There has been a lot of speculation as to what medium chain triglycerides can and can’t do for you. Is medium chain triglyceride all that it’s touted to be?
Before we decide whether or not medium chain triglycerides work, we have to find out what it actually is. Now, I’m not chemist so this is going to be in lay man’s terms.
First formulated in the 1950’s, medium chain triglycerides are mainly processed from coconut oil. It’s main use was to help those individuals who had trouble digesting regular fats. Today, it’s now marketed in the fitness world as muscle builder, fat burner, and possible energy source.
What makes medium chain triglycerides different that regular fats such as butter, vegetable oil, or even body fat (body fat is a long chain triglyceride)?
Well, conventional fats are considered long chain triglycerides which are made up of 16 or more carbon atoms strung together. Medium chain triglycerides on the other hand, are made up of a much shorter chain of carbon atoms of only 6 to 12.
It is because of this difference that makes medium chain triglycerides properties interesting. You see, because of it’s short carbon chain, medium chain triglycerides can be digested and metabolized much more rapidly than regular fats can. This is what makes medium chain triglycerides properties so interesting.
Firstly, medium chain triglycerides are not stored as body fat. They are transported directly into cells to be burned for energy. Now get this, medium chain triglycerides are burned so quickly that it’s calories are essentially turned into heat.
This process is known as thermogenesis. And as you know, thermogenensis boosts up your metabolic rate and the higher your metabolic rate, the more calories your body burns.
This sounds great in theory but can it actually happen? Researchers at University of Rochester did some testing as to whether or not medium chain triglycerides can boost up your metabolic rate.
They tested whether or not a meal of medium chain triglycerides would boost the metabolic rate more so than a meal of long chain triglycerides. They took 7 healthy men and gave them meals containing 48 grams of medium chain triglycerides or 45 grams of corn oil (LCT’s) in random order on separate days.
They found that the men who ingested the medium chain triglycerides increased their metabolic rate by 12% over a 6 hour period after the meal as compared to 4% for the corn oil meal. An interesting find to say the least. These findings led the researches to speculate that using medium chain triglycerides instead of long chain triglycerides may be beneficial to weight loss.
Secondly, medium chain has been extensively used by body builders as an effective way to increase calories. Given the above findings, this would make sense since medium chain triglycerides are burned at an extremely fast rate. By increasing quality calories, in conjunction with an intense weight lifting regiment, can help build muscle.
So, is medium chain triglycerides all that it’s cracked up to be. I think there is merit in using medium chain triglycerides to effectively boost calorie intake without using other long chain fatty acids which take longer to break down.
If you are thinking of using MCT’s, beware not to take too much because it is known to cause diarrhea and severe cramping if used improperly – Taking too much at one time.
All the best,
Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.
Blake is the founder of Building-Muscle101.com, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years. The site is now merged with FitnessVerve.