Everything You Need to Know About MCT Oil Diarrhea and How to Avoid It 

MCT oil diarrhea: mct oil and butter from coconuts

Posted on September 9th, 2022

MCT oil has been gaining popularity over the last few years. For some, it plays a large role in their ketogenic diet. For others, MCT oil is one of the main ingredients in their bulletproof coffee; which is also a popular new trend.  

If you’re exploring the keto diet or bulletproof coffee, then you’ve likely come heard of MCT oil. Furthermore, your research probably mentioned its many potential benefits. 

Already convinced that using MCT oil may help you lose weight and gain energy? You may be ready to try it out yourself. Unfortunately, you may also face one of this supplement’s few side effects: MCT oil diarrhea!

Whether you’re experiencing diarrhea induced by MCT oil, or have only read about it in your research, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’ll discuss MCT oil, why it might cause diarrhea, and how you can avoid this unpleasant side effect.

What Is MCT Oil?

Before we dive in, let’s get a better understanding of this supplement. MCT oil is a dietary supplement composed of medium-chain triglycerides, hence the name MCT. Unlike other oils, such as olive or flaxseed oil, you can’t easily extract MCT oil from nuts or seeds. In fact, you must conduct a refining process to obtain oils such as capric and caprylic acid that are rich in MCTs. 

Oils that are naturally rich in caprylic and capric acid include palm kernel oil and coconut oil. You should also note that cow and goat milk contain MCTs. However, palm kernel oil and coconut oil are the most commonly used sources of MCT oil.  

Remember, we extract MCT oil from other oils through a refining process. This is because other oils, such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil, also have LCTs (Long Chain Triglycerides) mixed in with MCTs. To separate them you first heat the oil, then allow it to cool down. As it cools, the LCTs and MCTS separate thanks to their different melting points. 

Coconut oil has the highest MCT composition, weighing in at 40%. It also has three types of MCTs including capric acid, caprylic acid, and lauric acid. However, lauric acid has a long chain of carbon atoms. It also doesn’t have the same energy-boosting and weight loss-enhancing potential as shorter MCTs. As such, most lauric acid contents separate from MCTs during the refining process. Then, at the end of it all, you’ve created high-quality MCT oil. 

MCT oil from coconuts The Potential Benefits of MCT Oil 

MCT oil may have a variety of health-boosting benefits that make it more than just a simple dietary supplement. 

MCT oil’s unique properties, including fast bloodstream absorption and quick energy conversion at the cellular level, contribute to its potential health benefits. 

For starters, MCT oil may provide users with an energy boost. This is part of the reason why it’s popular with athletes. The bloodstream quickly absorbs MCT oil after ingestion. Then, it’s delivered to the liver where it effortlessly converts into ketones and energy. Just remember that the body usually breaks down glucose into energy, but it switches to producing energy from ketones when blood sugar levels are low. 

MCT and Ketones

In addition to providing users with a mental boost, MCT oil may also improve mental clarity. The ketones produced from MCT oil can cross the blood-brain barrier. This could send significant energy to the brain, immediately after your bloodstream absorbs the oil. 

By producing ketones, MCT oil might also help enhance the body’s fat-burning capabilities by promoting ketosis. When the body enters ketosis, it burns fat to meet its energy requirements. This may help users meet their weight loss goals. 

While the above effects may explain MCT oil’s recent popularity as a dietary supplement, remember that people have used this refined oil for years in a variety of applications. For instance, people who suffer from various gastrointestinal conditions that limit their body’s ability to digest and absorb regular fats often take MCT oil. Some people also say they manage cognitive disorders with MCT. 

Does MCT Oil Cause Diarrhea? 

On to the main question at hand, does MCT oil cause diarrhea, and if so, why? While many people say that MCT oil causes diarrhea at the same rate as other oils, this dietary supplement actually leads to more trouble. 

In fact, diarrhea is one of MCT oil’s main side effects. However, not all MCT oil users suffer from diarrhea. So, why does MCT oil cause diarrhea in some users? While we don’t know the main cause of this occurrence, we do have some theories.  

One of the main properties that give MCT oil its potential health-boosting properties could also cause diarrhea, and that’s its rapid absorption in the digestive tract. Once you ingest MCT oil orally, it travels along the digestive tract, where the small intestines rapidly absorb it into the portal vein. And from here, it is transported to the liver and broken down to ketones. 

Absorption Troubles

This rapid medium-chain triglyceride absorption, without digestion and subsequent digestive juices/enzymes, can lead to irritation of the digestive tract. And as we know, once the digestive tract is irritated, it moves to clear its contents as soon as possible; hence the onset of diarrhea.

Another reason why MCT might be causing you to suffer from diarrhea could be linked to its glycerol composition. Like all triglycerides, MCTs have glycerol, or what is commonly referred to as glycerin. This substance, glycerin, is what is referred to as a hyperosmotic laxative. Translated into simpler terms, glycerin has the ability to draw water from surrounding tissue into the colon. Now, if you suffer from chronic constipation, this might be a good thing; however, if you don’t then this might not be so good!

Now that you have an idea of what causes MCT oil diarrhea, read on to find out how to avoid it.   

stomach pains from MCT oilHow to Avoid MCT Oil Diarrhea

Even though diarrhea is quoted as one of the main side effects of MCT oil, with the others being stomach pain and cramps, you may be able to avoid it by following a few tips:

Get Your Dosage Right 

Taking too much MCT oil at once is a sure way to experience diarrhea. Too much of this oil is bound to shock your digestive tract and cause it to react by trying to dispose of its contents through diarrhea.

To avoid this, be sure to carefully set your MCT dosage. If you are new to using MCT oil in your diet, it is recommended that you start with a small daily dose of one teaspoon. You can then work your way up to a tablespoon a day after about a week. This may help as your digestive tract becomes accustomed to digesting/absorbing this supplement. 

If you are taking about two tablespoons of MCT oil per day, consider splitting your dose into two. You may take one tablespoon in the morning and another in the evening. This will help you avoid overloading your digestive tract with too much MCT oil at once. 

Take MCT Oil With Food 

Perhaps the best way for you to avoid diarrhea when taking MCT oil is to take it with some food. This will help stimulate your digestive tract and encourage the production of digestive juices and enzymes along the way. Furthermore, the rapid absorption of the oil will be slowed as it is absorbed together with the food you consume. 

Avoid Bullet Proof Coffee

The benefits of consuming bulletproof coffee are widely publicized. However, it is important to note that consuming it raises your risk of suffering from diarrhea. The reason for this is that in addition to the risk of diarrhea from MCT oil, coffee also stimulates the gut. 


Adding MCT oil to your daily diet may have a variety of health benefits. However, its oral consumption also comes with a risk of various side effects including diarrhea. 

While the main cause of this diarrhea is not known, some explanations have been put forward over the years. Fortunately, there are ways for you to enjoy the benefits of MCT oil while avoiding this unwanted side effect, as described above. Before starting MCT oil, consult with your doctor to see if it’s right for you.

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