What is MCT oil?
MCT is short for for Medium-Chain Triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil. MCT oils like Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil and Pure Health – Pure C8 MCT Oil are uniquely able to metabolise effortlessly in the body. This is because they quickly convert to ketones and give you a fast and clean source of energy.
How does MCT oil work?
Unlike long chain fatty acids and other food sources, MCT oils are shuttled directly to the liver where they are oxidised as ketones, a great source of energy for your body. Ketones may be a more efficient fuel source than glucose, because they don’t use as much oxygen to metabolise. We wrote more about ketones and the Ketogenic diet here. Multiple studies and clinical trials have shown that medium-chain fatty acids are not stored in the body as fat, with research showing that MCT oil can directly help to maintain a healthy body weight(1).
Which medium-chain fatty acids are best for health?
“Medium-Chain” refers to triglycerides whose fatty acids have a tail length of 6 - 12 carbon atoms. Each medium-chain fatty acid has specific health benefits, with caprylic acid (C-8) and capric acid (C-10) being particular beneficial.
Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil is made exclusively from medium-chain caprylic acid (C-8). This significantly enhances ketone production in the body, giving you a clean and sustained source of fuel for mental and physical performance. Bulletproof also make XCT oil which combines C-8 with C-10 fatty acids, a less expensive option.
What is the difference between C-8, C-10 and C-12 fatty acids?
Standard coconut oil naturally contains a wide range of fatty acids, the predominant one being lauric acid (C12). Most MCT oil is created by carefully extracting the C-8, C-10 and C-12 fatty acids. From an energy perspective, the most beneficial of these is caprylic acid (C-8). Capric acid (C-10) also has many benefits, particularly for immune support. The benefits of C-8, C-10 and C-12 fatty acids are shown below.
Caprylic Acid (C-8), for ketone energy production
C-8 significantly enhances ketone production in the body, giving you a clean and sustained source of energy for mental and physical performance.
Capric Acid (C-10), for antifungal and immune support
C-10 has been shown to provide antifungal benefits, and has been shown to disrupt all three strains of candida(2) as well as providing immune support
Lauric Acid (C-12), antimicrobial and antibacterial
C-12 has strong antimicrobial properties, and has been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogens including H.pylori(3)
What is the difference between standard coconut oil and MCT oil?
The first difference you will notice is that MCT oil is liquid at room temperature, and is naturally tasteless and odorless making it really easy to add to your diet. MCT oil also adds a rich texture and buttery mouthfeel to your meals, as well as providing many health benefits.
How do I add MCT oil or Brain Octane Oil to my diet?
Brain Octane Oil is a key ingredient in Bulletproof coffee, and can also be added to salads and smoothies to supercharge your cognitive and physical performance. You can find out more about the many uses of MCT over on the Bulletproof blog - 10 Ways to Use Brain Octane Oil (and Only One is Coffee).
What does the research say about the health benefits of MCT oil?
MCT oils such as Brain Octane Oil may provide cognitive benefits, and may also help with appetite suppression and physical endurance. The research shows how you can improve your overall health in 3 key areas:
1. Brain performance
MCT Oil offers significant cognitive benefits by providing ketones as a direct energy source to the brain. Ketones are able to pass the blood-brain barrier leading to improved focus and mental clarity. Studies have shown that C-8 and C-10 MCTs enhance cognition and improve memory(4). A recent study on Alzheimer patients also found that MCT Oil increased brain energy metabolism(5).
2. Improve satiety and suppress appetite
Studies show that adding MCT oil to your diet makes you feel full for longer, which is one reason why it can be helpful for those looking to lose weight(6). MCT turns into ketones in your body, which have been shown to directly suppress hunger and enhance satiety. MCT oil can be particularly beneficial if you want to move away from a high-carb/high-sugar diet because of the way it suppresses hunger and helps with cravings.
3. Exercise endurance
MCT Oil supplements the glycogen in muscles for high intensity or better endurance. It has a beneficial effect on exercise performance, with a recent study showing the that “MCT up-regulates the expression and protein levels of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism”(9)
In a (coco) nutshell
MCT oil is able to metabolise effortlessly in the body, providing a fast and clean source of sustained energy which supercharges your cognitive and physical performance. By converting quickly into ketones, MCT oil makes it easier for you to transition to a healthier way of eating, reducing cravings and helping you to feel full for longer. MCT has been shown in the research to help people lose weight, improve exercise endurance and improve focus and memory.
1. Dietary Medium-Chain Triacylglycerols Suppress Accumulation of Body Fat in a Double-Blind, Controlled Trial in Healthy Men and Women
2. In Vitro Killing of Candida albicans by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides
3. Susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to bactericidal properties of medium-chain monoglycerides and free fatty acids
4. Cognition and Synaptic-Plasticity Related Changes in Aged Rats Supplemented with 8- and 10-Carbon Medium Chain Triglycerides
5. Ketogenic Medium Chain Triglycerides Increase Brain Energy Metabolism in Alzheimer's Disease
6. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men
7. 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
8. Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in aging and arteriosclerosis
9. Medium Chain Triglycerides enhances exercise endurance through the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism