Medium Chain Triglycerides are a type of saturated fatty acid found in Coconuts, known to impart a wide range of health benefits. In order to understand a little more about Medium Chain Triglycerides in other words Medium Chain Fatty Acids we have compiled a few points below
* Triglycerides are essentially a type of Fat, named after their specific chemical structure- containing one Glycerol molecule and 3 Fatty acids.
* Chemical Structure: Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) have a shorter structure than Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs) and therefore can provide different physical properties and advantages. MCTs and LCTs are absorbed and broken down differently by the body.
* The shorter chain length allow MCTs such as that found in Coconut Oil, to be resistant and stable to higher temperatures upon heating. MCTs can be found in Palm Kernel Oil or Dairy Products but are present in much higher ratios in Coconut Oil. Examples of oils containing LCTs include olive oil, soybean oil and safflower oil.
* MCTs are absorbed and transported directly into the liver via the portal vein unlike LCTs. They are broken down very rapidly by a process referred to as ‘Beta-Oxidation’. Once broken down, MCTs are used instantly as a source of Fuel by the body for Energy purposes or are actually turned into Ketones. Ketones are substances produced when the Liver breaks down substantial portions of Fat.
* Unlike other types of Fatty Acids, Ketones can make their way by crossing the blood barrier and reaching the Brain. This provides the brain with an alternative source of Energy instead of relying on Glucose as a form of fuel. Therefore, instead of simply being stored as Fat, the body makes use of MCTs by its efficient conversion to Fuel used by our Muscles as well as other important Organs
* Energy Levels: MCTs can therefore be an ideal choice for those looking for increased Energy Levels, requiring support for Recovering from a surgery, to support Sport Performance and Endurance, to also counteract those Energy Slumps in the afternoons or those slumps that Simply come with the Ageing process
* Research shows that a diet higher in MCTs may help improve Glucose Tolerance, and therefore increase the sensitivity to changes in insulin levels. This would be particularly beneficial for those at risk of Type 2 Diabetes and the risk factors associated with it such heavier body weight, greater waist circumference and insulin resistance.
* Research has also found MCTs as those found in coconut oil to have ‘Anti-oxidant’ and ‘Anti-microbial’ properties that support our immune system.
* Heart Health :Consuming MCTs may provide a protective effect on cholesterol levels and on the heart as seen in human and animal studies
* Beneficial effects of MCTs have also been found in Brain Health and most particularly Alzheimer’s. Two of the natural compounds found in Coconuts, known as Phenolics and Cytokinins, seem to beneficially prevent the build-up of a key compound (B amyloid peptide) involved with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Further research is required to look into more specific outcomes but so far MCTs obtained from Coconuts particularly, also exert a protective effect on our brain cells with the natural Anti –oxidant and Anti-inflammatory properties.
* Weight Management: MCTs have shown to provide a better feeling of satiety than LCTs, with their action on the two hormones, Peptide YY and Leptin, known to help reduce appetite and increasing the feeling of fullness. LCTs have a lower Energy Density and therefore also provide Less Calories per intake than LCTs (8.4 calories per gram for MCTs versus 9.2 calories per gram for LCTs). Weight fluctuations would be easier to manage along with a Healthy Balanced Diet and an Active Lifestyle, especially with Coconut MCT oil’s effect on the Breakdown of Fat and the much Lower Likelihood of us stocking this type of fat.
MCT oils essentially provide more therapeutic and concentrated doses of Coconut oil and a definitely worth having in your larder. Be adventurous and Experiment with Coconut MCT oil
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* Airhart S, et al (2016) A Diet Rich in Medium-Chain Fatty Acids Improves Systolic Function and Alters the Lipidomic Profile in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Feb;101(2):504-12. doi: 10.1210/jc.2015-3292. Epub 2015 Dec 10. Available at : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26652763
* Fernando WM et al. (2015) The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease: potential mechanisms of action. Br J Nutr. 2015 Jul 14;114(1):1-14. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515001452. Epub 2015 May 22.Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15329324
* Han JR et al. (2007). Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects. Elsevier, 2007: Jul;56(7):985-91. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17570262
* Mongtgomery et al. (2013) Contrasting metabolic effects of medium- versus long-chain fatty acids in skeletal muscle. J Lipid Res. 2013 Dec;54(12):3322-33. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M040451. Epub 2013 Sep 27. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24078708
* Nevin KJ Rajamohan T. (2004) and Beneficial effects of virgin coconut oil on lipid parameters and in vitro LDL oxidation. Clin Biochem. 2004 Sep;37(9):830-5. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15329324
* Yost TJ et al.( 1997) Dietary substitution of medium chain triglycerides in subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in an ambulatory setting: impact on glycemic control and insulin-mediated glucose metabolism. J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Dec;13(6):615-22.Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7706596