Medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are fatty acids that are able to bypass the normal digestive process. As such, they are not easily metabolized into fat by the body, and they provide an ideal energy source for carbohydrate-starved keto dieters.
But the benefits of MCT oil extend far beyond the keto diet. They can also help stabilize blood glucose levels, enhance cognitive function, improve workouts and even reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Although medium chain triglycerides can be found naturally in some foods, (most notably coconuts), MCT oil has become the most popular delivery method for these important compounds. Below are the best MCT oils of 2020.
1. Bulletproof Brain Octane MCT Oil
C8 fatty acids are considered optimal for those seeking to lose weight or who need energy to fuel their keto diet efforts. Most types of fat are processed by the digestive tract and then metabolized into fat stores for later use. C8 fatty acids emerge from the digestive tract virtually unscathed and can be put straight to work providing energy, raising your metabolism and boosting brain function.
Bulletproof Brain Octane MCT Oil is a high octane shot of energy for all aspects of your physiology. You’ll feel sharper and more alert while enjoying enhanced energy levels that are free of the jitters that accompany a caffeine buzz. Bulletproof Brain Octane is subjected to a triple distillation process that eschews chemicals and solvents. The result is an MCT oil supplement that is highly pure and highly effective.
2. Perfect Keto Rapid Energy Pure MCT Oil
If you have spent more than a few minutes researching the keto diet you have likely heard the name ‘Perfect Keto’. The company has been a leader in the keto diet space for several years and specializes in producing high-quality, high-potency keto-related supplements.
Their Rapid Energy Pure MCT Oil contains a mix of C8 and C10 MCT fatty acids that will enhance your weight loss or workout efforts. Perfect Keto Rapid Energy is odorless, flavorless and makes a perfect topping for salads, or a perfect addition to your morning coffee.
3. Sports Research Premium MCT Oil
A lot of companies are parsimonious when it comes to doling out the MCT oil. You only get a few ounces; just enough to wet your whistle and pique your interest. That is not the case with Sports Research Premium MCT Oil. You get a 128 ounces of full-spectrum MCT oil containing every type of medium chain fatty acid from C6 to C12, (also known as ‘lauric acid’).
Sports Research MCT Oil is derived from non-GMO coconuts. That means that at no point during the cultivation process has anyone tinkered with their genetic structure. The result is an oil that is pure and safe and will fuel your workouts, enhance your weight loss efforts and make you feel more alert. And you won’t have to keep ordering more every two weeks.
4. Nutiva Organic MCT Oil
Nutiva sources their MCT oil from organically grown coconuts and never subjects them to harsh chemical treatments during the distillation process. What you get is pure, unadulterated MCT oil that’s bursting with C8 and C10 fatty acids. Enhance your keto diet, supercharge your workouts or just enjoy better overall health by slipping a bit of this into your beverage of choice every day.
Nutiva Organic MCT Oil is a perfect source of energy for vegans and vegetarians, or those on the paleo or ketogenic diets. Your body does not turn it into unsightly and unhealthy fat deposits and it has the added benefit of raising your metabolism. So even if you are not dieting, it will help you keep your weight under control. Nutiva MCT Oil is USDA certified organic.
5. Nutricost MCT Oil Softgels
Not everyone wants to be bothered finding ways to ingest raw MCT oil. They want a convenient way to get their MCTs without having to mix a shake or change the nature of their morning coffee. Nutricost MCT Oil Softgel capsules provide that way. It’s a bit surprising more companies haven’t thought of this before.
You get high-potency, high-purity MCT oil that has already been measured out for you into an optimal dose. There is no need to make a special drink to accommodate it or to hold your nose and swallow a spoonful of raw MCT oil from a bottle. The MCT oil used here is free of GMOs, free of artificial additives and contains only high potency C8 and C10 fatty acids.
6. Wild Foods Organic MCT Oil
Wild Foods Organic MCT Oil is filtered three times to remove virtually all impurities. What you get is 32 ounces of 100% C8 and C10 medium chain fatty acids derived from organic coconuts. Nothing more, nothing less. This flavorless, odorless MCT oil will not impose itself on your salads or cereal, won’t ruin the flavor of your coffee and won’t leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth. Certified USDA organic.
7. Peak Performance Pure C8 MCT Oil
Peak Performance Pure C8 is formulated with keto dieters in mind. It is triple distilled to remove impurities so it will not cause stomach upset or ruin the taste of whatever beverage you decide to mix it with. If you are on the keto diet you know how important it is to find a reliable source of bioavailable fatty acids. Here it is. Bear in mind, however, that it will also provide a variety of benefits for non-keto dieters who just want to look and feel better, get their blood sugars under control, or enhance their brain power.
