MCT Oil - Brain and Body Fuel

by Khyati Kapur

MCT Oil - Brain and Body Fuel

MCT oil is an amazing plant-source of saturated fat that’s been gaining steam in the Paleo and Keto diets. But you may have been told mixed messages about saturated fat: should you eat more of it, or avoid it? 

Saturated fat has earned a pretty bad reputation in the wellness community. It’s been debated for many decades in nutritional science as a major cause of heart disease and being worse than unsaturated fat for human health [1]. 

But before someone tells you again that saturated fat is “bad for you,” we’ll debunk that big fat lie with MCT oil in this blog. Your brain health will thank you later.

What is MCT oil powder?

Remember the structure of a typical fat molecule. A “triglyceride” is basically a glycerol molecule attached to three fatty acid tails of variable length. These tails can either be saturated (being made up of single carbon-carbon chains), or unsaturated (where there’s at-least one double bond between two carbon atoms). Saturated fats are solid at room temperature while unsaturated fats are liquid.

MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides,” which are unique saturated fatty acids varying between 6 – 12 carbons that are derived from coconut or palm oil. After the MCT oil is extracted, it’s made into a powder through a process called spray drying. Unlike coconut oil, which is mainly composed of lauric (12 carbons) and myristic acid (14 carbons), the MCT oil you’ll find in stores is usually a concentrated form of either caprylic (8 carbons) or capric acid (10 carbons).

So what makes MCT oil so special compared to other fats like coconut oil? 

Since MCTs are made of smaller carbon chains compared to the longer-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) found in coconut oil, this makes them more readily available to be absorbed and metabolized in your body, acting as an excellent source of fuel for your brain. If you want to supercharge your coffee in the morning, incorporating MCT oil powder is a better choice since the MCTs will be absorbed much faster than the LCFAs found in coconut oil. 

And the benefits that MCT oil can bring, especially for your brain health, makes this ingredient a worthwhile option!

Health benefits of MCT oil powder

MCT oil is a powerful nootropic. The key benefits of MCT oil can be accessed more efficiently thanks to its smaller size. 

If you or someone you know struggles to digest and absorb fat from their food (especially if suffering from Crohn’s or having gallbladder issues), then MCT oil would be very useful since the body can access the fat molecules much faster.

You could also benefit from MCT oil if you’re on a Keto diet (very high in fat, some protein, and restricting carbs). If you’re doing Keto, your body essentially needs to burn fat as fuel instead of carbs. The ability to absorb fat quicker with MCT oil will give you the physical and mental energy that you’ll need to function optimally throughout the day.

Even if you’re not actively doing Keto, your brain requires fat to function effectively, since the human brain is about 60% fat [2]! That means it’s super important for you to take good care of your brain health, and one effective way of doing that is by including MCTs in your diet in the form of MCT oil.

Three major benefits of MCT oil for brain health are:

  • Increased energy, where MCT oil has been shown to boost brain energy metabolism [2]. With more energy for your brain, you’ll be able to think sharper and have greater mental clarity 
  • Neuroprotective, where MCT oil can protect your brain against diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinsons, and epilepsy [3]. MCTs have even been shown to help slow down the effects of brain aging [4]. 
  • [5] Improve gut health, since MCT oil acts as a natural antimicrobial that can remove harmful bacteria and fungi, thereby optimizing your gut microbiome. How does this help the brain? Remember the gut-brain connection. Your gut bacteria indirectly influence your brain health by producing neurotransmitters like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, which are crucial molecules for maintaining communication between your brain and gut [6].

I like the sound of these benefits. Where can I get some of this MCT oil?

There’s currently a novel product on the market that’s loaded with MCT oil right here 

MCT oil and saturated fat

If there’s one thing you should take away from this article, it’s that fat is not your enemy, especially saturated fat! Remember that MCTs are saturated fats and they’re good for your body.

What would be considered “good fat” then? 

In general terms, any fat that lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol and raises “good” HDL cholesterol is considered good fat, while the fat that’s bad for your health will do the exact opposite of good fat since high LDL levels are strongly associated with heart disease.

  • We all know that most trans fats are really bad for you, since it raises LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels. But this only applies to the artificial trans fat that’s made when industrial vegetable oils are hydrogenated, or converted into solids at room temperature.
  • Unsaturated fat is touted as the “holy grail” of fats, since this one appears to be the healthiest for human health. These further subdivide into monounsaturated fats (those found in foods like avocados, almonds, and extra virgin olive oil), and polyunsaturated fats, which contain omega-3 (think of seafood like salmon) and omega-6 fatty acids (found in sunflower oil and pumpkin seeds). Check out our blog on omega 3 versus omega 6 for more in-depth info on their differences and benefits.
  • And finally, Saturated fat. Saturated fat becomes “bad” if consumed in really high quantities in processed foods like those in the Standard American Diet (think pizza and hamburgers), since it can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol. However, your body needs saturated fat since it’s an essential component of your cell membranes, and it can also raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. You’ll find healthy sources of saturated fats in eggs, grass-fed beef, dark chocolate, coconut oil, and MCT oil.

Remember, the key of taking everything in moderation holds true even for fats. You’ll be wise in optimizing your health by striking a balance between both unsaturated and saturated fat.

Seva Soul’s Neurovana Nootropic Coffee boasts a powerhouse of ingredients that’s packed with antioxidants and stimulating compounds. It features MCT oil powder, Indian Dried Spray Coffee and L-theanine, along with other important nootropics including Lion’s Mane, Chaga, and Rhodiola, all of which play a vital role in brain health. 

PLEASE NOTE that this article is not in lieu of medical advice from your doctor. All content found on this website, including articles, text, images, audio, videos, or other formats were created for informational purposes only.  This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

 

 



Khyati Kapur
Khyati Kapur

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