MCT, or Medium Chain Triglyceride, oils and powders have become a very popular supplement choice among athletes and people on a ketogenic diet. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still unclear on why they need MCT oil and how to choose the right MCT oil for their needs, but hopefully this article will help with that. MCT oil is a form of saturated fat, but definitely not one you want to be cutting from your diet. The myth that all saturated fats are bad has scared a lot of people away from them, but some saturated fats, such as MCT are actually good for you, with far reaching health benefits. Below, are some other benefits of MCT oil and some of the most important things to know while shopping for MCT oil and some specific products that we recommend.
Don’t feel like reading the whole article? Here are the top 5 best MCT oil supplements on the market today:
- LevelUp Clean MCT Oil
- Keppi Keto MCT Oil
- Zhou Nutrition MCT Powder
- Sports Research MCT Oil
- Quest Nutrition MCT Powder Oil
Why Take MCT Oil?
As their name suggests, medium chain triglycerides are shorter than long chain triglycerides, or LCTs, so they are easier for your body to digest. MCT oil goes straight to your liver, where it is broken down quickly, creating and releasing ketones, which are then used by your body for energy, including your brain. This is great because your body would typically be fueled on carbs and glucose, but you get very little carbs on a ketogenic diet, so it’s important to find a clean source of energy. MCT oils provide this clean source of energy and can be a great way to help you achieve a state of ketosis.
Aids in Weight Loss
MCT oil can aid in weight loss in several different ways. Since MCT oil helps get you in ketosis, where your body runs on fat instead of carbs, MCT oil lets you burn stored fat as energy. MCT oil can also help keep you full between meals, thus curbing cravings and decreasing the chance of caving to a carb binge. Lastly, MCTs can actually speed up your metabolism because they are used by your body very quickly, so they are very rarely wasted and stored as fat. This increased metabolism can also lead to increased fat burning, even that stubborn tummy fat.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Since MCT oil and a ketogenic diet promote weight loss, they also greatly reduce the risk of obesity, which can come with several other health concerns. What’s more impressive though is that MCT oil can actually reduce the amount of “bad” cholesterol in your system, while also increasing the amount of “good” cholesterol. Heart disease is a very serious problem, with about 1 in 4 deaths in the United States being caused by heart disease; that’s over 600,000 people per year. Chances are, you could benefit from reducing your cholesterol, and MCT oils are a great way to help do that.
Boosts Immune System
MCT oil also has natural anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties contribute towards preventing various inflammatory diseases, of which there are many. Its antibiotic properties actually give your immune system a little boost, helping fight off everything from viruses to bacterial and fungal infections. That’s not to say you’ll never get sick again, but MCT oil can make you less susceptible to diseases like strep throat, meningitis, urinary tract infections, and yeast infections.
The 5 Best MCT Oils of 2018
- Number of Servings: 64
- MCT Per Serving: 14 g
- Ingredients: pure C8 caprylic acid
There are no other ingredients in Clean MCT other than Caprylic acid triglycerides, no fillers or sugars or any of that junk. This oil has only what you need, which makes it an option for almost anybody. This oil is totally vegan, gluten free, and lactose free, and extracted from non-GMO coconuts without using chemicals. Clean MCT is also manufactured in the United States, where it is lab verified for consistent purity and strength ratings.
Boosts Energy: Since this oil is pure Caprylic acid, it is broken down very quickly by your body and converted into ketones. This gives you a big boost of sustainable energy that will help you keep going throughout the day without crashing. Clean MCT is better than any espresso or energy drink because it provides you with clean energy that can be fully used by your body instead of being stored as fat. The increased energy also comes with all the other benefits of ketosis, including increased mental focus and reduced cravings.
Versatile: A serving size of Clean MCT is just 1 tablespoon, so it isn’t hard to mix into whatever you want. This oil is also completely odorless and flavorless, so it is very easy to hide and work into your diet. It doesn’t add a bitter or weird chemical taste like a lot of other supplements. Clean MCT can be added to your favorite drinks, like smoothies, tea, coffee, or even meal replacement shakes. It can also be worked into recipes and works great in salad dressing.
Clean MCT is very strong, so just a little bit does the job. This also means that there are a whole lot of servings in a single bottle. Each bottle contains 64 servings, which is enough to last you over a month if you take it twice a day. Another great thing about this oil is its money back guarantee, so there is very little risk in trying Clean MCT.
