MCT oil converts fat into fuel for better brainpower

Believe it or not, though meaty in appearance, the brain is actually a very fatty organ.

In fact, the brain is nearly 60% fat, making the fatty acid content of your noggin a key determinant in your overall cognitive health and performance.1 

Even though many of us would like to lose body fat, the brain needs a healthy supply of fatty acids to do all the wild and wonderful things a brain does.

But hold it right there!

Put the butter down, cancel the pizza delivery!

This isn’t an invitation to load up on all the “fatty” foods you crave.

The brain needs healthy fat, which is different than, say, the harmful trans fats found in fast food.

And one of the best healthy fats you can take for better brainpower is medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. A class of nootropic fatty acids uniquely sourced from coconut oil.

In this guide, we cover the performance benefits of taking an MCT oil supplement, with and without nootropics, as well as our analysis of the Best MCT Oil for More Brainpower in 2020.

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What is an MCT Oil Supplement?

Naturally sourced from coconuts, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are a class of healthy fatty acids that, as the name suggests, are identified by their medium-length carbon chains.

More compact than long-chain triglycerides (LCT), yet more complex than short-chain triglycerides (SCT), MCTs hit that Goldilocks sweet spot for boosting brainpower by being short enough to provide fast-acting, easy-to-digest energy fuel without also having the burning, digestive issues that tend to come with SCTs.

As a dietary supplement, MCT oils provide a pure, distilled concentrate of coconut oil’s best MCTs for promoting energy expenditure and curbing unhealthy food cravings.

Okay, but How Do MCTs Work?

Once digested, MCTs metabolize into ketones, which work as an alternative source of brain energy when glucose levels are low. Ketones, like glucose, convert to ATP energy in the brain mitochondria.

To those interested in the keto diet, this likely sounds familiar: by emphasizing high-fat, low-carb intake, the keto diet promotes the use of fat-sourced ketones for energy instead of glucose, the body’s primary energy fuel.

However, while strategically limiting carbohydrate (i.e., glucose) intake may help decrease body fat, few things impair cognitive performance greater than having low glucose levels.2 Under conditions of glucose deficiency, ATP energy levels decrease, neurotransmissions fail to fire, and overall cognitive performance stutters.

By raising ketones, MCTs provide a brain energy failsafe without any of the usual side effects associated with stimulants.

But take note: though generally safe, not all MCTs are recommended for supplementation.

The Four Different Types of MCTs

Altogether, there are four different types of medium-chain triglycerides:

  • C6 – Caproic Acid
  • C8 – Caprylic Acid
  • C10 – Capric Acid
  • C12 – Lauric Acid

Generally, the three C’s – caproic, caprylic, and capric – are viewed as actual-factual MCTs, whereas C12 (lauric acid) is typically left out of the conversation. In terms of brain health and fitness supplements, C12 doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Instead, C12 is often reserved for skincare products, due to C12’s antimicrobial properties.

Of the three C’s (otherwise known as “capra fatty acids”), C8 is preferred for possessing the greatest ketogenic potential, whereas C10 is valued for promoting mitochondrial energy activity.

Though C6 does quickly convert to energy fuel, MCT oil supplements tend to avoid this MCT due to C6’s association with throat-burning sensations and gastric upset.

Which is Better: MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil?

If coconuts are naturally rich in MCTs, why is MCT oil preferred over coconut oil?

The answer essentially comes down to two factors:

  1. MCT Ratio: though coconut oil supplies all the MCTs you need, the MCT composition of coconut oil provides a high concentration of C12 (~50%), the inferior MCT, and a low concentration of the superior C8 and C12 MCTs (~13%);
  2. Quality: both raw and genetically modified coconut oils lack the shelf-stability of a premium MCT oil supplement and may go rancid more quickly over time.

Not to mention that coconut oil also supplies long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which dilute the potency of coconut oil’s energy-fueling MCTs.

As a fuel source, LCTs are decent, but they’re also widely available and not as beneficial as MCTs when it comes to fueling performance. You’d need to consume an unrecommended high quantity of coconut oil to obtain any of its MCT benefits.

