WHY USE MCTs?
MCTs are fatty acids called medium chain triglycerides. They are distinct and occur naturally from coconut, palm oil, camphor, tree oil, and milk from goats (1). Coconut oil, however, is the richest source of MCTs (1, 2). It contains lauric acid, which boosts the immune system (3). Triglycerides contain three fatty acids. They can be classified into short, medium and long chain based on how long the fatty acid is. MCTs have three such medium chain fatty acids. The body processes MCTs by absorption, after digestion in the intestines, easily based on their shorter length. This is incomparable with the long chain triglyceride (LCT). Their transportation to the liver from the gastrointestinal tract takes place directly.
MCTs are involved in lowering the blood sugar levels . They do this naturally by raising ketones. The strong sugar stabilizing effect aid in reduction of inflammation, boosting energy, and improving the function of the brain (4).
MCTs function like carbohydrates by providing an immediate source of energy (5). Unlike carbohydrates, they do not raise the levels of blood sugar or levels of insulin.
OTHER BENEFITS OF MTCs
Absorption of calcium and magnesium is enhanced in infants due to MCTs (6). Research has shown that intake of this oils by infants improves the absorption of nitrogen and sparing of amino acids (7). Consequently, effective preservation and building of body tissues that are lean will be enhanced.
When ketones are produced, anti-convulsive effect is enhanced. Individuals with epileptic brains have been using these ketones for treatment due to its anti-convulsive effects (8).
MCTs are also known to improve athletic performance (9). They form a basic fuel for those doing physical exercises. They have rapid absorption in the gastrointestinal tract which are converted metabolically to get energy in the cells. MCTs are best used before and are appropriate after doing vigorous exercise, owing to their quick mobilization and building muscles again and prevention of catabolic training.
MCTs provide instant energy since they are capable of crossing the double mitochondrial membrane in a rapid manner (10). They do not need the availability of carnitine. Mitochondria are small cell components which produce the energy needed by the tissues. Production of acetyl-coA is produced that breaks ketones down.
Finally, MCTs control appetite and enhance weight loss, according to research. (11). They subdue the appetite which aids people struggling with strong yearnings and overeating (12). Individuals with high MCT diet have less calorie consumption. People with obesity taking MCTs are in a position to shed more weight with better energy despite consuming less calories (13).
HOW TO USE MCTs
MCT oils can be used as cooking oil, in smoothies, in coffee and tea, and as salad dressing.
As cooking oil, they are stable under heat (14), similar to coconut oil. They also thicken coffee and tea as well as refining their health benefits.
In conclusion, MCT Ketogenic Diet (MCTKD) is appealing to people having problems with proteins and carbohydrates. Ketogenic diet is grounded on the calories from the MCT in percentage.
It is important to recall that the ketogenic diet functions by switching the metabolism of the body from producing energy from glucose to making use of burning stored fat for energy.
Although there are few foods containing MCTs, the available ones like coconut oil and palm kernel oil should be utilized.
(1) Breckenridge, W. C., & Kuksis, A. (1967). Molecular weight distributions of milk fat triglycerides from seven species. Journal of Lipid Research, 8(5), 473–478. http://www.jlr.org/content/8/5/473.abstract.
(2) Boateng, L., Ansong, R., Owusu, W. B., & Steiner-Asiedu, M. (2016). Coconut oil and palm oil’s role in nutrition, health and national development: A review. Ghana Medical Journal, 50(3), 189–196. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044790/.
(3) Kabara, J. J., Swieczkowski, D. M., Conley, A. J., & Truant, J. P. (1972). Fatty acids and derivatives as antimicrobial agents. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2(1), 23–28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4670656.
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(5) Dulloo, A. G., Fathi, M., Mensi, N., & Girardier, L. (1996). Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 50(3), 152–158. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8654328.
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(7) Roy, C. C., Ste-Marie, M., Chartrand, L., Weber, A., Bard, H., & Doray, B. (1975). Correction of the malabsorption of the preterm infant with a medium-chain triglyceride formula. The Journal of Pediatrics, 86(3), 446–450. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3476(75)80983-8.
(8) Neal, E. G., & Cross, J. H. (2010). Efficacy of dietary treatments for epilepsy. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics: The Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association, 23(2), 113–119. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-277X.2010.01043.x.
(9) Fushiki, T., Matsumoto, K., Inoue, K., Kawada, T., & Sugimoto, E. (1995). Swimming endurance capacity of mice is increased by chronic consumption of medium-chain triglycerides. The Journal of Nutrition, 125(3), 531–539. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/125.3.531.
(10) Wang, Y., Liu, Z., Han, Y., Xu, J., Huang, W., & Li, Z. (2018). Medium Chain Triglycerides enhances exercise endurance through the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism. PLoS ONE, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191182.
(11) Mumme, K., & Stonehouse, W. (2015). Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(2), 249–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.022.
(12) St-Onge, M.-P., Mayrsohn, B., O’Keeffe, M., Kissileff, H. R., Choudhury, A. R., & Laferrère, B. (2014). Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 68(10), 1134–1140. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2014.145.
(13) Baba, N., Bracco, E. F., & Hashim, S. A. (1982). Enhanced thermogenesis and diminished deposition of fat in response to overfeeding with diet containing medium chain triglyceride. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 35(4), 678–682. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/35.4.678.
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