Are the rumors true? Does MCT oil make you poop?
Or maybe these aren't even rumors that you have heard. Maybe you have experienced such an unwanted side effect for yourself.
More people are mixing in MCT oil with their drinks, like coffee, tea, smoothies etc. And, it seems that because of this more people are running to the toilet and pooping more frequently than ever before.
But is this phenomenon just a coincidence or does MCT oil actually cause some sort of disruption in your digestive system that leads you to frequent the toilet more often?
The quick answer is: Yes, MCT very well might be making you poop more often. But we will get to that in a minute. Let's first talk about what exactly this peculiar oil substances in the first place…
What Exactly Is MCT Oil?
Medium-chain triglyceride is what MCT stands for. MCTs are triglycercides with two or three of the fatty acids having carbon-hydrogen tail of 6-12 carbon atoms long.
These tryglycerides are often extracted from oils such as palm kernel oil and coconut oil.
Some of the claimed benefits of MCT oil includes things like...
- Promote weight loss
- Helps with cognitive ability
- May help you recover faster from workouts
- Antimicrobial effects
One of the benefits of MCTs over LCTs (long-chain triglycerides) is that they can be used as fuel or stored as fat much more quickly. They do not require modification in order to be put to use by the body and are readily absorbed, without the requirement of bile to be broken down like LCTs.
Overall they are generally considered a good source of energy that our bodies can easily metabolize.
MCT Oil & Digestion
As already mentioned, the digestion and metabolism of MCTs is much simpler than its longer cousin, the LCTs. MCTs do not require energy to be digested and metabolized, since they are readily absorbed.
However, although this seems like it would lead to nothing but positive side effects, it also could potentially cause some problems. Some of the isolated fatty acids that MCT oils contain, which are digested extremely quickly, may lead to irritation of the lining in the gut.
This irritation can then signal to the gut command center that it needs to excrete the waste as fast as possible, a.k.a. poop immediately.
In addition to this possible cause for immediate pooping, MCTs also contain glycerols which are known to cause the intestines to hold more water than normal, leading to softer and more watery stools.
The combination of the two of these is what might be making you run to the bathroom after consumption.
Yes, it does it make you poop
MCT oil does have the potential to increase the frequency of bowel movements. However, how much this frequency will be increased is up in the air.
Some sources say that MCT oil has no more of a laxative effect than common oils like canola oil, which is something that has long been used as a digestion aid and a treatment for constipation.
Unfortunately there isn't all that much hard science to go off of on this particular subject.
It might actually help with diarrhea... huh?
Although the is no doubt that MCT can have at least somewhat of a laxative effect, believe it or not it can also potentially help with diarrhea.
MCT oil has long been used to treat malnutrition and malabsorption, which have the potential to cause diarrhea in the first place. So if you do experience diarrhea from some sort of malabsorption issue, which isn't all that uncommon, then taking MCTs may help.
A Coupled Effect for Extreme Pooping
A lot of people that are experiencing diarrhea-like symptoms after taking MCT oil are likely having such explosive episodes due to a coupling effect.
It seems that the coffee and MCT oil mixture is one of the popular trends. And since coffee already has a laxative effect, it is somewhat like throwing gas on a fire. MCTs seem to enhance the effect of caffeine.
Additionally, many MCT takers are on the keto diet. MCT oil is a common supplement of keto diet-ers and is said to help keep one energized and in a state of ketosis. The problem is that the keto diet itself is often the cause of diarrhea.
So not only might MCT oil be increasing the chances of frequent pooping, but being on a keto diet and mixing it with coffee may make it even more risky.
How to Decrease The Side Effects
If it is actually the oil that is causing the excessive pooping, then one of the easiest ways to decrease the chances of side effects would be to break up your intake throughout the day.
Instead of consuming the full daily dose in one drink, or in one meal, break it up into 2 half servings or 3 third servings throughout the day.
There has also been the suggestion made that digestive enzymes like lipase may help relieve such unwanted symptoms.
Getting MCT from Natural Sources
Don't fall for all the overpriced MCT oil products out there. You can get this good stuff from natural sources. And, I mean, why wouldn't you want to? After all, pure MCT oil is processed.
Processed doesn't necessarily mean it is bad, but often times it does and natural products seem to be the trend nowadays.
The top 2 sources of extracting MCT Oil are coconut oil and palm kernel oil, both which have over 50% MCT content.
So why not just add coconut oil or palm kernel oil to your diet? Sure, coconut oil doesn't have as high the concentration of MCTs, but with it you are also getting a lot of other good nutrients besides just that.
Some other sources of MCTs include dairy products like butter, milk, cheese and yogurt. They aren't nearly as concentrated in MCT, but it might be easier for you to get depending on what your diet is like.