Typically, coconut oil is best reserved for cooking, skincare, and haircare, but not for cognitive performance enhancement.

By providing a pure, distilled concentration of the coconut MCTs that matter most to cognitive performance and fitness, MCT oil is superior to coconut oil for brain health and performance enhancement.3

Both Mind Lab Pro and Performance Lab MCT in an image together

Why Take an MCT Oil Supplement?

So, we now know why pure, distilled MCT oil is superior to plain jane coconut oil, but the question still remains...

Why take an MCT oil supplement at all?

What distinguishes MCT oil from other brain supplements, like nootropics?

How does adding MCT oil to your daily routine improve brainpower, especially if you’re already taking nootropics?

When taken daily and consistently, MCT oil may improve:

Brain Energy

Despite making up only 2% of your total body weight, the brain consumes roughly 20% of your total body energy.4 Aside from being an incredibly fat organ, the brain is also very demanding when it comes to energy expenditure.

By raising ketones, an alternative energy source to glucose, and promoting mitochondrial energy efficiency, MCTs help maintain competitive brain energy levels and cognitive endurance.

Ketogenic Fat Loss

The production of ketones, or ketogenesis, is the primary goal of both the keto diet and MCT oil supplements.

Though a commitment to the keto diet is not a prerequisite for taking, and benefiting from, an MCT oil supplement, MCT oil is an incredibly useful tool for succeeding at the keto diet.

Either way, keto or not, MCT oil is generally useful for healthy weight management by encouraging the body to convert fat into energy.

Intermittent Fasting

Athletes and exercisers, whose glucose requirements are generally above average, often turn to intermittent fasting instead of full-blown keto.

Because intermittent fasting doesn’t necessarily require any calorie or carbohydrate restrictions, the intermittent faster may incur the metabolic benefits of ketosis during their eating schedule’s fasting period while still enjoying a series of hardy meals during the designated feeding period.

Even so, maintaining the willpower to perform high levels of activity, especially exercise, is always difficult on an empty stomach.

Thankfully, by increasing mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism, MCT oil may help maintain both brainpower and willpower during an intermittent fast.

Body Composition

It’s easy to consider body fat not with gratitude but with repulsion and annoyance. But this is a mistake: if our bodies lacked a mechanism to store food as fat fuel for later, our species would have been wiped out early by famine.

However, the problem we’re facing in the First World is the opposite of famine: an overabundance of food on every street corner. Our famine-oriented bodies are not prepared for our food-abundant world, and it shows in our unhealthy body composition.

By encouraging the body to use stored fat as energy, MCT oil may help return our bodies to a more natural composition, bringing us also to a healthier, more natural state of mind.

Improve Your Nootropic Results with MCT Oil

In addition to boosting brainpower, MCT oil ensures the bioavailability of fat-soluble nootropics.

Ever wondered why nootropic supplements recommend taking their formula with a meal? This is mainly to assist with the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble nootropics.

Generally speaking, nootropics classify as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Water-soluble nootropics may be easily mixed with water and typically possess a high oral bioavailability without requiring a “fatty” solvent, such as milk or (even better) MCT oil.

Because MCT oil improves brainpower on its own, stacking MCT oil with nootropics in general, whether water-soluble or fat-soluble, is an effective way to boost the cognitive enhancement results of your nootropic stack.

This means that if, say, you typically down your nootropic pills with a glass of water, adding a squirt of MCT oil to the mix may help ensure that any fat-soluble nootropics are absorbed while improving the net results of the nootropic stack overall.

Put another way: MCT oil may enhance the cognitive enhancement benefits of your cognitive enhancers while supplying its own cognitive enhancement benefits.

Got it?? Good!

Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics with MCT Oil

Though Mind Lab Pro® is specially designed with formula synergy in mind, a few Mind Lab Pro® nootropics that may benefit by the addition of MCT oil include:

Bacopa Monnieri Extract

An ancient Ayurvedic adaptogen best taken with a fat source to maximize the absorption of its bio-active bacosides.

