For a long time, people have been adding MCT oils in bulletproof coffee, smoothies and salad dressings. The common source of these oils is coconut oil because around 50 percent of its content is MCTs. The MCTs also form part of other foods like dairy products and palm oil. So, what is MCT oil?

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), also known as medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), have the phrase “medium-chain” in the name because they feature 6-12 carbon atoms. To understand why they are known as medium-chain triglycerides in a better way, you should know that all the available dietary fats are molecules made up of individual carbon atoms that join to make chains of a length of 2 to 12 carbon atoms.

The predominant type of dietary fats in the United States is the LCTs, which have a length between 13 and 18 carbons. The short-chain fatty acids feature less than 6 carbons.

The naming methods are seemingly arbitrary, but the carbon content of fatty acids affects how your body digests and absorbs the fat you consume. A quick example MCTs digest very fast and move to the liver directly while the LCTs require enzymes, bile and chylomicrons for the body to absorb them completely.

Here are the key benefits of MCT Oil:

1. Promotes weight loss

For people working out to lose the undesirable weight, MCT oil will help you achieve your goals faster in various ways. The oil is known to facilitate the release of two vital body hormones that promote the fullness feeling. The two hormones are leptin and YY. The oils work better than the popular coconut oil when it comes to keeping the user full.

A more recent study has shown that people who take two tablespoons of the MCT oil during their breakfast eat less food during lunch compared to those who take coconut oil. The same study showed that the increase of glucose and triglycerides is lower with MCT oil, which highly contributes to the fullness feeling.

Some reports have also shown that taking oil can reduce the waist circumference and body weight. Some researchers have reported that it helps prevent obesity too. The best MCT oils contain around 10 percent lesser calories than the long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), found in foods like nuts, olive oil and avocados.

2. Provides energy instantly to fuel the brain

Researchers have shown that MCT oils are a super fuel for the brain because the body absorbs them faster than the long-chain triglycerides that contain more carbons. The shorter chain length of the MCT oils means that they can travel directly from the gut to your liver and do not require bile for break down, which is the case to expect with the long-chain fats.

When the oils get in the liver, the body can choose to use them as fuel or to store them as body fat. But because the oils enter into the body cells without the body breaks them down, they are used as an energy source.

For people on ketogenic diets, the liver can convert the MCTs into ketones. The ketones pass through the blood-brain barrier and fuel the brain cells.

3. Reduces build-up of lactate in athletes and increases the use of fat as energy

The popularity of MCT oil among athletes has been increasing rapidly. When working out, lactate levels rise and negatively affect exercise performance. By using MCTs, athletes are able to reduce the build-up of lactate in their body.

A more recent study showed that athletes who consume around 6 grams or 1.5 teaspoons of the MCT oils with food before they start cycling lowered their lactate levels and were able to exercise easily – that is as compared to those who used LCTs.

Moreover, the study showed that the use of MCTs before the start of a workout session helps the athletes use fewer carbs and more fat for energy. While the MCTs increase the burning of fat in the body during workouts, studies have provided mixed results on whether the oils can help people workout in a better way.

One of the studies has found out that the oils improve the swimming capacity of mice and another one showed that the oils increased the endurance of athletes during competitions. At least, the studies have shown that the oils do not affect the performance of athletes negatively.

4. Helps manage diseases

Studies have also shown that the MCT oils along with ketogenic diets can help manage some conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and autism.

Even though ketogenic diets have gained popularity among individuals willing to shed some pounds, researchers have introduced it as an effective way of managing epilepsy. Scientists suggest that fasting increases the production of ketones and that reduces the frequency of seizures.

The other condition MCTs may help manage is Alzheimer's disease, which impairs the ability of the brain to use sugars. MCT oils offer a good source of energy.

That way, brain cells are able to survive in a better way. MCTs provide ketones, which block the brain receptors responsible for causing memory loss.

One of the available study reports shows that a single MCT dose improves short-term cognition. 20-70 grams of MCT supplements consist of capric or caprylic acid that improves the symptoms of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. 

5. Fights growth of yeast and bacteria

MCTs have strong antifungal and antimicrobial effects. MCTs are known to prevent the growth of Candida albicans. The yeast, Candida albicans, is a known cause of various skin infections and thrush.

A test-tube study showed that oils reduce the growth of disease-causing bacteria known as Clostridium difficile.

The ability of the oils to reduce the growth of bacteria and yeast is due to the capric, caprylic and lauric acid content.

The oils are shown to suppress the growth of widespread infectious fungus by around 50 percent in hospitals. 

6. Controls the levels of blood sugar levels and supports and management of diabetes

MCT oil is also good for people with diabetes. Most individuals living with type-2 diabetes are either obese or overweight. For them, the weight is hard to manage.

However, the MCTs are known to reduce the storage of fat and increase fat burning in the body.

A small Chinese study that involved 40 individuals showed that people who consume MCT oil each day are able to reduce their waist circumference, body weight and insulin resistance.

Another study involving 10 diabetic people showed that they needed 30 percent less sugar after insulin injection and consuming MCT to maintain the proper level of blood sugar. That is unlikely to happen with LCTs. 


By taking some MCT oil each morning, you will enjoy more benefits and reduce your risks for diseases. The oils contain fatty acids that reduce body fat, increase fullness and improve the gut environment to promote weight loss.

The oils are a great source of energy, reduce the growth of bacteria and help protect the heart in addition to managing Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epilepsy and diabetes. The potential side effects include accumulation of fat in the liver and increased hunger.

To avoid the side effects, stick to 1-2 tablespoons per day.