Ketones are the ideal fuel for your mitochondria because they burn cleanly and produce far fewer damaging free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS), compared to glucose from carbohydrates.
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, have become especially popular as the word spreads about the many benefits of nutritional ketosis, or when you successfully use fat as your primary fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates. This burning of high-quality fats produces ketones.
Making Sense of Medium-Chain Triglycerides
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are a special type of fat that get their name from their chemical structure, or their length or chain of carbon molecules.
They’re mostly extracted from coconuts, coconut oil and palm kernel oil, but small amounts of MCTs can be found in grass-fed butter and other dairy products.
There are four types of MCTs ranging from 6 to 12 carbons long:
- C6: Caproic acid – Converts to ketones, or fuel, quickly but tends to cause digestive issues and smells and tastes unpleasant, even after processing.
- C8: Caprylic acid – The most ideal MCT as it converts to ketones within minutes and is odourless, flavourless and may be easier on your digestive tract. C8 is the most valued and most expensive MCT. It’s also the rarest type.
- C10: Capric acid – Less efficient than C8 in converting to ketones in your liver, and because it is much more common than C8, it is less expensive to produce. This is the type of MCT found in most commercial brands.
- C12: Lauric acid – Very abundant in coconut oil, but lauric acid doesn’t really function as a true MCT. Behaving more like a long-chain fatty acid, C12 is more difficult for your liver to absorb and break down into ketones.
As a general rule, shorter-chained MCTs are more readily converted into ketones, which are energy molecules that are created by your liver from fats.
Ketones are also your best friend when it comes to cravings and unwanted hunger pangs. They help suppress ghrelin – or your “hunger hormone” – and enhance another hormone that signals your brain when you're full.
Most commercial brands of MCT oil are usually 50/50 combinations of C8 and C10 fats. Some contain very little C8 as it is the most expensive MCT fat and is relatively hard to find. C8 (Caprylic acid), is the preferred MCT as it converts to ketones far more rapidly than C10 (Capric acid) fats, and may be easier on your digestion.
The other benefit pf C8 fats is that they are water soluble and cross your blood-brain barrier to provide your brain tissue with fuel, unlike other types of fat.
Dr Mercola Pure Power Ketone Energy is 95% Caprylic Acid (C8) MCT Oil (the other 5% is C10) and:
- Contains no trans fatty acids
- Contains NO genetically engineered ingredients