stored as body fat. Since MCTs easily enter your cells without being broken down, they can be used as an immediate source of energy. When you’re on a Ketogenic diet MCTs can also be converted into ketones in the liver. These ketones can pass through your blood-brain barrier, making them a convenient source of energy for your brain cells.

May Reduce Lactate Buildup in Athletes and Help Use Fat for Energy

MCT oil has gained popularity amongst athletes. During exercise, rising lactate levels can negatively impact exercise performance. Interestingly, MCTs may help reduce lactate buildup. One study found that athletes who took 6 grams or about 1.5 teaspoons of MCTs with food before cycling had lower lactate levels and found it easier to exercise, compared to those taking LCTs. Furthermore, the study found that taking the MCT oil before exercise may help you use more fat instead of carbs for energy. Even though MCTs can increase fat burning during exercise, study results are mixed as to whether MCT oil can help you exercise better.  One study showed it could improve swimming capacity in mice, but another human-based study found no improvement in endurance performance in runners. At the very least, the results of one animal study suggest that MCT oil does not negatively affect exercise performance, which is encouraging. 

Improves Energy Levels and Mood

Your brain is largely made up of fatty acids, so you need a steady supply from your diet to feel your best, think clearly, perform well at work and stay sharp well into older age. Medium-chain fats are believed to be one of the most easily digested, utilized and protective fatty acids that exists.

A 2004 study published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging found that the MCTs in coconut oil helped improved memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. It only makes sense that a food that supplies fuel for your brain and also helps you absorb vitamins and minerals better will also make you feel more clearheaded, energetic and positive.

MCT oil helps not only feed your brain cells, but also improves your gut health — which is largely connected to cognitive functioning thanks to the “gut-brain connection.” In one animal study published in the Journal of Animal Feed and Sciences, when pigs were either fed a standard feed mixture (the control) or the same mixture supplemented with two grams each of caprylic or capric acid MCTs, the pigs receiving MCTs showed improvements in bacterial gut health, performance, growth and digestion of nutrients, including proteins and fiber. 

Cognitive Function

According to some animal research, supplementing with MCTs has been noted to improve brain health and function. It tends to reduce neurodegeneration, and improves learning abilities in aged dogs. MCTs are thought to be a cognitive enhancer and support optimal brain function by increasing circulation of ketone bodies. If you supplement MCTs, it will provide your brain with an alternative energy source (ketones) as opposed to solely glucose (sugar).

In small scale human trials, MCT supplementation boosted cognition in individuals with cognitive impairment and mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease after just a single dose. While not everyone improved from the MCT treatment, those with certain genetics experienced notable improvement.

3 WAYS TO USE MCT OIL

1. Bulletproof Coffee or Bulletproof Coffee ICED LATTE (Butter-less Option)

Oh yes, you’ve heard the bulletproof coffee talk. And yes, we make it! Not all the time, but some of the time. We’ve made it hot and cold. Hence the Iced Coffee Latte. It’s pretty simple. All you need is ghee, butter, or coconut oil,  MCT oil, organic coffee, almond milk, and maybe some collagen or even cashew cream. Tastes like a latte, but the energy lasts much longer! 

2. Optimized Almond Butter

Ingredients

● 2 tbsp. organic almond butter

● ½ tbsp. coconut emulsified MCT oil

Suggested Uses:

● Spread on sprouted grain bread and drizzle with raw, unfiltered honey (always buy local whenever possible) to start your day.

● Top your baked sweet potato and add a pinch of cinnamon for a sweet-er version of our favorite tater.

● Add to apple slices for an energy-boosting midday snack.

3. Matcha Latte Pancakes

Don’t want to give up pancakes just because you follow keto? You don’t have to! With these matcha latte pancakes, you can enjoy pancakes again while also getting a healthy serving of MCTs, vitamin E and magnesium. 

ingredients

  • 2 rounded tablespoons sunflower seed butter, unsweetened (or nut butter of choice)

  • 2 scoops Perfect Keto MCT Matcha Powder

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries (optional)

  • 1 pat of butter

instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

  • In a small bowl mix the sunflower seed butter with the Matcha MCT powder until combined, this takes a little elbow grease.

  • Add in the egg and keep mixing until it is completely smooth, use a fork or spatula. I should yield a thick sticky batter.

  • Lightly grease the skillet and pour the batter on the the skillet in three 2 inch rounds. Use a spatula to scrape the batter out for the last pancake.

  • Quickly dot each pancake with a few blueberries if you’re using them.

  • When the pancakes are dry around the edges, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. Use a spatula to remove them from the skillet and serve immediately.

  • Top with some ghee or butter. No syrup needed, these babies are already sweetened by the Matcha!

 

References

  1. Validation of an equation predicting highly unsaturated fatty acid (HUFA) compositions of human blood fractions from dietary intakes of both HUFAs and their precursors. Strandjord SE, Lands B, Hibbeln JR. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2017 Mar 8. pii: S0952-3278(16)30157-0. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2017.03.005. [Epub ahead of print]

  2. Medium-chain triglycerides and monounsaturated fatty acids potentiate the beneficial effects of fish oil on selected cardiovascular risk factors in rats. J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Feb;28:91-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.10.005. Epub 2015 Oct 26.

  3. Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile. Shilling M1, Matt LRubin EVisitacion MPHaller NAGrey SFWoolverton CJ.

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