MCT oil , MCT oil sources, MCT oil production ,MCT oil health benefits, MCT oil uses & many more .
An Overview of MCT Oil and Medium-Chain Fatty acids
MCTs have played a key role in the food and beverage industry for many years, but their use has escalated in the last decade as more consumers are seeking whole foods and healthy fats for ketosis , weight loss and nutrition .
An emphasis on low-carbohydrate diets and macronutrients has also driven the growth of MCTs in the food industry.
Medium-chain triglycerides, are metabolized more quickly than other fatty acids to provide energy without being stored as fat.
Medium chain triglycerides also provide many other health benefits that position them as a popular nutritional supplement whose use is likely to continue to grow in the future.
What Are MCTs or Medium-Chain Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a chemical compound that is composed of a glycerol backbone and 3 fatty acids. These triglycerides can have different numbers of carbon atoms attached to them, forming an aliphatic tail which determines the type of fatty acids or triglyceride.
LCTs or Long-chain triglycerides , which are the most common dietary fat, have Thirteen to twenty one carbons in each aliphatic tail.
SCTs / Short-chain triglycerides have fewer than 6 carbons attached to each fatty acid.
MCTs or Medium-chain triglycerides fall right in the middle with an aliphatic tail of 6 -12 carbon atoms on at least 2 out of 3 fatty acids.
Medium chain triglycerides occur naturally in some foods but are also manufactured for their value as a healthier dietary fat.
Compared to Long chain triglycerides , MCTs are easier for the body to metabolize quickly, meaning they are less likely to be stored as fat.
When Long chain triglycerides enter the body, they must first be broken down by pancreatic enzymes and then delivered to the lymphatic system before traveling to the liver where they can be converted to energy.
The body cannot metabolize Long chain triglycerides as efficiently, and excess Long chain triglycerides are stored as fat.
Medium chain triglycerides , on the other hand, can travel immediately to the liver after they are consumed to be used as instant energy. Medium chain triglycerides can also be turned into compounds called ketones which can travel from the blood to the brain to serve as an alternative energy source to glucose.
There are a few main types of MCTs that are defined by the length of their aliphatic tail:
- C6 - Caproic acid or hexanoic acid : As the shortest MCT with 6 carbons in its aliphatic tail, caproic acid metabolizes very quickly. As it has an unpleasant taste or smell, that is why caproic acid is typically removed during the manufacturing of MCT oil.
- C8 - Caprylic acid or octanoic acid : Because of its antimicrobial properties, caprylic is effective for maintaining a healthy GI system. C8 is the second most efficient Medium Chain Triglyceride after C6 but does not have an offensive taste or smell. For this reason, caprylic acid is often the primary Medium Chain triglyceride used in MCT oil.
- C 10 - Capric acid or decanoic acid : While C10 metabolizes a bit slower than caprylic acid, it still turns into ketones very quickly in the liver. Capric acid is the other most common Medium chain triglycerides used for MCT oil.
- C 12 - Lauric acid or dodecanoic acid : Lauric acid makes up most of the Medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil, however, it is often removed from MCT oil. Compared to other Medium Chain triglyceride, C12 or lauric acid is the slowest to metabolize but still provides anti-microbial properties and other benefits for health..
What Are the Sources of MCT Oil ?
MCT oil is a byproduct of palm kernel or coconut oil that is produced by extracting pure Medium Chain Triglycerides from the whole food.
Coconut oil is the primary source for MCT oil, but palm kernel oil is also very common, making up nearly Thirty Four percent of MCT oil production.
Consumers sometimes confuse MCT oil and coconut oil as being the same product, but coconut oil contains all 4 types of Medium chain triglycerides as well as other fats. MCT oil, on the other hand, contains only specific Medium Chain Triglycerides and no other kinds of fats.
MCT oil production
MCT oil is produced in a process called fractionation that extracts the C8 & C10 medium chain triglycerides from the other fats in palm or coconut oil.
Once these Medium chain fatty acids are isolated, a chemical process called lipase esterification is used to produce triglycerides using the enzyme lipase.
Next, after the lipase is filtered out, the oil goes through -
- and deodorizing.