One of the most prized herbal nootropics, Bacopa monnieri is best known for its fat-soluble bacosides, the compounds most strongly associated with Bacopa’s nootropic activities. Perhaps due to its rich, diverse supply of multiple bacosides, Bacopa possesses multiple nootropic bio-benefits, ranging from antioxidant neuroprotection, neurotransmitter optimization, and cholinergic memory enhancement.5

As one of the more finnicky (albeit more rewarding) natural nootropics, Bacopa monnieri often tests the patience of its users, due to this herb’s requirement of consistent, multi-day supplementation to build up to peak effect. However, we’re confident that that build-up period may be shortened with MCT oil aiding with absorption.

More on Mind Lab Pro® Bacopa Monnieri here.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus)

The only nootropic mushroom with two fat-soluble compounds (hericenones and erinacines) demonstrated to stimulate NGF activity.

Nicknamed Lion’s Mane Mushroom for obvious reasons, Hericium erinaceus is an edible cognitive enhancing mushroom most commonly associated in the nootropic world with promoting nerve growth factor (NGF), a neurotrophic factor involved in the development of new neurons.

The potential benefits of this fungus divide into two categories 6-7:

  • Neuroregeneration via promoting NGF and myelination of new neurons;
  • Neuroprotection via protecting against irregular proteins associated with cognitive decline.

Due to the fat-soluble nature of Lion’s Mane Mushroom’s bio-active constituents, taking Lion’s Mane with MCT oil may improve the bioavailability and efficacy of this nootropic shroom.

More on Mind Lab Pro® Lion’s Mane Mushroom here.

Citicoline (CDP Choline)

Cholinergic brain booster linked to various cognitive-enhancing, neuroregenerating bio-benefits.

Though water-soluble, possessing an oral bioavailability greater than 90%, Citicoline (CDP Choline) is a smart nootropic to stack with MCT oil, due to their different approaches to promoting brain energy.8

Both citicoline and MCT oil supply precursor nutrients that promote cognitive performance, yet while MCT oil provides brain energy fuel, citicoline enhances the brain’s natural ability to produce energy.

Choline is comprised of two precursor compounds:

  • Choline: a basic building block used to synthesize phosphatidylcholine, a phospholipid in the cell membrane, and acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter associated with memory, learning, and high-order cognitive processes;
  • Cytidine: a precursor compound to uridine, a nootropic nucleoside demonstrated to enhance synaptic plasticity and membrane phospholipid status.

Similar to MCT oil, citicoline is a brain energizer that works without the crash of stimulants. Likewise, citicoline nourishes brainpower with building block micronutrients that uniquely support optimal brain metabolism and regeneration.

More on Mind Lab Pro® Citicoline here.

Best MCT Oil to Buy in 2020

A zoomed in image of Performance Lab MCT Oil bottle and liquid

Performance Lab® MCT stacks the most keto-active MCT (C8) with capric acid (C10), an effective MCT for supercharging mitochondrial energy activity in the brain.

By focusing solely on the MCTs that matter and delivering them in a pure, super-quality liquid format, Performance Lab® MCT easily qualifies as the best MCT Oil on the market.

When it comes to ranking the best MCT oil supplement, it’s important to not only consider what’s in the oil but also what’s absent from the oil. And for Performance Lab® MCT, that means considering (or, rather, appreciating) the inclusion of C8 and C10, the best MCTs for brainpower, and the exclusion of C6 and C12, the MCTs that are a little too short and too long to qualify as the “best.”

To Buy Performance Lab MCT Oil, Visit:
www.performancelab.com

    But that’s not all this MCT oil does to qualify as the best.

    To better understand why Performance Lab® MCT is the best MCT oil, let’s take a closer look at the formula.

    Performance Lab® MCT Ingredients

    Derived from 100% organic coconuts, Performance Lab® MCT’s oil supplies:

    • C8 – Caprylic Acid, 7.1g: comprising 60% of Performance Lab® MCT’s oil, caprylic acid is the most powerful of the four MCTs;
    • C10 – Capric Acid, 5.1g: comprising the remaining 40%, capric acid works particularly well at promoting and protecting healthy mitochondria activity.

