“MCT” stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which are a type of saturated fatty acid that have a number of health-promoting effects — especially for people on high-fat diets such as the keto diet.†
While MCT oil has certain things in common with other cooking oils, especially coconut oil, it’s typically used somewhat differently. Most people treat MCT oil — which is virtually tasteless and odorless — as more like a supplement than a cooking fat. That being said, it can be consumed in many ways depending on your preferences, such as taken by mouth, stirred into beverages or blended into shakes, not to mention applied to your skin.
MCTs are easy to digest and go straight to your liver where they have a thermogenic (heating) effect. As opposed to long-chain triglycerides, MCT’s are very efficiently metabolized and prove an almost immediate form of energy for your cells. Not only this, but MCT oil may also help with weight loss and other markers of health too — such as blood sugar management, mental/cognitive performance, and skin and gut health.†
Ready to add this superfood fat to your routine?
Here are 10 MCT Oil Uses:
1. Add to your coffee or matcha tea — You already know that caffeine can help kick start your day and make you instantly feel more alert, but did you know that MCTs also have energy-boosting effects? Adding one or two tablespoons of MCT oil to coffee or tea can be a great way to start your day, get energized before a workout, or help keep your body into ketosis (and once in ketosis you can expect improved cognitive function, focus, alertness and steadier blood sugar). Some studies have even found that MCT oil may help with alertness, attention, memory and language skills.†
2. Blend into a smoothie — MCTs can help you feel full for longer, support your metabolism and may help with fat burning, all reasons to add some to your morning routine in a healthy smoothie or shake. If your goal is to use MCTs to support a ketogenic diet, consider trying a keto protein powder that has other helpful ingredients like exogenous ketones, adaptogen herbs and caffeine, which can help mitigate low-carb (or “keto flu”) side effects. You’ll get the best results if you use a high-speed blender to incorporate MCT oil into smoothies.
3. Whisked into salad dressing — Just like with other fats you may add to salads or vegetables, MCTs can help with nutrient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, D and K). This is why experts will tell you that low-fat dressings are subpar, since they tend to be less filling and also contribute to you missing out on absorbing key vitamins.
4. Take by the spoonful — If you’re simply looking to up your intake of healthy fats, perhaps because you’re following a low-carb diet plan, then you may want to use MCT oil as is. A quick and convenient option for getting your daily dose is taking a spoonful by mouth each day. Start with just half a teaspoon and slowly work your way up as you see how you react. Remember that all oils are calorie-dense, so you probably don’t want to go overboard (unless weight gain is your goal), so stick to one to three tablespoons daily.
5. Add to a pre-workout shake — Prior to a workout MCTs can provide you with quick-releasing energy without weighing you down, especially when combined with other ingredients that enhance physical performance like green tea extract, cayenne and branched chain amino acids. There’s some evidence that MCT oil may also help reduce lactate buildup in the blood, which can reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, possibly boosting effort and stamina during intense activities.†
6. Use post-workout to support recovery — MCTs can help rev up your metabolism and have fat-burning effects, which can support your fitness-related goals, especially when used with amino acids that replenish your energy and fuel muscle growth, such as those found in collagen protein.†
7. Use as a coconut Oil Replacement — Coconut oil is one of the top natural sources of MCT oil (other foods with MCT oil include palm oil, grass-fed butter, cheese and milk), so it’s not surprising that it can be used in coconut oil’s place. The difference between the two is that MCT oil is much more concentrated in medium chained fats, plus it tends to be a bit more expensive. As long as you don’t mind the cost, MCT oil can be used in place of coconut oil or other fats in your favorite baked goods and other recipes.
8. Drizzle over veggies — Just like with olive oil or avocado oil, you can try adding some MCT oil to cooked or fresh veggies, pasta dishes, grains and salads to bump up the fat content, increase the recipe’s “mouth feel”, and make it more satiating.
9. Melt into CBD chocolate — MCT oil is used as a carrier oil in hemp tinctures, rubs, powders and other supplements because it can enhance the potency and preserve the quality of CBD (or cannabidiol, a therapeutic and non-psychoactive extract from the hemp plant). CBD is absorbed well when combined with MCTs, which is why the two are said to have a “synergistic” relationship and are often found in many quality CBD/hemp extract products that can offer relief from anxiety, pain and more.
10. Apply as a natural skin moisturizer — Similarly to slathering on creamy coconut oil, MCT oil can be applied topically to hydrate dry or inflamed skin. MCTs are actually what give coconut oil many of its therapeutic and cleansing properties and have been shown to have antimicrobial and antifungal effects, perfect for those with sensitive skin.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.