8. Sports Research MCT Oil Powder
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an MCT oil powder that you could use to make MCT shakes or add to your protein shake? Well, now there is. Sports Research has come up with a high potency MCT powder that enables you to get the fatty acids you need to enhance your keto diet or ramp up your workouts. It has no discernable taste, mixes well with a variety of non-carbonated beverages and contains at least 75% medium chain triglycerides per scoop. You also get valuable fiber that is so often missing from keto diet foods.
9. Garden of Life Dr. Formulated MCT Oil
Garden of Life is known for its vitamin and mineral supplements, but makes a successful foray into the MCT Oil space with this high-quality offering. The C8 and C10 MCTs here are gleaned from organically grown coconuts and are 100% GMO-free. Garden of Life MCT oil is certified vegan and vegetarian, is ideal for keto and paleo diets and is one of the better values on the market. Whether you want to lose weight, keep weight off or just feel more mentally sharp, Dr. Formulated MCT Oil from Garden of Life can help.
10. Nature’s Way Organic MCT Oil
Nature’s Way Organic MCT Oil contains C8 and C10 fatty acids from organic coconuts. There are no filler oils here, no artificial flavors or preservatives, and nothing that would interfere with a vegetarian or vegan diet. If you are on the keto diet it will provide the energy you need. If you are looking to maintain a healthy weight it will help you raise your metabolic rate. And if you are looking for a way to stabilize your blood glucose levels, it can help with that too.
What Is MCT Oil ?
The ‘MCT’ in MCT oil stands for ‘medium chain triglycerides’. Medium chain triglycerides are a type of saturated fat that is naturally found in coconuts and a few other plants. MCT oil became a dietary ‘thing’ when the ever-growing number of keto dieters realized MCT fatty acids made an ideal source of fuel to replace the carbohydrates they were forbidden to eat.
MCTs are an ideal source of fuel because, unlike other forms of fat, they bypass much of the digestive process. As a result, they are not metabolized into fat stores and can be utilized by the body to produce energy without delay. Recent studies are beginning to recognize that the benefits of MCT oil extend far beyond the confines of the keto diet, and we will get into some of those benefits now.
What are the Benefits of MCT Oil?
MCT oil is ideal if you are on the keto diet – The keto diet is the only popular diet that is based on fundamental science and is guaranteed to produce significant weight loss if you stick to it. For the keto diet to work you must consume fat your body can use as energy once you stop eating carbs. But not just any old fat will do. It must be beneficial fat, exactly like the fatty acids found in MCT oil (1).
MCT oil can enhance gut health – Medium chain triglycerides destroy harmful bacteria (2) while leaving the good bacteria in your gut untouched. This essentially clears the way for the good gastrointestinal flora to work much more efficiently and effectively. As a result, you digest food faster and more completely and enjoy a much higher degree of nutrient absorption, which benefits every aspect of your overall health.
MCT oil is a multifaceted supplement – MCT oil is more than just a way to enhance the effects of the keto diet. It has myriad other applications including reducing the risk of diabetes, helping to clear problem skin, and perhaps even reducing the risk of certain cancers. So even if you are not enamored of the keto diet – or even if you do not need to lose weight – MCT oil still has a boatload of benefits you can take advantage of.
MCT oil enhances your workouts – The idea that MCT oil can enhance physical performance is more than a marketing claim. There is a lot of scientific evidence to support the idea (3). And this benefit is not only available to people on the low-carb, high-fat keto diet. It can be experienced by anyone. It is believed that, because MCT oil is rich in fatty acids, it acts as a kind of turbo boost that makes more energy resources available.
MCT oil may help in the fight against cancer – It has been known for some time that medium chain triglycerides have real and quantifiable antitumor capabilities (4). Scientists and medical researchers are actively trying to figure out the best way to put this knowledge to work. But some are already advocating for putting children with cancer on a ketogenic diet that includes MCT oil (5).
MCT oil can help you lose weight – As we mentioned above, MCT oil is an important part of the low-carb, high-fat keto diet (6). In that regard it provides the beneficial fatty acids people need to power their body in the absence of carbohydrates. But there is also compelling evidence that regular MCT oil use can help you lose weight even if you are not on the keto diet (7). It does this by boosting the metabolism and, in turn, boosting thermogenesis (8).
MCT oil is rich in lauric acid – Lauric acid is found in abundance in MCT oil and is known to have robust antimicrobial and antifungal capabilities (9). As such it is used in various parts of the world as a treatment for everything from the flu to cold sores to genital herpes, bronchitis, yeast infections and more (10). It also helps promote healthy gut flora which helps produce more effective digestion.
MCT oil may enhance cognitive performance – There is preliminary evidence to suggest that MCT oil may help people suffering from cognitive decline. The brains of people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia are unable to effectively utilize glucose for energy. It is thought that the fatty acids in MCT oil may help pick up the slack for this energy deficiency. And indeed, at least one study strongly suggests that is possible (11).
