CBD absorption in the body can be enhanced by using a carrier oil such as medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Looking for a healthy addition to your supplement regimen? Organic CBD in MCT is optimized for nutrition. Order now and save with flexible subscription plans. What is MCT and why is it so popular? This article has all the information you need on why so many people love it, how it works with our bodies, the science that supports it, as well as some advice & precautions if you’re looking to boost your intake of medium-chain triglycerides.
The perfect pairing: MCTs and CBD
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil may provide functional benefits, and can also be used as a carrier oil to deliver CBD to the body.
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is a flavorless ingredient that acts as a carrier oil while also offering a neutral odor and long shelf life. Widely used for its therapeutic properties 1 and antimicrobial 2 and anti-inflammatory effects, 3 MCT oil may be the ideal ingredient to elevate a brand’s CBD products.
As MCTs have become essential dietary supplement and personal care additives worldwide and consumers learn their benefits, an excellent opportunity exists for manufacturers in the CBD industry to invest in this ingredient. MCTs can be incorporated as a high-quality carrier or emollient in the formulation of natural CBD cosmetics and dietary supplements.
What MCTs are
As health trends have grown across the U.S. and around the world, MCTs have skyrocketed in popularity. Composed of six to 12 carbons that are fatty-acid esters of glycerol, their short length enables the body to absorb the oil efficiently. 4 MCTs passively diffuse from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract into the portal vein without requiring the modification that long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) or very-LCFAs do. 4
MCTs are produced in the U.S., Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of the world from vegetable oil fatty acids from natural sources. MCT oil is most commonly derived from palm kernel oil and coconut oil. With both sources, the extraction process is called fractionation and it separates MCT oil into a concentrate. The four types of MCTs include the commonly used caprylic acid and capric acid.
How MCTs are used
MCTs have many applications across the personal care, aromatherapy and cosmetic industries. MCT oil may be used as a stand-alone product or added to lotions, creams, foams, topical aerosols, ointments, cleansing oils, bath scrubs, makeup and CBD oil. MCT oil is a go-to carrier oil for CBD products and CBD tinctures, as MCT is absorbed into the bloodstream faster than longer-chain fatty acids. 4 MCTs are also versatile enough to be incorporated into food and beverage products, with the possibility to offer science-backed functionality.
The potential benefits of MCTs
Clinical research around MCT oil surrounds health benefits such as aiding in weight loss, 5 energy 6 and heart health, 7 and potentially playing a role in alleviating inflammation 3 and mitigating other issues. 8
Among MCT oil’s areas of influence, weight loss ranks high on the list because of the extensive amount of research. In clinical trials, MCT oil has been shown to promote the feeling of fullness, to help reduce body weight and waist circumference, to reduce or prevent obesity, and to help the body burn extra calories. 5
Excess body weight can contribute to heart disease, so by aiding weight loss and with the potential to help reduce inflammation, 3 MCT oil may bolster heart health. 7 A clinical trial around MCT oil consumption and metabolic profile suggested MCT oil is a crucial ingredient to help reduce the risk factors for heart disease, with the potential to aid in maintaining healthy blood pressure. 7
Research has also indicated a promising role for MCTs with specific issues, including epilepsy and autism. One study explored the ability of MCTs to offer increased seizure control. 8 Another study showed positive improvements for people with autism who incorporated MCTs into their diet, tracking results over six months. 9 Other studies have assessed MCTs’ ability to influence memory loss and help patients in an Alzheimer’s disease population. 10
Although more clinical research is needed to further prove any links between MCT oil and benefitting inflammation or other adverse indications, 3 it stands to reason that MCT would be a positive addition to the diet. It provides an immediate source of power for the human body through quick absorption, allowing for faster conversion to energy, according to a clinical trial led by researchers Peter Schonfeld and Lech Wojtczak. 11
The perfect pairing
CBD is a chemical compound derived from the hemp plant, one of 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD is growing in popularity in the U.S. and around the world. According to a CBD report from Research and Markets, the global CBD industry is projected to reach US$13.4 billion by 2028.
