Does MCT Oil Really Help Your Brain?


mct oil really help your brain

Does MCT oil really help your brain as an energy source? Here’s what experts say

You’ve heard that certain oils like olive oil and coconut oil are positive components of a healthy diet. Maybe you even know why, but what is this MCT Oil? Is it good for you? How does it influence brain health?

What is MCT oil?

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which is a certain type of fat typically found in oils and dairy products. All fats are comprised of chains of carbon atoms which vary in length. Chains that have 5 or less carbon molecules are called short-chain fatty acids, and chains containing 13-21 carbons are long-chain fatty acids, leaving 6-12 carbons as medium-chain fatty acids.

Medium-chain fatty acids can then form triglycerides, which is where MCT comes in. MCT Oils, therefore, are the actual oils containing such fats. Triglycerides have two main responsibilities within your body: 1. storing fat in tissue and 2. providing the fatty acids your cells require for maintaining proper functioning. Stored fat can be used as energy once immediate glucose runs out. Fatty acids help cell structure since they themselves make up a significant portion of the cell membrane. In fact, studies have demonstrated that diets high in fatty acids resulted with different cell membrane compositions and fat stores.

In comparison to the long-chain triglycerides, MCTs are smaller and thus easier for the body to break down. Therefore, they serve as accessible fuel sources for both the body and brain. Ultimately, MCT plays a vital role in cell health and energy stores.

How does it affect your brain?

Your brain is the most energy-demanding organ you possess, utilizing roughly 50 percent of all your sugar energy (glucose). However, your brain cannot store glucose and requires a continual supply that’s circulated through the blood system. This works well when there’s constant access to food, or fuel. With constant access to food, the body and brain maintain a consistent stream of glucose to maintain proper functioning.

When the body doesn’t ingest a steady stream of nutrients, either a brief fast in between meals or a longer fast, the body possesses a backup energy system in order to assure that your organs can continue functioning. This backup system relies on energy storage, or fat. Body fat is broken down by the liver into a compound known as ketones which can cross the blood brain barrier, a defense system of the brain to prevent pathogens from invading, but also making it difficult for any larger compounds to enter the brain.

Ketones bypass the barrier, providing immediate energy to the brain so functions such as memory, attention and motor orchestration can still be initiated. MCTs increase the detectable levels of ketones in your blood, prolonging your capacity to execute mental tasks in between meals.

Benefits of MCT Oil

Research has demonstrated MCT oil really help your brain and alleviate symptoms associated with certain diseases and disorders. For example, MCTs can assist in digestive disorders relieving ailments such as diarrhea or chronic indigestion. Additionally, they are used for brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s or epilepsy to enhance memory and focus and neural connections.

How often should you consume MCT Oil?

While this depends on the individual, most research supports starting with 1 tablespoon a day. If desired, dosage may be increased slowly over time.

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