MCTs: An Introduction

Omega Sport+™ (US/CA) is a fantastic oil blend that features a unique good kind of fat called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs for short.

MCTs and omega fatty acids have different physical chemistries.

Other oil molecules need to go through a complex digestion process, but MCTs take a shortcut. MCTs are more easily mixed with water or other liquids. They have a different shape and a shorter number of molecules. Thus, they get absorbed easily into the bloodstream from the gut; they act fast.

Why the buzz?

All fatty acids produce energy, but some forms are more effective than others for different tasks. Ketones are what the body produces when it’s using fat for energy instead of glucose. One reason MCT oil is popular: it is good at making this kind of usable energy.

MCTs can “skip the line” and get into action right away.

MCTs get star treatment by our digestive systems. They quickly empty out of the stomach and are absorbed by the lining of the gut. They get into the blood bypassing the liver. Metabolic “bouncers” like lipase are unlikely to hold them back, so they aren't kept in storage like other fat. They get used as energy by the cells right away but with none of the downsides attributed to quick energy from sugar.

The form of the fat influences how it will be stored or burned as fuel.

Fatty acids can be described by their length in carbon (C) atoms. Shorter ones are burned faster, which makes MCTs unique. Omega-3s might have 18 or 22 carbon atoms in length, for example, but MCTs are only 6 (C6) to 12 (C12). Flora uses mostly C8, and some C10 - the MCTs most people want. These taste better than C6, which can also cause toilet emergencies. And, they can be turned into usable energy (in the form of ketones) more quickly than C12. They provide fast and lasting energy.

Can MCTs benefit our exercise performance and health?

Regardless of the exact kind of MCT, they are transported into the energy centers of our heart, liver and kidney cells without the need to be emulsified by bile salts. They can enter the mitochondria without the need for carnitine, an amino acid found in highest concentrations in red meat. Because of these traits they hold promise as a fat for people who have low levels of bile or lipase, or insufficient pancreas or gallbladder function.

Sources matter.

Like other foods recently popular in North America (think quinoa, coconut, etc.), export countries have scrambled to keep up with production. And just like with these other products, the potential for rainforest destruction from non-sustainable practices is a real concern. That is why Omega Sport+ (US/CA) uses only a responsible, traceable, segregated supply chain for our RSPO-certified MCTs, involving multiple formal third-party certifications and annual process audits. You can feel good about feeling good with Omega Sport+. Holistic Nutritionist Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP is currently enjoying getting MCTs and essential fatty acids in an energizing daily smoothie made with Omega Sport+™. If you would like to speak to her about this article or recommend topics for future blog posts, she can be found working in the Product Information Department at Flora at 1 (888) 436-6697.