CBD will not produce an impact unless it is accessible to the human body, which means a carrier oil can be essential for absorption. 12 In addition to helping increase the bioavailability of CBD, carrier oils can improve the stability of a formulation by making it easier to produce nanoemulsions with small droplet sizes. 12
For manufacturers in the food and beverage or personal care industry looking to incorporate CBD into their product line or bolster products they already have, high-quality MCT can be a seamless addition to natural formulations.
To read additional articles on the CBD niche, visit the “ CBD seeks red-hot status ” digital magazine.
Mike Efting has been a senior executive in the chemical distribution industry for more than 35 years and an entrepreneur for well over a decade. He is the current president and founder of Viachem , a specialty chemical food additive and ingredient distributor, and American Pure Products, a wholly owned subsidiary of Viachem that includes premium personal care brands spanning hand sanitizer to CBD.
1 Ulrich H et al. “Parenteral Use of Medium-Chain Triglycerides: A Reappraisal.” Nutrition. 1996;12(4):231-238.
2 Khoramnia A et al. “Improvement of Medium Chain Fatty Acid Content and Antimicrobial Activity of Coconut Oil via Solid-State Fermentation Using a Malaysian Geotrichum Candidum.” Biomed Res Int. 2013;954542.
3 Yu S et al. “Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil Affects the Immunophenotype via Reprogramming of Mitochondrial Respiration in Murine Macrophages.” Foods. 2019;8(11):553.
4 You N et al. “Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides, Long-Chain Triglycerides, or 2-Monododecanoin on Fatty Acid Composition in the Portal Vein, Intestinal Lymph, and Systemic Circulation in Rats.” JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2008;32(2):169-175.
5 St-Onge MP and Jones PJH. “Greater Rise in Fat Oxidation with Medium-Chain Triglyceride Consumption Relative to Long-Chain Triglyceride Is Associated with Lower Initial Body Weight and Greater Loss of Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue.” Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003;27(12):1565-1571.
6 St-Onge MP et al. “Medium-Chain Triglycerides Increase Energy Expenditure and Decrease Adiposity in Overweight Men.” Obes Res. 2003;11(3):395-402.
7 St-Onge MP et al. “Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil Consumption as Part of a Weight Loss Diet Does Not Lead to an Adverse Metabolic Profile When Compared to Olive Oil.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2008;27(5):547-552.
8 Chang P et al. “Seizure Control by Ketogenic Diet-Associated Medium Chain Fatty Acids.”Neuropharmacol. 2013;69:105-114.
9 Evangeliou A et al. “Application of a Ketogenic Diet in Children with Autistic Behavior: Pilot Study.” J Child Neurol. 2003;18(2):113-118.
10 Augustin K et al. “Mechanisms of Action for the Medium-Chain Triglyceride Ketogenic Diet in Neurological and Metabolic Disorders.” Lancet Neurol. 2018;17(1):84-93.
11 Schönfeld P and Wojtczak L. “Short- and Medium-Chain Fatty Acids in Energy Metabolism: The Cellular Perspective.” J Lipid Res. 2016;57(6):943-954.
12 Leibtag S and Peshkovsky AS. “Cannabis Extract Nanoemulsions Produced by High-Intensity Ultrasound: Formulation Development and Scale-Up.” J Drug Deliv Sci Technol. 2020;60.
Organic Full-Spectrum CBD in MCT Oil – Natural Flavor
Coconut-derived MCT oil makes a great-tasting carrier for our organic CBD oil.
Enough with all the acronyms, amirite? Let’s break this tincture down and talk about why you’ll love it!
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides (which is another fancy word for oil — in this case, fractionated coconut oil), and CBD is short for cannabidiol. And that’s all there is to it — just those two ingredients! Our Organic CBD in MCT Oil is definitely one of the healthiest CBD options on the market.
This product is keto-friendly and may help to support a boost in energy and improved weight loss.