The only downside to this oil is that it may cause some gastric distress, especially if it is your first time using it. However, this isn’t uncommon for MCT oils and can be combatted by starting off taking only half of a serving. This allows your body to get introduced to the MCT oil and allows you to see how your body reacts. If your body reacts fine, then it may be a good idea to take a full serving next time. Introduce the oil slowly until you can take the max daily dosage, or until you are seeing the results you want.
- Number of Servings: 63
- MCT Per Serving: 15 g
- Ingredients: Fractioned coconut oil
There are a few key things that make Keppi Keto a great weight loss aid. First, since your body is able to use the energy provided by the MCTs efficiently, there is nothing left over to be stored on your body as fat. Also, Keppi Keto can reduce cravings and decrease the amount of snacking you do between meals. And because it provides you with clean, sustainable energy, it can even help fuel workouts and burn more fat.
Enhanced Concentration: You know by now that a major difference between glucose and ketones are how effectively they are used by your body, but that doesn’t just mean physically. Even your brain uses ketones more effectively, which is why people experience improved mental performance and concentration while in ketosis. Keppi Keto gives you a boost of MCTs to help get you in ketosis fast and stay there. This is something that is often overlooked since so many people take supplements for just physical reasons, like losing weight or building muscle, but it’s just as important. The enhanced concentration that Keppi Keto gives you can help make you more productive and less sluggish at work.
Extracted From Pure Coconut Oil: Instead of using palm oil, or adding fillers, Keppi Keto is extracted from coconut oil and remains pure. Coconut oil is already very dense with MCTs, making them the best source of extraction for MCT oils. After extracting the MCTs, the result is Keppi Keto, a combination of 55% Caprylic acid and 45% Capric acid. Both of these MCTs are considered to be good choices that your body can digest easily. There is no Lauric acid in this oil, which is the least effective MCT since it has the longest chain. Leaving out Lauric acid, usually used in lower ends oils, shows that Keppi Keto is dedicated to creating a high quality MCT oil.
A major benefit of this MCT oil is that it is totally odorless and flavorless. Neither Caprylic acid nor Capric acid are known for having strong tastes, so this oil is very easy to tolerate and can be mixed into food or drinks without destroying the original flavor. Some people say oils are too hard to mix into stuff, but that certainly isn’t the case with Keppi Keto.
The main downside to Keppi Keto, and MCT oils in general, is that you cannot take the oil out of the original bottle. This makes it a little harder to travel with since you have to take the whole thing with you. However, this is not reason enough to not give it a try. Plus, each bottle comes with a 30 day money back guarantee, so if it isn’t the right fit for you, or you’re experiencing problems, you can get a full refund. Another small downside is that it’s not ideal for cooking with. MCT oil has a very low smoking point, so it doesn’t work as well in hot dishes as it does in drinks.
- Servings per container: 45
- Cost per serving: $1.13
- Ingredients: goMCT, prebiotic acacia fiber
Healthy Fat: Although many diets put tight restrictions on fat, the ketogenic diet doesn’t. Fats are actually the most important part of a ketogenic diet, although you should try to get as many healthy fats as possible. This supplement is a great source of healthy fat, with 4 grams in every serving. The best part, is that these 4 grams of healthy fat don’t come attached to any junk like carbs or sugars. This supplement is totally carb and sugar free, making it perfect for a ketogenic diet.
Prebiotic Acacia Fiber: Another great feature of this supplement is the prebiotic acacia fiber that is packed into every scoop. A single serving has about 18% of your daily fiber needs. Getting enough fiber every day can promote heart health and healthy glucose levels, as well as assisting in weight loss since it keeps you fuller, longer. The Acacia fiber is especially great because of its prebiotic properties, which help supply your gut with good bacteria, which can help keep you healthy and even help you lose weight.
9 g of goMCT: The key ingredient in this supplement, the one that will get your body into ketosis, is the goMCT. goMCT, or MCT oil, provides your body with a long burst of sustainable energy. This allows you to perform at the top of your game, whether it is physically or mentally. And for those worried about the taste after hearing about how bad esters can be, don’t worry, this MCT oil powder mixes into any drink or smoothie and the taste is negligible.
Although there is not much taste, this supplement does have a creamy texture when mixed, so it’s great for things like coffee and smoothies. However, the biggest advantages of this supplement is what it can directly do for you. It increases energy, improves mental acuity, reduces appetite, and improves gut health. It’s kind of hard not to like this one, but if for anyone you don’t, you can call and get a refund, no questions. It’s always nice to buy from a company that really believes in their product and in customer satisfaction.
