|January 23, 2024

MCT Oil Benefits: 5 Science-Backed Reasons to Use MCT

By Alison Moodie
Reviewed by Theresa Greenwell for Scientific Accuracy on 01/23/2024

MCT Oil Benefits: 5 Science-Backed Reasons to Use MCT

  • MCT oil is a purified form of saturated fatty acids, typically derived from coconut oil and palm oil.
  • The benefits of MCT oil include more brain power, increased energy, fewer cravings, and increased fat burning.*
  • MCTs are largely missing from the typical Western diet, so adding MCT oil to your daily routine can be a powerful way to get the benefits of these multi-tasking fats.
  • Drizzle MCT oil over your food or drink it in your Bulletproof Coffee.

These days, you can find versions of Bulletproof Coffee (aka coffee with butter and MCT oil) most places you drink coffee. But what do you know about that last ingredient? MCT oil is a powerful addition to your daily routine, one that can power your brain and help you burn more fat. But how much do you know about it? What is MCT oil exactly? Are all MCT oils created equal? Does it really deliver the benefits you’ve read about? Can it really help you to burn fat and lose weight? Whether you have recently started a keto diet and want to know how MCT oil helps with ketosis or you’re already familiar with it but still have lingering questions, this article will help. Read on to discover everything you need to know about MCT oil – and how to choose the best source.

What is MCT oil?

MCT Oil being poured onto a measuring spoon

“MCT” is short for medium-chain triglycerides.[1] Triglycerides are the molecules that make up most fats, and “medium-chain” refers to the length of the fat molecule’s tail. You can learn more here about the different fat structures.

MCT oil is a purified form of saturated fatty acids, generally derived from coconut oil and palm oil.

RELATED: MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil: What Is MCT Oil really?

MCT oil benefits

MCT oil is a beneficial addition to your daily routine if you’re looking to lose weight or want to support your brain power.

MCTs are largely missing from the typical Western diet, but adding MCT oil to your daily routine can help you reap the benefits of these fats. Here’s why MCT oil is so good for you:

Increased Fat Burning

Man on a yoga mat whilst lifting a dumbell

MCT oil can help you jump-start your metabolic rate to increase fat burning. Studies show that MCTs, particularly C8 and C10 (caprylic and capric acid, two significantly ketogenic MCTs in coconut oil), cause your body to burn fat and calories, regardless of the diet you follow.[2][3] MCT oil also creates ketones, and ketones increase your metabolic rate and help you burn the body fat you already have.[4]

MCTs are also satiating and quickly digested by the body, which spurs weight loss. Keep reading to find out how.

Suppresses hunger

Man and woman standing  holding cups of coffee and smiling

MCT oil can be satiating, so you may be able to fast for longer periods or get to lunchtime without an energy crash. MCTs can raise ketones, which suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin and increase cholecystokinin (CCK) hormone that makes you feel full. These are most notably when following a ketogenic diet.[5] [6]

Easy to digest

Spoon of MCT oil being poured into a cup of coffee

The shorter chain lengths of the fat molecules mean your body breaks down MCTs quicker than the more common long-chain triglycerides found in other fatty foods.

MCT oil is digested differently as it gets absorbed directly from the gut into the liver, bypassing the physiology of being stored as fat.[7]

More brain power

Man drinking a cup of coffee

High-quality MCT oil turns into ketones within minutes, providing your brain with energy.[8] When someone’s carbs are low enough, MCT oil can be converted into ketones, which, unlike glucose, can cross the blood-brain barrier and be used as a fuel source for brain cells.[9] Research has shown that ketones can be used by both healthy and unhealthy brains, even when glucose is no longer well-utilized as an energy source.[10][11]

Strengthens the gut

A cup of Bulletproof coffee shown beside ghee and mct oil

MCT oil encourages beneficial bacteria to grow and helps heal the gastrointestinal lining.[12] When your intestinal lining is compromised, toxins, bacteria, and food particles can enter your bloodstream, putting you at risk for gastrointestinal disorders including inflammatory bowel disease and food intolerances. MCTs are also strong antifungals, antivirals, and antibacterials.[13]

How to use MCT oil

You can use MCT oil in your coffee, tea, smoothies, or drizzled over your favorite foods. Learn more here about the different ways to use MCT oil.

Try it today to power your body and mind.

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This article was originally published on October 1, 2018 and has been updated with new content.