MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, are chains of fats that are more easily metabolized by the body than some fatty acids that have longer molecular chains. MCTs are found in large amounts in coconut oil, dairy products, and palm oil.
Bodybuilders were the first to tout the benefits of this group of fats. They come in powdered or oil forms, and the differences between MCT Oil vs MCT powder are discussed here, as well as how the various types of MCTs affect your health.
Types of MCT
There are four primary types of medium-chain triglycerides. C6, C8, C10, and C12 are so named because the name signifies the number of carbon atoms in the individual molecular chain of each type. Types C8 and C10 have the most benefit to the body, so most supplements contain those two MCT Oil vs MCT powder s.
MCT Powder Vs. MCT Oil
There is generally very little difference between the oil-based MCT or the powdered. Neither kind is considered better than the other. The main difference has to do with how the triglycerides are delivered as food to your body, and how you want to incorporate them into your diet.
If you like to make smoothies, for instance, you might choose the powdered variety, because it is easy to add to your smoothie. If you think you would rather add additional MCT into salad dressing, the oil might be better for you.
MCT powder might be easier to use as something portable and easy to travel with if you travel a lot. Otherwise, there isn’t much of a difference, nutritionally.
Benefits of MCT
For Weight Loss and Exercise
MCT has been shown to decrease appetite and promote weight loss. Taking MCTs has been linked to the release of two hormones, peptide YY, and leptin. These hormones promote a feeling of being satiated, or full. This feeling of fullness is responsible for a decreased dietary intake, and therefore, an eventual loss of excess weight. A decrease in average blood glucose levels may also contribute to a feeling of fullness.
MCT has been popular with those who follow ketogenic (low carbohydrate) diets because limited studies have shown that those who take it while on the diet can stay in a state of ketosis more consistently than when they don’t take it.
Another benefit related to weight loss is how MCT can positively affect gut health. By potentially maintaining a healthy environment for intestinal flora to thrive, it can actively support weight loss.
Lactic acid builds up in our muscles when we exercise, making our muscles weak and causing us to have to rest. MCT has been shown to potentially lower serum lactate levels, which made it easier for test subjects to complete their workouts without exhaustion.
Taking MCT prior to workouts may allow for more effective workouts, which in turn can help the body to maintain a healthy weight, promotes good cardiovascular health, and also deters other chronic issues like diabetes.
For Good Overall Health
MCTs have been shown in studies to fight certain inflammatory processes; antifungal and antimicrobial properties may reduce the incidence of yeast infections, and also certain bacterial infections. The reason for this is not completely clear, but might be because of the presence of lauric, capric, and caprylic acids in MCTs.
When coupled with a ketogenic diet, supplemental MCTs may help the symptoms of Autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Epilepsy. Because it lowers blood glucose and causes increased levels of ketones in the blood, some studies have shown that the incidence of seizures may decrease in Epilepsy.
For similar reasons, studies have shown that short-term cognition may improve in people with Alzheimer’s, as well as overall symptoms in children who have Autism.
Although more definitive studies need to be done on the effects of a ketogenic diet and MCTs, these are exciting findings for anyone who is looking for answers to these problems.