Is MCT Oil same as Coconut Oil?
If we can oversimplify a bit, one can look at MCT oil as Coconut oil with some molecules removed. MCT is thinner and lighter than Coconut oil. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It does not freeze at room temperature like Coconut oil does.
Actually, there is more to it than that if we want to understand why there is so much craze nowadays for the MCT oil. Coconut oil is a combination of many fatty acid oils. The main ones among them are: C8 (Caprylic acid), C10 (Capric acid) and C12 (Lauric acid). The numbers relate to the numbers of Carbon atoms in the fatty acid chain - for example, C8 has 8 Carbon atoms.
Collectively, but only technically, these 3 fatty acids are called Medium Chain Triglycerides. (Now you know where the name MCT comes from). Coconut oil typically is about 50% C12, 9% C10 and 6% C8. It only has traces of C6. The rest is made up of other organic stuff. Among these, C12 is not considered true Medium chain by many, particularly in terms of how our body accepts and processes it.
So, when we separate the C6, C8 and C10 from Coconut oil, we get 'true' MCT oil. Usually C6 will be present in trace amounts only. C8 and C10 will be commonly in the 60:40 ratio. There are also 70:30 blends. There are products in the market that are sold as MCT oil that have significant percentages of C12. You are not getting the 'true' Medium Chain blend in those cases.
The smaller the Carbon chains, the easier it is for our body to absorb them in the system. Hence the popularity of MCT oil as a Food Supplement and in Sports Nutrition. Add to it the advantages of being colorless, odorless and tasteless (which means it doesn't mess up your food recipe) and its ability to remain liquid at room temperature. Coconut oil has a slightly 'coconutty' smell and freezes below 76 F.
We will see how MCT oil is manufactured in my next post.
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