Section I About MCTs
1. What is MCT oil?
MCTs stands for medium chain triglycerides and are a special type of triglycerides (TG) containing three fatty acids of chain length 6-10 carbons also known as medium chain fatty acids or MCFA.
2. What are TGs?
TGs are the most common type of dietary fat (lipid) and storage (adipose) fat found in our bodies. The main role of adipose tissue is to store energy in the form of fat, as well as cushion and insulate the body. However too much adipose tissue accumulation contributes to obesity.
3. What is the significance of the chain length being 6-10 carbons in MCFA?
The MCFA (Medium Chain Fatty Acids) are rapidly and efficiently taken up during the digestive process and provide benefits for weight management (via satiety benefits, and providing energy without accumulating in adipose tissue), cognition (by providing energy to the neurons in our brain), and for sports performance (by providing sustained energy without accumulation in adipose tissue and also potentially helping our ability to concentrate). Many of the benefits of MCFA are mediated via their conversion to ketone bodies (KBs).
4. What are ketone bodies?
Ketone bodies are molecules that are produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food intake (fasting) or carbohydrate restriction for cells of the body to use as energy instead of glucose.
5. Are MCFA naturally occurring?
Yes. They are found in palm kernel oil (PKO) and to a much lesser extent in coconut oil (naturally present at 8-15% total C8 and C10 MCFA). They are also found in most mammalian milks (man, cow, sheep, horse, rabbit, mouse, rat, and particularly goat). The MCFA are so important that human infants store them in adipose tissue between lactations, but the ability to store them in adipose tissue is lost in adults.
6. Is coconut oil a good source of MCFA?
Despite popular belief, coconut oils are very weak ketogenic fats. The predominant fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid (C12; about 47%) and it is not a strong ketogenic fatty acid. Furthermore, C12 may have anti-microbial properties in vitro (in test tubes), but the advantages and disadvantages of this anti-microbial property are not well known in vivo (in living organisms)