What Makes Medium Chain Triglycerides Better than Normal Long Chain Fatty Acids?
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a chain of two to three fatty acids with an aliphatic tail of six to twelve carbon atoms. This structure gives certain chemical properties to MCTs which makes them a healthier substitute to regular long chain triglycerides. In the last few years, their popularity has increased significantly and MCTs now are regularly used in different foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and even cosmetic products.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are triglycerides with an aliphatic tail of six to twelve carbon atoms attached to two or three fatty acids. Hence medium chain triglycerides are sometimes also referred to as medium chain fatty acids. MCTs are produced naturally and are typically extracted in a lab from natural sources like palm kernel oil or coconut oil. Due to their chemical properties, MCTs are quickly metabolized and hence provide more energy as compared to other fatty acids. MCTs, based on the length of their aliphatic tails, are of different types such as caproic or hexanoic acid, capric or decanoic acid, caprylic or octanoic acid, and lauric acid or dodecanoic acid.
How Medium Chain Triglycerides Fare Better than Regular Fatty Acids?
One of the biggest health challenges faced today is the increase in the incidence of chronic ailments like obesity, malnutrition, epilepsy, etc. These ailments, at their core, are caused due to nutrients not being consumed regularly or are being consumed but are being stored in fats instead of converting into energy. Hence, medical experts recommend consuming fats that can be easily metabolized and thus the nutrients can be broken down to give the necessary inputs to the bodily organs.
In the last few years, the overall awareness regarding the importance of maintaining a proper healthy diet has increased manifold, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic. Several dietary supplements manufacturing companies have started launching their products containing medium chain triglycerides. Along with this, the cosmetics industry, too, has been a major client of the global medium chain triglycerides market due to increased utilization of MCTs in beauty and personal care products like lip care, hair care, skin care, and massage products.
MCTs, as said earlier, are of different types and their properties are also slightly different from each other; nonetheless, their metabolization is quite faster when compared to other fatty acids. Medium chain triglycerides basically have lower calories as compared to long chained triglycerides which help in giving a feeling of fullness with even with less consumption. Moreover, MCTs increase the body’s ability to burn fat which makes them particularly useful for people following a ketogenic diet. Some studies have also found that medium chain triglycerides can aid in restoring the digestive functions of the body, thus improving gut health in the long run. MCTs achieve this by killing the harmful bacteria in the gut, while at the same time, promoting the growth of good bacteria. These advantages of MCTs make them a perfect medication for people who have undergone gastrectomy.
Medium chain triglycerides are also known to improve the overall cognitive health due to their ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier. As a result of this ability, MCTs can fuel and stimulate the central nervous system in a much better way as compared to other long chain glycerides. These properties of MCTs are the primary reason as to why they can slow down the onset and effects of dementia in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Some medical experts point out the fact that dementia is delayed also due to the supply of ketones to the brain which are produced by medium chain triglycerides.
Apart from intestinal ailments and cognitive disorders, MCTs are also beneficial for diabetic people. They help in increasing the insulin sensitivity of the body, thereby lowering the blood sugar levels. Additionally, since it helps in reducing body weight, it indirectly reduces the risk of diabetes also.
Though not substantially proved, studies conducted by certain medical institutions have shown that medium chain triglycerides can also aid in treatment of liver disease and celiac disorder. Hence, in the past few years, MCT has been an important ingredient of various food items and beverages like protein energy shakes, chocolate bars, energy drinks, etc. The pharmaceutical industry, too, has recalibrated its strategy and has started making use of medium chain triglycerides for manufacturing drugs. These factors have further popularized the use of MCTs and paved the way for a massive upsurge in the overall growth of the medium chain triglycerides market.
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