Be honest, it sounds more like a password than a supplement. So what does it mean? For starters, we have MCT. MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride. Triglycerides are fats which come in chains of carbon atoms linked together like train cars.
Short chains have less than 6 carbons. Medium chains have between 6 and 12, and anything longer than 12 is referred to as a Long Chain Triglyceride (LCT). Fish oil, for example, is an LCT and coconut oil is an MCT containing 12 carbons.
C8 simply refers to a chain containing 8 carbons.
As Keto dieting has become more popular, so have MCTs. So why is this? What’s the deal with all the hype around MCTs? If either of these questions has ever crossed your mind, then you’ve come to the right place.
What Makes 8C MCT Oil Special?
Because MCTs are shorter than LCTs, they are more rapidly processed by the body. In fact, MCTs are small enough to pass directly into cells where they can be used for energy or into the liver which converts them into ketones.
Because shorter chains are absorbed more quickly, you might be tempted to think that C6 is a better option than C8. However, C6 is notorious for its foul smell, taste, and unpleasant effects on the gut and digestive system. C8 absorbs nearly as quickly and doesn’t carry any of these risks.
Benefits of MCTs
Many sources will tout the fact that MCTs (unlike LCTs) are not stored as fat. Due to their smaller size, MCTs are quickly turned into either energy or ketones (which can be used for energy) by the body.
Does this mean that there is no such thing as too much MCT? Of course not. Consume too many MCTs, and eventually they will end up as stored fat. So while learning about the benefits of MCTs, remember to use them in moderation.
Word of mouth among Keto dieters has held that MCTs provide a natural metabolic boost for years, and while there is still little research on this subject, what exists appears promising.
For example, it has been shown that MCTs play a role in lowering weight and decreasing metabolic syndrome, abdominal obesity, and inflammation. Compared to LCTs, MCTs are more effective and also contain about 10% fewer calories.
One study found that metabolic energy expenditure increased significantly as a result of an increased MCT intake.
Low carbohydrate diets have been used to treat epilepsy for decades, and now benefits are being seen for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease as well.
On a normal diet, our brain relies on glucose for energy. However, researchers have found Alzheimer’s disease inhibits the brain’s ability to process glucose. This effect is so prominent, that some researchers argue that Alzheimer’s is “Type 3” diabetes.
While brains suffering from Alzheimer’s cannot process glucose, they are still able to use ketones. In fact, research has shown that supplementing Alzheimer’s patients with ketones may increase recall ability.
Ask anyone on Keto why they do it, and you’ll get a variety of answers. After all, though Keto is widely known as a diet for weight loss, many people adopt it for other reasons. For example, people working in competitive industries such as technology are increasingly adopting Keto as a way to sharpen their minds and give them energy.
Unlike energy drinks or coffee, MCTs are not a stimulant. They are natural energy, and many who use them report feeling more alert and attentive. MCT oil is even commonly added to coffee which you may hear referred to as “bulletproof coffee.”
C8 MCT Oil vs Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has the highest concentration of MCTs of any natural food, coming in at around 54%. However, the majority of those consist of C12 MCTs. These are the longest MCT and actually don’t act very much like MCTs at all. They are slowly digested just like LCTs, and some argue that they shouldn’t even be classified as MCTs.
C8 MCT oil is 100% C8 MCT. Compared to coconut oil, it is better for stimulating ketone production and maintaining ketosis. For reference, one study found that C8 is 3X more ketogenic than C10 and 6X more ketogenic than C12.
However, coconut oil is much better for cooking because of its significantly lower smoking point. But if you’re just looking for a quick dose of MCTs, then concentrated oils are the way to go.
Whether you’re on Keto or just looking for an easy way to get ketones into your system, MCTs might be just the thing to help you out, especially C8 MCT.
C8 MCT is more quickly absorbed and turned into ketones than longer MCTs and doesn’t come with all the negative side effects of C6 MCT.
It is important to remember that any MCT is only a supplement. There’s no such thing as Keto in a bottle, and MCTs should be used to help maintain Ketosis or if you’re looking for any of the benefits listed above.