MCT and athletic performance

saturated fats can be sub categorized into short chain, medium chain, and long chain fats whereas mono- and polyunsaturated fats are all long chain fats.

what is Triglyceride?

Triglyceride is simply the technical term for fat. Triglycerides have two main purposes. They’re either burned for energy or stored as body fat.
Triglycerides are named after their chemical structure, specifically the length of their fatty acid chains. All triglycerides consist of a glycerol molecule and three fatty acids.
Triglycerides are made of a glycerol backbone and 3 fatty acids attached to that glycerol backbone, hence the name triglycerides (the scientific term is triacylglycerol). the fatty acids that make up a triglyceride can be monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or saturated. The saturation denotes the number of double bonds or open spaces on each fatty acid. plus, every fat has some combination of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or saturated fatty acid. However, it is the main type of fatty acid that defines each type of fat. For example, olive oil has mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, soybean oil has mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids, and butter has mostly saturated fatty acids.
The majority of fat diet is made up of long-chain fatty acids, which contain 13–21 carbons. Short-chain fatty acids have fewer than 6 carbon atoms. meanwhile, the medium-chain fatty acids in MCTs have 6–12 carbon atoms.

what is MCT?

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a kind of fat found in foods such as coconut oil. They’re metabolized differently than the long-chain triglycerides (LCT) found in most other foods. Given the shorter chain length of MCTs, they are broken down and absorbed into the body much faster.
Since the MCT is digested faster than the LCT, it gets to be used as energy first. If there’s an excess of MCT, they too will eventually be stored as fat.
Unlike longer-chain triglycerides(LCT), MCTs go straight to your liver, where they can be used as an instant energy source or turned into ketones. Ketones are like debris which are produced when the liver breaks down large particles of fat.
keep in mind that Ketones are only synthesized when the body has a shortage of carbohydrates especially for people during keto diet. The brain always prefers to use glucose for energy instead of ketones.
MCTs also have shown to have no risk regarding coronary heart disease in studies, unlike long chain saturated fats. this has also been a big reason MCT has become a popular subject between athletes.

how many types of MCTs are there?

4 different types of MCTs exist, of which caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10) are most commonly used for MCT oil. the other two types are caproic acid (C6) and lauric acid (C12).

MCT and Fat Loss

Dietary fat is often blamed for the rising rate of obesity. However, all fats are not equal in their metabolic effects. For example, medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs) are processed differently from long-chain triacylglycerols (LCTs) by the body. Because of their chain length, medium-chain fatty acids can be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and transported to the liver via the portal circulation without incorporation into chylomicrons. As a result, it is thought that MCTs are oxidized to a greater extent than are LCTs and have less opportunity for deposition into adipose tissue. data shows increased thermogenesis and metabolism and lower fat deposition with MCT consumption.
In liver, fats are broken down to be either used as energy fuel or be stored as body fat. Since MCTs can easily enter the blood vessels and go to cells without being broken down, they can be used as an instant source of energy and make you more fat adaptable. this property is especially good for people who are in a keto diet and want to eat something during exercise for energy. not only that, MCTs may help reduce lactate build-up as well.
MCT oil has shown to increase the release of 2 hormones named peptide YY and leptin that can promote the feeling of fullness in the body.
MCT oil might promote the growth of probiotics and support the gut lining, which could also help you lose fat.
Consumption of MCT oil as part of a fat-loss plan improves fat loss compared with olive oil and can be successfully included in a fat-loss diet. Small changes in the quality of fat intake can therefore be useful to increase fat loss.
Clinical studies have shown that consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs) leads to greater energy expenditure than does consumption of long-chain triacylglycerols. Such studies suggest that MCT consumption may be useful for weight management.
in a study, scientists found that men had a huge reductions in upper-body adipose tissue after consuming MCT oil for 4 weeks than after consuming olive oil for the same period.

what food sources have MCT?

Food sources for LCT(long-chain triglycerides) are plenty such as nuts, seeds, avocados, fish, and meat but there are only a handful of foods that are high in MCTs like human breast milk, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, coconut meat and dried coconut.
MCT oil is a supplement that has become popular among athletes and body builders. The popularity of coconut oil, high in MCTs, has contributed to its use. it is a man-made via a process called fractionation. This involves extracting and isolating the MCTs from coconut or palm kernel oil.
MCT oil is most commonly extracted from coconut oil. more than 50% of the fat in coconut oil comes from MCTs.

MCT benefits for athletes

Coconut oil, which contains numerous MCTs, has been shown in an study to hinder the growth of Candida albicans by one forth. This is a common yeast that can cause thrush and multiple skin infections.
An study also showed that coconut oil reduces the growth of a bad bacteria called Clostridium difficile. ability of Coconut oil to reduce yeast and bacterial growth may be due to the caprylic, capric, and lauric acid in MCTs.
a study found good reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol and good increase in the production of HDL (good) cholesterol when the MCT oil mixture was added to diet.
Studies have shown that MCT oil and a ketogenic diet may help manage conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism.
as mentioned, MCTs produce ketones, which works as an alternative fuel source for the brain and can thus improve brain function in people following ketogenic diets.