MCT Oil Benefits: 14 Ways to Fit In More MCT Oil
By: Dave Asprey
Are you consuming enough healthy fats and oils every day?
Until you’re used it it, it can be a challenge to get enough of these healthy fats into your diet.
The Bulletproof Diet recommends you receive 50-70% of your energy from the right healthy fats. If you’ve been using grass fed butter, eating egg yolks, and eating coconut oil, you’re on your way. If you drink Bulletproof® Coffee, you’re also getting Brain Octane or Upgraded™ XCT oil, sources of medium-chain triglycerides up to 18 times stronger than plain coconut oil.
This long post explains some of the benefits of using the most concentrated extracts of coconut oil, as well as my favorite 15 lesser-known uses of either Brain Octane and Upgraded™ XCT oil in everyday living, from delicious salad dressings to DIY bug repellant and sunscreen.
Why MCTs Matter
MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), which are largely missing from typical diets, are saturated fats easier to digest than the more common LCTs (long-chain triglycerides). Your body sends them straight to your liver, where they raise your metabolism and are burned as fuel instead of being stored as fat.
These fatty acids show potential in maintaining healthy weight and diminishing fat storage, in 26 studies referenced here. Medium chain fats help you feel full more than long-chain fatty acids you’d find in vegetable oils. You will find trace amounts of MCTs in butter, but the richest source is coconut, and to a lesser extent, palm kernel oil.
Coconut oil is about 65 percent MCTs, a fact touted by coconut oil merchants. What they don’t tell you is that there are 4 kinds of MCT, and 80% of the fat in coconut oil is just one type of MCT. The four kinds of MCT differ by the number of carbons on the molecules, ranging between 6 to 12 carbons long. There are caprioc (C6:0), caprylic (C8:0), capric (C10:0), and lauric (C12:0) acids. All of them are good for you, but the shorter the chain, the faster the transformation to ketones for energy. If you are counting on coconut oil for your MCTs, you’re going to get a lot of lauric acid, and only about 5% of the really good shorter chain MCTs.
That’s why I created Brain Octane, in order to be able to get more valuable shorter MCTs into my diet without overloading on the excessive longer MCTs in coconut oil. Brain Octane, which comes directly from coconuts (or palm kernels when necessary), is 18 times stronger than regular coconut oil and fuels you best for maximum brain function. Upgraded XCT oil is an ultra-pure mix of the two shorter chain fats in coconut oil, making it 6 times stronger than normal coconut oil.
Why Brain Octane Provides the Greatest Upgrade
Brain Octane™ is the type of MCT that most quickly creates ketones in the body, which means you can achieve the brain-boosting effects of ketosis while consuming a higher carbohydrate level than a ketogenic diet. The theory behind this is that caprylic acid (even without otherwise changing your diet) increases your ketone level so your brain can consume the ketones it favors over even glucose. To produce a useful level of ketones with diet alone, you’d need 90% of your calories to come from fat. And if that doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can eat substantially more carbs and still boost your ketones with the aid of Brain Octane. Coconut oil or butter won’t do this. Brain Octane does it best, and Upgraded XCT is the next strongest.
So how can you get more of the strongest MCTs throughout your day, besides in your coffee?
1. Use Brain Octane™ to make Bulletproof Diet Salad Dressings
In order to best absorb nutrients (beta-carotene, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and lutein) from your food, consume them with fat. One study showed that due to its MCT content, coconut oil permitted greater absorption of nutrients than when vegetables were eaten with unsaturated fats. (4)
2. Bulletproof® Diet Recipe for Mayonnaise
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup extra light olive oil
- ¼ cup Brain Octane
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon or lime juice (fresh squeezed)
- Pinch of salt
Add together all ingredients, let egg sink to bottom of the container, and blend all of the ingredients with an immersion blender until mayo is at desired consistency (you can always add fresh herbs to flavor your mayo too). Add a dash of avocado, another egg yolk, or soy lecithin if it won’t emulsify.
3. Bulletproof® Diet Cooking
Substitute up to about 1/3 of the oil in a recipe with Brain Octane, as long as the dish is being cooked or baked at under 320 F. Don’t fry in Brain Octane; you want some liquid in the pan too to keep the temperature lower.