    While the “bulletproof” style of MCT oil solely relies on C8, the most keto-active MCT, Performance Lab® MCT augments C8’s energy fueling efforts with C10’s mitochondrial energy support.

    Combined, these MCTs and the ketones they increase work to 9-10:

    • Increase brain mitochondria numbers
    • Optimize mitochondrial energy production efficiency
    • Enhance neuron and mitochondria resistance to oxidative stress
    • Increase calorie-burning and appetite control for fat loss
    • Maintain energy and motivation during high-intensity exercise

    However, what particularly sets Performance Lab® MCT apart from other MCT oil supplements isn’t only its combined use of C8 and C10 but the formula’s complete lack of synthetic additives, harmful preservatives, or animal byproducts.

    Performance Lab® MCT is purely organic MCT oil derived from non-GMO coconuts, extracted with hexane-free technology, and distilled 3X for purity.

    From the ingredients to the “Other Ingredients,” Performance Lab® MCT is the cleanest MCT oil in the world. Safe for daily, long-term use.

    Who takes Performance Lab® MCT?

    Anyone looking for a clean, caffeine-free, energy-efficient fuel source for enhanced brain function and metabolic activity may benefit by taking Performance Lab® MCT.

    For those committed to intermittent fasting or fasted training, this MCT oil is a particularly effective tool for maintaining competitive energy levels while promoting thermogenic calorie burning.

    How to take Performance Lab® MCT

    MCT oil is a versatile liquid that works more like a condiment than a health supplement. You can take MCT oil as a salad dressing, as a smoothie additive, or with the coffee you use to down to your nootropic pills.

    Having said that, the official directions for Performance Lab® MCT are:

    "Take one tablespoon daily as needed for mind-body vitality. Take straight or add to coffee, shakes, smoothies, drinks, dressings, and sauces. Best when used daily and consistently."

    Where to buy Performance Lab® MCT

    To buy Performance Lab® MCT, visit: www.performancelab.com

    In addition to MCT oil, all Performance Lab® products are sold exclusively through www.performancelab.com - the official website for Performance Lab®’s comprehensive and diverse list of health and fitness supplements.

    Conclusion

    Mind Lab Pro® + Performance Lab® combine the most effective nootropics for brainpower with the best MCT oil for more brainpower in 2020.

    To seek “more brainpower” for an entire year is a tall order, one that can’t be fulfilled by mere caffeine or any other brain-draining stimulant.

    Thankfully, by actually nourishing our fatty brains with an energizing source of healthy fats, Performance Lab® MCT is up for the challenge.

    • Both as a standalone supplement and as part of a comprehensive nootropic stack, MCT oil may significantly bolster both short-term and long-term cognitive performance.

    To those committed to an intermittent fasting, or fasted training, MCT oil is virtually a must-have fuel source of energy for both mental and physical endurance.

    When taken daily and consistently with nootropics, MCT oil may not only improve your brainpower but your willpower to withstand the struggles of breaking bad habits while seeking a more active daily routine.

    In other words: Performance Lab® MCT may help you achieve the performance results you desire before you burn out by the effort.

    To get the best deal on Mind Lab Pro®, click here.

    To get the best deal on Performance Lab® MCT, click here.

    BONUS – The Ultimate Brainpower Stack

    One way to keep your brain energy levels up: add MCT oil to your daily routine. Another way: Mind Lab Pro®.

    However, the best way to boost brainpower involves stacking multiple brain boosters with MCT oil in a complete, comprehensive brainpower stack.

    To achieve ultimate brainpower, stack Mind Lab Pro® and Performance Lab® MCT with:

    Performance Lab® Energy 

    Stim-free antioxidant complex that restores malfunctioning mitochondria for optimized energy production and efficiency.

