Everything You Need to Know About MCT Oil Diarrhea and How to Avoid It
Posted on September 3rd, 2020
MCT oil has been gaining a lot of popularity over the last few years for a variety of reasons. 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; another thing that has also been gaining popularity in the recent past.
If you have been looking into the keto diet or bulletproof coffee, then you’ve likely come across the term MCT oil. Furthermore, your research probably mentioned the many potential benefits of using this product.
After being convinced of the possible weight loss and energizing benefits of using MCT oil, you may have chosen to try it out yourself. Unfortunately, you might have found yourself dealing with one of the few side effects of using this supplement, MCT oil diarrhea!
Whether you have been experiencing diarrhea induced by MCT oil, or have only read about it in the course of your research, you have come to the right place. Today we’re going to be discussing more about 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 an understanding of what exactly this supplement is. MCT oil is a dietary supplement that is made up of medium-chain triglycerides, hence the name MCT. Unlike other oils, such as olive oil and flaxseed oil, MCT oil is not obtained through a simple extraction process from nuts and seeds. In fact, to obtain MCT oil various oils rich in MCTs, mainly capric and caprylic acid, must be taken through a refining process.
The few oils that are naturally rich in the main ingredients of MCT oil, caprylic acid, and capric acid, include palm kernel oil and coconut oil. It is also important to note that cow and goat milk also have MCTs. However, the most commonly used sources of MCT oil are palm kernel oil and coconut oil.
As previously mentioned, MCT oil is obtained 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 the MCTs from the LCTs, the oil is first heated and then allowed to cool down. As the oil cools, the two begin to separate thanks to their different melting points.
It is worth noting that coconut oil has the highest composition of MCTs 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 potential energy-boosting and weight loss enhancing properties of shorter MCTs. As such, most of it, together with the LCTs, is also separated from the shorter MCTs during the refining process.
At the end of it all, high-quality MCT oil is created.
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, which include fast absorption into the bloodstream, and quick conversion into energy at the cellular level, go behind its potential health benefits.
For starters, MCT oil is said to provide users with an energy boost. This is part of the reason why it is popularly used by athletes. MCT oil is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream after ingestion. It is then delivered to the liver where it is effortlessly converted into ketones and energy. It is worth noting that although the body usually breaks down glucose into energy, it switches to using ketones to produce energy when blood sugar levels are low.
In addition to providing users with a mental boost, MCT oil may also give you a level of mental clarity. The ketones produced from MCT oil are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. This means that the brain receives a significant energy boost as soon as the oil is absorbed into the bloodstream.
By producing ketones, MCT oil might also help enhance the body’s fat-burning capabilities by promoting ketosis. When the body enters ketosis, it turns to burning fat to meet its energy requirements. This may help users meet their weight loss goals.
While the above effects may explain the recent popularity of MCT oil as a dietary supplement, it is important to note that this refined oil has been used in a variety of applications for years. For instance, MCT oil has been used by people who suffer from various gastrointestinal conditions that limit their body’s ability to digest and absorb regular fats. MCTs have also been used in managing various cognitive disorders.
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 has the same chance of causing diarrhea as other oils, it is worth noting that most complaints are associated with the use of this dietary supplement.
In fact, diarrhea is said to be one of the main side effects of using MCT oil. However, not all MCT oil users suffer from diarrhea after using this dietary supplement.
So, why does MCT oil cause diarrhea in some users? While the main cause of this occurrence is not known, some reasons have been put forward over the years.
One of the main properties that give MCT oil its potential health-boosting properties is also mentioned as one of the main reasons it might cause diarrhea, rapid absorption in the digestive tract. Once MCT oil is orally ingested, it travels along the digestive tract. It is then rapidly absorbed in the small intestines into the portal vein. And from here, it is transported to the liver where they are broken down to ketones.
This rapid absorption of medium-chain triglycerides, without the need for digestion or production of 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.
How 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.