Medium Chain Triglycerides, also known as MCT oil, have many beneficial, health promoting properties. Unlike most dietary fats and oils, MCTs are rapidly absorbed by the body and quickly metabolized (burned) as fuel. The result of this accelerated metabolic conversion is that instead of being stored as fat, the calories contained in MCTs are very efficiently converted into fuel in the form or ketones for immediate use by organs and muscles.
Another benefit of MCT oil is that the ketones provide cellular energy very quickly – without relying on glucose. This is particularly significant when the body’s ability to metabolize glucose has been compromised due to insulin resistance, a common and growing health concern that predisposes many serious health problems, primarily diabetes and prediabetes.
According to the NIH more than 84 million people ages 18 and older have prediabetes in the United States. That’s about 1 out of every 3 adults.
More About Ketones
A Ketogenic Diet involves limiting carbohydrates to increase the levels of circulating ketones. The reduction in carbohydrates signals the liver to produce ketones from fats. This process alters the energy metabolism from a typical carbohydrate to glucose system to a fat to ketone system.
The ability for the body to run on either energy source is one that has allowed us to survive throughout the ages on many different food sources. The prevalent supply of carbohydrates available in the modern diet has almost eliminated the need for the ketone energy pathway. As with anything that is not used, this energy system has become weak and inefficient.
MCTs and Weight Management
Quite simply, we are talking about the body’s ability to burn fat to create energy. So as you might guess, consumption of MCT oils can benefit weight management. MCT oils not only avoid the traditional fat storage route, they also awaken this substitute energy route. The more active this system is, the more likely we will use body fat for energy production.
MCT’s and Cellular Function
We become more insulin resistant as we age. In fact, insulin resistance is becoming common in all age groups. This syndrome is caused by an abundance of circulating insulin resulting from consumption of excess carbohydrates and/or lack of energy expenditure. The result of too much insulin is that the cells resist the normal intake of glucose and energy deficits result.
As cellular energy is disrupted, cellular death can result creating a domino effect that can interfere with normal body functions.
Ketones to the Rescue
When an energy deficit results from a lack of cellular glucose due to insulin resistance, ketones can provide the energy needed for cellular survival. Ketones are primarily produced by the liver and can also be produce as needed from fats stored in close proximity to the energy requirement. While this process can avoid cellular death when circulating ketones are not available, left unchecked, it can create other problems.
MCT’s and the Brain
As brain cells need energy in a state of insulin resistance, and circulating ketones are not available due the common high carbohydrate diet, ketones will be produced from localized fat to supply the local energy requirement. As the brain is primarily comprised of fat, I hope you see the problem. In order to supply short-term energy requirements, certain fats within the brain will be used to create ketones to produce cellular energy. It is these fats that form the interworking of our brain and support overall brain function including memory and cognition.
The process of energy production to support cellular survival will preference short-term needs at the expense of long-term function. Dr. Bruce Ames first postulated this “triage” theory some 10 years ago. While his theory was focused in micronutrients, the idea is similar. If your body has a limited supply available, the priority will be focused on survival. In the case of the brain, autonomic function will be prioritized over higher brain function such as memory and cognition.
Reducing Addictive Carbohydrates
Those who have tried reducing or eliminating carbohydrates know that they have an addictive quality. The first week of carbohydrate avoidance can produce some strong cravings that are hard to overcome. Once ketones are produced these cravings subside. A specific type of MCT called C-8 is far more effective at producing ketones than other MCT oils.
C-8 MTC Oil
Most MCT oils consist primarily of C-8, C-10, and C-12 carbon lengths. While these are good general-purpose oils that will not store as fat, the ketone potential is limited. As I mentioned earlier, MCT oil is rapidly converted to energy producing ketones or excreted. Most people can’t tolerate the multiple tablespoons of traditional MCT oil required to stimulate meaningful amounts of ketones. Stomach upset and diarrhea are the likely result. Only C-8 MCT oil supports an abundance of ketones with a dosage free of gastric side effects. With the lower dosage comes a lower calorie content and more effective stimulation of the fat to ketone energy cycle.
C-8 MCT oil supports the production of ketones which can be used by the brain as an alternative energy source. As C-8 MCT’s produce ketones and do not get stored as body fat, weight management and rapid energy production are additional benefits.
Use C-8 MCT’s as a substitute for some of the usual oil in your diet such as salad oil. Recommended use is 2 teaspoons 2-3 times per day. Too much MCT oil can cause stomach upset and other digestive complaints. Do not use for high heat cooking or frying.
Source: C-8 MCT Oil, 16 oz.