MCT oil may reduce the risk of diabetes – One of the primary risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes is being overweight. Today, it is estimated that approximately 1 in every 22 humans is obese. As the obesity epidemic (12) has spread, so too has the type 2 diabetes epidemic (13). By helping people get their weight under control, MCT oil can help them reduce the chances that they will wind up developing diabetes.
MCT oil can help control seizures – The keto diet was developed a century ago as a way to help adolescents with medication-resistant seizures gain some control over their lives (14). Although it has been embraced by those looking for a sure-fire way to lose weight, it is still used today in some cases for the same seizure-controlling purpose. By helping make the keto diet more effective, MCT oil can increase its anti-seizure capabilities.
MCT oil does not increase the risk of heart disease – There has been some noise in the press in recent years claiming that medium chain triglycerides pose a risk to cardiovascular health. That is not the kind of thing people who have been using MCT oil for some time want to hear. Fortunately, there is no actual evidence that this is true. In fact, studies indicate that the claim is entirely without merit (15).
MCT oil can help regulate blood glucose levels – The keto diet is well-known for its ability to help people get their blood sugars under control. Its primary mechanism for doing this is eliminating all but a tiny amount of carbohydrates from the diet. As a result, carb-related blood glucose spikes are averted. By enabling the keto diet, MCT oil makes it easier for you to restore normal blood sugar levels and keep them stable.
Are There Side Effects?
Negative side effects from MCT oil consumption are rare but they have been known to happen from time to time. They most common potential side effects are:
Loose stools – Some people have a harder time than others acclimating to MCT oils. As a result, they may suffer from loose stools. Those loose stools may be accompanied by nausea and, in some cases, morph into diarrhea. It must be said, however, that most cases of loose stools or diarrhea are the result of people taking more than the recommended amount of MCT oil.
Hunger pangs – Some people who take MCT oil complain that it makes them feel hungry. This is most likely due to the fact that MCTs are able to increase the production of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin (16). But while an increase in ghrelin production is not unusual, not every case of increased ghrelin production results in hunger pangs.
Increased liver fat (maybe) – Laboratory studies using mice suggest that consuming large amounts of MCT oil over a protracted period of time can increase fat stores in the liver. That said, it must be noted that no person in their right mind is going to take the equivalent amount of MCT oil as was given to laboratory mice.
Allergic reactions – In extremely rare cases a few people have experienced allergic reactions to taking MCT oil. This may include hives, rashes, blistering or peeling skin, itching, wheezing, tightness in the throat, trouble swallowing, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat and even fever. But again, while technically possible, allergic reactions to MCT oil are extremely rare.
Are There Different Kinds of MCTs?
There are, but the scientific explanation as to what makes them different is enough to make your head spin (17). So we will try to reduce it to a digestible size.
Essentially, medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), move through your digestive tract without having to be modified first, the way long chain fatty acids do. They also do not require bile salts to be digested like long chain fatty acids. The bottom line is that they are very easy for the body to metabolize into an energy source. People suffering from malnutrition are sometimes treated with MCTs because of this.
There are four types of MCTs designated C6, C8, C10, and C12. The number indicates the length of the compound, with the bigger number indicating a longer triglyceride. C8s are widely considered to be the optimal length for MCTs as they resist being turned into fat stores, and are instead quickly made available as a source of energy. In most MCT oil products you will find a combination of C8 and C10 MCTs. Some will put more of an emphasis on C12, also known as lauric acid.
Is There a Right Way to Take MCT Oil?
The right way is however the instructions on the label indicate a particular MCT oil product should be taken. As a general rule, however, it is usually wise to start slow by taking perhaps half the recommended dose for a few days, just to see how your body adjusts to it. Rather than taking it straight from the bottle it might also be a good idea to mix it with your coffee or tea, or perhaps drip it on your cereal. Just be sure to wait until your coffee or tea cools down a bit.
Also, it is not such a great idea to use MCT oil the way you might use regular cooking oil. That is, don’t use it to, say, lubricate a frying pan. And remember that MCT oil does not contain other important fats such as omega-3 fatty acids (18). So make sure you have more than one source of beneficial fats. Especially if you are on the keto diet.
The Bottom Line
If you are on the keto diet adding MCT oil to your daily routine is a must. It will provide your body with the high-quality fats it needs to produce energy once you eliminate most carbs. But keto dieters are not the only ones who can benefit from taking MCT oil on a regular basis.
People involved in any type of weight loss program should seriously consider making MCT oil part of their dietary routine, since it is proven to increase metabolism. Those intent on stabilizing blood glucose levels should also consider MCT oil. And those wishing to increase the effectiveness of their workouts should consider taking MCT oil too.
The purported benefits of MCT oil are not the product of an overzealous marketing department. They are well and truly supported by copious amounts of clinical evidence. If you are interested in attaining a higher level of overall health, MCT oil should be on your radar.