What is the main difference between coconut oil and MCT Oil?
Let’s begin with simple chemistry: all fats are made up of carbon and hydrogen. They are classified as short chain, medium chain or long chain fatty acids depending on their length. Most fats contained in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides. They are considered the most easily digestible and beneficial fats due to their ability to be metabolized by the liver, providing quick and sustained energy. Other sources of medium-chain triglycerides include whole milk, butter, full-fat yogurt, palm oil, and cheese. If you adopt a vegan diet, coconut oil is excellent to provide you with your dose of healthy fats.
Roughly 62% of coconut oil’s fatty acid content is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides. This 62% is made up of 4 different types of MCT:
- Caproic acid (C:6)
- Capric acid (C:8)
- Caprylic acid (C:10)
- Lauric acid (C:12)
They are all extremely beneficial for health but for different reasons. Someone looking for fast burning and readily available fuel would typically look for Capric and Caprylic acid, which take fewer steps to convert into energy as opposed to other types of fatty acids. MCT Oil is great for athletes, body builders and active individuals because of its capacity to be quickly converted into clean energy. Some benefits include:
- Quick energy: MCTs are absorbed into the bloodstream and directly converted into energy by the liver. Unlike other types of food, MCTs do not require to be stored or used in the body for energy, making it the most efficient natural source of energy.
- Athletic performance: MCT Oil is an elite fuel for athletes because of its quick rate of absorption and energy density. Many athletes experience increased performance from consuming MCTs pre or post workout for sustained energy and muscle recovery.
- Easy to digest: MCT’s do not need bile salts to be broken down before being absorbed into the bloodstream - they are sent directly to the liver and converted into energy, making them easier to digest than long chain fatty acids. The body can therefore utilize the energy more quickly and efficiently. MCT is often a great option for people with digestive issues.
- Ketosis: The body uses two major forms of energy: glucose and ketones. A diet high in healthy fats can support the production of ketones, feeding cells in the entire body, but especially in the brain. Using ketones as a source of energy will help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and enhance cognitive function.
- Weight loss & appetite control: MCT Oil can support weight loss because it is quickly burned and metabolized in the system. It gets absorbed directly from the intestine to the liver and quickly converted into energy, rather than being stored as fat. This increases satiety as less energy intake is required from the body. Many studies have proven that daily consumption of MCT Oil has been effective in promoting body fat loss.
- Immunity: MCT oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties and can be effective in maintaining health and immunity. Healthy fats are essential to support immune function and because of it is easily absorbed in the body, MCT oil can be a great alternative for those who have trouble absorbing fats.
Coconut oil offers all 4 types of MCT in smaller amounts: a nominal amount of Caproic acid, only 6% Capric acid and 9% Caprylic acid, whereas MCT Oil is composed of nearly 100% Capric and Caprylic acid, providing a concentrated version of these two fast acting fatty acids. This is what makes MCT oil the quickest and cleanest source fuel for the brain and body. Be careful of which type of MCT oil you purchase as some companies use a blend of coconut and palm oil. Also be aware of the ratios of MCT contained in the oil as some types of MCT oil are composed of larger amounts of C:6 which has been associated with gastrointestinal issues. Choose an MCT oil that is made out of purely organic coconuts and contain a maximum amount of Capric and Caprylic acids. Coconut Magic MCT oil is made with organic coconuts source from our fair trade farms in Thailand and contains over 99% Capric and Caprylic acid.
On the other side, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, roughly 50% of its fat content. Lauric acid is chemically considered a MCT, however, when metabolized in the body, it acts like a Long Chain Triglyceride. It is slower to digest than other MCFAs but has amazing health benefits. Lauric Acid is renowned for its powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It is excellent for the skin. Coconut oil is the richest source of Lauric acid on Earth, followed by human breastmilk. In addition, during digestion, lauric acid is converted to monolaurin, an essential substance for optimal immune function.
In conclusion, both coconut oil and MCT oil are amazing for health; they simply offer different benefits.
- For quick and sustained energy: MCT Oil
- For cellular and immunity benefits: Coconut Oil
How to Use MCT Oil
MCT Oil is the optimal fuel for athletes and body builders.
- Take 5-15ml 1-4 times per day to use as a food supplement.
- Mix in coffee for a bulletproof boost
- Add to protein shakes and smoothies
- Add in salad dressings and sauces.
AUTHOR: LIZ LEMIEUX
Liz grew up in the beautiful nordic city of Quebec in Canada. A qualified yoga instructor and a business graduate, Liz is passionate about health, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Besides yoga, she enjoys surfing, outdoors, cooking, and planning her next travel adventure. Liz manages marketing and social media at Coconut Magic. You can learn more about Liz at lizlemi.