The Benefits of Supplementing With MCTs

MCTs or Medium Chain Triglycerides have become a popular supplement these days, for increasing the amount of healthy fat in the diet.  MCTs can be used to help fat supplement a diet that is high in fat, such as a keto, low carb or high protein diet.  MCTs are sourced from palm and coconut oil and are usually sold as an oil liquid supplement, but can also be found as a powdered ingredient, added to supplements such as protein powders and creamers. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about MCTs and why you should be using them!   

 

What are MCTs?

MCTs or Medium Chain Triglycerides are made up of three medium length fatty acid chains attached to a glycerol backbone.  Chemically speaking, an MCT can be made up of 6 to 12 carbons attached together.  Each of these MCTs have a different chain length and thus have different functions and benefits in the body. From these MCTs the one with the most health benefits, when it comes to weight loss, athletic endurance and brain function, are C8 and C10.  Both of these MCTs are highly ketogenic meaning they can convert to ketones easily in the body.  

 

Why Supplement with MCTs?

The structure of MCTs allows for them to be efficiently utilized as a direct energy source, instead of being stored.  In the body, they’re directly transported to the liver and broken down into its main components - glycerol and fatty acids.  These compounds can now enter the blood stream, where they can be transported to the areas, they’re needed for a quick energy supply including the muscles and the brain.  In the diet, MCTs can regulate biological pathways that impact hunger, appetite, energy expenditure, endurance, and fat oxidation.      

 

The Benefits of MCTS:

Promote Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss there are a few ways MCTs can help facilitate.  MCTs have been shown to reduce appetite, food intake and increase satiety.  MCTs have also been shown to help increase beta-oxidation or the breakdown and burning of fat into ketones to be used as fuel. 

 

One study compared the effectiveness of MCTs versus LCTs (long chain triglycerides) for reducing food intake.  Energy intake was lowest in those who consumed a liquid MCT meal at breakfast; this group also experienced greater satiety and had a reduction in subsequent food intake over a 24-hour period.  The liquid MCT resulted in a 17% reduction in energy compared to an iso-caloric LCT meal.  MCTs increase ketones and in turn suppress ghrelin – the hunger hormone, and subsequently increase cholecystokinin or CCK which makes you feel full. 

 

Enhance Athletic Endurance

MCT supplementation has been shown to extend exercise endurance and intensity.  A recent study compared the energy endurance effects of MCT versus LCT on cycle ergometer exercise.  Exercise time to exhaustion at 80% workload was significantly longer in the MCT group (10.2 +/- 7.6 min) than in the LCT group (5.8 +/- 3.3 min).  Supplementation with MCTs resulted in lower lactate levels, increased fat oxidation and decreased carbohydrate oxidation.       

 

Increase Brain Function

Since MCTs can increase ketones, they can provide a direct and quick source of energy.  This can be beneficial for those following ultra-low carb or keto diets.  MCTs have been suggested as an effective supplement for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.  Published clinical trials have shown that increasing ketone availability to the brain via nutritional ketosis – diet and supplementation with 20 to 70 g/day of MCTs containing C8 and C10, has a beneficial effect on cognitive outcomes in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and in mild cognitive impairment. 

 

How to Use MCTs

MCTs can be added to your morning coffee or tea, or even a protein smoothie. MCTs can either be consumed as an oil liquid or bound to a powder.  They’re commonly found in collagen creamers and protein powders.  The amount of MCTs will be dependent on your diet, but also on your tolerance.  MCTs can cause gastrointestinal distress when taken in large doses, so it’s important to start with smaller amounts until your body adjusts. 

 

The Best Type of MCT – C8Vantage

C8Vantage is a 95% pure C8 MCT, made by NNB Nutrition, and is considered the most ketogenic MCT, yielding the highest level of plasma ketone.  C8 was also found to have higher levels of plasma ketone versus other sources of MCTs such as coconut oil, C10 and C21. C8Vantage is sustainably sourced and bound to tapioca and pea protein that doesn’t spike insulin levels or impair ketosis.  C8Vantage can be found in N8KED’s Collagen Creamer, which combines Collagen, MCTs from C8Vantage and Probiotics from BC30.  Each serving of Collagen Creamer provides 9 g of C8Vantage.  Get yours here!    

 

References:

  1. Maher T, et al.  Food intake and satiety response after medium-chain triglycerides ingested as solid or liquid.  Nutrients. 2019. 11(7): 1638. 
  2. Nosaka N, et al.  Effect of ingestion of medium chain triacylglycerols on moderate and high intensity exercise in recreational athletes.  J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 2009.  55(2): 120-5. 
  3. Cunnane SC, et al.  Can ketones compensate for deteriorating brain glucose uptake during aging?  Implications for the risk and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  Ann NY Acad Sci.  2016. 1367(1): 12-20.