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What is MCT Oil?

MCT stands for medium chain triglyceride, and it is commonly found in foods like coconut oil. Medium chain references the number or length of carbon atoms in the molecule, and triglyceride is a scientific word for fat or fatty acids of which there are three types:

  1. Short chain fatty acids with less than 6 carbon atoms (i.e. milk and butter)
  2. Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) with 6-12 carbon atoms (i.e. coconut oil and palm kernel oil)
  3. Long chain fatty acids (most common) with 13-21 carbons. (i.e. vegetable oil like canola and safflower oil)

There are four common types of MCTs where the number represents the amount of carbon atoms in the chain:

·      C6: Caproic acid

·      C8: Caprylic acid

·      C10: Capric acid

·      C12: Lauric acid

Currently, there is much debate over whether or not C12 acts as a true MCT in the body.  Some contest that it acts more like a long chain fatty acid and has less benefits than C6, C8, and C10. 

What makes MCTs so special?

Unlike long chain fatty acids, MCTs are quickly and efficiently broken down by the body and used as a quick source of energy as opposed to being stored as fat.  Although more research is needed, many studies have shown that MCTs have positives effects on cholesterol levels, weight loss, and brain function. 

What are sources of MCTs?

Coconut oil and dairy products are both common sources of MCTs, but their composition is different.  Dairy products are mainly made of C6, C8, C10 with only small amounts of C12.  Coconut oil contains about 50% of C12 and smaller amounts of C6, C8, C10.

So, what about MCT oil?

 MCT oil is a concentrated form of MCTs usually in the form of C8, C10, or both that stays liquid at room temperature. Although C12 (lauric acid) has antimicrobial benefits, it is not used for energy as efficiently as the MCTs with less carbons, so it is typically not concentrated.  Due to C6 (caproic acid) foul taste and smell, it is not concentrated into an oil.

MCT oil is a great way to incorporate large concentrations of medium chain triglycerides into your diet.   If you are practicing a ketogenic eating pattern adding MCT oil to your daily routine can be exceptionally beneficial for entering into ketosis. You can incorporate MCT oil  by adding it to salad dressings, smoothies, fat bombs, and coffee.

Coffee Recipes

Chocolate “bulletproof” coffee:

  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1 Tbsp MCT oil
  • 1 Tbsp cacao butter or cacao powder
  • Mix in a blender or with an electric whisk, sprinkle with cinnamon, and enjoy!

 Collagen protein coffee:

  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1 scoop powdered protein collagen
  • 1 Tbs MCT oil
  • 1 Tbs coconut butter 
  • Mix in a blender or with an electric whisk, sprinkle with cinnamon, and enjoy!

The coffee concoctions are endless!  Experiment with combinations and find your favorite MCT oil morning pick me up.


  • When you first start using MCT oil, it  has a tendency to "go right through you" and you may notice some changes in your bowel movements. Start slowly at first adding into your routine (1 tsp at a time).
  • Brain Octane from Bulletproof would be like "the next level up" from regular MCT oil.
  • I have been using the Sports Research or WILD brand of MCT oil, found on amazon. 
  • I use little bits of MCT oil in my coffee, smoothies, salad dressing drizzles, mashed with avocado for guacamole, and other no-heat recipes!




The WellnessFX Team. (2013, December 3). MCT Oil and Dietary Fat Balance. Retrieved June 5, 2107, from

Brown, M. J., Dr. (2016, May 21). MCT Oil - A Review of Medium-Chain Triglycerides. Retrieved June 5, 2017, from

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