Pushing through training, work and everyday life commitments can often have our bodies redlining. It’s no secret that the fuel you put in your body counts for how far you can push your physical and mental limits. When physical fatigue sets in it is common for mental fatigue to follow closely, often referred to as brain fog. People tend to reach for caffeine or sugar when they hit this wall which spikes cortisol and in turn continues the fatigue spiral. However at a time like this, fats - in particular healthy fats - could be your best nutritional aid to reset and recharge both mentally and physically. Consuming Medium Chain Triglycerides, also known as MCTs, are the perfect supplement to give your body a boost when it's most needed.
What are MCTs?
Healthy fats are essential for our bodies, hormones and immune systems to function optimally. MCTs are a special type of fatty acid that are shorter in length than long-chain triglycerides, making them easy for the body to absorb quickly.
Their shorter chain length allows these fats to travel straight from the gut to the liver, without needing bile to break them down. When they arrive at the liver, they are either used as fuel or stored as body fat. Since MCTs can enter your cells without being broken down, they can be used to provide an immediate boost of energy.
Coconut oil is one of the best sources of MCTs, which account for about half of its fat content.
How do MCTs assist mental and physical performance?
Energy cannot be stored in your brain, so it needs a consistent stream of fuel that is usually supplied by blood glucose. But what happens when your blood sugar levels are low? This is where MCTs come into play.
Your body can break down stored body fat and convert it into ketones as an alternative form of energy, one of the two primary fuel sources for the brain. Ketones cross the blood-brain barrier to provide an instant kick of energy without a crash later on. You can boost your production of ketones for your brain by following a ketogenic diet of high-fat, low-carb foods - but this isn’t essential.
The medium-chain fats in MCT oil increase the level of ketones in your bloodstream, providing a convenient option if you aren’t particularly keen on changing your whole diet.
When it comes to exercise performance, the concept of MCT use is much simpler. By using this healthy fat as an energy source, you are able to spare muscle glycogen for when you need it most, helping you to exercise harder for longer.
Top Tip: Reload contains goMCT, a blend of MCTs and acacia fibre to provide a clean source of energy for your body and aid gut health. Click here to learn more.
How can I consume it?
There are plenty of ways to incorporate MCT oil into your diet. You can blend it with liquids, add it to your oatmeal, or even bake with it! However, there are different forms of MCT oil that you should use to reap maximum benefits, depending on how you intend to consume it. Here is a quick guide on how to supplement MCTs into your diet:
- Cooking / baking at high temperatures: use ghee, a clarified butter. This has a higher smoke point than coconut oil.
- Cooking / baking at medium temperatures: use coconut oil, which has a higher concentration of MCTs than butter.
- Mixing / blending with un-emulsified fats at medium temperatures: use MCT oil.
- Stirring into any substance at any temperature: use emulsified MCT oil, which allows the substances to combine easily.
Alternatively, for those that are on the run and looking to recover optimally in between sessions, CMBT Reload contains a healthy dose of MCTs ensuring your energy sources are replenished allowing you to get the most out of each day.
Top Tip: Click here to see our recipe for Quick High-Protein Oats using Reload to give your body a quality - and tasty - boost of nutrients to keep you switched on all morning.