Coconut & MCT Oil

Background

Coconut oil is considered as one of the healthiest foods on the planet nowadays. It is extracted from the white flesh of mature coconuts harvested from coconut palm trees (Coco nucifera). Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat. Approximately 60% of the fats seem to be medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which include 3 unique fats: caprylic acid C-8, capric acid, C-10, and lauric acid C-12. According to USDA nutrient database, those fat compositions make makes it one of the most beneficial fats on the planet.
The other name of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) is medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are produced by hydrolyzing coconut oil and esterifying the fatty acids shorter than lauric acid (C-12) with glycerol. Coconut oil is one great source of MCTs and MCT oil is considered a more “refined version” of Coconut Oil.
Both coconut oil and MCT oil offer nootropic benefits and contribute to brain health a lot. They help improve cognitive performance, enhance memory, increase energy, and has been shown to have an effect on Alzheimer’s disease, blood pressure, diabetes, heart health and weight loss.

Benefits

Coconut oil has got exceptional healing properties and is a good healthy fat which increases the bioavailability of fat-soluble nootropics in your stack. Remember that your brain is approximately 60% fat and the fatty acids are the most important molecules for your improved brain health. 60% MCTs comprises coconut oil. Yes, and MCT oil is normally made by processing coconut and palm kernel oils in the laboratory to use MCTs as medicine. Again, virgin coconut oil is a powerful antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.
Converting to ketones in your liver, MCTs are used as an alternative fuel supply for mitochondria in your brain. Caprylic acid can also crosse the blood-brain barrier. And the glial cells, especially astrocytes, are also able to metabolize MCTs to ketones, which are then shuttled into neurons for alternative energy.
The common health benefits of Coconut oil and MCT Oil include:

  • Improve cognitive function [1]
  • Enhance memory [2]
  • Promotes brain longevity [3]
  • Improves blood pressure and heart health [4]
  • Regulates blood sugar [5]
  • Help protect liver [6]
  • Reduce inflammation [7]
  • Is sometimes prescribed by doctors to people who have cancer [8]
  • Improve weight loss [9]
  • Boost immune system [10]
  • Improve energy and endurance [11]
  • Increase athletic performance [12][13]
  • Help manage epilepsy and autism [14]
  • Improve brain health [15]

It is also used to lose weight and lower cholesterol. Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer, for neonatal health, helps hair health and to reduce eczema and a skin condition called psoriasis. [16]
And MCTs are used along with usual medications for treating food absorption disorders including diarrhea, steatorrhea (fat indigestion), celiac disease, liver disease, and digestion problems due to partial surgical removal of the stomach (gastrectomy) or the intestine (short bowel syndrome).  Doctors will also prescribe MCTs for gallbladder disease, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and seizures in children. MCTs increase exercise performance, decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass, strength, and reduce levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood called triglycerides[17]

How it works

Coconut oil contains a certain kind of fat known as – medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Some of these fats work differently than other types of saturated fat in the body. MCTs are a fat source for patients who cannot tolerate other types of fats. Researchers also think that these fats produce chemicals in the body that might help fight Alzheimer’s disease. These fats might also result in weight loss because the body uses them in a different way to other types of fats.
Coconut oil and its components have been shown to help relief of a number of neurological diseases. Caprylic acid which is found in MCTs has been shown to considerably enhance mitochondrial oxygen consumption. Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may have a significant improvement in quality of life while using caprylic acid. Also patients with epilepsy may find that a ketogenic diet can reduce seizure frequency between 50 – 90% and MCTs which are rapidly converted to ketones may be an important component of a ketogenic diet. Coconut oil can also decrease mitochondrial dysfunction caused by some plaques known as amyloid-β plaques, and neurons are more likely to survive in the presence of coconut oil.

Considerations

Because of having nootropic properties, both Coconut oil and MCTs are safe for most people. However, there may be some side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, irritability, nausea, stomach discomfort, intestinal gas, essential fatty acid deficiency, etc. There may be a risk for increasing cholesterol levels. So you should avoid eating coconut oil in excess. Short-term use as a medicine can be safe.
It’s not known whether coconut oil and MCT oil can be safe or not during pregnancy or breast-feeding condition. So stay on the safe side, and consult your doctor before using any supplement.

Recommendations

There is no a standard dose of coconut oil and MCT oil. However, taking coconut oil in doses of 10 mL 2 or 3 times daily for up to 12 weeks seems to be safe. For eczema, 10 mL of virgin coconut oil has been shown to most body surfaces in two divided doses daily for 8 weeks. Remember that high doses of MCT oil may increase the amount of fat in your liver in the long term.
You are recommended to consult your physician or healthcare provider to determine a specific and appropriate dose for you.

Sources