And because our MCT oil is odorless, this oil allows you to experience the full, rich scent of the cannabis terpenes.
When will I feel the effects?
How you take this tincture will affect how quickly you may feel its effects.
When swallowed, this tincture is absorbed through the digestive system. This means that it will likely be a longer amount of time, around 1-2 hours, until the tincture takes effect. However, the effects are reported to last longer than other methods of taking CBD.
When taken sublingually (under the tongue), you may experience effects slightly faster because the CBD is absorbed by the blood vessels in the mouth.
Can I mix this into drinks?
Since this is an oil, it may not incorporate well with water-based drinks — you might have more success with thicker drinks like coffee or smoothies.
If you’re looking for something to add to drinks, try our Water Soluble tinctures.
Does this need to be refrigerated?
You don’t need to refrigerate your Organic Full-Spectrum CBD in MCT Oil, but refrigeration may help extend its shelf life. Either way, you should tightly close the top after use and store the product in a room-temperature, dry place away from direct sunlight — a cupboard will usually work just fine.
How do the oils differ from the water soluble tinctures?
This CBD oil is a true oil since it is made of two main ingredients: CBD extract and a carrier oil (in this case, coconut oil).
Our water soluble tinctures are also made with CBD extract, but they are emulsified with vegetable glycerin, which allows them to be easily mixed with just about anything.
Can I vape this?
No. Our oil-based products are not designed to be vaped.
Other questions or concerns?
Our customer experience team would love to walk you through using our Organic Full-Spectrum CBD in MCT Oil. Start a live chat, call us at +1 (385) 203-8556, or send us an email at [email protected]
Supplement Science: Should You Take MCT Oil?
MCT oil is everywhere right now because companies and trend-setters say it’s a brain-nourishing oil that can make you thin while turning you into a better athlete. MCT oil is an essential ingredient in a morning cup of “bulletproof coffee” and it’s a popular supplement for people on the ketogenic diet.
. plus it’s also the base oil in high-quality CBD oil products, including Wellness Tonic as well as Pleasure and Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD ( and it may be the secret behind the rapid absorption of these products).
But what is MCT and why is it so popular? This article has all the information you need on why so many people love it, how it works with our bodies, the science that supports it, as well as some advice & precautions if you’re looking to boost your intake of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides).
What is MCT Oil?
Olive oil comes from olives and avocado oil comes from avocados, but there’s obviously no such thing as an MCT plant. Instead of describing its source , MCT describes the structure of the oil molecules: M edium- C hain T riglycerides.
Medium-Chain Triglycerides are a type of oil molecule found in naturally-occurring fats. “Triglyceride” is just the scientific term for fat and oil molecules. We rate the size of a triglyceride based on how many carbon atoms it contains. These carbons are all lined up like beads on a string, or links in a “Chain.” Most fats and oils primarily contain L ong- C hain T riglycerides (LCT) which have 14 or more carbon atoms, while MCTs have Medium-sized chains (containing 6 to 12 carbon atoms). Why is this important?
Why Molecule Size Matters
It might seem like a small difference, (after all, carbon atoms are tiny!) but MCT vs LCT makes a huge difference in our bodies.
Everyone knows that oil and water don’t mix, but that’s not entirely true. There’s actually a spectrum of how hydro-phobic oils are. The larger the oil molecule, the more stubborn the oil is about “not mixing” with water. And the less our food mixes with water, the harder it becomes for our water-based bodies to digest and absorb it.
Normally, when we consume fats and oils, our bodies cannot digest LCTs without the aid of bile and tiny fat packages (called chylomicrons) that help the LCTs travel around in our water-based circulatory systems. These little packages distribute the LCTs throughout our bodies — and they’re often stored as body fat.
On the other hand, MCTs are small enough that they blend easily into water, so their fatty acids don’t need the extra assistance. Our digestive tracts can send them straight into our bloodstreams (via the portal vein ). This means that when we consume MCT oil, those calories catch an express train to the liver and beyond, where the fat is much more likely to be converted into energy instead of being stored as body fat.
