This healthy fat from coconut oil can help boost energy, fight off bad bugs, promote heart health, and more
The top five benefits of MCT oil, how certain jobs deplete vitamin D, and more.
Healthy fats are all the rage, and among these, MCT oil falls in a special category. A concentration of certain fats found in coconut oil, it promises to deliver quick energy and a host of other benefits.
“MCT” is an abbreviation for medium chain triglycerides, also called medium chain fatty acids. Fats are made of chains of molecules bound together and, depending upon the number of carbon atoms in a chain, are classified as short, medium, or long chain.
1. Boosting Energy
“Medium chain triglycerides are more easily digested than other fats,” says Larry Trivieri Jr., author of Coconuts for Your Health. “More importantly,” he adds, “unlike long chain triglycerides, which get stored in your body’s other cells, tissues, and organs, MCTs are stored in the liver, where they are quickly metabolized and converted into a readily available source of energy.”
2. Aiding in Weight Loss
Replacing other fats with MCT oil can produce weight loss. A Japanese study of 78 men and women compared the effects of MCT oil or long chain fatty acids in diets with the same amounts of calories and total fat. Measurements after 4, 8, and 12 weeks showed that at each stage, those consuming MCT oil lost significantly more fat.
Another study compared medium and long chain fats in a group of obese women. Researchers found that more fat calories were burned on a diet with medium chain fats.
3. Protecting the Heart
A review of studies, published in the journal Pharmacological Research, concluded that MCT oil may help to prevent metabolic syndrome, a combination of factors that increases risk for diabetes and heart disease. Studies suggested that the oil suppressed fat deposition, enhanced metabolism, and improved insulin sensitivity.
4. Fighting Bugs
MCT oil inhibits the growth of bugs that have become resistant to antibiotics, according to research at Kent State University in Ohio. One specific bacterium it fights is Clostridium difficile, a common cause of infection in hospitals. MCT oil has also been found to combat Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.
5. Helping Alzheimer’s Patients
People suffering from Alzheimer’s have experienced improvement in memory and other symptoms when taking coconut oil or MCT oil, and research into this effect is ongoing at the University of South Florida’s Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute in Tampa.
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