Fats generally have a bad reputation. But the reality is that not all fats are "bad". Certain types, if included in the right diet, can have an incredibly positive effect on our health and mental well-being. For example, MCT C8 coconut oil is perhaps the cleanest fuel you can give your body and brain! It brings a whole new level of energy, and it does so without any subsequent decline. In short, MCT not only has a fascinating effect on concentration and performance in sports, studying or work, but also helps in the treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases. Are you wondering how this is possible? What exactly sets MCTs apart from other fats and why did we ditch the classic coconut oil and replaced it with MCT C8 in the new Mana Mark 7 recipe? And what does C8 even mean? Continue reading...
In order to better understand the importance of MCT oil, we must first clarify the importance of fats in our bodies. Generally speaking, fats are nutrients that provide us with energy (they provide the body with twice as much energy as protein or carbohydrates)—the human brain in particular benefits from this, as it is made up of almost 60% fat. This is why fats have a significant impact on the integrity and overall performance of our brains.
In the form of phospholipids, fats are part of cell membranes, help in the synthesis of certain hormones and are also important for the proper absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. For these reasons and many more it is really important not to deprive your body of fats. But how do we know which ones are good for us?
Saturated vs unsaturated fats
Basically, fats consist of saturated and unsaturated (mono- and polyunsaturated) fatty acids—hence the term saturated and unsaturated fats. Simply put, fats are divided depending on the type of fatty acids they contain. Chemically, fats themselves (in other words, lipids) are most commonly found in nature as esters of three fatty acids and glycerol, and the properties of the fatty acids vary depending on the type of fatty acids they contain.
The general consensus among dietitians and nutritionists is that polyunsaturated fats (which include, for example, omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in regulating inflammation in the body) are healthier for the human body than saturated fats. Saturated fats together with industrially produced trans-fatty acids, if consumed in excess, have been shown to increase blood levels of LDL cholesterol. They have a negative effect not only on the cardiovascular system but also cause obesity.
Not all saturated fatty acids are the same, however, and MCT oils are a notable exception.
What is MCT and how does it differ from other saturated fats?
MCT oil is a so-called healthy type of saturated fat that is most commonly produced by distillation from coconut and palm oil, but is also found in goat and even breast milk.
The name is derived from the length of the fatty acid chain, the medium chain triglycerides. Triglyceride is the scientific name for the basic component of plant and animal fats, which is composed of a glycerol molecule and three fatty acids linked together. Human cells also treat fats differently depending on the length of their chain, so fats with different lengths of saturated fatty acids (and therefore different numbers of atoms in their chemical structure) can have different health effects.
Most saturated fatty acids have a long carbon chain, meaning they contain 14 to 20 carbon atoms, while short-chain fatty acids contain less than 6 carbon atoms.
Short-chain fatty acids are produced by beneficial gut bacteria in our microbiome—they are the end products of the fermentation of soluble fiber. These acids are the main source of nutrition for the cells of the large intestine. The substances that have the best effect on the production of short-chain fatty acids include the polysaccharide inulin or oat beta-glucans, which are also present in our nutritionally complete Mana. Find out more about inulin and other sources of soluble and insoluble fiber in Mana here.
The medium-chain fatty acids found in MCT oils contain mostly 6 to 10 carbon atoms, and to a lesser extent (about 2%) 12 carbon atoms—and it is the difference in chain length that makes MCTs unique. The number of carbon atoms in a triglyceride determines how the body processes it into energy. In general, the longer the chain, the harder it is for the body to process and use fat as an energy source. So, how does this work?
The medium-chain fatty acids in MCT fats are smaller in molecular size than the long-chain ones and are therefore more easily absorbed and metabolized by the liver. Once transported to the liver, MCT fatty acids are rapidly broken down and converted into ketones (compounds that act as energy carriers) before being released back into the blood in this new form.
From there, ketones are then transported to be used by other cells, especially our brain, skeletal muscles and heart (instead of converting energy from simple sugars or glucose, where the body quickly gains the energy it needs, but after a short time it declines and you feel exhausted). In this way, medium-chain fats are quickly converted into energy, and the body's supply of energy is more stable than that from carbohydrates.
The positive effects of MCTs are supported by a number of studies
The effectiveness of MCTs is also supported by scientific studies. The Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, for example, studied the performance of recreational athletes who ate MCT-containing foods for two weeks and were able to complete longer, high-intensity workouts.
Similar results are shown in a Japanese study from 2008, which showed that athletes supplementing with MCT oil lasted longer during high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and also developed less lactate in their muscles during HIIT (a compound that typically causes muscle stiffness, soreness and fatigue in less-trained athletes). However, the benefits of MCT oil can be also seen in many other branches than in sports!
