MCTs are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits for athletes. The benefits range from raising your metabolic functions to maintaining a healthy weight. From increasing your energy levels to aiding in the digestion process. MCTs and medium-chain fats are digested easily and sent directly to your liver where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism. This is one reason why many people claim that MCTs are burned by the body for energy, “fuel”, instead of being stored as fat.
Medium-chain fatty acids are capable of helping you:
1. Maintain a healthy weight
2. Have more energy and improve your mood
3. Experience better digestion and nutrient absorption
1. As part of a healthy diet, MCTs can help satiety and even raise the metabolic rate at which the body functions. An increased metabolism will help with weight loss and lean muscle gain. How do MCTs help with weight loss? Experimental studies demonstrate that dietary MCTs suppress fat deposition through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation.
It is believed that they help produce ketones which give you the same benefits as the ketogenic diet without needing to cut carbs to drastically low and potentially dangerous levels. MCTs are sometimes referred to as the “ultimate ketogenic fats” because of their heating effect in the body and ability to be used for energy when one is not eating a lot of carbohydrates.
2. Your brain is made up largely of fatty acids so you need a steady supply from your diet to feel your best, think clearly, perform well in the gym and stay sharp. Medium-chain fats are believed to be one of the most easily digested, utilized and protective fatty acids that exist.
A 2004 study published in The Journal of Neurobiology of Aging found that MCTs helped improve problems in older adults. It only makes sense that a food that supplies fuel for your brain and also helps you absorb vitamins and minerals will also make you feel more clearheaded, energetic and positive.
3. As an athlete, nutrient absorption through digestion is key. We consume large amounts of protein and if those amino acids are not properly and efficiently broken down, they sit in the stomach and are wasted. MCTs balance bacteria in the gut microbiota which in turn has positive effects on the digestive symptoms, energy expenditure and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, macro and micro nutrients included.
If you have a diet that is rich in plant based foods such as berries and leafy greens and do not get enough healthy fats, your body is basically not capable of utilizing the nutrients found in those foods. You need to consume healthy fats in order to absorb fat-soluble nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin E.
In our Clinical Protein we use 1.5grams of MCTs for all of the above reasons. They are digested very easily, support digestion of the tri-blended protein matrix and contain antioxidant properties that have tons of benefits including to help heart health.
If you have any comments or question, e-mail me at Michael@clinicalsportslabs.com. I love talking nutrition and training and after three decades in the sports nutrition and lifting business, I seem to learn something new everyday thanks to the people I talk to.
Stay health and stay strong.