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mhymanbw“Dr. Hyman, I’ve heard you mention MCT oil before,” writes this week’s house call. “Can you tell me more about it and the potential benefits?”

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. They are a type of fatty acid that is derived from coconut oil. Consider MCT oil as a super fuel for your cells, because it boosts fat burning and increases mental clarity.

MCT can also help you lose weight because it is quickly burned and metabolized. It gets absorbed directly from the gut into the liver and doesn’t get stored as fat but rather burned quickly and turned into energy. For many patients, MCT becomes that little nudge to help you drop those last 10 to 15 stubborn pounds that just won’t go away.

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MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. They are a type of fatty acid that is derived from coconut oil.

In one study published in the Journal of Obesity and Research in 2013, scientists at McGill University carried out a randomized control trial to compare the effects of medium-chain triglycerides (such as caprylic acid and lauric acid) and long-chain triglycerides (like olive oil) on body fat storage, energy expenditure, appetite control and other aspects of weight loss in overweight men.

Researchers put these men on different diets for 28 days. They switched the diets after a short time so that they could see differences in the same subjects.

One group ate a coconut oil-rich diet, high in medium-chain triglycerides. The other group ate a diet rich in long-chain triglycerides.

Researchers found the men who ate coconut oil lost more body fat, which they attributed to a greater increase in energy expenditure and fat burning. Coconut oil actually sped up their metabolism, curbing their appetite and allowing them to lose more belly fat, as compared with the men who were on the olive oil-rich diet.

MCTs are also a unique form of saturated fat with very potent antioxidant and anti-microbial properties that support your immune system. They also provide anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and even anti-viral benefits.

MCT Oil is a Fat Burning Oil

Let’s compare MCTs with omega 6 fats.

Omega 6 fats are seed, bean or grain oils (which include corn, soy, sunflower and canola oils). Once ingested, these inflammatory oils are transported to the lymphatic system and not to the blood, which means your fat tissues absorb them.

MCTs, on the other hand, are directly absorbed into the blood and boost your metabolism, burn more calories and fat and reduce fat storage, while curbing your appetite. That’s why we think of these fats as super fuel for your cells.

In fact, studies show MCTs help you burn about 460 extra calories a day for men and about 190 extra calories for women (sorry, ladies!). MCTs also beneficially impact your hormones, including appetite-controlling hormones, helping you feel full.

They can also improve your cholesterol profile. In one study, consuming MCT oils helped reduce body fat and triglycerides more than omega 6 vegetable oils. After eight weeks, the experiment showed the MCT oil group lost more weight, body fat and subcutaneous fat, all while experiencing a 15 percent drop in triglycerides and LDL (the bad) cholesterol.

All these benefits occurred despite the fact that MCTs are a saturated fat. There was no difference in daily exercise or consumption of total calories of protein, fat or carbohydrates. There was no calorie restriction, yet the subjects still lost more weight. It further proves that it’s not all about the calories in food, it’s about the information.

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