MCT is a type of fat that has long been recognized by doctors. Now, it’s rising in popularity as an everyday health hack. As part of System 20, Dr. Oz recommends to add a few drops of MCT oil to your morning coffee to see health benefits, such as losing weight and supporting heart health. So what is MCT oil? And how can it really help you burn fat?
RELATED: Subscribe to the Dr. Oz newsletter for wellness tips, recipes, and exclusive sneak peeks from The Dr. Oz Show.
MCT oil is a man-made product that’s produced by mixing coconut and palm oils in a laboratory. The mixture then goes through a special process that separates the MCT from the other ingredients in the oils. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, or medium-chain fatty acids. This is different from standard fats, which are known as long-chain triglycerides. Because MCT has shorter chains, it is absorbed into the body better and is more easily burned for energy.
MCT oil is often available as a liquid that you can measure out. In some cases, you can buy MCT oil as a softgel.
MCT oil can help your body burn more energy, potentially helping you lose weight.
MCT oil is quickly absorbed by the liver, which burns it and uses it as an energy source. Studies suggest that, because of the way MCT is processed in the body, it may lead to an overall increase in the amount of energy the body burns and an overall decrease in the amount of extra fat your body needs to store, compared to when long-chain triglycerides are consumed.
MCT oil can make you feel more full.
Studies in both animals and humans have shown that MCT oil fills people up faster, so they end up eating less overall. Since they become satisfied sooner, people who take MCT oil consume fewer calories, which may also result in weight loss. This is why it is a good idea to take MCT oil in the morning, so you feel fuller immediately and consume fewer calories during the window of time when you are not fasting. Since using MCT oil for weight loss isn’t regulated by the FDA, there isn’t a “correct” amount to take each morning and each person may be different. Dr. Oz suggests that between one teaspoon and two tablespoons may be effective.
MCT oil is great for people with certain digestive disorders.
If you have liver disease, celiac disease, have had prior bariatric surgery, or have some other absorption disorder, MCT oil may be what you need. Even though we typically think of fat as “bad,” fat is actually an essential part of the diet and our bodies need fats to function properly. Since MCT oil may be better absorbed and digested than other fats, it is a more effective way to ensure that people with digestive disorders are getting the fats that their bodies need.
MCT oil supports your cardiovascular system.
A study published in 2018 in the National Center for Biotechnology Info (NCBI) showed that MCT oil may help raise your “good” cholesterol, lower your “bad” cholesterol, and improve your lipid profiles overall. What does this mean for you? MCT oil may help protect against plaque buildup in your arteries, the cause of heart attacks, and other medical problems. Since maintaining heart health is a lifetime commitment and heart disease builds up over the years and even decades, it’s likely you would need to continue using MCT oil daily for a very long time to see any cardiovascular benefit.
MCT oil may improve exercise endurance.
In a 2018 study published by NCBI, MCT oil was shown to increase the amount of energy produced in cells. Through this mechanism, taking an MCT supplement may help you get through more powerful, longer workouts at the gym.
Who Should Not Take MCT Oil?
Before adding supplements to your diet or changing your diet in any way, especially if you have health issues, it is important to speak to a doctor.
MCT oil should not be taken by anybody who has an allergy to coconuts, coconut oil, palm oil, or any other ingredient that may be mixed with the MCT oil. Be aware of how your MCT oil was made and make sure you read the ingredients label.
MCT oil may cause side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues. If you are experiencing worrisome side effects, stop using MCT oil and talk to your healthcare provider.