After a quality check , the final product of MCT oil is ready for consumption. Despite being produced in a laboratory , MCT oil contains entirely natural fats.
Most of the MCT oil contains- C8 Caprylic , C 10 Capric or a combination of both the triglycerides.
Typically the proportion of Medium chain triglycerides in MCT oil is Fifty to Eighty percent C 8 (caprylic acid) and Twenty to Fifty percent C 10 (capric acid).
C6 - Caproic acid is often removed from MCT oil because it can have an unpleasant smell and taste .
MCT oil typically does not contain C 12 (lauric acid) either because its benefits are debated. Because C 12 contains twelve carbons, it is on the cusp of being a LCTs. Some argue that lauric acid may act the same as a Long chain triglycerides in the body and be more difficult to absorb and process.
Caprylic ( C8) and capric acid ( C10) Triglycerides are valuable for MCT oil because they can be more rapidly absorbed and processed in the body than other fatty acids.
What are the health Benefits of MCTs and MCT Oil
Medium chain triglycerides and MCT oil has gained popularity as a health food and nutritional dietary supplement because of the plethora of health benefits they offer.
In addition to providing quick and efficient energy, MCT oil can aid in effective weight loss during Ketosis or without ketogenic diet , improve cognitive health and provide support for digestive disorders.
Here are a few of the main health benefits of MCT oil:
Helps in healthy weight loss and management : Medium Chain Triglycerides and MCT oil have a variety of properties that aids in weight loss and management. Compared to Long chain triglycerides , Medium chain triglycerides have fewer calories but can better increase the satiety (feeling of fullness) and reduce appetite. Medium chain triglycerides are also burned more rapidly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat. Some studies have shown that Medium chain triglycerides may even increase the body’s ability to burn fat, to reduce accumulation of body fat and help prevent obesity. Medium chain triglycerides can be particularly beneficial for those on an Intermittent fasting or keto diet, as they produce ketones that allow a person to consume more carbohydrates while maintaining a state of ketosis.
Enhances exercise performance: Because they can increase energy levels and burn fat, MCT can boost exercise performance for athletes and bodybuilders. Consuming Medium chain triglycerides before exercise can lead to better workouts. Medium chain triglycerides can also increase lean muscle mass while decreasing body fat.
Ref : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8806933 (Effects of medium-chain triglyceride ingestion on fuel metabolism and cycling performance) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19436137
Helps to Improve gut health and supports digestion: Medium chain triglycerides improve gut health by killing harmful bacteria without impacting good bacteria in the gut. Medium chain triglycerides can prevent diarrhea and fat indigestion. MCTs can also aid in restoring proper digestive functions for those who have experienced a gastrectomy.
Improves Brain health: Consuming Medium chain triglycerides may lead to better focus and more clear thinking. Because the brain is composed of fatty acids, improved gut health has a positive impact on brain functioning. The ketones produced by Medium Chain Triglycerides are also able to fuel the CNS better than Long chain triglycerides because they can pass through the blood-brain barrier. Medium chain triglycerides may also be able to slow the effects of dementia in those with Alzheimer’s disease by providing ketones to the brain.
Helps to Lower risk of diabetes: Medium chain triglycerides may be beneficial for those who have diabetes as they can lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Better insulin sensitivity is also an important factor in the prevention of diabetes in those who are at high risk. Consuming Medium chain triglycerides can also help reduce body weight which is another risk factor for diabetes.
Medium chain triglycerides and MCT oil can also be used to supplement treatments for more severe diseases, such as celiac and liver disease . Medium chain triglycerides have been used for a long time to treat malnutrition because they are easy for the body to digest and convert to energy. Medium chain triglycerides can also be used for patients who must receive food intravenously, such as after gastrectomy.
What Foods Contain Medium Chain Triglycerides or MCTs?
Medium Chain Triglycerides are found primarily in whole foods and dairy products, with different foods containing different concentrations and types of Medium chain triglycerides . Generally, coconut oil , palm kernel oil, and other coconut products contain higher concentrations of C12 (lauric acid) and lower concentrations of C8 (caprylic) and C10 (capric acid).
