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mct oil side effects anxiety

Before we get into the benefits of MCT oil, it is important to understand its component parts.

One of the critical purposes of fats in the body is their role in creating hormones. With these MCTs in your diet, you can make those hormones you need most to keep your mood in place, your metabolism high, and prevent depression and hormonal disorders.

Weight Loss

C-6 (Caproic Acid): This is a medium-chain fatty acid that is in extremely small concentrations in most MCT oils, and is often processed out of them intentionally. It has a rather unpleasant taste, but as with other MCTs, it can be quickly converted into useful ketones and ATP, valuable “clean” energy sources in the body.

When small medium-chain fatty acids convert directly into ketones, one of the areas where these are believed to have the most effect is in the brain. By providing energy to and protecting neural pathways, these ketones can mitigate the symptoms of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, by providing energy for concentration, focus and memory retention. [12]

MCT oil is composed solely of these medium-chain fatty acids (100% versus the 50-65% in coconut oil). In this way, MCT oil is a more concentrated form of one or more of these beneficial fatty acids, some of which are rarer than others.

While MCT oils do not include ingredients that should cause concern with most Americans, there may be dietary setbacks associated with consuming large amounts of MCT oil — especially if you don’t adjust your diet beforehand. MCT oil in coffee could help replace some of the sugary additions you normally consume, and may help you feel more energized in the long run, but that all hinges on how you normally drink your coffee. Adding MCT oil to already sugary or calorie-dense meals or beverages can actually cause you to gain weight if you’re not careful. Furthermore, a review published in Physiology & Behavior suggests that drinking sources of fat and calories (rather than chewing and swallowing them) could make some more likely to overeat at the next meal.

Yes, the oil may impact your energy levels — but it also could push your daily coffee habit into a dieter’s nightmare.

There is some established evidence suggesting that MCT oil may provide dieters an added brain boost. But to understand that data, you’ll need to understand how MCTs interact with the body — and why benefits only apply in certain circumstances. And while nutritionists agree that an MCT oil-enhanced coffee can be enjoyed without ruining your dietary intake, one has a few tips for smoothly incorporating it into your routine safely.

Is MCT oil actually healthy?

Why do keto dieters often incorporate MCT oil into their routine, you might ask? It has to do with the science of how the body processes the shorter-chain MCT fatty acids, Horton explains, and how the process helps the body maintain ketosis, where your metabolism primarily runs on fats as a main source of fuel for your day (as opposed to carbohydrates).

More importantly, however, is the fact that more research needs to be conducted on holistic health benefits, Horton says. While elementary data suggests that MCT oil may boost dietary efforts and provide your body more energy in a shorter amount of time, scientists have yet to establish how much one needs to consume to reap these potential benefits. Most coffee drinkers seemingly incorporate a tablespoon or two of MCT oil in their cup, but it’s not clear if less (or more!) is needed for optimal results.

Some may be unaware of the nutritional weight that MCT oil carries as an addition to a beverage or a meal: Horton points out that it’s a major source of calories and saturated fat. “One tablespoon contains 130 calories and 14 grams saturated fat, so you’ll need to account for that calorie and fat boost in your diet,” she explains. “And also, 14g of saturated fat is a whopping 70% of your daily recommended cap — which doesn’t leave much room for things like full-fat dairy, red meat, or even oily fish.”

This supplement is jam packed with a fatty acid that occurs naturally, explains Brierley Horton, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutritionist who frequently analyzes coffee trends. “MCT stands for medium-chain triglyceride. It’s the science-y way of describing the size of the fatty acid in question,” Horton tells Good Housekeeping. “MCTs are 8 to 10 carbons long — for comparison, olive oil is rich in long-chain fatty acids, known as LCTs, and those are 12 to 18 carbons in length.”