what does mct powder do
Because of the way in which your body digests these fats, you will find that not only are there numerous health benefits associated with taking MCT oil powder, but that these benefits contribute to weight loss, natural energy boosts, increased brain power and a clean gut.
One of MCT’s claims to fame is its reputation for aiding in one’s weight loss journey. We’re not trying to claim that we’ve found the holy grail of weight loss powder, but we’ve got some pretty good reasons for why MCT Oil Powder is going to work for you!
First, the fats in MCT oil release two hormones (peptide YY and leptin) known as appetite-control hormones. What does this mean for you? When you pour a packet of MCT oil powder into your morning coffee, the fats will curb your appetite and keep you from craving to the need to snack throughout the morning. You will feel fuller for longer from the MCT. And feeling full means less snacking, which means lower sugar and calorie intake, which can lead to a slimmer waist.
Additionally, your body stores fat to use as an energy source, but because MCT oil is converted into energy immediately upon entering the gut, your body is likely to stop storing fat for this purpose. Additionally, for those on a ketogenic diet, MCT oil will help you remain in ketosis (the fat-burning state) so you can continue to shred those unwanted pounds.
1. MCT oil could potentially promote weight loss
Current research is mixed on this issue, but there are some potential reasons why MCT oil may be beneficial for weight loss.
MCT oil has been shown to increase the release of two hormones that can promote the feeling of fullness in the body: peptide YY and leptin (2Trusted Source).
One study found that people taking 2 tablespoons of MCT oil as part of their breakfast ended up eating less food for lunch compared to those taking coconut oil (3).
The same study also found a lower rise in triglycerides and glucose with MCT oil, which may also influence the feeling of fullness.
Additionally, some older studies showed that taking MCT oil could help reduce body weight and waist circumference. Researchers reported that it could help prevent obesity (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Note that some of these studies don’t take other factors into account, such as activity levels and other calorie consumption. More research is needed.
MCT oil has about 10% fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which are found in foods such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados (7Trusted Source, 8).
MCTs can also be converted into ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fat when carbohydrate intake is low.
If you’re following a ketogenic diet, which is very low in carbs yet high in fat, taking MCT oil could possibly help you stay in the fat-burning state known as ketosis (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Lastly, your gut environment is very important when it comes to your weight. MCT oil may help optimize the growth of good bacteria and support the gut lining, which could also help you lose weight (11Trusted Source).
MCT oil may support weight loss by increasing fullness, fat loss, ketone production, and by improving your gut environment. More research is needed to determine its efficacy.
2. MCT oil could be a good energy source
The body absorbs MCTs more rapidly than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which contain more carbons in their fatty acid chains (7Trusted Source).
Due to their shorter chain length, MCTs travel more quickly from the gut to the liver and do not require bile to break down like longer-chain fats do (12Trusted Source).
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 (13Trusted Source).
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 source of energy for your brain cells.
MCT oil is easily absorbed and transported throughout the body. It can be used as an instant source of energy or can be converted into ketones.
3. MCT could reduce lactate buildup in athletes and help use fat for energy
During exercise, rising lactate levels can negatively impact exercise performance.Interestingly, MCTs may help reduce lactate buildup.
One older 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 (14Trusted Source).
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 may help increase fat burning during exercise, study results are mixed as to whether MCT oil can help you exercise better (15Trusted Source).
One study showed it could improve swimming capacity in mice, but another human-based study found no improvement in endurance performance in runners (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
The results of another animal study suggest that MCT oil may not negatively affect exercise performance (18Trusted Source).
MCT oil could potentially increase fat burning and reduce the need for carbs during exercise. However, it’s unclear whether this translates to improved exercise performance.
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4. MCT could help manage epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism
Studies have shown that MCT oil and a ketogenic diet may help manage conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism (19).
While the ketogenic diet has gained popularity among people wishing to lose weight, it was first introduced as a way of managing epilepsy.
Researchers found that fasting increases ketone production and that this may reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures (20Trusted Source).
Since MTCs can be converted into ketones, they may be beneficial in managing epilepsy.
However, the type of MCT may be important. One in-vitro study showed that the MCT capric acid improved seizure control better than a widespread anti-epileptic drug (21Trusted Source).
Another study in rats found that the same MCT blocked receptors in the brain that cause seizures, though more human studies are needed (22Trusted Source).
In addition, it’s important to note that a ketogenic diet is not for everyone and can be challenging to follow long term (23Trusted Source).
If you’re considering a ketogenic diet to help manage your epilepsy, talk to your doctor or nutrition professional first.
Alzheimer’s disease impairs your brain’s ability to use sugar (24).
An MCT ketogenic diet offers an alternative energy source: ketones. This could allow brain cells to survive better. It also blocks a receptor in the brain that causes memory loss (19).
One study found that a single dose of MCTs improved short-term cognition in 20 people with Alzheimer’s disease with a certain gene type, specifically APOE ɛ4-negative (25Trusted Source).
