Hi, Dr. Meredith Warner here –
I am a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who is passionate about helping you live well mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Recently, I have been using more MCT oil in the kitchen. I have been intrigued by the potential health benefits of the medium chain triglycerides. I have long loved olive oils and use them most of the time, but was curious to see how they compared to MCT coconut oil.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are medium length chains of fats. There also exist long chain fats and short chain fats. Long chain fats are saturated fats and remain solid at room temperature.
50% of fat in coconut oil is medium chain. Usually, coconut oil remains solid at room temperature, so the other half of coconut oil is comprised of long-chain fats. MCT coconut oil is liquid at room temperature, and is separated from these long-chain fats for its beneficial uses.
Health Benefits of MCT
MCT is thought to increase the amounts of leptin and peptide YY. These proteins naturally promote a feeling of fullness and help you feel satiated – which means that you may consume less calories throughout your day. MCTs have also been found to have about 10% fewer calories than long chain fats.
MCTs have many potential benefits for optimizing your daily health:
MCTs can convert to ketones in the body. This makes them ideal for a ketogenic diet, since they help individuals maintain ketosis. Ketones can be used by the brain for energy and because of this, MCTs have been shown to help reduce symptoms for those with Alzheimer’s. One study also showed some benefit of MCTs for those with autism also on a gluten-free diet. In addition, MCTs support the correct gut biome; this too helps to maintain overall health and promote wellness.
MCTs have been shown in studies to increase production of HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease production of LDL (bad) cholesterol. MCT was also able to reduce the amount of inflammatory proteins (CRP) in serum. The medium chains fats in MCTs bypass the bile duct system and are ideal for those with issues in the biliary system. However, over time too many MCTs will cause a fatty liver, as they are high in calories.
How MCTs Compare To Olive Oil
Olive oil is a natural substance extracted from olives. MCTs are natural in a way – they are partitioned from coconut oil using scientific techniques.
The beauty of olive oil is that it is primarily a monounsaturated fat; it is oleic acid. This is just about ¾ of the total content of the oil. Oleic acid is naturally anti-inflammatory and has been found to alter epigenetics (or gene formations) associated with cancer – which means that oleic acid may prevent cancer. Olive oil is also an anti-oxidant and can scavenge free radicals.
Olive oil is a great choice for those struggling with the symptoms of aging:
Olive oil prevents and treats constipation. This is one of the unspoken problems with aging. A teaspoon of olive oil a day has been shown to be an effective treatment for this issue.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are to be the main source of fat in an anti-aging diet. Since olive oil contains monosaturated fats, it is a beneficial part of a healthy, anti-aging diet.