    Ingredients: Acetyl L-Carnitine (from Acetyl L-Carnitine HCL), Microencapsulated Bio-Enhanced® R-Lipoic Acid, MicroActive® Q10 (Coenzyme Q10), BioPQQ® (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone [PQQ]), BioPerine® Black Pepper Extract (Piper nigrum) (fruit) (95% piperine).

    • Taking a unique stim-free approach to energy enhancement, Performance Lab® Energy truly boosts energy, that is to say natural energy production, as opposed to synthetic stimulants, which artificially activate the brain with lab-synthesized chemicals. Combined with Mind Lab Pro®’s nootropic brain boosters and Performance Lab® MCT’s brain fuel support, Performance Lab® Energy may take your cognitive energy performance to the next level.

    A bottle of Performance Lab Energy

    To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Energy, click here.

    Performance Lab® Stim

    Ultramodern, performance-enhanced caffeine balanced by a restorative B-complex and nootropic amino acids.

    Ingredients: NutriGenesis® Caffeine Balance B-Complex: Riboflavin+ (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B6+, Folate+ (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12+; Natural Caffeine (from Coffea robusta seeds), Suntheanine® L-Theanine, Ajipure® L-Tyrosine

    • Paired with Mind Lab Pro® and Performance Lab® MCT, Performance Lab® Stim offers an optional add-on source of nootropic-powered caffeine for a quick surge of brainpowered intensity. Not everyone enjoys caffeine with their daily routines, and those who do enjoy caffeine don’t enjoy too much caffeine. For them, Performance Lab® Stim works as the ideal caffeine pill by supplying a modest amount of stimulation per pill, allowing its users to stack as many pills per serving as necessary.

    A bottle of Performance Lab Stim

    To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Stim, click here.

    Performance Lab® SPORT Pre

    The ultimate stim-free pre-workout powered by creatine energy, N.O.-boosting L-citrulline, and many more natural performance enhancers.

    Ingredients: Sodium (from Himalayan Pink Salt), Creatine (as Creapure® pH10), Cordyceps Sinensis (as Cordyceps Super™), L-Citrulline, L-Glutamine (from Ajinomoto®), L-Carnosine (N-beta-alanyl-histidine), Himalayan Pink Salt, Maritime Pine Bark Extract

    • As a stim-free pre-workout stack, Performance Lab® SPORT Pre naturally and legally enhances both aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance by restocking muscle creatine levels, boosting nitric oxide (N.O.) activity, optimizing oxygen utilization, and protecting muscle tissue against the protein-damaging byproducts of fasted training. Paired with Performance Lab® MCT, SPORT Pre primes both mind and muscle for sweaty, strenuous sessions of high-energy exercise.

    A bottle of Performance Lab Pre

    To get the best deal on Performance Lab® SPORT Pre, click here.

    References

    1. Chang CY et al. Essential fatty acids and human brain. Acta Neurol Taiwan. 2009 Dec; 18(4): 231-41.
    2. Mergenthaler P et al. Sugar for the brain: the role of glucose in physiological and pathological brain function. Trends Neurosci. 2013 Oct; 36(10): 587-597.
    3. Kinsella R et al. Coconut oil has less [sic] satiating properties than medium chain triglyceride oil. Physiol Behav. 2017 Oct 1; 179: 422-426.
    4. Raichle ME, Gusnard DA. Appraising the brain’s energy budget. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002 Aug 6; 99(16): 10237-10239.
    5. Aguiar S, Borowski T. Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri. Rejuvenation Res. 2013 Aug; 16(4): 313-326.
    6. Wong KH et al. Neuroregenerative potential of Lion’s Mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012; 14(5): 427-46.
    7. Mori K et al. Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. Biomed Res. 2011 Feb; 32(1): 67-72
    8. D’Orlando KJ, Sandage BW Jr. Citicoline (CDP-choline): mechanisms of action and effects in ischemic brain injury. Neurol Res. 1995 Aug; 17(4): 281-4.
    9. Wang Y et al. Medium Chain Triglycerides enhances exercise endurance through the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism. PLoS One. 2018; 13(2): e0191182.
    10. Nosaka N et al. Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triglycerols on moderate- and high-intensity exercise.