5 Potential Health Benefits of MCT Oil

mct oil benefits

MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides are very much in high demand today. They are easy to use and they have incredible health benefits.

There has been much interest in MCT oil and its other products, particularly in recent years. In fact, data from Nutritional Outlook by SPINS indicates that the global MCT market will be worth $2.46 billion per year by 2025. [1]

Where does MCT oil come from?

MCT oil is sourced from palm kernel and coconut oils. MCT oil has come into prominence of late. It has proven its fantastic reputation as a significant weight loss supplement.

Consumers use it to promote weight loss, for reaching ketosis on the keto diet [2], for brain health, and for a lot more.

But it’s not only weight loss – we are going to look at the amazing benefits of this incredible oil.

Coconut oil and palm kernel oil undergo fractionation

Fractionation [3] is when the contents in the oil are separated.

Highly concentrated medium-chain triglycerides get separated from the oil during fractionation. MCT oil is often produced from coconut oil because coconut contains up to 54% of MCTs.

MCT oil is pure-source oil with a proportion of caprylic acid [4].

Coconut oil, on the other hand, contains other fatty acids as well. This makes the proportion of MCTs in coconut oil less than in MCT oil.

Science shows eating the right fats can help you live longer

Saturated fats like MCTs have been shown to support several benefits.

These include cognitive benefits, energy, sports performance, nutrient absorption, and satiety after consumption. You will find MCTS in coconuts and palms.

The body easily digests saturated fats for fuel. And this is what gives energy to the body and brain. Because of these wonderful health benefits, there is renewed interest in MCTs.

They might have been around for decades.

Nevertheless, over the last five years, they have received much more focus.

This is because the world’s interest in healthy food and healthy lifestyles has increased dramatically.

And of course, with the comeback of the keto diet, many companies focus more on the ‘high-fat’ component of the products they sell.

MCT products have a neutral taste as well.

So they have proven ideal for many supplements and food products, from powders to pills, liquids, snacks, baked goods, beverages, and candy.

5 Top Benefits of MCT Oil


1) It benefits hair, skin, and nails

  • It strengthens the hair, protecting it from damage.
  • It prevents protein loss.
  • It is anti-fungal.
  • It adds shine, giving the hair a healthy-looking appearance.
  • It can relieve dandruff and itchy scalp.
  • MCT oil works wonders on the skin because it is an excellent moisturizer.
  • It helps to reduce wrinkles and stretch marks. The oil promotes healing, reducing skin peeling after sunburn.
  • You can use MCT oil as a soothing lip balm, make-up remover, and hair conditioner.
  • It moisturizes the nail cuticles and prevents fungal infections in the nails as well.

2) It is used for the treatment of medical problems

  • It improves heart health.
  • MCT oil is believed to reduce total cholesterol in the liver. It also helps to improve serum lipid levels [5].
  • It is also noted to reduce low-density lipoprotein levels, which are the bad cholesterol levels in the body. But it will also increase high-density lipoprotein. These are the good cholesterol levels in the body. All these are good factors for improving heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • MCT oil improves gut health, acting as probiotics in the gut. Digestion is improved as well as absorption. Good bacteria are increased and the growth of bacteria that causes diarrhea is inhibited. Generally, the overall health of the gut is improved.
  • MCT oil provides anti-cancer benefits [6]. Research shows that MCTs have tumor suppressant qualities. A study shows that MCT oil was able to slow down the rate at that tumors could grow.
  • It is noted to have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. With its natural antimicrobial properties, it helps to balance bacteria in the gut. MCTs are capable of reducing “bad bacteria” without removing or harming the “good bacteria.” Isn’t that fantastic to know, considering that we need good bacteria to have good intestinal health and good digestive functioning?

3) MCT oil is hugely popular to help with weight loss

  • MCT oil helps to reduce fat being deposited in the body and to produce ketones. That means it is very popular for being used in ketogenic diets where ketosis is utilized for weight loss.
  • Taking MCT oil early in the morning before heading out for the day can also help a person to feel satisfied for longer with the need to reach for more calories early on in the day. This all aids in lowering the risk of obesity and helping in weight loss. One tablespoon of MCT oil contains 115 calories and 14 grams of fat.
  • MCTs were also found to boost fat burning during workouts. This was found to be better than using carbs for energy, thus improving athletic performance. Studies found that MCTs can reduce lactate levels from building up which would decrease stamina and reduce performance during exercising.

4) Improves brain health

  • MCTs can provide energy to the brain. Studies even suggest that MCTs are capable of improving cognitive function in patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s [7]. And another study suggests that children who suffer from autism spectrum disorder showed improved behavioral patterns after consuming MCT oil supplements.
  • Yes, MCT oil certainly shows great potential for treating a wide variety of neurological and mood disorders. See the neuroprotective benefits that MCTs offer:
    • Parkinson’s
    • Epilepsy
    • Stroke
    • TBI – or Traumatic Brain Injury
  • It has been proven how a ketogenic diet plus consuming MCT oil shows great positivity towards treating autism [8].
  • MCTs can help with depression. Researchers have always deemed coconut oil as an excellent antidepressant functional food [9] – This is because of the unique combination of MCTs and antioxidants. 
  • MCTs help with MCI or mild cognitive impairment. This is an intermediate stage of mental decline that occurs before diagnosing a person with dementia. But when MCT oil was given to adults suffering from MCI, they experienced significant improvements in memory recall, just 90 minutes of taking their first dose. In fact, this study has often been cited by supplement manufacturers to show MCTs ability to increase mental performance in everyone.

5) Is able to withstand high-heat cooking

  • MCT oil has proven itself very good for its use in cooking because it has a high “smoke point.” This means the oil doesn’t easily oxidize from heat. This is important because some cooking oils aren’t well suited for high-temperature cooking; oils such as extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil.
  • MCT oil can be used for the most part for sautéing, baked goods, stir-fries, and grilled foods without it oxidizing.

Are there any side effects to taking MCT oil?

Even though medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is considered good and beneficial to the body, if you do consume it excessively, it can lead to some side effects.

Let’s look at just a few:

  • As we saw above, MCT oil can increase the level of bad cholesterol levels in the body. This can lead to cardiovascular diseases.
  • People who suffer from uncontrolled diabetes should try and avoid taking too much MCT oil. Ketone formation can cause complications like upset stomach, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Too much MCT oil can cause you to put on weight.


The soaring popularity and rise of the ketogenic diet have helped to increase the use of MCT products across the world.

The reason being is that MCTs are seen as an efficient source of energy in the absence of carbohydrates, plus MCT oil is noted to help with weight loss as well.

Right now, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) might not be the highest-grossing health product on the block, but they have seen very impressive growth over the past couple of years.

And because MCTs are growing in popularity, there have appeared more flavored MCT powder products infused with other functional ingredients that are appealing to more and more people.

Not forgetting that the soaring popularity and rise of the ketogenic diet has also helped to increase the use of MCT products.

MCTs have proven to be an efficient source of energy, particularly on the keto diet, which follows a high-fat, low-carb way of eating.

Because MCTs produce ketones when broken down by the liver, keto dieters have found that consuming MCTs supports their lifestyles even further.

MCTs have been in demand, predominantly to manage weight and provide clean energy.

But now they are coming through for their fantastic cognitive health benefits and many more that we have listed above.

If you are not adding around 1 to 2 tablespoons of this valuable oil to your diet, the question remains, why not?