This difference between how our bodies metabolize long- and medium-chain triglycerides is the basis of most of the health claims behind MCT oil. Some of the most common claims include:
- Improved c ognitive function
- Weight loss
- Improved a thletic performance
- Greater success with a ketogenic diet
Health Benefits of MCT: The Research
That all sounds great, but how much evidence is there that the benefits are legitimate? We’ve put together the science so you can judge best for yourself.
Weight loss? Good Evidence *with caveat.
There are two main reasons why people claim MCT oil can help you lose weight.
Weight loss reason 1: MCT oil might boost your body’s ability to burn calories. A 24-hour study of healthy young men who consumed ~2 tablespoons of MCT oil found they burned an extra 120 calories compared to those who consumed a dosage of 2 tbsp LCT. A similar 27-day study of overweight women found they burned nearly 50 calories extra per day when they substituted 50% of their fats with MCT oil. Beyond these studies, numerous rodent experiments have demonstrated the same thing: MCT oil helps us burn more calories and gain less body fat.
Weight loss reason 2: MCT oil is also reported to make people feel more full and choose to consume fewer calories. A few human studies have reported similar findings; that a little MCT oil in the morning reduces hunger throughout the day. However, a similar number of studies have found no effect on hunger , so this theory is currently a work in progress.
Weight loss caveat: Even if both these reasons are true, the danger with taking MCT oil to lose weight is that it is a source of dietary calories. One tablespoon contains 130 calories of saturated fat — more than it tells the body to burn. Extra MCT oil every day (without changing anything else in your diet) means extra calories every day. MCT oil works best in a weight loss plan if you consider it a calorie replacement instead of a supplement.
Ketone Booster? Yes.
For those of us on the ketogenic diet — a very low-carb diet that stimulates our bodies to gen erate keto nes — MCT oil can be a great support. For anyone unfamiliar with ketones, they are the energetic currency our livers produce from fat when we run out of glycogen, which happens during fasting, intense exercise or on a low-carb diet. When people on a ketogenic diet consume a high ratio of MCT:LCT oil, they can also consume more nutritious fruits and vegetables while maintaining high ketone levels . And even without joining the ketogenic bandwagon, you can temporarily boost your ketone levels with a dose of MCT oil in the morning after an overnight fast, aka “sleep.”
Cognitive Function Booster? Maybe.
Your brain uses more energy than any other organ in your body, and feeding it enough to keep those neurons firing can sometimes be a struggle. One hurdle to keeping your brain well-fed is a heavily guarded gate called the blood-brain barrier that separates your brain from the main bloodstream. The only types of energy that can easily gain entry across this gate are glucose and ketones.
Unfortunately, as we age, some regions of our brains become less effective at taking up the glucose they need — which might be linked to cognitive decline. On the other hand, those same regions have no problem taking up ketones — if they’re around.
Experiments have found that MCT supplements increase ketone levels and boost cognitive performance in aged dogs. This finding has many people excited about the prospect of using ketones and ketogenic diets to manage Alzheimer’s disease, but the subject is still hotly debated.
Athletic Enhancer? This might be a stretch.
Some people claim that since MCT can be readily converted into a carbohydrate-independent energy source, it could help your body perform better. A study supporting this benefit found that athletes taking a daily teaspoon of MCT oil had reduced lactate build-up and less exhaustion during intense exercise. However, evidence in favor of MCT boosting athletic performance has plenty of criticism and is generally discredited.
Natural — and Sustainable — sources of MCT oil
MCTs are everywhere in nature. Babies consume a lot of MCTs, because breast milk and many infant formulas contain between 5-20% medium-chain triglycerides . As we grow, our MCT consumption often drops because most of the fats in our plant and animal food sources have minimal MCTs, with a few exceptions.
Dairy products can still be good sources of MCTs, but coconut oil and palm kernel oil contain up to 50% medium-chain triglycerides. However, the environmental ethics of oil palms are a disaster (destroying virgin rainforest for palm plantations).
