This article was originally written as a submission for Lowcarbyum.com
For those on a keto diet, MCT oil has become a staple for making high fat coffee and more. What is MCT oil made from and where does it come from?
Questions about this common low carb ingredient are getting asked with much more frequency these days. Google Trends has shown that searches related to how MCT oil is made and what it does have risen about 75 percent since late 2015, and they are still on the rise.
This is getting the attention of supplement manufacturers and private label distributors who are beginning to offer this oil in order to meet growing consumer demand.
What is MCT Oil and Where Does It Come From?
Where does MCT oil come from is a common question. But before answering that let’s take a look at the question: What is MCT oil? The acronym MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides.”
One of the top sources of medium-chain triglycerides and MCT oil is coconut oil. Medium-chain triglycerides are also sometimes referred to as medium chain fatty acids, or “MCFA” for short. In order to understand the effects and benefits of MCT oil, an understanding of the different types of fatty acids is required.
There are three general types of fats with different chemical structures:
- Short-chain fats (5 or less carbon atoms)
- Medium-chain fats (between 6 and 12 carbons)
- Long-chain (over 12 carbons)
Within the medium-chain triglycerides category, there are four different kinds: caproic acid (6 carbons), caprylic acid
(8 carbons), capric acid (10 carbons) and lauric acid (12 carbons). The fewer the carbons, the more quickly the substance can be absorbed and assimilated within the body.
Most dietary fat (triglycerides) in the typical American diet is of the long-chain variety. This long structure requires the body to work harder to process this fatty acid type to fully digest it and allow it to be converted into energy.
This is in contrast to medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). The body can absorb MCTs easily due to their shorter chain length. There is far less processing and energy involved in metabolizing them. In this way, MCTs can diffuse efficiently from within the GI tract and into the bloodstream. They are then rapidly converted into energy the body can use via the liver.
Where are the Best MCT Oil Supplements Sourced?
The most common and popular source of MCTs from whole foods is coconut oil. Coconuts grow mainly on tropical islands, coastal areas and on the fertile fringes of desert lands. The top five world suppliers of coconuts are Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Brazil and Sri Lanka. The continent of Asia provides an estimated 90 percent of the world’s coconuts.
Other top countries for coconut production include Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia. Coconut trees are resilient and can grow in a variety of soil types, but they require lots of rainfall to thrive. With demand for coconut products surging around 500 percent in the past decade, many countries will be looking for ways to increase their coconut production.
The Benefits of MCT Oil
Using MCT oil brings many benefits. Here are some of the top advantages of taking MCT oil versus other types of “quick energy” products:
Fast Absorption. As described above, the chemical structure of MCT oil allows it to be easily processed and assimilated by the body. This means the desired effect happens efficiently when an energy boost is needed.
Minimal Fat Storage. Because MCTs are absorbed rapidly and almost immediately burned by the body as energy, less of it gets stored as excess fat than with other triglyceride types.
Aids in Digestion. MCT oil can also enhance the digestive process and counteract constipation.
You can find the rest of the article on Lowcarmyum.com
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