Some user have reported the powder clumping up a little when they try to mix it. I haven’t personally experienced this problem, but if you shake it up or stir it really good it should solve itself. Since it’s a powder, it dissolves really easily, you just have to mix it thoroughly before you try to drink it. Also, make sure you have the right amount of powder. If you try to put more than 1 scoop of powder it may be harder to mix.
- Number of Servings: 63
- MCT Per Serving: 13.5
- Ingredients: Pure MCT oil from non-GMO verified coconuts
- Contains a variety of MCTs
This MCT oil contains Capric acid, Caprylic acid, and Lauric acid, but again, not Caproic acid because it is just so unpleasant. Caprylic acid is the most abundant MCT in this oil, which is good because it is also the shortest MCT other than Caproic acid. The next most abundant MCT is Lauric acid, and although Lauric acid is the least efficient MCT, it still has some health benefits. The Capric acid and Caprylic acid help balance it out, so don’t let this scare you away. Lauric acid can help lower blood cholesterol and aid in weight loss since it has fewer calories per gram.
Promotes Rapid Ketosis: By giving your body a big dose of MCTs, you are giving your body what it needs to create ketones, which is what gets your body in ketosis. This oil can help kick start ketosis, whether you are on a ketogenic diet or not. Ketosis comes with several of its own benefits, like having better focus, better athletic performance, and increased fat burning.
Promotes Gut Health: Another big benefit of the MCTs, especially Lauric acid, is their ability to promote gut health, thanks to their antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. When humans digest Lauric acid, it is turned into monolaurin, which is used as a medicine for fungal infections, and viruses like the flu, common cold, bronchitis, and even some STDs. This MCT oil can help keep your gut happy and healthy and fight off illnesses, and that’s just a bonus, considering all of the other things it can do.
Although this oil is extracted from coconuts, it does not take like coconut at all and has a very neutral scent and taste. This makes it easy to add to several foods, you just have to consider the texture. Obviously, it has a very oily texture, so it works great in salad dressings, where there tends to already be a lot of oil. Some people also like to mix it into their coffee, but what you do with it is up to you.
If you like to drink your coffee out of Styrofoam cups, either find another place to add MCT oil or change what kind of cup you use. The MCTs will eat right through the Styrofoam, causing it to dissolve and make your drink taste gross, and worst case scenario, making your cup fall apart completely. This isn’t specific to just this MCT oil and is pretty standard for other oils as well. Some people consider the Luairc acid in this oil to be a downside, but like I said, that’s mainly based on misinformation and the belief that Lauric acid isn’t good for you because it’s a C12, when it actually has several health benefits.
- Number of Servings: 50
- Ingredients: Medium chain triglycerides, soluble corn fiber, sodium caseinate, sunflower lechitin, silicon dioxide
- Clean Energy Boost
This MCT powder from Quest Nutrition contains no sugars, so all the energy it gives you is clean, sustainable energy from MCTs. This means you won’t be crashing a few hours after taking it, leaving you feeling depleted and even more tired than before. Since it has no sugar, and only 1 gram of carbs, this powder is also keto friendly and can be used to supplement a ketogenic diet without busting your daily carb limit.
Creamy Texture: Lots of people love the way MCT powder oil feels versus MCT oil. As I mentioned earlier, MCT oil has a very oily texture, usually even after you mix it in with stuff. But MCT powder isn’t oily at all and dissolves to create a creamy texture. This makes it great for mixing into drinks, especially creamy drinks like coffee or smoothies. MCT powder does a very good job of mixing into whatever you put it in and even complimenting it, giving it a smoother, creamier texture. If you are someone that is very picky about textures, this powder might be perfect for you.
Maximum Convenience: You already know this powder can be mixed into drinks, but its convenience goes beyond just that. This powder can also be used in your favorite baking recipes or other treats. This powder is also lightweight and easy to take with you wherever you go. You can measure out a day’s worth of powder, stick it in a little container, and take it with you to work if you want. It can be measured and mixed in just seconds, so if you appreciate convenience, you’ll definitely appreciate this MCT powder. Lastly, this powder is convenient because you can see results after taking it pretty quickly, so you only have to take it when you need it, you don’t have to follow a very strict dosage schedule.
A huge benefit of this powder is that it is easier on your stomach and digestive system. Since the MCTs are attached to something, it’s less likely to seriously upset your stomach. If you have tried MCT oils in the past and found you were very sensitive, or if you just know you have a very sensitive stomach, MCT powder is a great choice. Of course, you should still follow the directions to know how much to take in a day, because too much of anything can cause an upset stomach.
