MCT Oil: What You Need to Know

What are MCTs?

MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) are the key fat molecules found in coconut oil. MCTs are amazing sources of fuel for the body with many clinically studied health benefits.

What are the benefits of consuming MCTs?

  • Highly ketogenic[1,2]
  • Helps you feel fuller longer [3,4]
  • Reduces appetite [5,6]
  • Promotes weight loss [3,4,7-9]
  • Supports fat oxidation [10-12] Boosts metabolism [10-12]
  • Highly ketogenic [1,2]
  • Helps you feel fuller longer [3,4]
  • Reduces appetite [5,6]
  • Promotes weight loss [3,4,7-9]
  • Supports fat oxidation [10-12]
  • Boosts metabolism [10-12]

Will MCTs cause stomach discomfort?

Foods high in MCTs can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people. This is particularly common when beginning a diet containing MCTs. They can cause nausea, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.

What can I do to prevent GI discomfort when consuming foods containing MCTs?

Start slow and build up gradually. Your body will get used to digesting MCTs and any GI distress will subside in a few days. For example, if are starting a regimen that includes MCT Oil, we recommend that you:

  • Start with half a serving or less
  • Sip it slowly (over an hour)
  • Build up to a full serving over the course of a few days depending on how your body responds


  1. Huttenlocher, P. R., wilbourn, A. J. and Signore, J. M.: Medium chain triglycerides as a therapy for intractable childhood epilepsy. Neurology 21: 1097, 1971.
  2. Neal, E. G., Chaffe, H., Schwartz, R. H., Lawson, M. S., Edwards, N., Fitzsimmons, G., Whitney, A. and Cross, J. H. (2009), A randomized trial of classical and medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diets in the treatment of childhood epilepsy. Epilepsia, 50: 1109–1117. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01870.
  3. St-Onge MP, Ross R, Parsons WD, Jones PJ. Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. Obes Res. 2003;11:395–402.
  4. St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):621-6. PubMed PMID: 18326600; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2874190.
  5. St-Onge MP, Jones PJ. Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity. J Nutr 2002;132:329–32. [PubMed: 11880549]
  6. St-Onge MP, Mayrsohn B, O’Keeffe M, Kissileff HR, Choudhury AR, Laferrère B. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Oct;68(10):1134-40. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.145. Epub 2014 Jul 30. PubMed PMID: 25074387; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4192077.
  7. St-Onge MP, Bourque C, Jones PJ, Ross R, Parsons WE. Medium-versus long-chain triglycerides for 27 days increases fat oxidation and energy expenditure without resulting in changes in body composition in overweight women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003;27:95–102. [PubMed: 12532160]
  8. Nosaka N, Maki H, Suzuki Y, et al. Effects of margarine containing medium-chain triacylglycerols on body fat reduction in humans. J Atheroscler Thromb 2003;10:290–8. [PubMed: 14718746]
  9. Tsuji H, Kasai M, Takeuchi H, Nakamura M, Okazaki M, Kondo K. Dietary medium-chain triacylglycerols suppress accumulation of body fat in a double-blind, controlled trial in healthy men and women. J Nutr 2001;131:2853–9. [PubMed: 11694608]
  10. Dulloo AG, Fathi M, Mensi N, Girardier L. Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996;50:152–8.
  11. Scalfi L, Coltorti A, Contaldo F. Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;53:1130–3.
  12. Seaton TB, Welle SL, Warenko MK, Campbell RG. Thermic effect of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides in man. Am J Clin Nutr. 1986;44:630–4.

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