If you’re like us and are total OCD nut jobs when it comes to reading labels and wanting to know what’s in the products that you’re consuming, then you’ve likely seen something about MCT oil on the ingredients sticker of your favorite CBD bottle.
What the heck is this? Is it some strange synthetic carrier oil that was whipped up in a mad scientist’s lab somewhere? Is it going to make you grow a third eye or develop an X-Men like superhuman capability (how sweet would that be, btw?)
In this article, we answer the increasingly common question of “what is MCT oil?” It seems that the product is popping up more and more as a significant ingredient in the best CBD oils on the market, so if you have any concern over knowing what’s in the daily tincture that you’re taking, it’ll pay to know just what this mystery ingredient is (and ‘hint hint’ – you’re probably going to be surprised…. albeit in a good way).
CBD Oils Are Increasingly Using It, but What Is MCT Oil?
MCT oil stands for “medium chain triglyceride” oil. But what the hell does this mean?
Basically, medium chain triglycerides are the compounds that give “health and beauty” oils like coconut oil all of their wonderfully therapeutic and cleansing properties.
You’ve likely heard over the years that coconut oil can be a one-stop-fix-all “super oil,” capable of taking care of everything from inflammation to damaged skin to thinning hair.
But guess what? It’s not specifically the “coconut,” per se, that gives coconut oil all of its wonderful characteristics. In fact, based on some studies, pure coconut oil isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be in terms of its perceived health benefits.
The reason for this? In addition to its naturally-occurring supply of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s), coconut oil is also chock-full of “long-chain triglycerides,” or LCT’s. Basically, LCT’s are much more difficult for the body to digest, metabolize, and ultimately use as an energy source than are MCT’s. In fact, rather than becoming immediately available as energy, the majority of naturally-existing fats in coconut oil (i.e. LCT’s) end up being stored rather than burned. And of course, this is not good for cardiovascular health, metabolism, and a range of other things.
On the flip side, MCT’s have been documented to be very easily metabolized and consumed as energy by the body’s digestive system. They provide an almost immediate source of natural fuel, and instead of being stored in tissue as saturated fat and cholesterol-damaging lipid material, are readily taken in by cells and metabolized to provide the body with clean, ultra-efficient energy supplies.
But where does MCT oil come from? Well, it is, in fact, a synthetic oil that is processed only in laboratories. In fact, “real” MCT oil is a research-based, lab-only product that’s a combination of medium chain triglycerides from both coconut oil and palm oil. And the real kicker? Lab-produced, “medical-grade” MCT oil is not available in commercial or retail supply.
For consumers, what this basically means is that you don’t quite know what you’re getting when you’re buying a product labeled MCT oil. Most health food stores sell “something” of the MCT variety for around $15-$20, but according to registered dietician Jessica Crandall, there is honestly no telling how legit these oils actually are, at least in terms of verifiably containing medium-chain triglycerides instead of long-chain ones. Ultimately, the technology used to separate the two different kinds of fats is, to put it bluntly, not easy. So if you see an inexpensive product labeled “MCT oil” from some random, generic brand that you’ve never heard of, odds are it’s a bust. And in fact, if 100% legitimate, lab-grade MCT oil was available for retail purchase, it’s estimated that a tiny 8 oz jar would cost upwards of $200.
Sound crazy? Yeah, we’re with you…
Is CBD Oil with Coconut Oil Bad for You?
Regardless of all this talk about CBD oil products with MCT oil, you can rest assured that pure coconut (or olive) oil is still not a “bad” thing to use to infuse CBD. In fact, like most things there is likely a certain element of “marketing buzz” that goes along with MCT oil — it’s a hot product right now, so whenever possible manufacturers are going to be chomping at the bit to label their top-shelf CBD oils as “MCT-containing.”
And unfortunately, given the fact that there are no real regulations or guidelines currently in place, they can pretty much get away with whatever they want to in terms of how they market and sell their products. In other words, as long as they contain some combination of coconut oil and palm oil (the proprietary MCT oil “recipe”), they can legally get away with calling it “MCT.” After all, if you mix the two oils together, you’ll certainly have a hearty source of medium-chain triglycerides at your disposal – even if you don’t extract the more harmful long-chain triglycerides first.
So as a consumer, how the heck are you supposed to be able to know whether or not a CBD oil with MCT oil is legit or not?
Well to be quite honest, that’s a darn good question. Some companies post their third-party lab testing results on their website or online store, but the report will be extremely unlikely to show whether or not the carrier oil contains medium-chain triglycerides as opposed to long-chain ones.
Honestly, if you’re super concerned about it, your best bet is probably to call the company or get in touch with them directly. But let them come to you with the information – if you ask them what MCT oil is and they give you a long-winded rant about how they separate long-chain fats from medium chain ones by combining both coconut and palm oils, then you can probably know that they’re a legit brand. On the flip side, if you get a long “uhhhh, well…” then you can likely go ahead and hang up the phone and start shopping around for another manufacturer.
Also, as tacky as it is to say it, you really can go by the old saying “you get what you pay for.” Regardless of whatever advertisements you might see online, if you want a great CBD oil with quality manufactured MCT, then you will expect to pay top dollar.
Final Thoughts on MCT Oil and CBD
If you skipped all the way down to the bottom here and skimmed over the meat of the article, here’s the general gist on MCT oil and CBD: basically, MCT (which stands for “medium-chain triglycerides”) is a synthetically-produced oil that is a combination of both coconut oil and palm oil. It’s believed to be superior to the pure versions of each oil, as all of the long-chain triglycerides (which are difficult to metabolize and usually end up as stored fat) have been removed. MCT’s, on the other hand, are very efficiently metabolized and are almost immediately available to the body as an energy supply.
When shopping around for the best CBD oils on the market, definitely keep an eye out for those that contain MCT – if you can find a quality one, you’ll likely never switch back.