The antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil are responsible for its cognitive, cardio and digestive effects on the body. Much research has shown that it can significantly benefit overall health, as well as help manage weight and optimize brain function. The main nutrients responsible for these benefits are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
What are MCTs?
Brain foods and brain supplements seem to be all the rage these days. This is partially due to more research showing that part of keeping the brain young means getting certain nutrients into our bodies.
Coconut oil is a great example. Its nutrients such as lauric acid have strong antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Lauric acid is actually one of the four MCTs present in coconut oil.
Researchers have shown that MCTs significantly increase energy expenditure and improve cognition because they convert to ketone energy. Part of this is because some MCTs metabolize into ketone bodies in the brain, bypassing the liver.
The four different type of MCTs in coconut oil include the following. The number of each refers to the length of the carbon chain in the fatty acid:
- C6 (Caproic Acid) – Coconut oil has very little caproic acid. It can contribute to stomach or gastric problems.
- C8 (Caprylic Acid) – About 6% of coconut oil is caprylic acid. This MCT is fastest to metabolize in the brain and bypasses the liver entirely. It also has strong antimicrobial properties. Thus, it can help eliminate bad bacteria from the gut without harming the good bacteria.
- C10 (Capric Acid) – Approximately 9% of coconut oil is capric acid. It converts into energy a little slower than C8, but it still bypasses the liver.
- C12 (aforementioned Lauric Acid) – Coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid. It is a little different than the shorter MCTs because it needs to be processed by the liver before converting into energy. Similar to C8, it has strong antimicrobial properties.
MCT Oil vs Coconut Oil
As with anything that becomes popular in the health supplements industry, lots of marketers have started offering MCT supplements to boost energy and brain power. There are also proponents of using MCTs to naturally treat ADHD. Hopefully, the list of MCTs above has given you an idea of what type of supplemental MCT oil to look for.
I personally take Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil as an MCT supplement. It is made up of only C8 caprylic acid, and it helps me focus all though the morning without getting hungry. Want to know what to put in coffee or smoothie to make it a superfood drink? MCT oil is a good addition.
If you think your brain and body would benefit from MCTs, here’s a little bit more about MCT oil vs coconut oil, and the health benefits of each.
I’m of the opinion that coconut oil is a great addition to a healthy diet because it contains all the MCTs and is a natural food. Yet, if you plan to take MCT oil, you are technically taking a dietary supplement. Producers use a manufacturing process to extract and isolate different MCTs, resulting in a concentrated product. Hence, look for high quality products with no additives.
I have read opinions from people feeling as though they were “flying” or their brain was “shocked” when they took C8 or C10. Therefore, as with any new dietary supplements, I would recommended that you consult your medical provider first and always use caution.
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