MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, also known as medium-chain fatty acids. Fresh coconut meat and especially coconut oil are amongst the best sources of them.
More and more people are experiencing fat loss with the consumption of MCT oil. Studies show that replacing dietary long chain triglycerides (LCTs) with MCTs increases metabolic rate in both men and women.(1) Increased metabolic rate results in the loss of body fat. As the science spreads to the average person, people are beginning to understand that unlike LCTs, MCTs are not stored as body fat.
Because of the chain length, MCTs are absorbed and metabolized rapidly. They are then easily and efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use. They can be used to create energy much faster than glucose. This is why MCT’s are an excellent energy source for those who live active lives, and especially those who exercise.
Our bodies prefer using MCTs as a fuel source over glycogen. Endurance athletes are especially excited about the fact that MCTs delay muscle glycogen depletion. This keeps the glycogen stores for emergency energy. Thus we gain endurance when consuming MCTs.
MCTs have been found to help prevent muscles from breaking down. Critically ill patients in hospitals are given MCTs intravenously to prevent muscle breakdown. MCTs promote ketone production. Ketones are a great energy source for muscles and will be used for energy before the body starts to catabolize muscles to get amino acids to use for energy. In other words, ketones save our muscles as a last resort fuel and thus preserve our muscles. Because of the ketone production, daily MCT consumption by diabetics is not recommended.
MCTs have been shown to help amino acids assimilate inside the muscles. This is exactly what body builders are trying to achieve! Body builders should look for high quality protein supplements that combine MCTs with protein. An example of one such excellent product is Warrior Blend by SUNWARRIOR.
Perhaps the most outstanding of benefits from MCT consumption is how it can help people with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. This is a recent discovery and one that we will see more and more science on as time progresses. Even epilepsy was shown to benefit when MCTs were combined with a low-carbohydrate diet.
Lauric acid is an MCT found in human breast milk and coconut oil. It has numerous nutritional benefits as well as other beneficial effects. Amongst these beneficial effects, lauric acid has been shown to have antimicrobial properties.
MCTs do not require bile for digestion. People who are malnourished are often given MCTs because they do not require energy for absorption or utilization. People with liver disease should not make MCTs a part of their everyday diet. This is because MCTs are rapidly delivered to the liver and can put unnecessary stress on the livers of those with liver disease. However, they are perfectly safe for the average person’s liver.
When taken regularly in large amounts, MCTs can increase the total cholesterol level. But most of the increase is due to an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as the "good" cholesterol. As a result, MCTs have a more favorable effect on the total HDL cholesterol than any other fatty acid, either saturated or unsaturated.  A lower total HDL cholesterol ratio suggests a decrease in atherosclerotic risk.
MCTs have been shown to increase endurance, help maintain and build muscle mass, speed up metabolism, and accelerate fat burning. These are just a few of the numerous benefits! There are bad fats, good fats, and there are great fats! MCTs are what I call great fats.
1 Flatt, J. P., Ravussin, E., Acheson, K. J. & Jequier, E. (1985) Effects of dietary fat on postprandial substrate oxidation and on carbohydrate and fat balances. J. Clin. Investig. 76:1019-1024.
2 Neal, E. G.; Cross, J. H. (2010). "Efficacy of dietary treatments for epilepsy". Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 23 (2): 113–119.
3 Liu, Y. M. C. (2008). "Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) ketogenic therapy".Epilepsia 49: 33–36.
4 Mensink RP, Zock PL, Kester ADM, Katan MB (May 2003). "Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 77 (5): 1146–1155.
5 Thijssen, M.A. and R.P. Mensink. (2005). Fatty Acids and Atherosclerotic Risk. In Arnold von Eckardstein (Ed.)Atherosclerosis: Diet and Drugs. Springer. pp. 171–172.