What is MCT oil?

MCT oil is a concentrated form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

So what are MCTs?

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s) are a type of fat also known as medium-chain fatty acids. There are three types of fats or triglycerides defined by their chemical structure: that is how many carbons they have.

  • Short less than 6 carbons
  • Medium 6-12 carbons
  • Long 13-21 carbons

All fats are important as they are used for cell membrane integrity, as an energy source, for energy storage, for transportation of the fat soluble vitamins, A,D, E and K and hormone production.

Dairy products - source of MCT

Where are they found?

MCTs are found in coconut oil,butter, palm oil, ghee, cheese, whole fat milk and yoghurt

What’s special about them?

MCTs are special because they travel straight to the liver where they are turned into ketones and are used immediately as an energy source. This differs to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) that travel through the lymph and into adipocytes undergoing a complex process to be used as energy.

This difference means MCTs

  • Increase energy
  • Maintain ketosis
  • Increase brain clarity and focus (ketones are the preferred fuel for the brain)
  • Help with weight loss and maintenance
  • Increase satiety

MCTs are also special because they have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties. Therefore MCTs

  • Improve digestion
  • Improve nutrient absorption
  • Help fight infections

How do you use MCT oil?

MCT oil can taken as it is or added to smoothies, coffee, muesli/cereal or salad dressings.  Start with 1-2tsp and increase up to 2tbs.  One way is to use it in Bullet proof coffee.

Bullet Proof Coffee with MCTRecipe for Bullet proof coffee

  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 1-2tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1-2tsp MCT oil

What should you look for in a MCT oil?

There are two main sources – coconut oil or palm oil.  If the company is using palm oil check they are sourcing it from a sustainable grower that is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Investigate which specific MCTs are in the product. There are 4 – lauric, caprylic, caprioc and capric.

  • Caprylic acid (C8) is the most efficiently converted to ketones.
  • Capric acid (C10) has a slower absorption than caprylic acid but it is more affordable.
  • Caprioc acid (C6) – MCT oils high in caprioc acid may cause gastric upset and have an unpleasant taste.
  • Lauric acid (C12) – although referred to as an MCT in fact acts like a long-chain triglyceride, therefore if used in MCT oil will be slower to produce energy

Katherine McGuiganAbout Katherine

Motivated by her own health issues, Katherine decided on a more fulfilling career change that helps others find better health too.   Katherine is a degree trained naturopath and a member of ATMS (Australian Traditional Medicine Society).  She combines a traditional naturopathic perspective with contemporary research and understandings.


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Katherine McGuigan