Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil is a flavorless ingredient that acts as a carrier oil while providing a neutral odor and long shelf life. Widely used for its therapeutic properties1 and antimicrobial2 and anti-inflammatory effects,3 MCT oil can be the perfect ingredient to boost a brand’s CBD products.
As MCTs have become essential dietary supplements and personal care additives around the world and consumers are discovering their benefits, there is a great opportunity for manufacturers in the CBD industry to invest in this ingredient. MCTs can be incorporated as a high quality carrier or emollient in the formulation of natural CBD cosmetics and dietary supplements.
What are MCTs
As health trends have developed in the United States and around the world, MCTs have skyrocketed in popularity. Composed of six to 12 carbon atoms which are fatty acid esters of glycerol, their short length allows the body to absorb oil efficiently.4 MCTs passively diffuse from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract into the portal vein without requiring the modification of long chain fatty acids (LCFA) or very-LCFA.4
MCTs are produced in the United States, Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of the world from fatty acids of vegetable oil from natural sources. MCT oil is most commonly derived from palm kernel oil and coconut oil. With both sources, the extraction process is called fractionation and it separates MCT oil into a concentrate. The four types of MCTs include commonly used caprylic acid and capric acid.
How MCTs Are Used
MCTs have many applications in the personal care, aromatherapy, and cosmetic industries. MCT Oil can be used as a stand-alone product or added to lotions, creams, foams, topical aerosols, ointments, cleansing oils, bath scrubs, makeup, and CBD oil. MCT oil is a carrier oil of choice for CBD products and CBD tinctures because MCT is absorbed into the bloodstream faster than longer chain fatty acids.4 MCTs are also versatile enough to be incorporated into food and beverage products, with the potential to offer science-based functionality.
The potential benefits of MCTs
Clinical research around MCT oil surrounds health benefits such as aiding in weight loss,5 energy6 and heart health,7 and potentially play a role in relieving inflammation3 and alleviate other problems.8
Among the areas of influence of MCT oil, weight loss is high on the list due to the sheer amount of research. In clinical trials, MCT oil has been shown to promote feelings of fullness, help reduce body weight and waist circumference, reduce or prevent obesity, and help the body burn extra calories. .5
Excess body weight can contribute to heart disease, therefore by aiding weight loss and with the potential to help reduce inflammation,3 MCT oil can support heart health.7 A clinical trial on MCT oil consumption and metabolic profile suggested that MCT oil is a crucial ingredient in helping to reduce risk factors for heart disease, with the potential to help maintain healthy blood pressure.7
Research has also indicated a promising role for MCTs with specific problems, including epilepsy and autism. One study explored the ability of MCTs to provide increased seizure control.8 Another study showed positive improvements for people with autism who incorporated MCTs into their diet, tracking results over six months.9 Other studies have evaluated the ability of MCTs to influence memory loss and help patients in a population with Alzheimer’s disease.ten
Although more clinical research is needed to further prove the links between MCT oil and beneficial inflammation or other unwanted indications,3 it stands to reason that MCT would be a positive addition to the diet. It provides an immediate source of energy for the human body through rapid absorption, allowing faster conversion into energy, according to a clinical trial conducted by researchers Peter Schonfeld and Lech Wojtczak.11
The perfect match
CBD is a chemical compound derived from the hemp plant, one of the 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD is growing in popularity in the United States and around the world. According to a CBD Report from Research and Markets, the global CBD industry is expected to reach US $ 13.4 billion by 2028.
CBD will not produce an impact unless it is accessible to the human body, which means that a carrier oil can be essential for absorption.12 In addition to helping increase the bioavailability of CBD, carrier oils can improve the stability of a formulation by facilitating the production of nanoemulsions with small droplet sizes.12
For food or personal care manufacturers looking to incorporate CBD into their product line or to bolster products they already own, high-quality MCT can be a seamless addition to natural formulations.
To read additional articles on the CBD niche, visit the “CBD seeks red statusâDigital magazine.
Mike Efting has been a senior executive in the chemical distribution industry for over 35 years and an entrepreneur for over a decade. He is the current president and founder of Viachem, a distributor of food additives and specialty chemical ingredients, and American Pure Products, a wholly owned subsidiary of Viachem that includes premium personal care brands ranging from hand sanitizer to CBD.
1 Ulrich H et al. âParenteral use of medium chain triglycerides: a reassessment. Â»Nutrition. 1996; 12 (4): 231-238.
2 Khoramnia A et al. “Improving the medium chain fatty acid content and antimicrobial activity of coconut oil via solid state fermentation using a Malaysian Geotrichum Candidum.” Biomed Res Int. 2013; 954542.
3 Yu S et al. “Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil (MCT) affects the immunophenotype via reprogramming of mitochondrial respiration in murine macrophages.” Food. 2019; 8 (11): 553.
4 You N et al. “Effects of medium chain triglycerides, long chain triglycerides or 2-monododecanoin on fatty acid composition of portal vein, intestinal lymph and systemic circulation in rats.” Â»JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2008; 32 (2): 169-175.
5 MP for St-Onge and Jones PJH. “A greater increase in fat oxidation with consumption of medium chain triglycerides compared to long chain triglycerides is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous fat tissue.” Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003; 27 (12): 1565-1571.
6 St-Onge MP et al. “Medium chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men.” Obes Res. 2003; 11 (3): 395-402.
7 St-Onge MP et al. “Consumption of medium chain triglyceride oil as part of a weight loss diet does not lead to an unfavorable metabolic profile compared to olive oil.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2008; 27 (5): 547-552.
8 Chang P et al. “Medium Chain Fatty Acid Seizure Control Associated With The Ketogenic Diet.” Neuropharmacol. 2013; 69: 105-114.
9 Evangeliou A et al. âApplying a Ketogenic Diet in Children with Autism: A Pilot Study. Â»J Child Neurol. 2003; 18 (2): 113-118.
10 Augustin K et al. “Mechanisms of Action for the Ketogenic Medium-Chain Triglyceride Diet in Neurological and Metabolic Disorders.” Lancet Neurol. 2018; 17 (1): 84-93.
11 SchÃ¶nfeld P and Wojtczak L. âShort and medium chain fatty acids in energy metabolism: the cellular perspectiveâ. J Lipid Res. 2016; 57 (6): 943-954.
12 Leibtag S and Peshkovsky AS. High-intensity ultrasonically produced cannabis extract nanoemulsions: formulation development and scale-up. J Drug Deliv Sci Technol. 2020; 60.