While genetic factors play a role, evidence suggests that 20 to 70 grams of supplemental MCTs that include caprylic or capric acid could modestly improve the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s (24).
Overall, the benefits of MCT oil in Alzheimer’s disease are promising, but longer and larger scale studies are needed (25Trusted Source).
MCT oil may also affect children with autism (26). One study found positive overall improvements when a ketogenic diet was followed for 6 months (27Trusted Source).
Another study found that adding MCTs to a ketogenic and gluten-free diet substantially improved autism behaviors for 6 of the 15 children involved (26).
Because autism is a spectrum condition, it can affect people in different ways.
This means that adding MCT oil to your child’s diet may help to varying degrees or may show no effects. More research is needed here, as well (28Trusted Source).
If you’re considering a ketogenic diet to help manage your child’s autism, talk to your doctor or nutrition professional first.
MCT oil may improve brain function, which could have benefits for people with epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism.
5. MCT contains fatty acids that fight yeast and bacterial growth
MCTs have been shown to have antimicrobial and antifungal effects (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source, 31).
Coconut oil, which contains numerous MCTs, has been shown in an older in-vitro study to reduce the growth of Candida albicans by 25%. This is a common yeast that can cause thrush and various skin infections (32Trusted Source).
An in-vitro study also showed that coconut oil reduced the growth of a disease-causing bacteria called Clostridium difficile (30Trusted Source).
Coconut oil’s ability to reduce yeast and bacterial growth may be due to the caprylic, capric, and lauric acid in MCTs (30Trusted Source).
MCTs themselves have also been shown to suppress the growth of a widespread infectious fungus in hospitals by up to 50% (33Trusted Source).
However, note that most of the research on MCTs and immune support has been conducted via in-vitro or animal studies. High-quality human studies are needed before stronger conclusions can be made.
MCT oil contains fatty acids that have been shown to reduce the growth of yeast and bacteria. Overall, MCTs may have a variety of antimicrobial and antifungal effects, though more research is needed.
6. MCT may reduce risk factors for heart disease
Some factors that increase your risk for heart disease include:
body mass index
MCT oil has been shown to support weight and fat loss. This may, in turn, help reduce your risk for heart disease (1Trusted Source).
A study of 24 overweight men found that taking MCT oil combined with phytosterols and flaxseed oil for 29 days reduced total cholesterol by 12.5%. However, when olive oil was used instead, the reduction was only 4.7% (34Trusted Source).
The same study also found better reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol when the MCT oil mixture was added to their diet (34Trusted Source).
Moreover, MCT oil could help increase the production of heart-protective HDL (good) cholesterol (35Trusted Source).
It can even significantly reduce C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker that increases the risk for heart disease (36Trusted Source).
Additional older studies found that MCT-oil-based mixtures can have a positive effect on other heart disease risk factors, as well (37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source).
MCT oil may help reduce heart disease risk factors such as weight, cholesterol, and inflammation.
7. MCT could help manage blood sugar levels
MCT oil may also have benefits for those with diabetes. MCTs have been shown to reduce fat storage and increase fat burning, which can aid in managing the condition (40).
One small, older study of 40 people with diabetes found that those who consumed MCT oil daily saw reductions in body weight, waist circumference, and insulin resistance, compared to those taking corn oil containing LCTs.
Another study found that when 10 people with diabetes were injected with insulin, they needed 30% less sugar to maintain normal blood sugar levels when they consumed MCTs, compared to LCTs.
However, the same study did not find any effect of MCTs on reducing fasting blood sugar levels.Therefore, other factors such as timing and the amount of food eaten may influence the effects of MCT oil.
MCT oil could potentially help manage diabetes by reducing fat storage and increasing fat burning. It may also help manage blood sugar.
You may store less fat and feel full longer if you replace LCT with MCT. If you aren’t as hungry, you may eat less. You might take in fewer calories if you use MCT oil instead of coconut oil.
While research is promising, there isn’t enough data to show that MCT oil will lead to weight loss.
MCT oil may help boost your strength if you’re elderly and weak. There’s also some evidence that MCT can raise the amount of energy used by your muscles. But other research shows it might not do that much to help get you through your workout. Study continues.
MCT can help your body make ketones, an energy source for your brain that doesn’t have carbs. Some say drinking it will make your mind sharper. But if you don’t have a cognitive disorder, you aren’t likely to get a long-lasting brain boost just by adding some MCT oil.
A study on preterm infants shows that adding MCT oil to formula can reduce a fungus called Candida that can cause infection.
MCT may also help soothe and treat skin infections. The lauric acid in MCT works as an antimicrobial, breaking down bacteria and virus walls to destroy them.
MCT oil is usually made from coconut or palm kernel oil. Both have MCT in them. You can buy 100% MCT oil or a mixture of MCT and LCT.The way people get MCT oil from coconut or palm kernel oil is through a process called fractionation. This separates the MCT from the original oil and concentrates it.
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