What Are the Benefits of Taking MCT Oil? Side Effects (2024)

  • 8 Health Benefits
    • 8 health benefits of MCT oil
  • 4 Varieties of MCTs
    • What is MCT?
  • Making MCT Oil
    • What is MCT oil made from?
  • Potential Side Effects
    • What are the side effects of MCT oil?
  • Comments
  • More

8 health benefits of MCT oil

What Are the Benefits of Taking MCT Oil? Side Effects (1)

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:
    • Abdominal pain
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • 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.

QUESTION Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer


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/

What Are the Benefits of Taking MCT Oil? Side Effects (2024)


What Are the Benefits of Taking MCT Oil? Side Effects? ›

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.

What is the downside of MCT? ›

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.

What happens if you take MCT oil everyday? ›

MCT oil may increase blood lipids associated with heart disease. For some people, it may raise hunger hormones. Large amounts could increase the amount of fat in your liver or cause stomach upset.

What are the side effects of MCT oil kick start? ›

While MCTs offer numerous health benefits, they can cause side effects in some people, including nausea, flatulence, diarrhoea, stomach pain, and bloating. To test your tolerance, you may want to start with a lower dose of 1 tsp per day.

How long does it take to notice the benefits of MCT oil? ›

After a few days you may notice: Higher Energy Levels: Since C8 MCT is immediately broken down by the liver and converted to ketones, it provides a fuel source that can quickly increase the body's energy production.

Is MCT oil hard on kidneys? ›

Studies have shown that MCT oil can help reduce inflammation and improve kidney function.

Why do I feel sick after taking MCT oil? ›

According to Modell, because MCTs are digested differently than most fats, it can lead to gastrointestinal distress if you consume too much. Some symptoms of this can include: Bloating. Vomiting.

Is MCT oil bad for cholesterol? ›

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) won't dramatically impact your health, but consuming them can help reduce some cholesterol and blood sugar, give your brain energy, and support weight loss and exercise. Interest in MCTs has grown rapidly over the last few years.

Is MCT oil anti-inflammatory? ›

Overall, up-regulated β-oxidation by MCT contributes to the anti-inflammatory M2-like status of macrophages, which may aid in the dietary prevention and/or amelioration of inflammation.

Is MCT oil really worth it? ›

MCT oil may help boost your strength if you're elderly and weak. There's also some evidence that MCT can raise the amount of energy used by your muscles. But other research shows it might not do that much to help get you through your workout.

Does MCT oil affect your bowels? ›

One of the commonest side effects of taking too much MCT oil is loose bowels. In other words, you might experience diarrhoea, along with stomach ache, cramping and flatulence. However, rather than this being evidence that MCT oil is toxic, it is usually a sign that your gut microflora is imbalanced.

What foods are high in MCT? ›

MCT are a component of many foods including coconut oil, palm kernel oil, butter, milk, yogurt and cheese (Nagao and Yanagita, 2009), with coconut and palm oils representing the richest dietary source of MCT (Anonymous, 2002; Marten et al, 2006).

Does MCT oil help with belly fat? ›

Specifically, individuals studied experienced a weight loss of 0.51 kg, reduced waist circumference by 1.46 cm, and hip circumference by 0.79 cm compared to the control group not taking MCTs. MCTs are considered to be more satiating than other fatty acids.

Who should not take MCT oil? ›

Avoid using MCTs if you have diabetes. Liver problems: Because MCTs are processed by the liver, they can cause serious problems in people with liver disease. Do not use MCTs if you have liver problems.

Is it OK to have MCT oil every day? ›

It's generally safe to use MCT oil moderately. But you should be careful when using it long-term. Some of the negatives include: It has a lot of calories.

What are the complications of MCT? ›

Although very uncommon, MCTs of the skin can spread to the internal organs, causing enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, and liver, sometimes with peritoneal effusion (fluid build-up) in the abdomen, causing the belly to appear rounded or swollen.

Can MCT affect the liver? ›

High amounts of saturated fat like MCTs have been associated with many health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease. Long-term use of MCT oil may also lead to fat accumulation in the liver. MCT oil has a low smoke point and shouldn't be used for cooking and frying.

Does MCT cause inflammation? ›

These results indicate that MCT oil has a potent anti-inflammatory effect on LPS-stimulated M1-like condition in macrophages.

Is high cholesterol a side effect of MCT oil? ›

“Animal research has suggested that MCTs may offer protective effects on cardiovascular health by improving serum lipid profiles; however, a new research review finds that MCT oil has no effect on cholesterol levels and may contribute to slightly higher triglycerides [a type of fat found in your blood in which high ...

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