4. On Your Sushi
This is one of my favorites. You can drizzle Brain Octane or Upgraded XCT oil on your sushi to help your body produce ketones even when you’re ingesting carbohydrates from rice. It also makes sushi filling and it brings forth the flavor of the fish. It’s better with the oil than without. (Psychology Today suggests that by using MCT oil for 50% of your calories, you could eat a 1.2:1:1 fat:carb:protein diet and still reap all of the benefits of a ketogenic diet – which has a standard 4:1:1 ratio.)
5. Skin Scrub
- ½ cup sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp Brain Octane
Put all ingredients in a jar and mix them together. You can also muddle in fresh mint or lavender or some lemon zest
Massage into dry skin (focusing particularly on elbows, knees, and feet), then rinse
The skin really loves Brain Octane oil. I rub it into my skin if some spills.
6. Shaving Lotion
Rub Brain Octane directly onto skin before shaving to moisturize and protect skin while softening hair. Microbes don’t like Brain Octane!
- ¾ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup brain octane
- ½ cup zinc oxide (powder)
This natural sunscreen sounds crazy, but people who don’t want to absorb sunscreen chemicals through their skin swear by it. Depending on how much zinc oxide you add, you can achieve an SPF of 20+. The Brain Octane makes it softer and easier to spread.
8. Sunburn Relief
If you didn’t use sunscreen, you can still take care of your burn by rubbing it with Brain Octane or coconut oil. Please note: Do not do this while the burn is still hot, only after your skin has cooled.
9. Insect Repellent
Mix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract, and rub on your exposed skin.
10. Makeup Remover
Dab some Brain Octane on a cotton swab to get rid of last night’s leftover eyeliner
Massage a teaspoon of Brain Octane into the ends of your hair, or use a tablespoon, cover, and leave on overnight for a deep treatment for dry, frizzy hair
12. Cuticle Oil
Massage Brain Octane into your cuticles before going to bed, and leave on overnight
13. Oil Pulling
Following the ancient Ayurvedic tradition, you can swish 1 tbsp of Brain Octane in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Those who participate in this practice claim that it whitens teeth, fights gingivitis, prevents bad breath, and helps to detoxify your body, thereby potentially reduce acne.(5)
14. During Exercise
You can take Brain Octane either alone or mixed into a sports drink during prolonged exercise. Some studies have shown that MCT oils serve as an effective energy source while potentially sparing glycogen stores, because the MCTs are rapidly metabolized and converted to energy by your body.(6)
All of these fun uses for Brain Octane™ make it easy to fuel your day with rewarding MCTs in a variety of creative – or delicious – ways.
1. Isaacs C, Litov R, Thormar H, 1995. Antimicrobial activity of lipids added to human milk, infant formula, and bovine milk. J Nutr Biochem. 6(7):362-6.
2. Marounek M, Skrivanova E, Rada V, 2003. Susceptibility of Escherichia coli to C2-C18 fatty acids. Folia Microbiol. 48:731-5. Skrivanova V, Marounek M, 2002. Acta Vet. 71:435-9.
3. Hanczakowska E, Szewcyk A, Okon K, 2011. Effects of dietary caprylic and capric acids on piglet performance and mucosal epithetlium structure of the ileum. J Anim & Feed Sci 20:556-65.
4. Conlon L, King R, Moran N, Erdman J Jr., 2012. Coconut Oil Enhances Tomato Carotenoid Tissue Accumulation Compared to Safflower Oil in the Mongolian Gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus). J Agric Food Chem; Gunstone F, (2001) Structured and Modified Lipids, CRC Press, 498.
5. “3 Reasons You Should Try Oil Pulling.” The Huffington Post; Singh A, Purohit B, (2011) Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. J Ayurveda Integr M 2(2):64-8.
6. Jeukendrup A, Saris W, Schrauwen P, Brouns F, Wagenmakers A (1995) Metabolic availability of medium-chain triglycerides coingested with carbohydrates during prolonged exercise. J Appl Physiol 79(3):756-62; Berning J (1996) The role of medium-chain triglycerides in exercise. Int J Sport Nutr 6(20):121-33.