There are numerous supplements out on the market for different things such as fitness goals, and general health and well-being. This includes vitamins and minerals, sports supplements, protein powder, testosterone boosters, healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids, and many other supplements. One of these is what is called medium chain triglycerides. This a natural type of fat which is found in substances that we eat. There have been many studies done that have shown its proven effects of mct oil on both fitness and performance, and assisting with other medical conditions. Many of these medical conditions concern neurological conditions such as alzheimers disease, epilepsy, and other medical conditions. Here is a general overview of some positive effects of mct oil on medical conditions.
What is MCT oil
The term MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. A triglyceride is a type of saturated fat that occurs naturally within the body and has different uses. There are other forms of triglycerides including both long and short chain triglycerides. Both long and short chain triglycerides have their role to play, but it is the medium chain that has been looked at more concerning its effect on health and well-being. It is even thought to have some type of muscle sparing effect on the body. This would make it good to take both for athletes after workouts, and the older population that is inactive in order to decrease muscle wasting. The use of MCT oil is also thought to be a part of the ketogenic diet since this involves the use of fats for energy when carbohydrates are depleted.
The use of medium chain triglycerides and the ketogenic diet for different medical conditions has been shown to have a positive effect on assisting with things such as memory or dementia, alzheimers disease, and epilepsy and seizures. Although most people think of alzheimers disease as something which happens in the older population, this is not always the case. The root cause of this condition is not fully known, but it thought that a deficit of energy to the brain could be a sign of possible alzheimers. (2) Here is where the effects of mct oil as fuel and energy may be used to have a positive effect when using a low carbohydrate eating plan (3). In the case of alzheimers, the brains’ level of glucose, the main source of fuel decreases causing glucose deprivation, and it may be possible for a ketogenic state to assist with cognitive performance through the use of fats for fuel (1,10).
It is even thought that the use of medium chain triglycerides may help with diabetes. Beta cells are an important part of insulin which is not used as efficiently as possible in those with diabetes. In one study, it was found that the use of medium chain fatty acids helped improve beta cell function and helped in preserving these beta cells. This in turn could possible help in even the prevention of the condition of diabetes (4).
The use of medium chain triglycerides by the body is in relation to the type of nutrients that the body is using. This means that there needs to be more energy being used from fats as opposed to carbohydrates and this is where a relationship between using a ketogenic diet and medium chain triglycerides come into play. The ketogenic diet has been used medically speaking for quite some time for different medical conditions. It has even been thought to have an effect on brain tumors and other neurological conditions (5,8,9). The use of medium chain triglycerides for energy which can be utilized through the use of a ketogenic diet has also been shown to assist specifically those in the younger population with controlling epilepsy and seizure disorder (6), and adults and those with chronic epilepsy known as status epileptics or general epilepsy (7,11).
One possible reason for this is thought to be due to the body using glucose as its main source of energy, and when one has a seizure, this indicates a decrease in the efficiency of the use of glucose, requiring another source of energy. (13) Although the effects of mct oil and the ketogenic diet may help with epilepsy and seizures, it may be limited to specific types of seizures. Some of these conditions known as different syndromes such as dravet syndrome, or lennox-gastaut syndrome may be good types of seizures to be treated through the effects of mct oil and the ketogenic diet. This is especially true if the individuals seizures are more frequent and they are not able to receive any type of surgery. The use of this may offer a reduction of the number of seizures that are seen in these individuals including both children and adults (12).
The previous medical conditions of epilepsy and alzheimers mentioned, are only two of numerous medical conditions that have been looked at in which the use of medium chain triglycerides through the administration of the ketogenic diet may be used. The effects of mct oil concerning the bodies use of fats, and proteins for fuel may not only assist in medical conditions, but in general health and weight loss as well. This is true because in order to get enough carbohydrates in ones’ eating plan if you had a high percentage of them in the diet would be through the use of some simple sugars. These digest into your system at a faster rate. This in effect can and does lead to weight gain and possible cases of diabetes. Keeping your diet low in simple sugars would require an eating plan low in carbohydrates since other sources such as grains and vegetables have a much lower amount of carbohydrates.
In conclusion, the effects of mct oil for fuel may have a positive effect on both ones’ general health and fitness, and specific medical conditions. In order to use these fats for fuel though, you much first have an eating habit which is low in carbohydrates and is what is known as ketogenic in nature biologically speaking. Overall this seems to be a healthy form of eating as a way to stay away from the unhealthy sugars while maintaining a healthy intake of nutrients such as grains and vegetables. You should first speak with your doctor if you have any medical condition.