Which MCT is best for me?

Which MCT is best for me?

Not sure which MCT is right for you? Read Cliff Harvey MCT expert's article on the different types of MCT's and how each affects the brain and body differently.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have slightly shorter fatty-acid chains than the common fats we eat in our day-to-day diets, and this offers some interesting benefits including:

  • improved brain health and mental performance
  • improved gut health
  • and support for weight maintenance

MCTs, mostly achieve these benefits because they are easily absorbed directly from the gut and transported to the liver where they can be converted to ketones which provide a non-sugar fuel for the body, brain, and nervous system. 

Ketones also help to reduce inflammation. MCTs might also improve intestinal health by feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut and reducing unwanted bacteria and fungi (like Candida).

There are different lengths of fatty acids within the MCT group. To be an MCT, a fat has to have 2 out of 3 of its fatty acid chains consisting of 6-12 carbon atoms. These fatty acids are:

  • C6 (6 carbon chain) Caproic acid
  • C8 (8 carbon chain) Caprylic acid
  • C10 (10 carbon chain) Capric acid
  • C12 (12 carbon chain) Lauric acid

The shorter the chain-length, the more quickly and easily the fatty acid can be absorbed from the gut and transported to the liver, and so, MCTs with more of the shorter (especially C6 and C8 fatty acids) will increase ketone levels most and provide the biggest ‘boost’ to ketosis. So, if you want the biggest ketogenic effect, or the biggest boost to brainpower in the shortest time, you should choose an MCT with more caproic or caprylic acid (C6 and C8) like Brain Power MCT Oil. On the other hand, the longer fatty acids like the C10 predominant in the Kickstart MCT Oil formulation, also improve ketogenesis but have a slightly longer action and can be used for general health and ketosis support. Blends including lauric acid (C12) have a slower provision of energy from fatty acids (i.e. for sustained energy for performance) and offer additional benefits to the gut but have a lesser effect on providing ketones for support of ketogenic diets or fuelling the brain and central nervous system.

Best use summary:

  • Brain Power MCT oil

    BRAIN HEALTH, maximum ketosis, mental performance

  • Kickstart MCT oil

    SUPPORTING KETOGENIC AND LOW CARB DIETS, mental and physical performance, general health

  • Energy & Exercise MCT oil

    SUSTAINED PROVISION OF ENERGY FOR PERFORMANCE, Supporting gut health, general health, support for lower-carbohydrate diets

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Cliff Harvey

Cliff Harvey is an author, clinician, researcher and speaker. He is a leader in the field of carb-appropriate nutrition, mind-body healthcare, and the achievement of success in health and performance. Cliff has a PhD in Nutrition(AUT) – research focus was in ketogenesis, ‘keto-flu’ and individualisation of diets, has over 20 years experience as a strength and nutrition coach and is also a registered Clinical Nutritionist as a member of the Clinical Nutrition Association. He also holds qualifications as a Qualified Naturopath (Dip.Nat - NXNZ), a Diploma in Fitness Training (AUT), a Certificate in Health Coaching and Patient Care and is a Certified Kettlebell Instructor (MKA).