In coconut oil, about half of the triglycerides are lauric acid. Dairy products, on the other hand, contain primarily C 8 & C10 fatty acid and have lower concentrations of C 12 .
However, Coconut and palm oil still contain much more Medium chain triglycerides overall than dairy products do. This is why they are the primary source for MCT oil even though they contain a lower concentration of the C 8 & C10 used for MCT oil. Below are some foods that are rich in Medium chain triglycerides:
- Coconut oil: As the primary source for MCT oil, more than sixty percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides . While coconut oil contains a higher concentration of C 12, it still has the highest percentage of C 8 & C10 making up thirteen percent of its fatty acids.
- Palm kernel oil: Another rich source of Medium chain triglycerides , the fatty acids in palm kernel oil are over fifty percent Medium chain triglyceride with about Sven percent being caprylic and capric acid.
- Coconut meat and cream: Coconut meat and cream also rank high as MCT-rich whole foods and contain a good percentage of C 8 & C10 , at 8 & 4 % respectively.
- Dairy products: Butter, goat cheese and feta cheese are all great natural sources of Medium chain triglycerides , with percentages ranging from 4 - 8 % of their fatty acids. Other cheeses, creams and milk contain Medium chain triglycerides as well but in smaller proportions.
While whole foods are a great way to naturally introduce more Medium chain triglycerides into your diet, they still contain a relatively low percentage of Medium chain triglycerides compared to MCT oil. Whole foods with Medium chain triglycerides also contain lauric acid and Long chain triglycerides that some individuals seek to avoid and which can slow down the rapid metabolizing of MCT for energy. Supplementing with MCT oil can allow individuals to avoid lauric acid and other fatty acids while reaping the benefits of C 8 & C10 fatty acids. MCT oil contains 100 % caprylic and capric acid, meaning consumers do not need to ingest as high of a quantity to receive the same benefits as they would with coconut oil, palm kernel oil or other whole food MCTs sources.
Applications of MCT oil
MCT oil is quickly growing in popularity as a nutritional dietary supplement, and many MCT oil is used as a food additive for health foods and beverages by many consumers and manufacturers. MCT oil’s ability to boost energy and performance makes it a popular additive for energy bars, beverages and powdered protein shakes. Because MCT oil is tasteless, colorless , flavorless and odorless , it can be consumed plain or added to a wide variety of products without altering their flavor.
Many consumers add MCT oil into homemade recipes as well for additional health benefits.
Below are some popular ways to use MCT oil:
- MCT oil in coffee ( Bulletproof coffee) : Incorporating coconut or MCT oil into coffee is one of the most popular uses l. This MCT-charged bulletproof coffee provides a boost of energy and helps stimulate the brain at the start of the day.
- MCT oil in Smoothies: Incorporating MCT oil to post or pre-workout shakes or smoothies provides more energy for exercising individuals and helps aid in recovery after high-intensity workouts.
- MCT oil in Salad dressings or marinades: It can add smoothness to salad dressing or marinade, without altering it’s flavor.
- Sauces: Because it has a very low smoke point, therefore MCT oil can only be used for cooking at low temperatures. This makes it a perfect addition to sauces that can simmer without reducing the effectiveness of the Medium chain triglycerides.
- Homemade energy bars: It can be used to make delicious and healthy energy bars or balls when blended with dried fruit, coconut , nut butter, or cacao powder.
While MCT oil does not have any serious side effects, it can take some time for a person’s body to get accumulating MCTs. Those individuals who are new to MCT may experience some diarrhea or nausea when they first begin using MCT oil supplements. It is suggested to start with one 1 tsp a day of MCT oil and then increase the MCT intake over time.
MCT Oil in Personal care or Beauty Products
MCT oil is a relatively new player in the personal care and beauty sectors but is poised to become a valuable addition. Following the popularity of coconut oil in moisturizers, skincare and other beauty care products, MCT oil can offer many of the same benefits.
MCT oil is great for adding moisture to the lips or skin and can be added into creams , lotions or moisturizers . MCT oil is lightweight and does not leave skin feeling greasy or oily y when it is used as a moisturizer.
