MCT Oil

MCT Oil, what is it? MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides AKA ‘Fats’. Other forms of fats fall under LCT (Long Chain Triglycerides) and SCT (Short Chain Triglycerides). MCT oil is commonly extracted from coconuts but it is obtainable from other sources. MCT oil sales and consumptions have been rapidly increasing in response to marketing strategies and rich claims which state remarkable benefits including weight loss, improvement in immunity, heart health, memory enhancement and cleanest form of fuel. In this week's article we will breakdown the truth on MCT oils and leave you to decide whether MCT oils are essential in your life.


INFLAMMATION RESPONSE


MCT oil has been postulated to modulate inflammatory responses. Based on recent studies demonstrating that mitochondrial metabolic reprogramming and immune responses are correlated, the current study sought to determine whether MCT oil controls inflammatory responses through modulation of the mitochondria. 

The mitochondria metabolic responses were assessed in response with OCR (oxygen consumption rate). Inflammatory responses were assessed for production of cytokines and expressed in activation markers M1 and M2. The study concluded the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines was down-regulated and anti-inflammatory cytokines were elevated by MCT oil. M2 markers (anti-inflammatory) showed that MCT Oil may aid in the prevention of inflammation. 


WEIGHT LOSS RESPONSE


In another clinical study, 49 overweight men and women aged 19 to 50 years old consumed 18-24g/day of MCT oil in comparison to olive oil as part of the weight loss experiment which took place over 16 weeks. The participants were tested weekly and at the end of the experiment using multiple testing measures such as weight loss along with counselling appointments. They measured body weight, waist circumference measurements and adipose (fat) tissue distribution assessment using a dual energy x-ray which was computed tomography. The result; consumption of MCT oil as part of a weight loss plan improves weight loss compared with olive oil and can thus be successfully included in a weight-loss diet. Small changes in the quality of fat intake can therefore be useful to enhance weight loss. 


MCT oil has proven benefits but it is advised to not depend on MCT oil to transform current poor lifestyle choices. Sticking with a well regulated total fat dose of 1g/kg per day is a sure way to regulate a safe intake of fats without elevating cholesterol (LDL & HDL) to excessive levels. MCT oil may help in recomposing a physique but the surest way to lose weight is to speak with a trained professional and ensure your nutritional requirements are met whilst fulfilling a deficit. Adding MCT oil such as coconut oil into your diet will aid in the inflammation responses and help assist in the adipose tissue distribution. 


References:


Sankararaman S, Sferra TJ. Are We Going Nuts on Coconut Oil? Curr Nutr Rep. 2018 Sep;7(3):107-115. doi: 10.1007/s13668-018-0230-5. PMID: 29974400.


Yu S, Go GW, Kim W. Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil Affects the Immunophenotype via Reprogramming of Mitochondrial Respiration in Murine Macrophages. Foods. 2019 Nov 5;8(11):553. doi: 10.3390/foods8110553. PMID: 31694322; PMCID: PMC6915711.


Clegg ME. They say coconut oil can aid weight loss, but can it really? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017 Oct;71(10):1139-1143. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2017.86. Epub 2017 Jun 7. PMID: 28589949.


St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):621-6. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.3.621. PMID: 18326600; PMCID: PMC2874190.