What is MCT Oil? Medium-chain triglycerides are a kind of fat particle found in coconut oil and palm oil that can protect our bodies from viral infections, which means no more colds!
Here in the United States, winter is often a time when flu, colds and other viruses strike. There are many reasons for this: decreased activity, increased consumption of heavy comfort foods, and usually, a general resistance to the cold. All of this together puts a stress on the body that the immune system has to work extra hard to deal with.
Once our immune systems plummet, we are more susceptible to the environment around us. The real secret to staying healthy through the winter is to keep the immune system robust, despite the cold influence of the season.
While there are many things we can do to help keep the immune system strong, if there was one thing I could suggest to add to your catalog of healthy living, it would be the consumption of MCT oil – especially considering how wonderful it is mixed into delicious winter recipes, such as a healthy hot cocoa!
How Medium-Chain Triglycerides Fight Infection
Reviewing research done in 2013 at Kent State University, we find that extra-virgin coconut oil has a strong antimicrobial effect against a particular bacteria known as Clostridium difficile. This particular bacteria is known to infect the intestines and is also resistant to many antibiotics. (1)
Because winter is usually a season when difficult-to-digest comfort foods are enjoyed, it’s common for intestinal flora to become imbalanced – potentially leading to an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria such as Clostridium.
What’s more interesting in the research, though, is that coconut oil only acts as a strong antimicrobial against C. difficile when it is completely digested.
In other words, coconut oil alone actually accomplishes little to counter infection – it is the MCTs that do the real work. If fat digestion is good, though, meaning enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the gallbladder break down the medium-chain triglycerides, the body can utilize them as antimicrobial medicine!
Additionally, studies show that the medium-chain fatty acids found in lauric and capric acid help fight:
- Viral infections (2)
- Candida overgrowth (3)
- STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes type 1, and HIV (4)(5)(6)
MCT Oil vs Coconut Oil
Long story short, we are not what we eat; we are what we digest, absorb and assimilate. If our body isn’t able to break down and use fat, for example, it can lead to fat malabsorption.
This can be a big problem that potentially leads to a deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins and additional unpleasant digestive symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, and oily stool. Not to mention, if we are eating all that coconut oil for its antimicrobial benefits, we may possibly be flushing it down the toilet, literally!
Coconut oil is not 100% pure MCTs, which means it is not 100% absorbable – those fats need to be digested before we get to those fatty acids. Coconut oil is roughly 60% MCTs. Broken down, it is:
- Lauric acid, 45%
- Caprylic acid, 7%
- Capric acid, 6%
The tricky thing is that not everyone can efficiently break down fat, even coconut oil, as easy as it is to digest in comparison to other fats.
The reason for that is, in order to digest fat, the body needs to be able to produce healthy bile. Bile helps you to digest fat and promotes the secretion of pancreatic enzymes that further break down fat. In order to do this, we need a healthy liver and gallbladder.
Furthermore, fat digestion begins in the mouth with help of the enzyme called lingual lipase. Then from there, most fat is broken down in the small intestine with the help of pancreatic enzymes and bile.
Not everyone can efficiently break down fat because of improper digestive habits: chewing or eating too quickly, eating while stressed, and living an overall toxic lifestyle that congests the liver and gallbladder. All of these factors contribute to poor fat digestion.
Signs of fat malabsorption include:
- Greasy, bulky stool
- Stool with a foul smell
Perhaps the biggest problems related to fat malabsorption are deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. This can lead to plenty of problems, including everything from a weakened immune system to cavities. (7)(8)
To make sure we are digesting fats well, ultimately we want to fix our digestive system. In the meantime, we can correct fat malabsorption and improve immunity with easy-to-digest MCT oil.
Unlike long-chain triglycerides, that are difficult for the body to digest, medium-chain fats found in coconut oil and palm oil are sent directly to the liver, where they are used as energy.
However, as we learned, only 60% of these fats may be absorbed, or even fewer if we are not digesting fat well.
The good news is that there is a better source of MCTs than coconut oil — at least, a more helpful form — to support the healing process while we clean up our liver and gallbladder, and strengthen our digestive function.
Upgrade Your MCT Intake
One of the best ways to effortlessly absorb these medicinal medium-chain fats like caprylic acid and capric acid is with 100% pure MCT oil. I personally recommend Bulletproof® Upgraded™ BrainOctane Oil, which is made from coconut and palm oil. This product is unique and different than straight coconut or palm oil, because it’s fractionated. This fractionation process separates the MCTs from the coconut fat, making it 100% absorbable.
As mentioned, if we are not digesting our fats well, we won’t be able to utilize this otherwise very powerful oil. That’s what makes BrainOctane Oil so great! It is a direct fuel supply even for those with poor fat digestion. For those who have great digestion, it simply puts the digestive system at ease and reduces the burden of digesting fat.
This can be great during the winter when we usually are inclined to eat fattier foods. Check out the recipe below of my favorite winter treats incorporating MCT oil.
MCT Oil Super Shake
MCT Oil Super Shake
- 1 cup chaga tea
- 2 T raw cacao
- 1 T raw cacao butter
- 1 T BrainOctane
- ½ t pumpkin spice
- ½ t vanilla powder
- A dropper full of Stevia
- Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until frothy.
- Pour in a tall glass and enjoy!
Even though MCTs are directly absorbed into the bloodstream via the liver, we still need the fat-digesting enzyme lipase to digest our other fats.
Keep in mind that MCT oil, though medicinal on it’s own, is still just one food and not a cure-all. I recommend focusing on supporting your digestive system.
You can get tips on that here. Also, you may try supplementing with a pancreatic enzyme to help break down fats and triglycerides more effectively.
(Read This Next: What Happens To Your Skin When You Use Coconut Oil Every Day)