The fascinating benefits of MCT oil in a nutshell
As mentioned above, high-quality MCT oil is converted into ketones in the body within minutes, providing the brain with a virtually instant source of energy without feeling tired. But that's not all. According to a study published in 2018 in the scientific journal The Lancet Neurology, MCT oil has been shown to be a suitable supportive treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, with results suggesting that it also improves the symptoms of epilepsy or autism.
Another benefit of using MCT oil is that it also prevents the growth of certain harmful bacteria and viruses because of its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. These can help MCT to "balance" the bacterial ratio in the gut and have a beneficial effect on the gut microbiome. MCT has been shown to reduce the growth of yeast (Candida albicans) by 25% and has a significant effect on reducing the growth of Clostridium difficile, which causes diarrhea.
Another big chapter is the great effect of MCTs on lowering LDL cholesterol, heart disease risk and better management of type 2 diabetes.
For example, a study published in 2010 in the journal Pharmacological Research found that overweight men who took MCT oil with flaxseed oil and phytosterols for 29 days experienced a 12.5% reduction in total cholesterol, compared to a 4.7% reduction in participants who took olive oil alone. MCT oil also reduced an important inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein, which is associated with an increased likelihood of heart disease. And last but not least—diabetics who ate MCTs before injecting insulin needed 30% less insulin, suggesting that MCT oils help maintain stable blood glucose levels.
There are four types of medium-chain fatty acids in MCT oils—they differ not only in the number of carbons, but also in their use:
Caproic acid (C6) is in most MCT oils in low concentrations. It is slightly soluble in water and works well as an energy source. However, it has an unpleasant odor and its taste is not entirely pleasant either.
- Caprylic acid (C8) is broken down very quickly in the body into ketone bodies—the energy available to the muscles and brain—and helps reduce body fat. It also has antimicrobial properties and is basically odorless.
- Capric acid (C10) has many of the same properties as caprylic acid (C8)—e.g. it increases ketone bodies, is antimicrobial and can help reduce body fat, but it generally takes a little longer for the body to process it into ketone bodies. The pure acid has a pleasant smell.
- Lauric acid (C12) is the main component of coconut oil. Like C8 and C10, lauric acid has antimicrobial properties. However, because it is a larger molecule (more carbon atoms bonded together), it takes longer to metabolize and is therefore not optimal for the formation of ketone bodies.
MCT C8 oil in the latest Mana Mark 7 recipe
Compared to the acids above, caprylic acid shows the best results. It is odorless, pleasantly tasting, metabolizes efficiently in the liver and yet retains all the benefits mentioned in the other...
Pure caprylic acid (C8) in the form of triglycerides from coconut oil significantly improves nutrient absorption, stimulates the metabolism and reduces hunger, so it can also help with weight loss. In addition, it is well absorbed by the body and can be used without any residue. At the same time, thanks to its antimicrobial properties, caprylic acid can be beneficial in diseases such as dental infections or respiratory infections.
This is one of the reasons why oil pulling, an ancient practice of "rolling" coconut oil around in the mouth to remove bacteria and promote dental health, is recommended. This method is often associated with the traditional Indian medical system of Ayurveda.
MCT C8 also provides faster and more efficient energy support compared to conventional MCT. By regular MCT we mean a combination of the above mentioned acids. When we look at what is available on the market, the largest proportion of common dietary supplements is usually caprylic acid (50-80%) and capric acid (20-50%). These occur naturally in coconut oil or goat's milk. On the other hand, MCT C8 oil itself is composed of distilled triglycerides with 95-99% caprylic acid content.
A 2014 study published in the Philippine Journal of Science reports that while coconut oil contains about 65% MCTs, 42% of that is the less effective lauric acid (C12)—caprylic acid (C8) makes up only about 7% and capric acid (C10) 5%.
Coconut oil is a good source of MCTs—for this reason it was also included in the previous iteration of Mana Mark 6. However, to achieve the same effects as using concentrated MCT C8, we would need to consume much higher amounts of coconut oil. Therefore, in the latest generation of Mark 7, we have abandoned coconut oil and replaced it with premium MCT C8 oil with a pure (99%) caprylic acid triglyceride content. To learn more about the new ingredients in the Mana Generation Mark 7, click here.
At the end, we would like to add one thing—we believe that information that has the potential to change people's lives for the better needs to be shared. Therefore, if this article has been able to bring you closer to the incredible potential that MCT C8 holds, we are sincerely happy. And if you decide to experience the great effects of (not only) this oil for yourself, just click and treat your body to all 176 health benefits Mana has to offer!
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