Fractionated Coconut Oil-What Is It All About?
Coconut oil is the new extra virgin olive oil in the nutrition world. It is considered to be really healthy. Isn’t it strange that we leave our desi oil and go gaga over a videshi oil :P. Well, let’s leave that aside and concentrate on coconut oil- fractionated coconut oil in fact! Ever heard of it?
You see coconut oil has long-chain as well as medium-chain fatty acids, but it is mainly made up of medium-chain fatty acids. Fractionated coconut oil is the one in which the long chain fatty acids are removed. Fractionated coconut oil is often referred to as MCT oil.
Fractionated coconut oil or MCT is often sold for use in cooking. As a cooking oil it is an extremely stable one that does not go rancid easily. Saturated fats don’t have a very good reputation when you talk of heart health. However, unlike most other saturated fats, MCT oil does not affect cholesterol levels. MCT also tends to work better in weight-loss diets in comparison to olive oil! Isn’t that just great?
How is fractionated coconut oil made?
Fractionated coconut oil is made by a process of steam and pressure hydrolysis of coconut oil. The products obtained are glycerol and free fatty acids. The fatty acids are later fractionated into long and medium-chain acids before the medium chain acids are mixed with glycerol to make MCT oil.
What the oil contain?
Coconut oil has medium chain fatty acids namely capric acid, caprylic acid and lauric acid. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid. It is noted that there are not many food sources that contain lauric acid. Do you know that the other foods that contain lauric acid are human breast milk, goat milk and cow milk. But when the oil is fractionated, the lauric acid gets removed leaving behind just capric and caprylic acids. MCT oil has more of caprylic acid (about 3/4th ) and the remaining 1/4th of capric acid.
Fractionated coconut oil is use a lot in medical preparation. You see in colder climates, coconut oil is solid at room temperature but MCT oil remains fluid. This makes it ideal for use in products that are encapsulated in soft gelatin. MSCT oil also gets digested easily in comparison to long-chain fatty acids including the ones from vegetable oils and animal fats. MCT oil also helps in preventing pharmaceutical products from getting degraded due to oxidation.
MCT oil and health
Fractionated coconut oil is used in special diets and is also sold in the form of a dietary supplement. MCT oil doesn’t require bile salts or the lipase enzyme that is basically produced by the pancreas, for digestion or absorption. Even in hospitals MCTs are used to treat malabsorption syndrome and to help in improving mineral absorption as well as protein and fat metabolism. They are also a part of baby formulas to provide nourishment to premature babies. One study has found that MCT oil is helpful for children suffering from chronic diarrhea. The study also found that it can reduce the treatment span and help the kids gain weight without any fat intolerance, vomiting or dehydration. However, larger studies are required to confirm the results.
So that is all about fractionated coconut oil or MCT oil!
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