Beauty care products with MCT are perfect for those with sensitive skin because MCT oil is odorless , colorless and not harsh on the skin. MCT oil is also effective in massage oils as it does not clog pores. The personal care and beauty care industries provide a lot of opportunities to use the health benefits of Medium Chain triglycerides and MCT oil, and MCT use is likely to continue to expand in these industries.
What the Demand for MCT Means for consumers and manufacturers
The demand for natural, sustainable and “good-for-you” dietary supplements is nothing new. From the Atkins diet of the early 2000s to the quinoa craze of the 2010s to the more recent consumer obsession with coconut oil, health trends are a major driving factor of the dietary supplement industry.
These health trends carry over to the personal care and beauty industries in products such as moisturizers, skincare and makeup products.
Since MCT oil is a natural and sustainable product and it has recently gained popularity in the global market. The high consumer demand for MCT oil is driven by various factors, including its effectiveness as a dietary and weight loss supplement as well as its application in beauty and pharmaceuticals products.
In 2016, the global market size for MCT oil was 1000 tons. Dietary supplements and health supplements accounted for over fifty nine percent of the total revenue from MCTs. Societal concerns about stress , obesity, and other unhealthy lifestyles are factors driving this high demand, as MCT oil has been shown to improve digestion and metabolism while increasing energy and burning of fat . The demand for MCTs supplements is projected to continue to grow in the future.
Medium Chain Triglycerides also has applications in the pharmaceutical industry that will likely contribute to its growth in coming years. The benefits of Medium Chain Triglycerides for reducing the risk of Heart disease and diabetes make it valuable in this industry.
MCT oil can be used in antifungal , antiviral, or antibacterial medicines. MCT is also an effective suspension medium or carrier for oil-soluble medicines .
The growth of demand for MCT oil in the beauty and personal care market is driven by increased consumption of care products such as ointments , lotions, moisturizers and creams for their health benefits. Because Medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil) have almost no taste or odor , they can be incorporated well into personal and beauty care products without producing a harsh or unappealing scent.
North America was the largest consumer of MCTs in 2016 and is projected to generate over Seven Fifty two million in revenue by 2025. MCT oil is currently used in the food, personal care and detergent sectors and is well-established in the North American region.
Asia Pacific is expected to experience the fastest growth in MCT oil consumption in both revenue and volume, with a projected demand of One twenty kilotons of MCT by 2025.
The demand in Asia Pacific is driven primarily by MCT as a nutritional dietary supplement and as for beauty and personal care products. It’s gowth in Europe is also driven by the dietary supplement and personal care sectors, but MCT is particularly popular in Germany in the pharma industry.
Because the demand for MCT oil grew very rapidly in recent years, global supply decreased just as quickly. Palm and Coconut trees used to produce MCT oil take time to reach maturity before they can be harvested. Health trends are often hard to anticipate, so producers and growers of MCT oil were not prepared for the market boom.
This low supply and high demand for MCT oil makes manufacturing of MCT oil and it’s products a smart investment, as the high price of MCT is likely to remain stable in the near future. The desire for healthy and natural products is here to stay, so smart manufacturers should strive to produce products that meet this demand from consumers.
Finding a Reputable MCT Oil producer or Supplier
Because of the boom in popularity of MCT oil, it can be tempting for MCT producers to cut corners in it’s production.
Some producers includes lauric acid ( C12) in their MCT oil production to reduce costs and increase production. However, this also depletesMCT oil health benefits , as C12 is more difficult to metabolize than C 8 & C10 . Other manufacturers may not use sustainable and clean production methods, which then reduces the effectiveness of MCT as a natural dietary or health supplement.
Sustainable production of MCT oil means providing a fair price to producers and transporting goods in a way that reduces the production of greenhouse gases. The palm and coconut oil used in production of MCT should also be sourced from sustainable farms . A good producer and supplier of MCT oil will have a sustainable supply chain from bottom to top and provide pure MCT oil.
Sharrets Nutritions provides a variety of nutritional supplements to it’s consumers across the globe. Contact us to know more about our MCT oil .