Whether you use MCT oil to support you on the ketogenic diet or take it for its brain-boosting benefits, you’ll want to find the best quality oil available. But with so many brands and products on the market, it can be difficult to discern which MCT oil really is best.
One thing that throws off many supplement shoppers is the “organic” label. Typically, organic is a good thing—it means the product doesn’t contain synthetic material or chemical additives. When it comes to fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, shopping organic makes sense. But what about supplements like MCT oil? Are organic versions of the product really any better or better for the body?
Back to Basics: Understanding Medium-chain Triglycerides
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are a categorization of fatty acids with medium-length chains of carbon atoms. The unique size of these fats makes them easily digestible. Moreover, the liver can convert MCTs into ketones, which the body can use as an alternative fuel source in the absence of carbohydrates. This makes MCT oil the perfect supplement for anyone on the keto diet.
Even for non-keto dieters, MCTs have wide-ranging benefits. For example, consuming MCTs can provide quick energy, and research suggests that increasing MCT intake can improve brain, gut, and heart health.
Within the medium-chain triglyceride grouping, there are four subtypes of fats. The different types of MCTs—C6 (caproic acid), C8 (caprylic acid), C10 (capric acid), and C12 (lauric acid)—refer to the number of carbon atoms on the fatty acid chain. Due to the variation in size, the body processes and converts these MCTs and converts them to ketones at different rates. The body breaks down and converts C8 quicker and more efficiently than the other types of MCTs.
Back to Basics: MCT Oil Production
MCT oil production involves fractionation, a process in which manufacturers isolate MCTs from the other fats found in coconut oil or palm kernel oil. Depending on what brand or type of MCT oil you buy, the final product may include a combination of C8, C10, and C12 (C6 typically isn’t included because of its distinct taste and smell) or can be 100 percent composed of just one type of MCT.
What Makes Some MCT Oils Products Organic?
An MCT oil can be considered organic depending on its manufacturing process. Usually, manufacturers that create organic MCT oil tend to remove all solid fat and lauric acid (C12) from coconut oil because it is difficult to absorb. Moreover, organic MCT oil should not contain any fillers or go through a heating process that alters its chemical properties. Here are the differences between organic and non-organic MCT oils:
- Preparation– While a standard MCT oil may have been created from older coconut meat, organic MCT oil is often made from fresh and young coconut flesh.
- Fractionation Method– Manufacturers make organic MCT oil by using a screw press for virgin coconut oil, while a non-organic one may go through a heating, refining, bleaching, and deodorizing process. However, it’s important to note that not all non-organic MCT oils are bleached and deodorized.
- Fat Separation Method– While organic MCT oil manufacturers may gradually chill oil and then remove solid fat, non-organic manufacturers may use high heat or a chemical process to remove the fat.
Is Organic MCT Oil Really Better?
The manufacturing process for organic MCT oil may not involve synthetic components or chemicals, but it also can’t entirely purify and isolate C8 MCTs, the ideal MCT for fat burning. Especially if you use MCT oil while on the keto diet, searching for organic options can lead you astray from what’s most important in an MCT oil: its effectiveness in promoting ketosis.
Instead, what you should look for in an MCT oil is 100 percent C8 composition. Fortunately, purchasing pure and isolated C8 MCT oil doesn’t mean you have to buy an over-processed product pumped with chemicals. Some non-organic options, like pure MCT oil from Bulletproof, don’t contain GMOs, hormones, or pesticides.
Don’t Panic and Buy Organic
There are plenty of different MCT oil products from various manufacturers available online and in stores. However, not all MCT oils are created equal. Based on what percent of the oil is composed of C8 MCTs, the oil can be more or less effective in helping burn fat. The next time you shop for more MCT oil, don’t grab a bottle just because it has an organic label. Do your research, and see if another MCT oil brand could work better for you.