For the past several weeks (or more) we’ve all been dealing with the stress of working from home, managing life, deciding what to watch on Netflix and hopefully taking time to reflect on the things that are important in our lives. If you’re like me, this slowdown from the hectic pace of life has given me a chance to get back to the basics and focus on wellness for my family and myself.
Bullet proof coffee was all the rage a few years back, and everyone discovered the benefits of ghee butter, MCT oil, and turbo boosting the morning cup of Joe. Like all fads when they fade away, most of us forget and simply move on to the next best new thing! (Not me by the way – I am still dressing like I live in the 80’s and sure enough, preppie fashion is now “hipster”!) One of the other things I held on to was my love of MCT oil and my belief in the benefits of adding this to my daily routine!
According to Medical News Today, MCT oil is a dietary supplement that is made up of MCT fats, which are fats that can be found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products. MCT oil is mainly used by people looking to lose weight, or boost their endurance during a workout. Some supporters of MCT oil also claim it can improve the ability to think, as well as help with various forms of dementia. I like using this supplement in the morning as I definitely feel the benefits from an immediate boost of healthy fats as fuel for my brain and body.
Fats are made up of chains of carbon atoms, and most of the fats in a person’s diet are made up of 13 to 21 of these atoms. These are called long-chain fatty acids. In contrast, short-chain fatty acids are made up of 6 or fewer carbon atoms. MCTs refers to medium-chain triglycerides that sit in the middle of the other two types. They are of medium length and made up of 6 to 12 carbon atoms. Too much scientific lingo?
MCTs are found in coconut oil and are processed by the body in a different way to long-chain fatty acids. Unlike other fats, they go straight from the gut to the liver. From here, they are used as a source of energy or turned into ketones.
We have all heard of ketones as the “Keto Craze” has been popular for over 5 years now. What are ketones? Ketones are substances produced when the liver breaks down a lot of fat, and they can be used by the brain for energy instead of glucose or sugar. Hence the Brain Octane brand of MCT oil (which I love) and other products which promote increased cognitive abilities, memory and more through their use.
For most people the idea of getting their body into Ketosis is the goal, as the state of ketosis is when your body burns fat (in the absence of glucose) to use for fuel. As the calories in MCTs are used straightaway, they are less likely to be stored as fat. This principle is the basis of the ketogenic diet, which many people believe is an effective way to lose weight. I will talk more about ketosis and the ketogenic diet later this month, but for now my secret ingredient to Surviving Isolation? Try a little MCT oil in your morning routine and see if you don’t notice a difference!