MCT is a supplement often overlooked in sports nutrition. Unfortunately, protein powders take a prime position, that’s not a bad thing because they’re pretty awesome, but we should give some of the other guys a chance too. They often don’t get as much coverage but don’t let that make you underestimate MCT’s, they’re a powerful supplement, and a great addition to any supplement stack
What Is MCT?
MCT is also known as medium chain triglycerides, originally found in the form of oil, it’s then converted into a powder for ease of adding to protein shakes and healthy bakes. As the name suggests, MCT contains medium chains of fats called triglycerides. Don’t worry this isn’t the type of fat you’ll find in fast food, they’re actually much healthier and shorter in length allowing your body to easily and rapidly digest them. Thus giving your body an instant boost of energy. (Jeukendrup et al. 2008)
The difference in length compared to the usual fats you will find is simply due to its chemical structure and how the carbons are arranged, but we won’t bore you with the science of that. Compared to other types of fats, MCT’s are more efficiently turned into energy, meaning that they are less likely to be stored as fat in the body, (Kerksick et al. 2018) one of the many reasons why people use coconut oil in baking. We’ll expand on that point below.
MCT is most commonly extracted from coconut oil. In fact, almost 50% of all coconut oil fats are made up of MCT’s, which is one of the reasons why coconut oil has been praised over the past few years. If you want to read a little more about coconut oil we have an article right here for you – “Benefits of using Coconut Oil”.
They can also be found in many dairy products such as cheese, though much easier and healthier to consume as a supplement. Saving you from all those empty calories. MCT’s are used by athletes as a way of improving performance, by increasing energy levels and are also said to help with weight loss, decreasing body fat, and increasing lean muscle mass (Vistisen, et al 2003) They’re also sometimes used to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood, which can overall prevent certain diseases, such as, cardiovascular disease. So you can understand why they deserve a place as a top performing supplement.
Why Take MCT Before Bed?
Everyone knows how important it is to get a good nights sleep. Whether that be for your performance at the gym, your mood and even muscle growth and repair. So doing what you can to ensure you dream the night away, is essential to keep yourself on track to reach your physique goals. There are many different facts, myths and everything in between of how you can get some good shuteye, but for some, it’s just not quite enough, and the relentless tossing and turning through the night repeats. This is where MCT’s can come and lend a helping hand.
MCT’s have been shown to reduce insulin spikes associated with high GI carbohydrates (Misell et al, 2001). These are the type of carbs you can find in, potatoes, white bread and short-grain rice. For those that don’t know an insulin spike is when your body has a build up of glucose in the bloodstream, this in the short term can result in restlessness, which for sleep, is basically the devil. MCT helps to maintain these insulin spikes and blood sugar levels which is highly beneficial when trying to settle down before going to sleep, giving you a better quality of sleep.
Compared to other fats, MCT’s have shown to increase fat oxidation while you sleep (Goedecke, 1999). What does this mean exactly? Well, that’s just a fancy way of basically saying fat burning. It’s your body using fat for energy rather than carbohydrates and muscle, resulting in a decrease in body fat and an increase of lean body mass, all of which are very advantageous for an athlete or bodybuilder. Combining the physical enhancements and improved quality of sleep that MCT’s can promote result in improved confidence, motivation, and overall better chances of reaching your physique goals.
How To Take MCT Before Bed?
As MCT is a powerful but healthy supplement it needs to be consumed with consideration (Thornburn et al 2006). Unfortunately with too much consumption of MCT’s it can cause stomach distress (Burke, 2004), and a light dash to the toilet.
So just double check how much you’ve scooped before adding it into a shake or taking it on its own. THE PROTEIN WORKS™ Medium Chain Triglycerides dosage is five medium black scoops, the equivalent of 10g of MCT’s. However, if your body is not used to MCT Oil then its best to steadily introduce it into your system. Start with one scoop and build from there. MCT has a distinctive taste so add it to your protein shake, smoothie or some juice.