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If you’ve heard of, tried, or currently enjoy Bullet Proof Coffee then you may already be familiar with MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), also called MCFAs (medium chain fatty acids). This is relatively new to me. I remember when putting butter and coconut oil in coffee became the latest health trend. I wondered why people wanted to drink greasy coffee… I’m not very hip. Despite my skeptism, I did a little research; apparently there’s some real science behind buttery, oily drinks and what’s inside it may be beneficial to those of us with fibromyalgia and other illnesses.
MCTs, also known as MCFAs, are a group of 4 medium chain fatty acids, or triglycerides, that are processed in the liver instead of during normal digestion. Bile is not needed to break them down, so they pass directly into the blood stream after they’ve entered your intestines. This is great, because that means these fats require no energy to be absorbed, stored, or used by our bodies. What does that mean for us? Quick energy that lasts; couldn’t we all use some of that? When combined with caffeine, they act as super stimulants, increasing focus and motivation without the crash before lunch.
MCTs are processed from coconut and palm oils, however, consuming MCT oil is not quite the same as just eating a spoonful of coconut oil (another trend I did not understand). While coconut oil does consist of all 4 of the MCTs, its most abundant with the longest of the 4.
For clarity, the four medium chain types are:
- Caprioc acid (C6)
- Caprylic acid (C8)
- Capric acid (C10)
- Lauric acid (C12)
The numbers indicate the length of the chain. The shorter the chain, the more efficient it is at being converted into ketones, however, C8 and C10 are noted to be the most efficient of the four at increasing ketones. Now, these ketones, formed by the liver ,are not the same as the Dr. Oz Raspberry ketone craze. I’ll get more into depth about the role of ketones in another post. For now, just know that ketones feed mitochondria, which are known as the powerhouse of our cells. Because it feeds the mitochondria, it helps improve cognitive thinking and increase energy. C12, or lauric acid, is abundant in coconut oil (it makes up about 40%), but is less effective at curbing our appetites or promoting brain health. Regardless, coconut oil is still a decent source of the shorter MCTs along with other health benefits.
So, moving on. MCTs do appear to have some benefit for everyone, including those with illnesses. They aide in food absorption for those on medications for gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, celiac disease, liver disease, etc. It’s also suspected to help with Alzheimer’s and some seizure disorders in kids, like epilepsy. To add, they may help reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and autoimmune disorders. From a medical standpoint, does this stuff not sound awesome?
As far as which is better, concentrated MCT oil or coconut oil, it all depends on what you’re looking for. Both can also be found in powder form which can be used in drinks and baking. No greasy coffee!
If your goal is to suppress appetite in order to reach weight loss goals, then MCT is probably your better bet. Its made mostly of the two most important fatty chains for that. Plus, they’re known for having a thermogenic effect which is said to speed up metabolism. MCTs are also a popular for helping to achieve nutritional ketosis; essentially, you can reap the benefits of a ketonic diet without cutting out all carbs. Yay, pasta! Its also more readily available and used faster for energy since it goes directly into the bloodstream.
If you’re hoping to get the additional known benefits of coconut oil to include the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiinflammatory effects, then coconut oil is right up your alley, and a bit cheaper!
Either are known to clean your guts of bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Each have great benefits and are useful.
For all the many annoying symptoms of fibromyalgia, I definitely see a need to add this to my diet. Not only could it possibly help with my weight loss, but it could also help with brain fog, raising energy levels, and digestive health. Pooping is just so hard… literally! This stuff may not be for everyone, so definitely consult with your doctor or pharmacist prior to use.
After going back and forth, I finally settled with the coconut oil powder by Quest purchased on Amazon. I’m spoiled with the free two day shipping!! Although weight loss is my ultimate goal, I desire the overall health benefits coconut oil provides, plus I have a family that I want to keep healthy as well. The price may have also swayed my decision. The coconut powder was cheaper and I got more for my money than I would have with their MCT powder.
So, the coconut oil power, aside from price, was the better choice for me. I may try MCT powder in the future to test the difference. I only just received my order Monday, so I’m trying to work it into my diet and lifestyle. It mixes pretty well into my tea without altering the taste, not that I’d mind. I like coconut! I‘ll update with my experience in my blog section under Life of Fi and more research here in the Health and Wellness area.
If you have Fibromyalgia or any other chronic illnesses and use MCT or Coconut oil, what are your feelings? Has it worked for you? Did you experience any negative effects? I want to know!! Please comment and share your story!
Resources for this post can be found at: Wellness Mama; Mercola; Web MD