Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil has been a popular topic because of its ability to act as a potent and highly-efficient fuel source.
People using this miraculous oil swear by its positive effects on mental energy and physical performance. Despite all of its exciting benefits, MCT oil also has a few downsides.
One of those downsides happens to be quite explosive…
So, why does MCT oil cause diarrhea? The reasons can vary for each individual user. Diarrhea usually occurs when the user’s body is unable to fully adapt to this oil and lacks the enzymes required to process the MCTs. Additionally, the harmful additives present in the composition of certain MCT oils may also contribute to this gastrointestinal issue.
What factors can directly influence this common side effect of MCT oil? Is it dangerous? How can you prevent it? This article will provide you with all the answers you need to know.
Why Does MCT Oil Cause Diarrhea?
There are a number of reasons why MCT oil may trigger diarrhea.
MCT oil is rich in triglycerides, the substances that are metabolized in the body without requiring liver transport. When you use coconut oil, an oil with a similar composition to MCT oil, your body is receiving a lot of macronutrients.
Most of these nutrients need enzymes to break down their hydrogen bond and undergo metabolic processes.
However, this is not the case with MCT oil. As soon as your body ingests this oil, the C8 and C10 fatty acids immediately undergo beta-oxidation, indicating that your body cells are able to metabolize them without requiring any help from the liver.
Therefore, as soon as you take a large bolus of this oil, your body recognizes it as an irritant, forcing you to flush it out by trigging physiological mechanisms like diarrhea.
A lot of brands that supply MCT oil get a major share of their products from the cosmetic industry which mainly deals in C8 (caprylic acid), C10, and C12 fatty acid (lauric acid.) Lauric acid possesses strong properties which makes it unfit for internal use.
Hence, the industry uses a lot of harsh, extremely damaging chemicals to get rid of this fatty acid. Some of these chemicals, such as hexane, are particularly damaging and irritating to the gut lining.
Caprylic acid (C8), found in different types of MCT oil, possesses antimicrobial properties. Consuming it regularly can eradicate various species of bacteria and yeast from your body.
As soon as this fatty acid comes in contact with any microbes, it triggers their lysis, spilling out the toxic contents into your body. This, in turn, triggers an immune system response which irritates the gut and causes diarrhea.
What Factors Can Influence Your Need To Go?
If you are unfortunate enough to develop diarrhea as soon as you start taking MCT oil, there are certain factors that you must consider to determine the most likely cause. While diarrhea is usually a short-term side effect of MCT oil, it may persist indicating a pronounced problem that requires immediate attention.
Most of the companies dealing in MCT oil recommend using one to three tablespoons on a daily basis. While it is completely safe to use up to three tablespoons a day, it is never recommended to start with the maximum amount. People who start immediately consuming high doses of MCT oil commonly develop diarrhea.
The best practice is, to begin with as low as 1 teaspoon of MCT oil so your body can adjust to this new agent. Gradually add more oil each day to your dose. Never suddenly increase your daily dose to the maximum amount.
Total Duration of Use
If you have just started using MCT oil, side effects like diarrhea can be expected. This is especially true if you start with a moderate dose. To minimize the side effects of MCT oil, begin with one teaspoon and work your way up to 1 tablespoon when your body is ready.
For most people, diarrhea worsens during the first few weeks of using this oil then settles down after some time. With time, your body develops certain enzymes and your stomach adapts in order to handle this oil in a more efficient way.
Time of Consumption
Another factor to consider while taking MCT oil is the time of consumption. Using this oil on an empty stomach will cause stomach pain, diarrhea, and other issues. Experts strongly suggest taking this oil with food and strictly advise against heating or cooking it. Exposing MCT oil to high temperatures may make it toxic to the body.
If you are taking MCT oil following a meal, you are on the right track. However, if you consuming it on an empty stomach, it is time to change your routine.
You can always experiment with MCT oil in order to find the perfect time of consumption. Take this oil before eating, in the middle of your meal, or right after it, and see which time works best for you.
Brand of MCT Oil
Many people believe there is only one type of MCT oil and that all MCT products on the market have the exact same contents. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Each MCT oil is different based on the type of MCTs it contains. These MCTs may include fatty acids of any length, from C6 to C12. Additionally, different brands of MCT oil have different purity levels and use different methods to create them.
For example, MCT oils with C6 or caproic acid is usually considered to produce more side effects than other types. Similarly, some products containing all four kinds of MCTs increase the likelihood of side effects like diarrhea.
Some experts believe that lauric acid or C12 acts as a long-chain triglyceride (LCT) and can lead to side effects due to its prolonged breakdown. MCT oils rich in this particular type of fatty acid should be avoided.
Check out the best brands of MCT Oils
Individuals react differently to MCT oil for a variety of reasons such as current health status, past medical history, and genetics. While a lot of people develop diarrhea as soon as they start using this oil, there are many who never develop it.
Pregnant or lactating women may consider avoiding MCT oil since its effects have not been studied on pregnant or lactating women. In addition, MCT oil may not work very well for people suffering from diabetes and for those with liver problems.
Is MCT Oil Dangerous?
When MCT oil irritates the epithelium of your digestive tract, the body responds to this by flushing it out. In order to speed up the process of flushing, the epithelial cells expand, causing water and ClO− to enter.
As this occurs, certain harmful materials called the endotoxin also escape the gut along with water and enter the bloodstream. This induces a generalized state of sepsis in the body which may not be immediately threatening but may cause inflammation and damage to your organs in the long run.
Preventing Damage from MCT Oil
In order to make sure MCT oil does not cause diarrhea in your body, consider following these tips:
- Because C8 fatty acids are less irritating compared to other types of MCTs, always purchase a product with a higher quantity of C8.
- Make sure to purchase a high-quality MCT oil that has not been sourced from the cosmetic industry and is fit for oral consumption.
- Use the MCT oil along with protein in order to minimize its bolus effect.
- Use the minimum possible amount of MCT oil, and break it into multiple doses to ease its effects on your gut.
If MCT oil is still causing diarrhea after you have tried these suggestions, it is better to stop using it.
What other gastrointestinal side effects can be caused by MCT oil?
In addition to diarrhea, the consumption of MCT oil may lead to nausea, bloating, abdominal cramps, and belching.
What is the best way to use MCT oil for preventing diarrhea?
Add MCT oil to smoothies, salads, shakes, coffees, and your daily meals in order to prevent developing diarrhea and other side effects.
MCT oil can often lead to gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea in many users. This uncomfortable side effect may be the result of an overdose, the type of fatty acids present, the level of impurities, and the user’s genetics.
Make sure to follow the tips mentioned in this article to avoid diarrhea and enjoy the benefits of MCT oil to the fullest.