Although this powder contains soluble corn fiber, each serving contains only 1 gram of fiber, so it isn’t a great source of fiber. Powders with acacia fiber are a great source for daily fiber, but that doesn’t rule this powder out completely. It still promotes ketosis and helps you reap all the benefits from it.
The process to create MCT powders is a little bit longer than the process to make oil since other things must be mixed in with the MCTs. This means that the end result is a little less pure, but it is still packed full of MCTs. This doesn’t take away from the actual MCTs themselves, it just takes a little bit longer for your body to break them down. For most people, the added digestibility and convenience is worth the extra few ingredients, but you have to decide for yourself.
What to Look for While Shopping
Powder vs. Oil
MCT oil comes in two main forms, powder and oil, each of which has their own pros and cons. MCT oil powder is a great choice for anyone on the go, or for anyone that prioritizes convenience. It is easier to take on the go since it is a lot easier to quickly portion out compared to portioning oil, usually you just get a scoopful of powder. MCT powder also tends to be easier on your digestive system than oil and can contain healthy sources of fiber. On the other hand, MCT oils are more pure since the oil is by itself and not attached to anything. Lots of MCT oil powders have additives and fillers since the oil has to bind to something, but MCT oils rarely have additives like that.
Chain Length of the Oils
There are four main types of medium chain triglycerides, each with their own unique structure and chain length. Just like how medium chain triglycerides digest quicker than long chain triglycerides due to their shorter length, the shorter MCTs digest even quicker. The length of a chain is determined by how many carbon atoms are present. MCTs have between 6 and 12 carbon atoms (which looks like C6 or C12), depending on which specific MCT they are. The four main MCTs and their lengths are:
- Caproic acid: C6
- Caprylic acid: C8
- Capric acid: C10
- Lauric acid: C12
Although Caproic acid is the shortest MCT, it usually is not included in oils because of its really strong unpleasant taste and smell. As you can see, Lauric acid has the longest chain of all the MCTs, which means it take the longest for your body to break down. For this reason, it is usually left out of oils completely. Sometimes if an oil has mostly Lauric acid, it’s considered to be low end and not worth your time, but that isn’t always the case, especially if the Lauric acid is used in combination with other MCTs.
Source and Purity
You always want to check and make sure there aren’t unnecessary fillers or additives and that your oil comes from a reliable source. Sustainably sourced coconuts tend to be the preferred source of MCT oil extraction. Another source you will see a lot is palm oil, but there are major environmental concerns over the harvesting of palm oil, including mass deforestation. Coconut oil is also richer in MCTs than palm oil, so it takes a lot less of it to make the MCT oil on the shelves.
Some Final Tips
While shopping, compare the features and specifications of all the oils or powders that you are considering. This can help you weed out any products that just aren’t up to par with the others and ultimately make a final decision. There are lots of things you can compare, such as the calories, protein levels, price, and even flavor, but by far the most important thing is quality. Make sure you get a high quality oil or powder, even if that means saving up for a little bit, the added quality is worth it.
Some MCT oil powders are notorious for adding unnecessary sugars. Lots of sugar may be used in lower end powders as a way to make you feel like you’re getting a whole lot of energy, but it isn’t sustainable and will lead to a crash. Plus, if you are on a low carb diet you don’t want to be getting an entire day’s wort of sugar from a powder mix. If you decide to go with MCT oil powder, make sure it has very little, or ideally no sugar. Most oils are pure MCTs, so sugars are not a concern. However, I still recommend double checking the ingredients and nutritional information to make sure there are no sugars.
I recommend looking for an oil or powder that is flavorless as well. Some supplements can taste bitter or downright gross, and that can make it hard to palate every day. A flavorless oil or powder will mix into other foods and drinks easier without sticking out or changing the whole flavor profile. Some people go for flavored powders because they think it’ll be easier to handle, but for many people, myself included, it is easier to just go with unflavored oil or powder and then hide it in something.
So Who’s the Winner?
Our top recommendation is Clean MCT from LevelUp. Each person is different, so what works for one person may not work for another, but Clean MCT is what we have found to be the best. Clean MCT comes from trusted sources and provides your body with clean energy that your body can use. It is also pretty low in calories, and your body can metabolize it very fast, so as long as you aren’t just taking it and then sitting around all day, none of the calories should stick around as unwanted fat. Our favorite oil, Clean MCT, also has the most amount of MCT per serving, helping to curb cravings and make it easier to stick to your diet, whether it is ketogenic or not. If you don’t think Clean MCT is the right choice for you, the other three oils listed are great alternatives. What is most important is picking the oil or oil powder that is right for your needs.