Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil has been shown to boost your metabolism and turn your body into a mean, lean, fat burning machine. However, despite its popularity on the health scene, you may not fully understand the benefits of MCT oil and how it can benefit your training. MCT has recently gained lots of popularity within the natural foods industry and known to provide users with more energy, aid in burning fat faster and faster recovery.
A Fat Burning Machine
Medium-chain fatty acids, which are saturated fatty acids composed of 6–12 carbons, have unique nutritional characteristics different from those of long-chain fatty acids. Medium-chain triacylglycerol (MCT) is more readily digested and absorbed than long-chain triacylglycerol (LCT), easily utilized as energy and been shown to result in less body fat accumulation in animal and human studies.4
Diets rich in MCTs promote greater fat-burning and weight/fat-loss than those containing an equivalent amount of standard dietary fat. They have been shown to have a particularly positive effect on fat in and around the midsection (internal and external belly fat), which we know to be a risk factor for heart health and is an indicator of increased risk of metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes).1
The body processes MCTs in a different way compared to long-chain fatty acids. Unlike LCTs, MCTs go directly from the gut to the liver. From here, they are used as a source of energy or turned into ketones. Because the calories in MCTs are used right away, they are less likely to be stored as fat.
Widely available in a variety of nutritional supplements, MCTs are a great addition to a healthy lifestyle regimen and for those seeking to improve their athletic performance, support a healthy metabolism, or to kick start a weight management program. Even relatively low intakes of MCT (as little as 15 g per day) as part of the diet, enhance how many calories we burn day-to-day.1
Train Smarter, Not Harder
MCTs are an excellent source of energy during high-intensity training. They increase energy levels and can lead to increases in training intensity. Being able to increase training intensity coupled with a nutrient-dense diet will help to improve muscle growth in a manner that can be sustained long term.2
Daily MCT Oil for Better Performance
MCTs are found mostly in coconut oil but smaller amounts can also be found in foods containing saturated fats, such as butter (specifically from grass-fed cows), cheeses, palm oil, whole milk, and full-fat yogurt.
Researchers have found that using MCTs in a pre-workout drink 30-45 minutes before training can help athletes to increase energy levels during training, and provide an alternative energy source to pre-workout carbohydrates.3
Whether you are a weekend warrior, endurance athlete, or you are just starting out with a new exercise regimen, MCT oil may help your athletic performance. Based on researchers findings, if you teach your body to prefer fat like MCTs for fuel, you can still work out intensely without feeling weak.2
1. Harvey, C. What’s the Deal with MCTs? (2017, December 20).
2. “Metabolic Characteristics of Keto-adapted Ultra-endurance Runners“, Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics”. November 02, 2015. Accessed June 01, 2018.
3. Nosaka, N., Y. Suzuki, A. Nagatoishi, M. Kasai, J. Wu, and M. Taguchi. “Effect of Ingestion of Medium-chain Triacylglycerols on Moderate- and High-intensity Exercise in Recreational Athletes“, Advances in Pediatrics. April 2009. Accessed June 01, 2018.
4. Takeuchi, Hiroyuki, et al. “Medium-Chain Fatty Acids – Nutritional Function and Application to Cooking Oil”, Freshwater Biology, Wiley/Blackwell (10.1111), 20 Dec. 2007.