Coconut, on the other hand, tends to be grown more sustainably, often in small-holder food forests that preserve habitat and biodiversity. Coconut is also celebrated as an excellent source of dietary MCTs, and has surged in popularity as a “health food.”
However, natural sources of MCTs are also naturally high in saturated fats. If you want to boost your intake of MCTs while minimizing your saturated fat intake, you might try switching from pure coconut oil to concentrated MCT oil. Just make sure your MCT is sourced from coconuts, not palm kernel oil.
Why CBD Comes in Carrier Oils
If you own a bottle of CBD oil, you may have noticed that the main ingredient is not cannabis oil, but some other edible oil. Although you can purchase hemp seed oil, cannabidiol (CBD) is only found in mature cannabis plants, not the seeds. That’s why the most important molecules found in cannabis – CBD, THC and the full spectrum of other cannabinoids – are not in hemp seed oil.
Instead, cannabinoids need to be extracted from the plant’s leaves and flowers, and then these potent molecules are typically dissolved in an edible oil. Why? A 20mg serving of CBD isolate is equivalent to a few grains of sand. Dissolving CBD in oil (it’s fat-soluble and can’t be dissolved in water) helps you take accurate doses of CBD with a standard dropper.
MCT Enhances Absorption of CBD
Not only does oil help with dosing, but oil also helps our bodies absorb more CBD . Our bodies need dietary fat to help us absorb everything from fat-soluble vitamins to therapeutic molecules like cannabidiol.
This is the same reason why a nice dose of olive oil or a fatty salad dressing helps us absorb more vitamins from salads. Otherwise, these molecules can pass through the digestive tract without ever truly entering the body.
MCT oil is a particularly great match for CBD because it is absorbed by the body so quickly. And many people who take an MCT-based CBD oil report feeling the beneficial effects of CBD much sooner than compared to standard CBD oils. However, any scientific evidence supporting this or explaining why is still years to come.
MCT & CBD: A Perfect Match?
Additionally, some of the reported health benefits of CBD and MCT oil share a surprising overlap. For instance, some preliminary evidence suggests that CBD could also help increase metabolism . And one of the most promising applications of CBD is its potential role in treating Alzheimer’s Disease .
Adding MCT to Your Diet
If you’re looking to boost your daily MCT intake by more than what you’ll find in a dropperful of CBD oil, we’ve got some advice for you:
- Make sure your MCT is certified organic and sourced from coconut, not palm oil.
- Start slow. Most people love a daily dose of MCT oil, but if your body’s not used to metabolizing MCTs, you need to give it some time to adjust. Start with one teaspoon or less per day. If all goes well, gradually increase your dose every few days or so.
- If you don’t start slow, you could experience side effects like gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea or other digestive issues. You have been warned!
- If your goal is weight loss or ketone production, take it in the morning as part of a low-carb breakfast. For instance, most people love substituting a typical breakfast with bulletproof coffee — coffee blended with butter and MCT oil. Your body is much more likely to shift into ketone production when MCT oil is taken in the morning after an overnight fast.
- If you want to find out if MCT oil improves your exercise performance, you might also try consuming it mixed with a little food 30-60 minutes before working out. However, there are no official guidelines, so feel free to experiment!
- MCT oil has a smoke point of 320 degrees, which means you should generally avoid cooking with it. These little molecules are easily broken down by our bodies — and heat!
- Even if it’s shelf-stable, you might want to store it in the refrigerator. Don’t worry — unlike most oils and fats, MCT oil will remain liquid even when refrigerated.
- Purchase MCT oil in a glass bottle or transfer it to a clean, sterile glass container. The plasticizers used in plastic bottles are fat-soluble, and plastic bottles will slowly leach unwanted chemicals into the MCT oil over time (true for all oils!).
- If you’re taking MCT CBD oil, a standard dropperful contains approximately 1/15 of a tablespoon, or just under 10 calories.
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