What Are the Benefits of Taking MCT Oil?

Medically Reviewed on 10/29/2021

8 health benefits of MCT oil

nervous system function
The health benefits of MCT oil include aiding in weight loss diets (such as Keto), boosting energy levels in athletes, and improving heart health.

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil could be used as a dietary supplement to obtain several health benefits.

Because of its widespread usage and benefits, MCT is a popular dietary supplement used to reduce weight, boost stamina, and sharpen focus. It is beneficial in the treatment of certain diseases and medical problems.

  1. Weight loss
    • MCT oil can reduce fat deposition in the body and produce ketones. Hence, it is used in ketogenic diets (keto), which utilizes ketosis for weight loss.
    • MCT oil helps with satiety and reduces calorie intake, lowering the risk of obesity and aiding in weight loss.
      • One tablespoon of MCT oil contains 14 grams of fat and 115 calories.
  2. Improves heart health
    • MCTs are believed to reduce total cholesterol in the liver and improve serum lipid levels. It is noted to reduce low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels in the body while increasing high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) levels in the body.
    • All these factors improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  3. Provides energy
    • MCTs were found to boost fat burning during workouts rather than using carbs for energy, which can also improve athletic performance.
    • Studies find that MCTs reduce the buildup of lactate levels, which otherwise decrease stamina and reduce performance during exercises.
  4. Improves brain health
    • MCTs can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy to the brain.
    • Studies suggest that MCTs have improved cognitive functions in Alzheimer’s patients.
    • Another study suggests that children with autism spectrum disorder showed behavioral improvements when they were given MCT oil supplements.
  5. Improves gut health
    • MCTs act as probiotics in the gut, improve digestion and absorption, increase good bacteria, and inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes diarrhea.
    • It improves the overall health of the gut.
  6. Anticancer
    • MCTs were noted to have tumor suppressant qualities. A study suggests that MCT oil slowed down the rate of tumor growth, but large-scale research is needed to substantiate this claim.
  7. Antimicrobial properties
    • Lauric acid in MCT oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and can effectively treat skin diseases, improve gut health, and reduce the growth of oral bacteria.
  8. Improves the skin, nails, and hair
    • MCT oil works wonders on the skin by moisturizing it and reducing wrinkles and stretch marks. The oil also promotes healing and reduces skin peeling post sunburn.
    • MCT oil can be used as a lip balm, hair conditioner, and makeup remover. It moisturizes nail cuticles and prevents fungal infections in the nails.

What is MCT?

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) is a kind of fatty acid that is naturally present in foods, such as coconut and palm kernel oil and whole milk.

MCTs are saturated fats with a shorter carbon atom chain. They digest more easily and quickly compared to other fats, and they provide energy readily.

MCT oil is a highly concentrated supplement composed entirely of MCTs. It is colorless, odorless, and flavorless and is liquid at normal temperature.

There are four varieties of MCTs.

  1. Caproic acid (C6)
  2. Caprylic acid (C8)
  3. Capric acid (C10)
  4. Lauric acid (C12)

Irrespective of the type of MCT, all are helpful for overall health, especially for those who have difficulty digesting other types of fats. MCT is especially helpful for patients with malabsorption issues and digestive diseases, such as leaky gut syndrome, Crohn's disease, or gallbladder infections.

What is MCT oil made from?

The coconut oil and palm kernel oil undergo a process called fractionation, where the contents in the oil are separated and collected in different containers. Highly concentrated medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) is separated from the oil during fractionation.

MCT oil is frequently produced from coconut oil because it is naturally high in MCTs, containing up to 54 percent. Both oils do not offer the same benefits because MCT oil is a pure-source (100%) of MCTs with a greater proportion of fast-digesting caprylic acid. However, coconut oil contains other fatty acids as well, making the proportion of MCTs in coconut oil less than MCT oil.

What are the side effects of MCT oil?

Though medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is considered beneficial to the body, consuming excess amounts of it may lead to certain side effects, such as:

  • MCT oil increases the level of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels in the body and leads to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Individuals with uncontrolled diabetes should avoid having too much MCT because ketone formation can cause complications in these people.
  • Upsets stomach, which can cause:
  • Weight gain

Some people may benefit from taking small portions of MCT oil, such as one tablespoon one or two times a week, but avoid taking it daily to prevent the negative effects. As with everything, the appropriate dosage is essential.

Some people handle MCTs well at lesser dosages and when used infrequently, such as two times a year. The severe adverse effects generally appear after several days of continuous usage.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow
Medically Reviewed on 10/29/2021
Image Source: joannawnuk / Getty Images

Webster A. What is MCT oil? Food Insights. https://foodinsight.org/the-basics-of-mct-oil/

Netshiomvani T. The 10 Proven Health Benefits of MCT Oil. FCER. https://fcer.org/mct-oil/