MCT Oil 101: Your Guide to Medium-Chain Tryglycerides
The broad array of vocabulary that the hemp community uses is confusing not only to novice users but for frequent users as well. MCT, or MCT oil, is just one of the many phrases hemp users can be sure to come across.
Understandably, most consumers want to be aware of every single component that goes into making the best CBD products. Learning what MCT oil is is one step towards becoming a smart buyer.
What are Medium-Chain Triglycerides?
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are a kind of fat molecule. MCTs can be extracted from coconut oil and palm kernel oil.
This type of chain molecule is metabolized differently than long-chain triglycerides (LCT). MCTs are metabolized by going straight to the liver. This allows them to be used as instant energy that can be turned into ketones.
Ketones are substances that are produced when the liver breaks down large amounts of fat.
Similarly, since MCTs are shorter chains, they can be broken down by the body quickly and absorbed by the system swifter.
“Triglycerides” is a technical term for fat. The purpose of this type of molecule is either burn energy or be stored as body fat. The chemical structure of MCT involves one glycerol molecule and three fatty acids.
What is MCT Oil Made of?
Brands use a man-made process called “fractionation” to extract MCT. This is a process that involves brands extracting and isolating MCTs from coconut oil or palm oil. These two oils contain highly concentrated sources of MCT.
Manufacturers can make their MCT oil by either only using caprylic acid (C8) or capric acid (C10). Some companies choose to use both of these liquids in creating their oils.
Some people mistakenly use MCT oil and coconut oil interchangeably. However, this is incorrect and inaccurate. Coconut oil contains high levels of MCT but is completely separate from MCT oil. The latter kind of product contains only MCT.
Since MCT oil is a substance that is pure fat, most doctors recommend limiting its use to a teaspoon or tablespoon amount. Consuming too much of this product may lead users to experience several negative effects, like nausea or diarrhea.
As with any wellness products, seeking a doctor’s advice before incorporating MCT oil into one’s lifestyle is advisable.
What is MCT Oil Good for?
Although the research on this type of oil is still in the early stages, many of the findings that are currently available show promising results.
The most commonly cited benefit of MCT oil is its supposed ability to help users lose weight. A study showed that this oil may be helpful in preventing obesity. Scientists found that MCT has the potential to trigger weight loss and may be able to burn fat.
A similar study conducted more recently found that MCT may also cause an increase in hormones that decrease appetite.
Another health benefit that MCT may be able to provide its users is a lowering of cholesterol levels. Researchers gave 40 female test subjects coconut oil to consume and observed their body’s reaction to the addition in their diet.
Researchers found that consuming coconut oil may lower negative types of cholesterol and increase positive types of cholesterol.
However, it is important to point out that scientists used coconut oil for the above study.
Even though coconut oil contains large amounts of MCT, these results may be different if the scientists used MCT oil and not coconut oil on their test subjects.
Another possible health benefit of using MCT oil is low blood sugar levels. A study showed that MCT helped improve type 2 diabetes risk factors, specifically with insulin resistance.
Scientists have also stated that this oil may help patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. A research project gave participants MCT supplements and recorded their brain’s activity afterward. Scientists found that the brain ketone supplies of their test subjects increased after consuming MCT.
In the same vein, another research project found a correlation between ketone levels and memory performance. Theoretically, MCT’s ability to increase ketone levels may be able to improve Alzheimer patients’ memory functions.
Several of the health benefits being attributed to MCT oil are based on anecdotal evidence or preliminary research. Researchers need to conduct more rigorous testing before any definitive claims on MCT can be made.
MCT Oil and CBD: Benefits
One of the main reasons that the interest in MCT oil has increased in recent years is due to its relationship with CBD products. The boom in the green market has benefited not only the CBD compound but MCT oil as well.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound that can be extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. Many users often confuse it with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the two have differing effects. THC is the hemp compound that is responsible for marijuana’s infamous “high.”
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means that no amount of CBD consumed may lead users to feel a sense of high. The non-psychoactive aspect of this hemp compound makes it very attractive to users that wish to enjoy the health benefits of hemp products without experiencing its mind-altering effects.
Most CBD oils have MCT oil listed as an ingredient. Even isolate products that do not contain any other active ingredient aside from CBD may still list MCT oil as an ingredient. This is because MCT oil acts as a carrier oil for many cannabidiol oils.
The use of MCT oil as a carrier oil for hemp products increases the bioavailability of the product. In the world of hemp, the bioavailability of a brand’s product is one of its most defining features.
Simply put, a product’s bioavailability scores how much of the hemp compound reaches the bloodstream. The more CBD there is in the bloodstream gives the compound more chance to be effective.
CBD tinctures have a relatively good bioavailability score, ranging from 13% to 35%, depending on the brand. Although this is largely because this type of product is absorbed by the sublingual glands underneath the tongue that allow the CBD to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, MCT oil still plays an important role.
MCT helps cannabidiol to avoid the first stages of the metabolism process. This allows more CBD to enter the bloodstream. Also, since cannabidiol is fat-soluble, it is able to bind together strongly in MCT oil. MCT is oil is very high in fat content, making it a smart choice for a carrier oil.
Aside from these benefits, MCT oil by itself has also been used as a supplemental wellness product. Its combination with cannabidiol oils may increase the health benefits of the products.
MCT or MCT oil are common phrases that hemp consumers will encounter in the green community.
Becoming familiar with the hemp vocabulary helps consumers make smart choices every time they need to buy their CBD products.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level. Moreover, these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and products that have not been FDA approved. Likewise, you must be at least 21 years old to purchase these products. Talk to your physician or medical doctor for additional information.