Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by theworldofsleepstaff
It’s always important to stay mindful of the food you eat before you go to bed so it doesn’t hinder your night’s sleep. After all, we all know to avoid that cup of coffee before getting some shut eye. But it can work the other way too as some food and drinks can actually help us get to sleep.
Some believe that medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil has the potential to do just that. In fact MCT oil is becoming increasingly popular because of numerous benefits it offers the body. Some of those benefits include: improving physical performance, reducing heart disease, and fighting infections, amongst others.
However, is it okay to take MCT oil before bed, and can it actually help you sleep? We will answer that question right here, as well as provide all the information you need about MCT oil.
Note: You must always consult your doctor before including a new supplement into your daily routine as only your doctor can explain any pros or cons that are specific to you. Some supplements may interfere with medications too.
But First: What are MCTs and MCT Oil?
Here’s the science stuff. Feel free to skip to the next section where we talk about taking MCT oil before bed, as this is about to get complicated!
Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are triglycerides containing two to three fatty acids with an aliphatic tail of six to twelve carbon atoms. So, they can also be referred to as medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs).
These fatty acids vary in carbon length. For example, caproic acid contains 6 carbon atoms, while lauric acid contains 12 carbon atoms. Medium-chain triglycerides provide the body with sufficient energy; however, a high level of triglycerides can increase the risk of an heart attack and other cardiovascular health issues.
MCT oil contains medium chains of fat known as triglycerides. They are produced via an artificial process called fractionation. This process involves the isolation and extraction of MCTs from palm kernel oil and coconut oil – which are rich sources of MCT oil.
MCT oil is easily digested because of its short chains other than the regular fats (e.g. fish, nuts) we eat that contain longer chains (long-chain triglycerides). Majorly, MCT oil contain either capric acid (containing 10 carbon atoms) or caprylic acid (8 carbon atoms), or a mix of the two.
Sources Of MCT Oil
- Palm kernel oil
- Coconut oil
- Butter and
Taking MCT Oil Before Bed: The Impact on Your Sleep
Below are some of the effects you can expect when taking MCT oil before bed.
1. Improves Quality of Sleep
After a long day of work, having a quality night’s sleep is essential, and MCT oil can actually help achieve that.
Experiencing an insulin spike at night hinders your sleep and makes you restless all through the night. This can happen as a result of a high intake of carbs. However MCT oil helps reduce such spikes and regulates glucose.
That can help to improve the quality of your sleep and leave you in a restful state. That’s not the only way it can help with sleep though…..
2. Appetite Suppressant
One of the benefits of taking MCT oil before bed is that it helps to suppress appetite and keeps you full throughout the night.
A study has proven that MCT oil aids in the release of two hormones, Peptide YY and Leptin, which promote the feeling of fullness in the body.
Feeling full will also help you enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep without having to wake up or snack on midnight meals.
3. Improves Cognitive Function
The brain requires a continuous stream of energy to function effectively as it utilizes more energy than other body organs.
Taking MCT oil before bed helps supply the brain with sufficient energy for its sustenance through the night. In turn, this keeps you refreshed and sharper and gives you improved cognitive function to carry out the next day’s activities.
However taking a high dose of MCT oil can lead to diarrhea. Frequent bowel movements will leave you uncomfortable and awake all through the night. Also, diarrhea is connected to abdominal pain and nausea. Experiencing this at night would hinder you from having a healthy night’s rest.
Irritability is another effect experienced when a higher than normal dose of MCT oil is consumed.
This is associated with frustration, fatigue, palpitations, increased breathing rate, etc. Experiencing those symptoms can keep you awake and restless throughout the night.
6. Stomach Discomfort
This is another effect experienced when a high dose of MCT oil is consumed. Stomach discomfort is relatable to everyone, and we are aware of how weak and helpless we become when our stomach hurts.
Depending on how serious it is, there might have to be a stop in activities. Similarly, you won’t be able to get enough rest as pain will keep waking you up from your sleep.
the General Benefits of Taking Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil
1. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
MCT oil helps reduce the risk of heart disease by fighting conditions that can contribute to heart disease, which include inflammation, obesity, and a high level of cholesterol.
A clinical trial has proven that MCT oil helps lower bad cholesterol levels while also boosting good cholesterol levels in the body. This is an important factor in fighting heart diseases.
2. Improves Physical Performance of the Body
A high level of lactate in the body reduces the body’s physical performance. MCT oil works by lowering the buildup of lactate in the body during exercise.
This prevents the body from feeling sore and, by doing so, increases physical performance. Also, MCT oil improves endurance during performance due to the ability of fats to form ketones (reduces lactic acid production). They are important in speeding athletes’ recovery after long training.
3. Fight Bacterial and Yeast Growth
Medium-chain triglycerides oil reduces the growth of bacteria and yeast infection in the body because of the fatty acids it contains. It can prevent fungal growths because it contains antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
4. Source of Energy
MCT oil is an excellent source of energy. One of the reasons for this is because of its rapid absorption into the body system, unlike long-chain triglycerides, which take a long time before being released.
Also, research has proven that MCT oil can be used as an immediate energy source since it doesn’t necessarily have to be broken down before entering cells.
5. Supports Weight Loss
A study was conducted on MCT oil, and it was proven to be effective in promoting weight loss without fear of metabolic risk.
in fact MCT oil helps to promote weight loss as it reduces hunger pangs and helps you feel full. Also, MCT oil contains low calories, an important factor in weight loss programs. It also helps in the metabolic process that involves burning up calories to produce heat which indirectly results in weight loss.
Side Effects of MCT OIL
When taken in moderate quantities, MCT oil should be safe for most people.
However, it can still cause side effects like diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomforts.
Taking MCT Oil Before Bed: Our Final Thoughts
When in the right quantity, taking MCT oil before bed can be beneficial for sleep. MCT oil has numerous benefits to the body and can be added to many foods and drinks.
However, to enjoy these benefits, caution in dosage is required. Four to seven tablespoons of MCT oil is recommended and enough to get accurate results. Also, these doses shouldn’t be taken at once, rather it should be taken at a few intervals throughout the day.
Taking a higher quantity of MCT oil than normal would lead to unfavorable side effects.