The hottest new supplement in the natural medicine industry is something called "MCT". Coming in an oil or powder form MCT stands for "medium chain triglyceride". The medium chain refers to the length of the carbon chains. Short chains are C1-C5, medium chain triglycerides are C6-C12, and long-chain triglycerides are C13 and more.
Short chain triglycerides are commonly known as butyric acid, and they are key for gut microbes. C8, or capric acid, and, C10, or caprylic acid, are the most therapeutic. C12, also known as lauric acid, has a vast amount of health benefits due to its antimicrobial properties. It works by rendering viruses and bacteria inactive in the body. By binding with the outer fatty acid layer of viruses and bacteria, lauric acid stops their ability to multiply and grow.
Lauric acid, or monolaurin, is used as an anti-microbial and makes up a huge percentage of raw coconut oil. Its concentration is as much as 40-50%, which is why coconut oil is so good for your health. But, when you extract and purify the lauric acid, its properties become that much greater.
There are three main benefits to MCT. The first is that they are quickly metabolized into ketones, which are naturally derived substances in the body. When the body is low on glucose, it starts to metabolize fat for the production of ketones. Ketones can enter the cells and produce a "higher-octane" ATP, which is cleaner-burning than when it's produced by glucose.
The second health advantage is that MCTs help to support the immune system. C12, C8 and C10 are antimicrobial, helping the immune system fight viruses and bacteria that can affect every organ in the body. The biggest benefit is that MCT affects cellular metabolism, or specifically the mitochondria of the cell. MCTs and ketones help create something called mitochondria biogenesis, which is the production of new mitochondria. The mitochondria are like little engines of the cell. They work by producing ATP, which is the cell's energy source.
Take for instance the neurons of the brain which have hundreds of mitochondria. If your blood sugar metabolism is imbalanced and not working correctly, then the mitochondria of a cell stops working, which leads to the death of a neuron. When that happens, there is a host of symptoms that can appear both in the brain and in the body.
So, if MCT works by mitochondria biogenesis, then it can help to keep the neurons of the brain healthy and decrease the risk for things like dementia and Alzheimer's disease. If MCT creates mitochondria biogenesis, then it helps to improve both brain and body health. Taking MCTs is an excellent strategy to help with the energy of your cells, to support healthy metabolism, to improve your immune system, and as the science grows, much more will be discovered about their amazing effects on brain and body health.