Issues Ingesting Coconut Oil, MCT Oil, Brain Octane Oil? Here Is Why and How to Change It.

I’ll never forget the first time I tried MCT oil. It was the time of kale shakes, and I decided to replace my coconut oil with MCT oil. I used roughly the same volume, and it caused me to take my first day off of work in over a decade. I spent an hour in the bathroom and took a four-hour nap. At the time, I could not put the pieces together. I did not link the MCT to the digestive problems, and thought it was the flu, or something else, so when I woke up from my nap, feeling much better, I decided to eat something healthy to recover, so I made another kale shake with MCT oil. The second time, I figured it out.

Why does MCT Oil cause stomach discomfort?

There are a few reasons why MCT oil causes diarrhea. First, MCT oil contains triglycerides that are unusual, in that they can be metabolized without liver transport. 1 Normally, when you consume a coconut, you are getting a variety of macronutrients, and most of them require enzymes to cleave apart hydrogen bonds to simplify them for metabolism. With MCT oil, the eight and ten chain fatty acids can undergo beta-oxidation immediately meaning that your cells can break them down for energy without help from the liver. 2 When you take a bolus (a high quantity of a compound, medication, or substance consumed orally) of MCT oil, it acts as an irritant and physiological mechanisms are triggered to flush the gut.

Secondly, many brands of MCT oil source their products from the cosmetic industry. 3 The cosmetic industry is primarily interested in the C12, lauric acid component of coconut oil, and supplement companies can buy the C8, and C10 oils at a bargain price. Since the lauric acid was not intended to be consumed internally, the cosmetic industry may use harsh chemicals to extract the oils. These chemicals, like hexane, are very irritating to the gut lining. 4 Lastly, C8, caprylic acid is highly antimicrobial. It can eliminate many species of yeast and bacteria on contact. When yeast and bacteria are exposed to caprylic acid, they undergo lysis and spill open creating an immune response that irritates the gut. 5 6

What’s the big deal?

Is a little stomach discomfort so bad from too much, or poor quality MCT oil? The truth is that there is more damage being done than just an upset stomach and diarrhea. When the epithelium of the digestive tract becomes irritated in such a way, the body responds by flushing the irritant out. To be able to cause rapid dumping, the epithelial cells must expand to let in the fluid consisting of water and ClO. 7 Unfortunately, harmful materials called endotoxin will pass from the gut lining into the bloodstream. This is, to a much smaller degree, what people experience when they undergo sepsis. It is not immediately life threatening, but it does over time causes inflammation to the internal organs and vascular system.

What can I do to prevent damage from MCT oil?

  1. C8 fatty acids are less irritating on the gut than other MCTs. Try and find a product that has a high percentage of C8, or better yet, pure C8 like Brain Octane Oil.
  2. Get a high-quality product that has not been extracted from the cosmetic industry and has been manufactured for oral consumption.
  3. Consume your MCT oil with a little bit of protein to reduce the bolus effect.
  4. Sometimes less is more. Do you need to take in two tablespoons of MCT oil at once?

Did you know that MCT oil is not the only substrate that can cause bolus like digestive distress? Large quantities of fructose, some minerals, and some pure amino acids can do the same. 8 9 10 11 If you are getting “disaster pants” you need to stop!  It is not only hard on your gut: but it is also hard on your body.

Have problems with disaster pants? Join the discussion on the Fix Your Gut Forums!

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